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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2012

Rebuilding and Reenergizing

Rebrand your business with focus and drive

Rebrand your business with focus and drive

The mortgage industry can be a fickle place — as any branch manager, loan officer or broker who’s been laid off knows all too well. In these difficult times, companies and programs can come and go seemingly overnight, and it’s often up to individual brokers and originators to rebrand themselves and their entire teams as quickly as possible. Learning how to roll with the punches is a crucial skill to have in the industry today.

It can be easy for brokers and originators to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind and forget that they’re in the sales business. In order to rebuild or rebrand their business, however, mortgage professionals must go back to the basics: They need to prospect. It’s virtually impossible to grow — or re-grow — your business if you’re the only one who knows just how good you are. You need to be seen and heard, and you need to be seen widely.

When it comes to rebuilding your business, keep the following three points in mind.

1. Embrace disciplined change

If you’re rebuilding or rebranding your branch or brokerage, you need to begin by strategically monitoring your activities. If you want your business to grow, you have to be completely committed to your daily disciplines.

"There’s a saying that friends do business with friends and, in this respect, Facebook can be one of the best ways to learn more about the people you want to do business with."

At the same time, if you need to make changes to your business to move it forward, you need to introduce changes gradually. Have you ever come home from a high-energy, industry conference with thousands of new ideas, tools and business strategies? The following few days can be exhilarating, but then your interest often wanes. As you move away from new gadgets and goals, it’s easy to move back into that comfortable rut that’s been plaguing you and your business all along. With that in mind, be careful to make small, sustainable changes.

2. Find connections

When rebuilding or rebranding their organizations, mortgage professionals also should create lists of their current and target partners. Many brokers and originators create such lists from time to time regardless of their business plans, but this list can be especially crucial in a transitional time of your career.

Don’t just create your list — take action. Once you’ve done your initial research, the real work begins. With your targets identified, prioritize your list and choose your top three targets. There’s a saying that friends do business with friends and, in this respect, Facebook can be one of the best ways to learn more about the people you want to do business with. What do your networking targets like to do in their free time? Do you like to do something similar?

Try to find an authentic connection with them. For instance, if you’re an active person and you find that your top networking targets are active, as well, try making a connection in that respect. Spending time getting to know your colleagues in a non-business setting is a wonderful way to rekindle a business relationship.

In other words, remember that success is not entirely about money or transactions. True success is about the relationships that you nurture and maintain. If your networking targets are interested in some of the same activities as you are — whether hiking, golfing or another sport — don’t be afraid to reach out. Keep in mind, however, that it’s important to find true common ground with your colleagues; you should never fake an interest in something simply to deepen your connection with your partners.

3. Draft a plan

In addition to merely forging connections with colleagues and partners, consider creating a written prospecting plan. This plan doesn’t have to be complex; you simply need to identify the where, what, when and how.

Your written plan can include any number of networking, business-building or prospecting activities, and every professional’s plan will be different. Still, here are just a few of the activities you may want to include, slating specific days and times for each activity:

  • Phone calls to partners and target partners;
  • Creation of thank-you cards;
  • Face-to-face meetings, which you may want to hold in your own office, simply for the “home-court advantage” this can provide;
  • Lunch-and-learn meetings;
  • Realtor meetings; and,
  • Networking events, such as open houses, conferences and chamber functions.

Of course, execution is key when it comes to fulfilling any plan. If you don’t monitor your activities, your pipeline will fluctuate and your business may falter. You have to plan for each and every day and then stick to that course of action.

Consider making to-do lists for each of your work days. Some people create lists for days, weeks or even months in the future, but you should do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Get into the habit of looking for daily gaps in your schedule and then fill those gaps with prospecting activities. It can be a good idea to set certain weekly standards or goals for yourself, so long as you make sure to hold yourself to those goals with discipline and strictness.

• • •

For many brokers and originators, some of this information may not be entirely new, although that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable, especially when it comes to rebuilding or rebranding your organization. Sometimes, the strategies or plans that can seem the most dull may turn out to be the most necessary — and the most constructive. In an industry of near-constant change, a little focus, commitment and planning can make all the difference.


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