Happy New Year! It’s likely that by now you have established your personal loan production goals for2014 and built a written business plan to achieve them.
In doing do, it’s expected you focused mostly on things you want to do more of or start doing to make this a good year. For example, some originators plan to spend more time this year with their real estate agents while others want to start building a database.
But planning for a successful year ahead is more than just continuing to do what works and starting new things; it’s also about putting a stop to old habits and practices that have been hurting your business and holding you back.
Here’s a list of things some mortgage originators need to stop doing if they are to enjoy a rewarding and successful year. While all of these suggestions will not apply to you, I think you’ll find several that hit very close to home.
1. Stop babysitting your loans in process. Learn to take a complete application, hand it off, and trust others to do their jobs so you can do yours: originate another loan. The more time you spend watching your pipeline, the less time you’ll have to grow it.
2. Stop complaining about your company. If you work for an outfit that doesn’t have the right loan products or competitive rates or an efficient support system, get out now and find one that does. Staying and whining about how you can’t originate more because your company can’t support you is bad form and annoying to everyone else around you.
3. Stop begging for business. Asking real estate agents for handouts is no way to establish yourself as a top shelf, quality mortgage lender. When you act like a beggar, agents will treat you like a beggar. When you act like a professional, they will treat you as such.
4. Stop hiding behind your computer screen. Technology is a great enabler, but it can also be a wedge between you and putting your face in front of new business opportunities. Spending all day staring into the computer (doing whatever) is no way to meet more people, find more prospects, and write more loans.
5. Stop taking in crappy loans. Some originators can’t or won’t say no to anyone. They accept poor quality loan applications on poor quality properties from poor quality buyers that eat up a lot of their valuable time and rarely (if ever) fund. Learn to say no when you have to. Step away from a messy transaction or walk away at the very beginning if it looks like you can’t make it work. You’ll be less stressed and have more time to find more good loans.
6. Stop hanging around the office. Last year you could make a lot of money sitting at your desk fielding inbound refinance calls. We are now in a purchase loan market, and the business has moved to the streets again. On average, 14,000 people buy a home in this country every day. There’s plenty of business out there, and those who are out there looking for it will find it.
7. Stop calling on low-producing real estate agents. Spending (wasting) your time talking with or co-marketing alongside real estate agents who sell only two or three houses a year will not help you raise your monthly production or income. Fade out of these unprofitable relationships and start calling on busy, successful, full-time, productive Realtors who are working hard and selling homes.
8. Stop being cheap. Some originators won’t spend any money on improving themselves. To grow your knowledge, talents and skills, you should be reading business books, listening to CDs, subscribing to mortgage industry publications and newsletters and attending sales seminars. Yes, they all cost money. Re-invest a small fraction of the money you make back into yourself and your career. You are worth it.
9. Stop making promises you aren’t sure you can keep. Telling a buyer or real estate agent you will meet a contract date or a closing deadline you know you can’t meet just to get a shot at a deal is a lousy business practice that will spoil your reputation in the marketplace and ruin your chances at any further referrals.
10. Stop making excuses. I have never met a successful loan originator who makes excuses. I have also never met a loan originator who makes excuses who is successful. In this business you are either making money or making excuses. Those originators making money make no excuses. Those originators making excuses are making no money. Take 100% responsibility for your success and leave the excuses for the losers.
11. Stop flying by the seat of your pants. Proactive originators who have a plan for their day and follow that plan are much more productive and accomplish far more in eight to ten hours than originators who come to work and spend all day chasing whatever “shiny object” grabs their attention. Stay focused, on plan and on purpose in how you manage your time and run your day.
12. Stop being afraid of new things. This business is changing, the market is changing and the customers are changing. You too must change. You have to be willing to take some risks and try new things, or like a dinosaur you become obsolete. Remaining deep inside your comfort zone will forever limit your activities, your referral relationships, and most importantly, your income.
13. Stop procrastinating. Maybe you’ve been thinking about a new marketing idea, hiring an assistant or getting certified to teach continuing education classes for Realtors. Stop thinking and start doing. Thomas Edison, who held over 1,000 patents, once said: “Action on a single idea is better than having a hundred of them.” Put into play your plans, right now. Hey: if not now, then when?
14. Stop looking for negatives. Yes, there are many challenges ahead of you in the coming year. Rates are rising, refis are fading, and game-changing lending regulations are now being installed. On the other side of that coin are an equal number of positive opportunities available to you; the U. S. economy continues to improve, home sales and housing starts are steadily rising, and many of your competitors are exiting the business because they aren’t willing to do what it takes to originate in the “new world” of lending we live in. If you look for negatives, that’s all you will see. If you look on the bright side, you will realize that 2014 has all the makings of a potentially incredible year.