By Jennifer Du Plessis
Hard to believe; we are more than halfway through 2017. Seems like just yesterday that we elected a new President and what a whirlwind our thoughts were at that time – between the results of the race with a same-day rate increase, and our attempts to comfort our clients about the impact the Federal Reserve might have – we sure had our work cut out for us.
As is the case in football where halftime in the locker room is a time for reflection, adjustments and maybe some celebration; so too is this a perfect time for us to conduct our halftime “quarterbacking analysis” of our own performance.
What do you think? Did your predictions come true? So many of us in lending, as well as our clients and referral partners, reacted in the same manner as an offensive line after just hearing an audible call for a defensive blitz; making quick adjustments, stressing about what was going to happen next and how to execute a good play.
Now is the time to head into the locker room and reassess your strategy to ensure a win! Whether you are ahead or behind in the game, right now, you can make the appropriate modifications to ensure or change the outcome.
What should you be doing while I’m in the locker room to modify, improve, tweak or stay-the-course with your game-time strategy? Well, here are some suggestions to get you started.
Find your business plan. You know… the one you wrote and put on a shelf or saved in a folder that you now can’t seem to find. Remember, a business plan is a living document, not something to simply write to pacify your manager and then not utilize.
Assuming you have a plan, let’s take a closer look to determine what your goals for the quarter or year were. Are you tracking your activities, budget and results? Whether you are winning or losing, if you consistently track your activities and results, you are leaps and bounds ahead of those who don’t know where their business is coming from or how they have arrived at the score they have now at halftime.
- Review exactly where all your referrals came from. Were they received from the sources you have been your time with? Or, did they come from a completely new track that you hadn’t anticipated? This is like the unexpected “no huddle” formation on the football field – “we didn’t expect that in this game!”
- Analyze who you received referrals from (Realtors, past clients, advertising, networking), how many were converted, were they for purchases or refinances, where they the type of referral you want, what percentage closed, etc. Now compare that to your plan. Are you on track?
- What does your marketing look like? Is it working? Do you need to adjust now for the rest of the year to fit what is happening in the marketplace?
If you are like me, you regularly fine-tune your loan process. That’s good. The field of play is always changing (snow, rain, bad turf or in the case of mortgages, rates go up, guidelines change, compliance moves in) so if you don’t, your competition could dominate and take over.
- Seek out your weaknesses, the leaks in your system. Where can you make some changes to provide your clients with a superior client experience?
- Determine if you have the right players on your team? Do they each know their positions and how they play an integral part in the game?
- Review your roster (CRM), can you utilize a second-string player, a back-up tactic or special teams such as more phone calls, more authentic conversations, developing richer relationships or maybe even making some cuts to those that aren’t making the plans and producing the results?
The Mental Game
Equally important to having a strong game plan and excellent communication and loan process systems, is understanding the effects mental stress has in our industry. Face the truth that you have made the decision to be in an industry that is fundamentally difficult, competitive and stressful; in a field, sales, that is inherently rich with rejection. When you accept this, all the white noise you hear can easily be packed away.
- Focus your time, energy, thoughts, ideas, activities and attention on better execution of your current plan rather than throwing everything out the window. The seemingly insignificant changes you make can make a huge difference in your success. Perhaps it’s merely making that one last phone call at the end of the day that could result in one more loan funded.
- Have you considered a trainer or coach? If you are struggling don’t go it alone. If you are doing well, keep in mind that the best players in football, and in lending, have a coach. Maybe it’s time to consider making this maneuver?
My son played Quarterback in high school and college. One word or sideways look from an opponent, or heaven forbid a fumble; could dramatically change his mindset and the outcome of the game. So, keep your blinders on and stay focused toward what is true to you and your goals.
What a great game we play; and we are greatly compensated for the hard work and talent we provide. Remember you are a Professional Mortgage Lender. The locker room can be the best place for you to reset, refresh and reinvigorate your practice. Use it wisely!
Now get geared up, get out there and win this game!
Jennifer Du Plessis, CMPS, CDLP, CME is the VP, Regional Sales Director of Apex Home Loans, Inc. in Herndon, VA. She is the author of Launch! Stop Talking. Take Action. How to Take Your Business to New Heights. She is also a speaker, coach, consultant, and Podcast Host of Mortgage Lending Mastery.