I want to start posting more (without it seeming "canned") to my Facebook Business Page. The easiest way to do this is to find an article and add your opinion to the repost. Here is what I shared today:
The past few months, I have seen a higher than normal amount of appraisals coming in lower than sales price. Values have gone up so quickly, it has been difficult to get appraisals in at value. I think this is starting to balance out a bit but you are always served best by having a professional Realtor help you determine what your home can sell for. If you need a recommendation of a local Realtor - let me know!!
Article I shared: Home Prices Rising! Appraisers say WHOA!
Earlier this year, my production went a little crazy as I was training for a bike race and travelling for work and family fun; needless to say, my life was busy. To keep things in balance, I pulled away from a few things. One was this blog and my Facebook Marketing Page. I have been sharing marketing ideas and other random tidbits since 2006 and was recently asked if I was going to continue... and the crazy thing is that I have found myself missing it.
So I decided to see if YOU are missing the blog. If there is enough positive response, then I will start sharing all those random thoughts and marketing ideas again.
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I just returned from biking in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa which are states 21, 22 & 23 in my trek to bike 50 miles in all 50 states. It was blast and I feel very blessed to live in such an amazingly diverse and beautiful country.
I also had the opportunity to work with the great loan officers at North Shore Bank in Wisconsin. This was my idea of a perfect vacation: biking, eating and spending time talking about mortgage marketing with my new friends.
Stay tuned to where I will be on my next adventure. If I'm in your neck of the woods, let's get together!
Last year, I started giving bird houses for closing gifts. They have been a hit!! I purchase them when they are 50% off at Hobby Lobby and yesterday I was able to get nine for under $100. I then put my business card sticker on the back and take them to closing in a gift bag with tissue and a thank you note.
If you don't live near a Hobby Lobby, you can order online through this link.
We all have Realtors in our community that we run into at events and feel comfortable chatting with but they don't send us business. I recently decided to step outside my comfort box just a bit and ask for the business. I had seen Perry at a WCR bowling tournament and then the next day at our local Realtor board office during key box exchange where I had taken refreshments. We talked for a few minutes, and I found out he spent summers growing up fishing in Alaska where I grew up. (I love finding connections!)
A few days later, I was saw Perry again. This time, I put on my big girl pants and said "Who do you use for your mortgages?" He mentioned another local company and so I said "They are great, but I would love to work with you. Any chance we can do a deal together?" His response was very positive and so my next step is to get him to lunch.
In this business, it is all about asking the right questions and then taking action to deepen referral relationships. I encourage you to reach out to Realtors that are not sending you business and ask for it. But don't stop there. Follow up with emails, a handwritten note, phone calls and lunch. Then you can sit back and rake in the referrals.
Many loan officers are telling me that 2015 is going to be a record setting year for them. They say this with gratitude and just a little bit of concern. Staff and systems are at their limits on what they can handle and since mortgages are more complex, they take longer to get through processing, underwriting and closing. This causes stress and anxiety which keeps many loan officers from spending time on relationships and marketing.
In fact, some loan officers are saying “I don’t have time for marketing and even if I did, I can’t really handle more loan right now.” I’m in that boat personally and have to fight against the urge to slow down my visibility and marketing.
With the strength of our industry, we are starting to see new blood come in. My 25 year old son recently took a job as a loan officer assistant with the long term goal of building an origination business. This is going to be our competition and we need to prepare for it. Business will NOT always be this busy.
So what can you do to keep up with the volume, service your current clients so they send you referrals and stay visible with your Realtors and past clients.? It is a daunting task if you don’t have help and keep it automated as much as possible.
First, you must have help. Having an assistant is truly the only way to get your business to grow and keep from having crazy production hills and valleys. My current assistant helps me with marketing but also helps my processor by setting up new files and following up on VOE’s and other items needed for underwriting. When my pipeline is full, her priority is helping my processor. I am lucky that our receptionist is available to help with some of my marketing tasks when this happens.
Automate, automate, automate. Every month, my database of past clients gets a calendar/recipe postcard from me. I use Sendsations and don’t have to think about it, the mailing goes out each month and my referrals from past clients has increased dramatically since last year when I went to a monthly (vs. quarterly) mailing and increased the size from a regular size postcard to a 6’x9’ magnetic calendar/recipe card.
I also have an after closing checklist that my assistant handles on all closed loans, making sure everyone gets a thank you and are set up in my database, birthday calendar and annual email reminder system. She has certain days of the month where she sends out my birthday cards and annual emails.
As far as visibility goes, this is something I work very hard to maintain even though I am busy. I am on the WCR board, Community Involvement Committee and teach CE classes or take refreshments to CE classes monthly. I truly have to force myself to get out of the office for the events. It isn’t easy when my workload is so high, but I know the payoff is worth it. I try to make sure my Realtors know that I am never too busy to help them or their clients.
My hope is that each year is my Best Year Ever and the only way to accomplish this is through focused determination to keep up on marketing and relationships.
This year I am sending 500 Seed Packets to a condo/apartment area that one of my agents has been farming. We will co-brand the packets and letter. I've sent seed packets that past two years to my Realtor group but will be sending to prospective borrowers this year instead.
Here is a great resource if you are looking to send seed packs. I ordered the non-printed seed packs (15% off!) and will label with a sticker that has my info and the Realtors info. We will also include our cards in the mailing. Plan is to mail these out the middle of April.
A few years ago, I recommended the book The Seven Levels of Communication and also gave it out as a gift to my coaching clients and Realtors. Michael Maher recently co-wrote a continuation of his story from 7L in the book The Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents.
It's a fascinating topic and concept. I practice it most of the time but I agree with it all of the time.
Thanks to my coaching bff Cindy Southerland for sharing this great idea for a little something you can send in the mail. Cheryl's Cookies offers a variety of $5 cookie cards with FREE SHIPPING! I sent one to myself to make sure they didn't taste like cardboard.... just ate it and my tummy is happy. Success!
Here are a few ideas for these cookie cards:
Who doesn't love to get a little something in the mail? Here is the unopened package:
Open the package and see your cookie box... so colorful!
Open the box here is the cookie... after my first taste. There was also a $5 gift card for my next cookie. Bonus!!
I'm from the 80's... big hair, bad clothing choices and great movies.
As I have talked with loan officers recently, many are busy with purchase and refi business. That is a good thing but does not guarantee you will have loans when the market slows down. They are struggling to do their marketing and stay in front of referral partners. Part of that is time, but another part is that we tend to get burnt out when things are busy and marketing is usually the first thing to get pushed to the bottom of the task list. Or deleted altogether.
I suggest you get "Back to the Future". Rather than just focusing on the deals that are in front of you (loans in process, prequals, etc.) take time each day to work on business you want in six to twelve months. Even looking as far forward as three to five years.
It is the small and simple things you consistently do today, tomorrow and next week that will determine the level of your production in the future. Read that sentence once more time. Maybe even frame it or add it to your tattoo list. It's that important.
What kind of small and simple things? Here's my top ten list:
Most of these items take very little time but you have to plan and execute. Even when you are busy. Most likely, you know what you should be doing. You even put it on your to-do list and talk to your coach about it. The problem is they don't get done. Good intentions are like crying babies. They should be carried out.
I've been using Mortgage Coach Edge for quite some time and just want to share that is makes a BIG difference when working with clients that are shopping or don't really know me very well.
Copy and paste this link to see a recent video I sent out: http://mortgagecoach.com/solutions/edge/
This was a Zillow lead where the client decided not to use the Zillow Realtor (who I work with quite a bit) and is using an agent that was completely unfamiliar with me. In many of these situations, the Realtor will push their clients to use their lender. Because of my video, the clients are determined to use me as their lender and their Realtor is supporting that decision.
As loan officers, we are hit up constantly with systems and tools that cost money and are supposed to make our business successful. Most don't. Mortgage Coach Edge does.
When I first started, I worried about getting the video just right and would take waaaay too long to work up and estimate. I can now do this in less than five minutes. As long as I'm not drooling or looking cross-eyed, one take is all I do.
NOTE: This is not a paid advertisement. I don't get anything but a warm-fuzzy if you sign up for Mortgage Coach. I just love 'em.
It's been a crazy few weeks and I've gotten behind on my handwritten notes. It's always the first thing I DON'T do when busy. My goal today was to get caught up on notes to prospects. Mission accomplished! Tomorrow is thank you notes to referral sources.
How long has it been since you sent out handwritten notes? Too long?
Do you work in the Chicago or Milwaukee area? I am headed to Illinois & Wisconsin to do some biking in May and have two spots open for live training. Get your team pumped up and provide them with what they need to increase production at a fraction of the normal cost. You won't pay travel expenses and will get 75% off my normal speaking fees. SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!
I am available in Chicago the morning of Monday, May 4 and in Milwaukee the morning of May 5. If you are interested, send an email to email@example.com. I only have one slot for each city so this is first come first serve!
Earlier this month, I shared my goal of 100 units and how I was tracking this. My processor didn't like my not-straight lines and then the post-it notes started to fall off so she decided to take matters into her own hands (which are obviously much better than mine). Then a couple other loan officers joined in the fun. I love a little friendly competition!
These posters were printed at Costco for about $5 and look great!! As I close loans, she will put a label with the name and close date. I can easily see where I am at and stay motivated to work on my business.
Charles decided to set a goal of 100 because he wants to be just like me.
Jon set his goal for 101 because he thinks he is better than me.
Jeremy set a goal of 120 because he truly is better than me.
Rhonda Johnson, one of my long-time coaching clients (and friend) recently shared a tool that has helped her business in an unexpected way. Rhonda works with a lot of first time home buyers and as you know, they can feel pretty overwhelmed with the process and details of getting their first mortgage. I have often worried that they are not fully understanding the information but don't feel confident enough to share that with me.
Rhonda invites her first time home buyers to bring a family member or friend to the application appointment. Even if they don't bring anyone, the fact that you opened the door for this gives them a greater sense of trust and security. This is a great move for all originators that work with first time home buyers.
Rhonda went on to share the amazing thing that happens AFTER these meetings. When a family member or friend has come to the appointment, they have then turned into a loan for themselves or referred another loan to Rhonda. Now that is an unintended consequence we can all live with!
Thanks, Rhonda for sharing!
With the new, lower FHA mortgage insurance premiums you have a perfect reason to reach out to past prospects. The lower payment will increase their buying power!!
Take time today to call AND email your past prospects to let them know about this new change.
I recently let myself get a bit behind on my handwritten notes and let me tell you, it is much easier to do a few each day than try to organize who you need to send a note to and do a pile all at once. My goal is three a day and I try to keep a few on my desk at all times to remind me.
Here are a few of the handwritten notes I send out:
These are the cards I designed and printed through overnight prints
We all have great ideas. We all know what it takes to succeed as a mortgage originator. The problem is that we don't always implement those great ideas and do what it takes to succeed. The excuses are usually pretty good ones, but they are still that - excuses.
One of the tasks that I know will increase production is making phone calls to my Realtor database. A simple phone call to see how they are doing and if there is anything I can help with. I can make 10 phone calls in less than 30 minutes. The problem is that I don't.
Colleen (one of my coaching clients) and I both agree that making the phone calls brings in more business when we do it, but we struggle to be consistent. We have decided to share a calender event and each Wednesday we have 30 minutes blocked out to make our phone calls. We are hoping that holding each other accountable will be the missing link. Knowing she is looking at the same event and will be asking me about it is pretty motivating.
What marketing tasks are you not doing that this technique might help you with? Get it on your calendar and hold yourself accountable!