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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   December 2017

Make Success an Intentional Act

A proactive business plan is the first step in taking control of your future

r_2017-12_lovell_spotBusiness planning is a critical item often overlooked by mortgage originators today. Many originators are fixated on a plan that essentially says, “Let’s just close as many loans as possible.” They often don’t stop to consider how they are going to go about accomplishing that goal, however.

The best prescription for business is to be intentional about planning. Leadership guru John Maxwell teaches that, “The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.” Following are examples of two daily routines — one that works well, and another not so much.

One mortgage originator gets up in the morning, takes a shower and wonders what the day is going to look like. Another originator gets up in the morning, takes a shower and knows exactly what the day is going to look like.

In the first example, the originator’s day is most likely going to be dictated by the first phone call or first e-mail received. In fact, that individual may spend the whole day chasing after e-mails and returning phone calls. At the end of the day, this can create the feeling that a lot of work has been done, but really it has led nowhere. It’s like a hamster that runs on a wheel. There is a lot of activity, but no achievement.

In the second example, the mortgage originator has control of the day. The individual isn’t busy reacting to things. Instead, the person is being proactive. At the end of the day, the originator has a clear measure of what was accomplished in terms of business and has a plan in place for how to tackle the next day as well.

Remember, the proactive originator went to bed the night before with a plan in place for exactly what needed to be done to win the day. The individual’s daily activities were predetermined.

Moving the chains

Most mortgage originators make the mistake of measuring their wins and/or losses by how many loans they close each month. The number of loans closed is an important factor to measure, of course.

Instead of measuring wins and losses only by the loans closed every month, however, it might lead to more business success if you measure your wins and losses by the activities accomplished daily. That could have a far greater impact in moving the chains.

For everything that is measured, there are behaviors and disciplines that drive those metrics. Following are examples of the types of activities that originators can measure in their businesses:

  • One-on one-meetings;
  • Networking opportunities pursued;
  • Contacts entered into database; and
  • Lunch-and-learn meetings.

Notice the list of things to measure didn’t include how many loans closed or how many applications taken. That’s because the list outlined includes the behaviors and disciplines necessary to drive that business.

The other benefit of creating a plan that makes the activities you conduct daily intentional is that your business will not be dictated solely by the market, but instead it will be dictated by the activities executed as part your business plan.

Knowing your role

When looking at the numbers of your business, they tell a story. What story is being told if the local real estate market is up 10 percent in closed units year over year and an originator’s mortgage business also is up 10 percent? It could say that the originator is riding the market. The scary part about that is if the market changes, and takes a downturn, the originator’s business will decrease as well.

It’s a simple truism that what gets measured, gets done. 

Mortgage originators can bulletproof their business by establishing a business plan that helps them to become intentional about the things they do daily. Such a business plan focuses on activities that everyone can pursue daily in order to be more intentional about the way they drive origination business.

Always begin with the end in mind. What is to be accomplished in the business and in the specific job role? What is the goal? Is it how many loans are closed each year? Is it a specific goal for growth? Is it achieving a certain customer-service score?

Next, identify the key pillars that support that goal. A few examples of pillars, or sources, of business include the following: an existing database of past customers; your current referral partners; your ability to acquire new referral partners; and the strength of a team’s leadership.

You also must identify the behaviors and disciplines that are specific to your role in the business. If you are a mortgage originator, your activities are sales-driven. A loan processor is going to have different activities than a loan originator, however. Some examples of a loan processor’s daily activities might include: making introduction calls to borrowers and referral partners; providing weekly status updates; and making loan-pipeline update calls to originators.

The leader of an organization, however, must pursue activities that advance the bigger vision and mission of the company. Some examples might include:

  • Facilitating sales meetings;
  • Strategic business planning;
  • One-on-one coaching with the sales team;
  • Identifying tools and models to assist the sales team; and
  • Talent acquisition.

Mortgage originators should be mindful that all activities can be measured and that there is a specific goal set for how many activities should be tackled in a month. If one of the activities is setting up one-on-one meetings with referral partners, be specific about how many meetings should happen in a month.

Being intentional

Once you have a prepared a business plan, with specific activities outlined, it’s time to get those activities on the calendar. Remember the mortgage originator who got up early, jumped into the shower and knew exactly what was in front of him or her for the day?

That originator had activities marked on a calendar and a specific time frame for pursuing them blocked off. The originator didn’t have to worry about what will or will not get done in driving business forward because that person already had a plan for addressing those factors.

It’s a simple truism that what gets measured, gets done. Get a tool that can offer a quick overview of the activities that have been accomplished weekly and/or monthly.

Time has to be invested in preparing a written business plan, and in measuring its progress. Take charge of your business with intentionality.


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