Have you noticed that as the mortgage business gets tougher and tougher, more and more seminars are being offered to us remaining mortgage brokers? It's the new mortgage broker racket - if you don't have clients, sell to other mortgage brokers. If I sound cynical, I am. I have gone to too many of these seminars (and read their promotional literature and even some of their books), most of which you could probably teach and save your hard-earned money. However, there are exceptions. Business Plan is one of them.
To begin with, I would like to share with you a personal success story that is directly attributable to me going to Business Plan last year and one of the reasons I will be going back again. During the Business Planning session last year, I followed detailed strategy in the group session, where each of the attendants wrote our personal plan for the coming year in the workbook provided. Tim Braheem of LoanToolbox broke down the plan into seven steps, which he called "The Pyramid of a Complete Loan Officer." The steps from base to pinnacle were essential knowledge, selling and presentation, marketing, operational systems, team building, balance and behavior and (on the top of the pyramid) legacy and corporate planning. In regard to my business, I wrote how I wanted to diversify the ways I would be making money in last year. I wanted to find alternative income streams, seeing as the refinance boom was over and my desire to live a prosperous life was not. Some other seminars would suggest writing more purchase mortgages to compensate, but my business plan did not say that. I wrote out alternative vehicles that I could implement to increase my cash flow while still being a mortgage broker. I spent more of my time in real estate development. I made some real estate investments. I bought some distressed properties, improved them and made a profit. This year will be a great year for me financially, although my income will not all come from mortgage brokering. Business Plan helped me clarify that I can do more than just one thing, and the funny thing is that I enjoy my work more because I am doing many things I like and no one thing is too overwhelming and takes all of my focus. I have used my personal business plan created at Business Plan all year and am still using it. There are not many seminars that I even remember the topic of, let alone put into practice what I learned at them.
Just to add to my credibility in writing this article, I called Tim Braheem and Rich Katz of LoanToolbox and asked if I could write about Business Plan. (Greg Frost is also part of the LoanToolbox group, but I did not speak to him.) So often I get calls from public relations companies, asking me to promote this or that. In this case, I called them! They sold out last year's conference and are well on their way to selling out this year. I wanted to write this article because if you are not a member of LoanToolbox, you might not know about this seminar, and you need to know and go. (I also highly recommend LoanToolbox to you. It received one of my five-star reviews - one of only five over the past 13 years! LoanToolbox.com is so good that it has more than a 75 percent renewal ratio of their present subscribers - unheard of in our transient business.)
According to Tim and Rich, Business Plan will start where others end and take it to an even higher level. Let me tell you that I am ready to go even higher. They have two, not one, keynote speakers. The opening speaker will be Tony Robbins - someone who, in my mind, needs no introduction. He will be speaking for two and a half hours, helping those there into rethinking their strategies for success, teaching about the following topics: Five Keys to Mastery, Three Mandates of Leadership, Resources vs. Resourcefulness, the Science of Achievement and the Art of Fulfillment. The closing speaker is Benjamin Zander, who, unless you like classical music as I do, you would not know. He is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. Don't go to sleep on me. His talk has received the highest score ever in the history of the World Economic Forum, where he has been the keynote speaker for three straight years. His message will help each of us to realize our potential and conquer any personal hurdles in the way. Opening and closing dynamite - that alone would be worth the price. Wait, there's more! (Do I sound like a Tony Robbins infomercial?) Greg Frost and Tim Braheem will be speaking, as well as Dr. Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of Business Network International and master of networking, who will share his techniques with the audience. Sally Bucciero (a mortgage broker) will be showing how she blossomed her business using Dr. Misner's networking strategies. As for Bill Dallas, well, what a genius this man is. I heard him last year. He is such an innovative thinker, owning several companies and making many millionaires along the way (not to mention himself). Well, why couldn't you and I be millionaires, too? Greg Frost, the mortgage industry's first "Billion Dollar Man," will present The Pyramid of a Complete Loan Officer, along with Jim Sahnger of Palm Beach Financial Network. Dr. Robert Cialdini, president of "Influence at Work" and an acclaimed author, will give us the tools, scripts and savvy to persuade more people to say "yes" to more business proposals than you can imagine. These are just a few of the speakers.
On Thursday, Dec. 7, there will be two sessions that will really speak to me. Do you know what motivates your referral partners? Since I get most of my business from referrals, I am looking forward to practical advice and best practices. And, of course, what I am coming back for even more than Tony Robbins is the Business Planning Workshop. As described on the Web site, "This is where you create a blueprint for success in next year. You'll develop the business planning tool for your needs, goals and market that is available anywhere at any price. There is nothing like it. In a survey of more than 1,000 attendees at last year's meeting, this workshop received the highest scores for any session - 4.95 out of 5 ... "
For those who did the workshop last year, there will be an Alumni Business Planning Execution Workshop where they will help fine tune, enhance, modify and adjust their current business plan. And, they give proven advice on how to implement their strategies and follow through. I am bringing last year's plan. If you are coming back, you should, too.
One more thing that isn't actually about the seminar is the exhibit hall. Tim handpicked 40-50 vendors to create a one-stop shop for the attendees to gain exposure to many different tools.
When I went to Business Plan last year, and thought it was so far beyond any of the seminars and workshops I had been to, I knew I would be coming back for this year before I even left. What I got last year was not just an adrenaline rush, which was over before I left the auditorium, or a plan to build business by marketing smart hype. I learned how to use my time more efficiently, using David Allen's "Getting Things Done," as taught by Jason Womack. It's not just time management, but also provides techniques on how to better and more efficiently use Microsoft Outlook, as well as reviews step-by-step what needs to be done on each deal and to plan out the next week's agenda. Other mortgage brokers shared their success stories in their markets, but far and away, the one seminar that altered how I did my business last year showed me how to do a business plan using techniques that corporate sponsors pay more than $10,000 a day to teach their employees. This is not about meeting sales goals, but about digging deep and finding out what is important to you mentally, physically, financially and spiritually. The plan was masterful; it asked great questions that encouraged me to think and answer honestly to myself (no one else will see your answers). Part of the success of the plan is that it is not a one-time writing; it is a living, breathing, ongoing plan that gets updated (hopefully, for me) on a monthly basis. The point is that as we grow and reach what we thought were unreachable goals, we get to stay a while, take in the success, feel how good it does feel to accomplish and then take some more time to see where we want to go next. My plan allows me to change directions, shift focus and change priorities along the way. Yes, there is more to my life than just making money and writing reviews for this magazine.
I want to be clear that Business Plan is not the only great workshop out there. The ones listed below I heartily recommend and have gone to also. Business Plan is something special, and I hope you can benefit from all it has to offer. The others have lots to offer, as well. Some of the many wonderful lecturers who I think are terrific and give intellectually stimulating workshops include Barry Habib, Sue Woodard, Dave Savage, Todd Duncan, Steven Marshal, Chip Cummings and Ron Vaimberg, to name a few.
You can feel my enthusiasm as I write this article nine months after I went to the Business Plan last year, so please give yourself an early holiday gift and sign up to go to Business Plan. It is a gift that can change your life. It will keep on giving all year long. I hope to see you there, and if you come, please look for me and say "hello!"
Product name: Business Plan
What is it: A four-day marketing and business-planning seminar that will inspire you to your own personal next level of greatness. It not only helps you to help yourself, but also gives you the tools to keep on working on your own personal business plan all throughout the year.
Cost: $1,295 ($995 for LoanToolbox members)