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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2017

Setting Smart Goals Is Good for Business

Resolutions are effective only if they help you expand your reach


There may be any number of reasons why you fail to achieve your own goals, even if you have taken the time to write them down on paper. The goals may be too big to achieve, especially when personal issues — a marriage, a newborn or an illness — sidetrack you, or maybe you’re switching jobs or companies. The list can go on.

That is why setting small obtainable goals on the path toward larger objectives can have a bigger impact on you and your business than trying to shoot for the stars all at once. Having goals that are too hard to reach right out of the box can have more of a negative effect on production than you think, if you fail to achieve them.

Setting and sticking to small goals that are easy to accomplish may give you a sense of accomplishment, but it won’t really have a significant impact on your overall production. A more effective approach as a mortgage originator is to break your big goals down into smaller steps and then move forward one step at a time, which eventually leads you to accomplish the big goals.

Incremental approach

Adopting resolutions that are too hard to achieve is not productive — like meeting 10 new real estate agents a month when you are not meeting any now. Instead, start out by connecting with one or two agents a month, so that you get the dialogue right and feel comfortable discussing how you can benefit them and their businesses. Real estate agents will be doing the same thing — setting goals and resolutions this year, so your timing will be perfect.

Other mortgage originators also may be out meeting agents as part of their goal-setting agendas. That’s why it’s smart to start small, with one or two agents a week, so that you can hone a presentation that will set you apart from the other originators.

Setting a resolution of getting into the office earlier each day — say at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., verses 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. — can help you get a start on the day, but also may be overly ambitious at the start. Instead, start arriving 15 minutes early the first week and then work your way each week toward an even earlier start time, so that by the end of the month you will be arriving one hour earlier than you normally did the prior year. By arriving one hour earlier, you will be able to send those extra e-mails and thank-you cards to new real estate agents you are meeting and, in general, have extra time to be more productive in generating new business.

Resolutions for originators also should include closing more loans. If you are closing on average three to five deals a month, jumping that number to 10 to 15 a month would be a great accomplishment. But again, that’s too ambitious a goal to start with and could derail your improvement efforts on that front.

“ Choosing the right set of resolutions ultimately involves balancing the work involved against the achievability and the ultimate impact of the results. ” 

Instead, start with an incremental approach by looking at what steps you need to take to close five to eight loans a month. That might involve making more phone calls, sending more e-mails, meeting more Realtors, connecting with past clients and asking for their business, attending more industry functions, starting a YouTube channel to get your message out or blogging on topics of interest to potential homebuyers. In short, there are many inexpensive or no-cost measures you can implement that can get you that additional one to three loan closings a month.

Other steps you can take to help move you toward the larger goal of boosting your production include the following:

  • Start a regular exercise regime: Start small, like two to three days a week, and work out in the early morning to get a jump on the day.
  • Pack your lunch a couple days a week: This will save you money, and also will keep you in the office to work on projects that need to be completed.
  • Meet new real estate agents on their turf: Try to meet an agent at an open house so you can offer advice on what the appraiser may be looking for when it is time for you to order the appraisal. If the agent does not have listings at that time, meet at the agent’s office so you get a better sense of the person’s work environment and possibly even have a chance to meet additional agents who might be willing to work with you.

Competitive edge

Setting an objective of making 10 additional calls a week to real estate agents or potential buyers is a dead end if pursued blindly. Setting goals that do little more than allow you to check off a box won’t lead you toward larger objectives and will likely prove to be a waste of your time, money and energy.

What often happens with such an approach is that you burn through those calls at the start of the week and then use that effort to rationalize slacking off on calls at the end of the week. Instead, set a goal of making five to 10 productive calls a day and make sure you have the right message to deliver once you get a contact on the phone.

Don’t forget that the individuals you are calling also are getting slammed with other solicitation calls throughout the week. The last thing they want is to get another call from you trying to sell them something. One way around this dilemma is to set a goal to learn a new niche, such as the Fannie Mae HomeReady loan program.

If you have a new niche in hand when you meet a new agent, borrower, or referral partner, you can say: “Have you heard of the new program Fannie Mae introduced that allows qualified buyers to purchase a home with as little as a 3 percent downpayment and allows existing homeowners to refinance up to a 95 percent loan-to-value ratio?”

Continuous improvement

Setting only small, isolated goals can satisfy your resolution for a day, but will not provide the long-term impact you need to improve your business. Setting goals that are too big, however, can lead to a sense of defeat if you fall short. Setting strategic goals that lead to more encompassing objectives is the better approach to keeping you on the path toward continuous improvement.

Choosing the right set of resolutions ultimately involves balancing the work involved against the achievability and the ultimate impact of the results. This is a perfect time to set those resolutions down on paper and look at them daily to remind yourself where you and your business are heading in the year ahead.

When you are in the office, focus on those resolutions. Tape that piece of paper to your office door, onto your computer or pin it to the wall next to your desk so you see the resolutions every day and remember what you are looking to achieve. When the day comes to a close, review the resolutions and assess if you achieved your goals for the day. Pretty soon that act will become routine — something you do each and every day.

•  •  •

The mortgage industry can be as difficult as you make it. It also can be a very rewarding career if you have the right goals and mindset in place. So make your resolutions achievable and impactful, and then stick to them. Doing so will help you achieve the success you are striving for in the mortgage business.


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