Certified Mortgage Planning SpecialistJohn D. SvirskyNational mortgage broker designations As our profession has gotten harder with more and more brokers fighting for the same clients, we are competing not only with the individual mortgage brokers with whom we always competed. We are now also competing with national mortgage brokers who advertise the lowest, lowest rates, such as Quicken Loans and Ditech. Their come-on ads sound great to the uneducated consumer who hears the words "one percent mortgage rates" and actually thinks that is the rate he will be paying for the next 30 years. Hasn't that happened to you? You are telling a prospective client your rates and they respond with a smug, "Yes, but I can get one or 1.25 percent financing for 30 years. I heard the ad on television or radio." Many consumers actually believe they are getting a 30-year fixed rate at 1.25 percent. As the mortgage origination business has become more and more commoditized, even our most loyal repeat clients are being bombarded day in and day out via TV, radio, mail and telephone calls to refinance now and save. Everyone and his brother uses, "Yes, but I will give you great service as well as low rates." That just doesn't cut it anymore. You need to offer more. We as mortgage brokers need to be more than just order-takers if we are going to survive. Several of my articles have talked about being a true professional—now called a trusted advisor by same. This article continues on that theme. Sales training and mastery is now a big business. We all get five to 10 e-mails a day offering us this or that course, or this or that mortgage service. Some of them are very convincing. I am thrilled that the move is toward higher education, something that I have always supported. Even though I have been in the business for 25 years, I am still going to seminars and listening to the conference calls. Just recently, I was blown away by David Allen's "Getting Things Done" and have implemented his system into my workplace, but that is for another article. Today, I would like to share with you a training course that you can do at home in your own time: Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist (CMPS). The CMPS curriculum incorporates the five essential CMPS skill sets related to integrating a client's mortgage, debt and home equity strategy into their overall financial plan: • Financial market and interest rate analysis; • Cash flow analysis; • Debt analysis; • Real estate equity management; and • Real estate investment analysis offers training from several of the best of the best in the business. The course consists of: • Barry Habib's Fiscal Literacy series, which includes six CDs and one DVD of his talk at Brian Sacks' Birthday Seminar in Florida last year; • Jim McMahan's three CDs of Scripts for Success. Jim has been a top mortgage broker for CTX for the past 20 years and he really has a lot to offer and teach. There is a two-and-a-half-hour mortgage planning CD with Dave Savage of The Mortgage Coach—if you haven't bought The Mortgage Coach after listening to these CDs, you will ask yourself why you waited this long to buy it. For years, through the various upgrades, I have encouraged you to buy The Mortgage Coach, still one of the best mortgage products in the market. It will pay for itself over and over again while distinguishing you from the competition. Finally, the creator and founder of the CMPS designation, Gibrahn Nichols, offers his own CD on wealth equity and an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) planner program. I found it perfect for me, since I deal with high net worth individuals. It will take at least 20 days to go through all the CDs. They suggest one a day for 20 days. It's lots and lots of information, and some of it is very useful and practical. What I like is that Barry Habib is from New Jersey, Jim McMahan is from Texas, David Savage is from California and Gibrahn Nichols is from Michigan—a complete cross section of the country. Over the years, I have worked hard to maintain my integrity with you. I have shared my personal experiences and feelings about every product I've reviewed. I have nothing to sell you, and no vested interest in what I review. So right up front, I want you to know my hesitations about doing this review and why I eventually decided to go ahead and do it. If you are a subscriber to any of the speakers I have mentioned above, you might have already heard some or all of these tapes. That was what happened to me. CMPS is a vehicle that rehashes seminars and conference calls that were given for other venues. None of these classes were done specifically for CMPS (maybe with the exception of Gibrahn Nichols' CDs). But, my guess is that enough of you have never heard them and for that reason, I am recommending the course. Also, now you can get credit and create new marketing tools for success. I love the concept of teaching Certified Financial Planners for continuing education credits—that really should bring in a lot of new deals. I am a subscriber of Barry Habib's Mortgage Market Guide (www.mortgagemarketguide.com), something I suggest you do also. Mortgage Market Guide is by far one of the best services in the business. There are others that are also excellent, but Barry's is definitely one of the top. So, if you already subscribe and have already listened to his Financial Literacy conference calls like I have, then the six CDs will be familiar to you. My ego told me that I didn't have to listen to these again—I'd heard them before. Then a funny thing happened when I got past my ego and did listen to them again. I learned new things and I picked up new techniques, which I did not get the first time around. I heard them differently. Let me describe briefly what you will be listening to: • Barry Habib and Jack Howley on "The Velocity of Money: How to Make Your Money Work for You." Brilliant concepts and brilliant ideas; although I had listened to this two previous times, I got more out of it when I listened to it for a third time. • Derick Scenna talking about "Opening a New Source of Business by Networking with Estate Planners." The idea of partnering with estate planners is something very few mortgage brokers do. Sure, we all do Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), lawyers and financial planners, but not necessarily estate planners. Combining estate planning with Doug Andrew's "Missed Fortune" concepts is a pure homerun. A grand slam homerun if you integrate The Mortgage Coach to show the clients the most effective options of using the equity in their homes to protect their assets. • Paul Majane on "Velocity of Money: Accelerate Your Wealth with Tax Free Municipal Bonds and Treasures." A novel approach; I did not buy it, but maybe you will. • Doug Andrew, who has created a concept that is revolutionizing the mortgage business: "Missed Fortune: How to Use Home Equity to Accelerate Wealth While Increasing Your Mortgage Business." I have had the pleasure of going to one of Doug's seminars and I will probably be taking the full mastery class in the near future and writing about it. Those pioneering brokers who have applied Doug's concepts have added more than $100,000 in income (just ask Steven Marshal from Washington state or Jim McQuaid). This is just one more example of taking the mortgage business, integrating it with financial instruments and or life insurance, making two commissions and the client being richer and better off in the process. • Barry Habib and Sue Woodard talk about techniques they have used in their respective mortgage practices to separate themselves from the competition and rate shoppers. I practice Barry's "Creating Wealth through Financial Literacy by Positioning Yourself as Your Client's Indispensable Asset" in my own business and it has worked wonders. If you have not heard this CD, I encourage you to do so. • Jack Brodsky talks about four things you must know about RESPA. I find RESPA so frustrating; it is so easy to be illegal even when you do not intend to be. This CD can save you fines or even worse. By the time you implement what Barry Habib and Jack Brodsky talk about, RESPA will probably have changed and we will have to do it all over again. But for now, I suggest everyone listen and learn from this CD. • Gibrahn Nichols provides a four-CD set on enhancing wealth through real estate management. Gibrahn offers lots of concepts some you might find valuable. This is probably not for the newcomer. • Jim McMahan's "Certified Scripts for Success" were the surprise classes for me. I have never heard Jim talk before—lots of wisdom, down to earth and practical. For those new to the business and for those who just want to learn from a proven master, Jim is excellent and a natural born teacher. One particular concept that I liked is he defines his client in three categories from level one (the first-time homebuyers) to the retirees. He tailors his sales approach and his marketing to each category whether they would be best for an ARM, monthly adjustable or interest-only fixed rate—personalized selling based on the client's needs. I hope I have not overwhelmed you with information, but there is a lot of it to process as part of this training. There is more. It is not just about listening; you will have the opportunity to take a test, and if you pass that exam, you will become just like the name implies—a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist. This is one more way to distinguish yourself in a very crowded field. I have never been one for labels or degrees, but I have found, over the years, that clients can tell when I know what I am talking about. Clients respect knowledge and experience; as a matter of fact, I have observed that my clients actually want me to be knowledgeable and go into depth with them on the various options. I have found by educating my clients that they ask better questions and in turn, I have been able to help my clients go beyond the traditional 30-year fixed mortgage. Unlike their parents, contemporary customers are using their mortgages as financial instruments—part of a total financial plan. As always, not everyone will follow through and become a CMPS. It is for that very reason that I encourage you to go to their Web site, sign up and, unlike our broken New Year's resolutions, listen to one CD a day, take the test and become certified. You will benefit from the knowledge and your clients will benefit from your expertise. Your newfound knowledge will bring you riches of not only commissions and referrals, but the knowledge that you have really been a trusted adviser to your clients. John D. Svirsky has been a mortgage broker for 24 years, doing both commercial and residential mortgages. He is also a volunteer firefighter, avid cigar enthusiast and cook. He may be reached by phone at (845) 424-3388 or e-mail [email protected]. Product Summary Product Name: Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist Web site: www.cmpsinstitute.org What it is: An educational series done by the masters of our industry: Barry Habib, Jim McMahan, Gibrahn Nicholas and Dave Savage, along with assorted guest lecturers. The result of this will be to take a test and become a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist. This will open doors of opportunity and permit you to go beyond being an order-taking mortgage broker to being a trusted adviser who looks at mortgages as part of a total financial plan. Cost: Varies depending upon whether you are already a subscriber to other services. Check the Web site for details.