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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   February 2017

Seize the Business Day

Acting proactively leads to increased business opportunities

r_2017-02_Smith_dragons_waves_seize_spotWe’ve all heard the terms proactive and reactive. Most of us would agree that a proactive mortgage originator has a far better chance of success in this business than a reactive one. 

Yet, too often, an originator’s day, month, even the entire year is approached from a reactive stance. Too many mortgage professionals come to their offices in the morning, turn on their computers and then spend all day responding to e-mails, voice messages and various requests from their clients and co-workers. That’s being entirely reactive.

To be proactive means to have a plan for what you are doing and where you are going. For a mortgage originator, being proactive is best illustrated in three ways:

  1. Build and follow a written business plan. Detail the activities you need to execute to reach your yearly production goal;
  2. Set and track monthly objectives. These should include a loan-application goal, closing-unit goal, production-volume goal and income goal;
  3. Start every morning with a to-do list. This will be your daily “road map.” Follow it from start to finish.

If you do those three things consistently, you are indeed a proactive loan originator. If these practices are foreign to you, or you do them only on occasion, you are a reactive loan originator. There really is no middle ground. And being proactive is better than being reactive. It is the path that will produce bigger and more consistent results.

Time management

There are thousands of excellent books available today that address the topic of time management. Read any one of them and you will discover that managing time is completely your responsibility. If you are proactive, you have a plan for controlling your time. You are more focused and intentional throughout your day.

Without a plan, you become impulsive, reactive, and you surrender your day to whatever happens next — allowing other people and outside circumstances to control your time for you. Some originators will say, “My day just gets away from me.” Others will complain that “I can never find the time to do the things I want to do.” Whether they admit it or not, this is entirely their fault.

Effective time management teaches that all of us choose what we do with our time every day. With a reactive approach, we often make the wrong choices. We pack our day with “work chores” and randomly drift from one task to the next without any real sense of importance or priority.

Alternatively, we can fill our day with productive, profitable activities — like making sales contacts, attending networking events, following up on leads, studying new loan products and taking care of our customers. The responsibility is totally ours, and the choices we make with what we do with our time are ours as well.

Accountability

A proactive approach to running your business is as much a mindset as anything else and should be ingrained as a discipline in how you operate. Undisciplined mortgage originators do not like to create plans, set goals, track results or organize their day.

This lack of discipline often stems from a personal fear of commitment. By not committing to specific goals or preset plans, undisciplined originators feel they can never fall short. You can’t fail to achieve a goal you never set, right? This sounds a bit crazy, but that’s how an undisciplined originator looks at things. When you are reluctant to accept responsibility, you find ways to avoid holding yourself accountable. By not setting specific goals, tracking progress or creating a daily plan, you free yourself from accountability.

As a result, you just do what you want to do and hope it gets you where you want to go. You fumble through the week and from task to task, keeping yourself occupied but never really feeling like you are accomplishing anything or moving in the right direction.

Accomplished

Moving your mindset from being reactive to proactive isn’t easy for everyone. Changing a habit takes effort and, as we know, habits do not change overnight. It can be done, however. You can begin to shift to a more proactive way of operating in just a few short weeks. Here’s how:

  • Week One: Every working day take out an index card and write down one positive, important, proactive thing you will get done that day no matter what. Keep the card out in front of you all day. Cross off the item when it is accomplished. At the end of the day, put the card in a small box labeled “Accomplished.”
  • Week Two: Every working day take out an index card and write down two positive, important, proactive things you will get done that day no matter what. Keep the card out in front of you all day. Cross off the items when they are accomplished. At the end of the day, put the card in your accomplished box.
  • Week Three: Every working day take out an index card and write down three things you will get done that day no matter what. Keep the card out in front of you all day. Cross off the items when they are accomplished. At the end of the day, put the card in your accomplished box.

At the end of three weeks, take your accomplished box and spill all the cards onto your desk. Look at all you have achieved. See how you have evolved — in less than a month — from a mortgage originator who is regularly reactive to one who has learned to be proactive.

Experts say it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. That’s why we employ this 21-day time frame for this exercise. After three weeks, you will have planned and taken action on at least 30 important activities that promise to help your business move forward and grow. Just as important, you will have created a valuable new habit — and a more proactive way of running your day and managing your time that will serve you well for the rest of your career.

•  •  •

With this positive start, you can continue to grow into someone who is better at planning and time management. You can now start to build daily to-do lists, weekly and monthly objectives, and look long term at your annual loan-production goals with a different and more positive, proactive perspective.


 


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