“Create or coast?”

As we approach October we get to make some pretty powerful choices. Do we look at our numbers and make a strong push for the last sixty days of effort and secure a solid finish to the year and a strong beginning to the next; or do we look at those numbers and see that they are better than last years and enjoy the ride and coast to the end of the year?

I face these very challenges each year with clients who have made significant progress the current year and have gone well past their numbers from years prior and even eclipsed their targets for this year, and are looking to “coast” a little bit through the end of the year and start strong for next year. The challenges I have with this are numerous, but it often takes the painful reality of living through these challenges at least once before some learn the lesson.

Yes, you have exceeded your own projections and have well past the numbers you had last year and we still have people in your pipeline with three months to go in the year! I understand that, but here is the flaw in that thinking. We are in a “flow” business. Just like an old fashioned handle well pump where you have to pump and pump the handle repeatedly before you see any result, so is our business cycle. You pump the handle really hard and see no results at first. Then maybe some air, dust, dirt, and then some wet sludge appear. All the time you pump and pump the handle. Finally some dirty water begins to make its way out the spout, followed by some cloudy water and finally at long last some clear, clean, and cold water flows freely from that same spout!

This is exactly the same as our business flow. You work hard to get in front of people and get yourself known. Most people refused to even acknowledge you at first and those that did sent you ever failed client and rejected files. As time goes by and you keep working and providing value and consistency of your efforts, a few deals appear that give you the chance to deliver on your promises. One by one they close and satisfied clients and referral partners begin to refer you in larger and larger numbers, with better and better quality opportunities.

Your perseverance pays off and you have established yourself as a reliable professional and you build a strong image and pipeline throughout the year. The numbers of closing improves and you see all of your targets come into view and you begin to exceed them. The fall comes and the industry begins to take a breath from the long and busy summer. Solid pipelines and back accounts of a job well done allow for the urgency of the basic work fundamentals to wane. Business is still “good enough” and the pipeline still has a good number of deals in process, and a few pre-approvals are showing up here and there. No real urgency to drive more traffic, make those visits, hit the streets and do the ground work.

But just like the water pump, once you stop pumping the water continues to flow for a while. Even if it stops briefly, you can quickly start pumping and get the water flowing again. But there is a fatal flaw. At some point the water doesn’t come back. The once cool, clear flow you worked so hard to generate now is gone! It took some time before you even noticed that it was going. It didn’t just stop completely all at once; but it faded and then failed! And now you must try and repeat the process from scratch again with no guarantee that the flow comes back!

Our business is a process. Our business has a flow and a rhythm to it that can be as painful as it is pleasurable. There is no set timeline for cause and effect. There is no guarantee that your message will be received and reacted too as you had wished. There is also nothing certain that once you are established that the business keeps coming! So don’t back off the pump! The fourth quarter is the time to create new opportunities and relationships. There are many fun things you can do to enjoy yourself while keeping the energy and momentum of your business flow flowing! If you need some thoughts and ideas, just visit “The Coaches Playbook” and look at the module on “Fourth Quarter Strategies” for some thoughts and ideas!

It’s not how you start but how you finish! A strong fourth quarter helps you keep the momentum going and will provide the opportunities and transactions to fill your pipeline going into 2018!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“Having nothing is better than a bad something!”

It has been a pretty interesting week. I had a training last week and followed up with some new clients and was really challenged to explain why so many people would rather have bad relationships than no relationships? I firmly believe that having no relationships is better than having bad ones! What do you think?

We all need referral partners and marketing programs that generate opportunities. But far too many originators occupy their time with people and processes that aren’t worth the time and trouble. They certainly don’t generate the results they are looking for!

Far too often originators get stuck in bad relationships with referral partners that consume their time, energy, and money, but don’t produce the quality or quantity of opportunities needed for the investment made! My best example of that was a loan officer I worked with that was pretty successful. She was doing a good deal of business, but working far too many hours for the business being closed. When we did the math, she was spending 70% of her working hours on about 40% of her total business! Anyone can see that that isn’t even close to being of equal value!

I explained to my originator that she either had to modify the relationship or eliminate it. While she was really concerned about the possibility of losing a referral partner that was generating 40% of her business, she also knew that consuming this kind of time for that business was far too stressful on both her personal and professional life! She had the conversation with the referral partner and the referral partner refused to change the way he did business. At that point, she took the leap of faith and fired him! He was SHOCKED! She was scared!

My originator went back to her office and constructed a plan by which she was going to do business and how best to do it. She got really clear in her own mind how it would work, and then she went out and shared the plan with her other referral partners. Those other partners were happy for her efforts and agreed that working according to her plan would be better for everyone and at the same time, provide a better quality experience for everyone involved, especially their customers!

In the year that followed, that loan originator grew her total business by almost double; and her total work hours were cut by more than 30%! Everyone was happy! The clients were happy, the referral partners were happy, my originator and her team was happy, the only one that wasn’t happy was that referral partner who went through a series of new lenders, all of whom either dropped the ball or quit accepting his way of doing business.

You need to clearly make the case for Why?

  • Why do we do it the way we do it?
  • Why do we work with who we work with?
  • Why is the way we work produce a better outcome?

If you can’t answer these questions clearly, you might have a problem. You might be working with the wrong referral partners, the wrong clients, maybe even working with the wrong tools and systems! You need to look at how and who you work with and ask yourself WHY?

Having a bad relationship isn’t better than having no relationship at all. Bad relationships force you to do and act in ways you aren’t happy with and that means you are not doing your best! Being busy isn’t the same as being productive! So take a few minutes and look at your business. Ask yourself WHY?

If you need fresh ideas or new concepts on the way to do what you do, please think about the Fast Start 180 program and invest $3,750 to change your life in the next six months; or subscribe to the “Access” program for only $59 a month and find out what tools you can use and know WHY!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Fast Start 180 is the solution to closing more loans than ever before, visit http://www.imtcoaching.com/fast-start-180.html

“Devalued Relationships”

Email, text messages, and social media are a fact of life. They are all important tools and can be an effect part of your communication strategy. However, you must guard against devaluing your relationships through automation and pure electronic contact. Let’s face it; we are all guilty of devaluing relationships through automation and electronic communication. It’s easy to do. We set up autoresponders, use technology to leave messages instead of directly connecting. Many people have automated campaigns that take the person almost completely out of the process. While this may improve efficiency, it doesn’t do much in the way of showing people how much you value them and their business.

Think of it, in an effort to remain and keep connected, we are distancing ourselves. It’s not hard to see, go to any restaurant or coffee shop and look. Everyone is in their phone searching email, texting, looking online, but very few people are actually talking with the people they are with! It’s become crazy! We are devaluing the relationships we say we are serving by diluting ourselves and our message electronically!

I am a firm believer in automation. I think there are plenty of times that certain things can and should be automated. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are in a relationship business and that if we don’t personally engage, we don’t have much of a relationship! It is important in the world of electronic communication to be certain you integrate personal contact and maintain that personal connection!

So take a good look at your systems. A certain degree of automation is fine; but be sure you have a series of personal contacts built in to your system or be prepared to lose your relationships to someone who will! Absence does make the heart grow fonder; it grows fonder of someone else! If you want to maintain and nurture your relationships, you have to provide personal attention. You can’t be too busy to provide personal attention to your relationships!

Make it part of your business life to identify your critical relationships and build in that personal connection. Breakfast meetings, lunch & learns, coffees, happy hours, even a day at the movies or the ballpark can help provide time and that personal connection that many people are letting slip away.

Once again I am not anti-automation. I am strongly opposed to the lack of the personal connection! If we don’t place a priority on our personal relationships; if we aren’t prepared to invest our time in our people; if we are going to let automation and electronic communication replace the personal phone call, the hand written note, the handshake, the personal time we commit to those we are committed to serving, then we aren’t really committing ourselves to the relationship.

When it comes to relationships, there is no replacing personal attention! Schedule the personal touch in every relationship!

  • When do we speak live?
  • When was the last time we met?
  • When did we last share a meal?
  • Send a handwritten note instead of an email!
  • Schedule the time for each relationship!

You can’t take “YOU” out of “YOUR” relationships. If you do, that relationship will soon belong to someone else!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Visit us at http://imtcoaching.com

“It works when you work it”

In speaking with a few of my clients this week I was reminded of the importance of working the plan. In Texas, one of my clients had a situation where her client had a low credit score and it was a result of a divorce situation. We all know that one of the unfortunate casualties of a divorce can be a credit score if not handled properly. In this case, a customer was looking that reality head on because of debts the former spouse failed to pay on time. I reminded my originator that this situation was an opportunity to educate the borrower and ask for an introduction to their divorce attorney.

He got a very pleasant introduction and a phone call led to a meeting over lunch. During lunch, the originator explained how in the future, this attorney could refer their clients to him for a review, following the procedures in the “Attorney Advantage® e-book” and help identify those accounts that may present a future issue. He also shared that a quit claim deed or a stipulation of responsibility in a divorce agreement was not enough protection, and that these account had to be settled or a release from the creditor to that borrower.

The attorney was very impressed and was very interested in working this plan with my originator. In the next few days my client received two referrals from the attorney, and both people were happy to know their options and one of which is going to buy out their spouse. This plan will work if you work it!

The other situation was an originator in Kansas City connecting with a local business that had experienced significant growth and was busy recruiting employees from all around the country. My originator followed up with the HR department from a loan she had in process to thank them for a quick reply to a request for information. When speaking to the HR person, they quickly realized that they had some common interests in making the process of relocation easier on their new employees. My originator followed up with a meeting and now they are the lender of record for this company and my originator not only gets in front of all their relocation business, but has put together a benefit package for the company to save them money!

Not only is this a win for everyone involved, my originator now has a number of Realtor® referrals to pass along to agents in the areas of need. Again, it works if you work it! Take a minute and connect with the website and all the support strategies, it can really help you improve your business! As always, we are focused on “Doing something today that improves your tomorrow!”

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTCoaching.com

Visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“Message for the month”

Are you ready for July? As we enjoy the celebration of our independence, we also must prepare a strong message for our people to keep them energized and excited about buying that next home! The message of the month for July is all about the change in the DTI limits. For some of you this might not seem like much, but the move from 45% to 50% DTI can be a really big factor for some people, and needs to be shared with ALL your people.

Prepare yourself, your clients, and your referral partners for the rise in the DTI Limit! How much more purchasing power does 5% more income mean in your market? Let’s do the math! What is the monthly income boost?

  • $6,000 monthly in income = $300 more, or $60K
  • $7,500 = $375 more, or about $75K
  • $10,000 = $500 more, or about $100K more purchasing power!

Now obviously you have to work the real numbers with real rates and taxes in your area, but you can see where this is going. It also isn’t on all programs and for some of you, this may not be as big a part of your market as it is for others, but you need to share the information!

Have you or your referral partners had someone who couldn’t find a house they loved in the price range they were looking? Time to give them a call and share with them all the properties that now make it to their list! The summer is the perfect time to make your business: SIZZLE!

Using this powerful strategy to craft an effective message can make all the difference in your business! You need to reach out to everyone you may have talked to in the last 240 days that didn’t close with you. And I mean everyone! This is far too important to leave to someone else to share. You need to get working!

Make a short video explaining the change and email it to your database. Post it on Facebook®, LinkedIn®, put it on your YouTube® channel! Call all of your referral partners and get them engaged! Don’t miss your accountants, financial planners, and attorneys! Everyone needs to know about this change!

Use the tools on the website! Schedule your Summer Success Strategies! You can’t afford not to keep the momentum going! Watch for new changes in the website! The all new Coaches Playbook® tutorials are arriving soon! Have a happy, healthy, and SAFE holiday celebration!

Questions and comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

By the way FAST START 180 is available in your area.  Check it out today!  Click Here.

“Perspective improves production”

I have spent a great deal of time in these posts sharing information and strategies that have helped my originators and managers outperform the industry averages. Sometimes it’s doing something completely different than the others are doing, and other times it’s about adding one touch, or one contact, or one small additional step that changes the outcome dramatically. So much about what I share is about systems and procedures placed over a timeline that it really helps make the fundamental part of originations simple to follow and duplicate. The one area I spend less time talking about is what I am going to share today is perspective.

So many times we have people that have all the “tools” to be successful originators or managers, but there is just something missing that prevents that from happening at a higher level than they are. This is also true of those professionals that are doing better than average, but not as well as they could. I believe that the difference is largely due to perspective. How do they look at themselves, their team, their clients, their systems, and their business? In many cases, the differences are mostly about the way in which people view these things and how that affects their outcomes.

The old expression “Is the glass half empty or is it half full” comes to mind. Is the work we are doing proactive or reactive? Is it transactional or relational? Is each deal a simple transaction, or is it part of a long term strategy? Is our perspective influencing our outcome for the good or bad?

I like to think of this as a lesson learned from the movie “Groundhog Day”. If you have never seen the movie, go watch it. If you have seen it, go back and learn the valuable lesson of perspective. Circumstances are always linked to a positive or negative possibility. If something appears negative, look and see what you can do to change it to a positive. How is each person, situation, obstacle, or event put in front of us, actually an opportunity to improve ourselves or the fortunes of those around us?

Our business outcomes can be anything we want them to be. The clients I coach all make specific choices about how good they are, the processes they use, the quality of the customer and referral partner experience, and how much money they earn in the time they work. Not any one of them is the same. None of them do everything we talk about. However, a common thread appears over time, they all understand the value of having a really clear perspective of who they are and what they are trying to accomplish! Some start with that perspective, and others move toward it over time! Either way the results are the same, approaching your business with a really clear vision of what you are doing and how it connects to everything else around it can make all the difference. And sometimes that difference is HUGE!

Take some time to watch “Groundhog Day” this weekend. Pay attention to the evolution that takes place when the perspective changes. In the movie the change takes place seemingly overnight; but we all know that it wasn’t the case. Your business won’t change overnight; but it will change dramatically over time for the better. And after all, why not get a little better each day? You can’t change everything, but you can change enough to really matter!

Questions or comments: Visit us online at http://imtocoaching.com or email Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“What is a deadline?”

I have been having a number of conversations lately about deadlines and how originators find themselves stressing over them. A specific case in point, I was just visiting one of my clients and their assistant, we were out to dinner. We were having a productive exchange about best practices when I began to notice the assistant looking at her phone every few minutes. When I inquired about the situation and why she kept focusing on her phone instead of the people she was with, she said she was waiting for disclosures to be acknowledged so a loan could close the following Monday. That if she didn’t get them back by midnight, the transaction would be delayed.

I asked her how she prepared the borrower to perform in this situation and she said she told him she had to have those disclosures back by midnight, or the loan couldn’t close on time. I asked her why she set the deadline at midnight. As expected, she said it was when the deadline was. I said “whose deadline, yours or the client’s? She said it was the same thing. That is when I explained to her that they weren’t the same at all. While legally she had an obligation to get those disclosures back by midnight to close the following Monday, I explained that if she had made the client’s deadline 4 p.m. that afternoon, she wouldn’t be checking her phone every five minutes looking to see if the client did indeed return the needed documents!

You see, deadlines are different for different people and circumstances. We often say things in general terms like “In order to close on Monday, I need your disclosures acknowledged by midnight.” The problem with that is, midnight is your deadline, and once it comes, you have no options. As a professional, your job is to set in place a timeline for the work to get done so that the closing happens as scheduled. Once midnight came and went, there were no options left. However, had she set the deadline at 4 p.m. that afternoon, she would have had time to reach out to the client and the referral partner and explain that the closing was now going to be delayed a few days because those disclosures weren’t executed by 4 p.m. as instructed.

Clearly this would have prompted a reaction from the customer and the referral partner asking if there was anything that could be done to keep the closing Monday as scheduled? This would have given you the opportunity to have that client execute those documents immediately, and she could have enjoyed her evening! Remember, we need to control the actions and the timeline or we are subject to other people setting it for us. Never set a deadline for anyone that doesn’t give you a chance to resolve the issue without harm!

Now most people are really good about understanding the timeline on the CD, but aren’t so connected to the LE. I have seen a number of occasions when the LE wasn’t executed properly and there were issues. You can’t allow that to happen. You need to set deadlines that work for you that give you a chance to save the customer from themselves! So set the deadlines at 4 p.m; this will give you time to engage in the process and resolve the issue, or at least connect with everyone and workout an extension.

Remember, it’s your job as a professional to set the rules and timeline for the transaction to insure a timely and smooth transaction. Giving a client a midnight deadline, only forces you to stay up all night waiting for something that might not happen. Setting a 4 p.m. deadline gets it done so you have time to save the client from themselves!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com