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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2006

A New Year, A New Me

2006 is a perfect time to buckle down and become the successful salesperson you know you are

As the hands of time move into another year, everyone contemplates New Year’s resolutions. Some people want to lose weight; others want to start a fitness program; many want to eat more nutritionally; some want to spend less; and we all want to make more money.

Yet, how many of us actually examine our sales plans for the coming year? Are there things we can do differently? Are we maximizing our time and resources? Are we talking to the right people? How many of us resolve to change the way we do business?

A sales plan is essential to a successful career in the mortgage business. We all need to have direction, a roadmap, to help us reach our goals and define our success. A solid sales plan will deliver value in more ways than you can imagine.

The key to developing an effective sales plan is to understand why you are a salesperson. Ask yourself, “Why do I do sales?” Once you have a basis for why you do what you do, you can build a plan that complements what you believe and value.

It is much easier to follow a sales plan that represents your values versus one that your management creates for you. However, the process of developing such a plan is not a short exercise, and it needs to be done in an environment that supports introspective thinking. Investing a day in a remote and inspiring location will pay for itself tenfold if the outcome is a successful sales plan.

Your sales plan should take into consideration a number of issues, including time management, sales training, new technology and the changing market.

Time management

How well do you manage your activities? The key to successful time management is to master the skill of exploiting time.

Let me suggest a simple activity: Take a typical day in your life. Write down every activity you do throughout that day. Next, categorize your list and prioritize your activities. The most-important and profitable tasks need to be at the top of the list and the least important activities near the bottom. Divide the activities into a top-third, middle-third and bottom-third.

  • Step one: Completely eliminate the bottom-third activities — the time-wasters.

  • Step two: Focus most of your day on the top-third activities — the most profitable.

  • Step three: Schedule specific time in your day to complete your middle-level activities. Stick to a schedule, and move away from those activities when time has expired.

Eliminating your time-wasters is extremely important for any commission-based business. You should focus on the tasks that are profitable or required to do your job. This simple technique can do wonders for the number of profitable tasks you accomplish in a single day.

Sales training

Is investing in sales training really worth the money? All kinds of sales-training courses are available today. Some are excellent and some are not.

The key to getting the most for your money is to verify the course content before you attend. Look at the course outline or syllabus. Most reputable training companies will advertise their seminars’ content on their Web site.

Many companies also offer a money-back guarantee. If you do not think the seminar was beneficial to your sales plan, they will refund your investment. With an offer like that, it’s hard not to give them a try.


Consider investing in some of the latest technology available in the marketplace. Wireless, handheld devices, navigation systems and client-retention gadgets are everywhere. Pick one and introduce it into your daily routine. Some of these high-tech gadgets can save you time and money in the long run and assist you in successfully implementing your sales plan.

Changing market

If your 2005 sales plan worked well, you may ask why you should change it. The answer is simple: The market is changing, and you need to adapt to it.

Last year’s plan may have been great, and many of the same elements can work for 2006. However, this year’s forecast is different than last year’s. Take a look at your 2005 plan, use the pieces that will work in 2006 and then add new ideas. Include things such as target prospects, new products, higher-margin programs and referral sources.

•  •  •

Now that you have your 2006 sales plan, what should you do with it? Use it. Hang it where you will see and read it every day. A sales plan will never work unless the author writes it down and reads it. Chances are, if you have taken this task seriously and have invested the amount of time that I suggested, you are anxious to show off your plan and tell others about it. Get excited about the opportunity to watch your sales career soar.

Accountability is an important factor; it is the difference between average and above-average production. Make yourself accountable to someone who will help to push, pull and drag you to the top. Your accountability partner has the right to ask you the tough questions: “Did you read your sales plan today?” “Have you contacted five new prospects this week?” If you have someone holding you accountable for the things you say you will do, you are more likely to do them and much more.

Is this new plan set in stone, or is it flexible? By all means, make sure your plan is flexible enough to change with the market, but sturdy enough to hold you steady through the tough times.

Your plan needs to inspire you and be applicable to your daily routine. By committing to a yearly sales plan, you are taking an important step to a successful sales career in the mortgage business.


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