As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, June 2012.
There are a number of central traits that drive originators’ success in the mortgage industry, but perhaps no trait is as vital as sheer discipline. Knowledge can be taught and experience can be overrated; arguably, discipline is what makes or breaks anyone working in the mortgage industry today.
It’s crucial, then, for mortgage brokers and originators to work — and live — as disciplined professionals. As you develop your personal discipline, you improve your image as a sales professional, increase your opportunities for business and improve your own results.
The notion of discipline itself is not complicated. It’s made up of simple things that you demonstrate every day in myriad ways, however minor. Those ways may include simply being prompt for meetings, appointments and conference calls; creating to-do lists each morning; sending thank-you cards after every customer appointment; making scheduled, organized sales calls to existing clients each week; and delivering the things that you promise to clients within the time frames that you establish.
Whether you realize it or not, most — if not all — of the best and most successful mortgage professionals that you know likely are disciplined individuals. These people are among the first to arrive at work each day. They develop effective work flows and customer contact systems. They build annual business plans, tracking charts and client databases. They move through their day with purpose.
To be disciplined means to be intentional and organized. Organization creates efficiency. Efficiency creates more time — and having more time means that you can make more customer contacts, return phone calls more quickly and pursue new leads and opportunities more frequently. In turn, all of that means more clients, more loan applications, more closings and more money.
Try giving yourself a short self- assessment. If you could assign yourself a grade on discipline right now, what would it be?
A: I’m extremely disciplined in my work.
B: I’m mostly disciplined in my work.
C: I’m sometimes disciplined in my work.
D: I’m not very disciplined in my work.
F: I’m not the least bit disciplined in my work.
If you gave yourself any grade less than a B in the preceding assessment, it’s certainly in your best interest to force yourself to operate your business in a more disciplined manner. More specifically, consider tackling each of the following seven points. Although some of them may seem insignificant, they can add up to a major improvement in your daily professional life. Promise yourself:
To be on time for work every day
To be prompt for meetings, appointments and conference calls
To submit your reports on time
To organize your day based on a to-do list
To track your leads and sources of business
To follow up with every potential prospect
To follow through on all of your promises
Fulfilling these objectives will make an enormous difference in how people see you and the results you achieve. Imagine, for instance, what moving from one grade up to the next would do for your professional image and sales results.
To some extent, discipline cannot be taught. There are no classes for mortgage professionals to take or books to be read that simply can make a person more disciplined. Ultimately, it is a choice. What’s your choice going to be?
This article is adapted from Douglas Smith’s book, Green Zone Selling.
Douglas Smith, president of Douglas Smith & Associates, is an authority on sales and marketing in the mortgage industry.
Smith is a 28-year industry veteran and a nationally known speaker and sales trainer. He shows lenders and loan officers how to find more customers and make more money. Smith is the author of Climbing the Ladder of Success and the recently released Green Zone Selling. For more information, visit DougSmithOnline.com or call (877) 430-2329.