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National Mortgage Professional
Oct 16, 2008

The Mortgage Motivator: The ant storyRalph LoVuolo Sr., CMCmarketing, sales, leads, At this very moment, I am watching an ant crawl across the floor. Now that I'm living in the Sunshine State, it's a requirement, written into the "book of rules," that every resident become familiar with the flora and fauna. Entomology, zoology and botany have become a necessity & one I'm not sure I want to embrace. In Florida, there are chameleons of all sizes; aggressive lizards that make aggressive sounds while running pell-mell across my path on the golf course; and beautiful flowers that blossom in the winter, spring, summer and fall. And then there are, to be more specific, the ants. Fire ants, if you stir their nest, will cause you an evening in an emergency room or 24-hour clinic, because they will bite you so many times, you'll think you're standing in a beehive. White footed ants that live on the larvae of aphids are insidious to every south Florida resident; it is a bug that spends part of its life cycle on the underside of a leaf on a plant and is in every real estate development built in the last 30 years. The one I'm watching is a white footer. In total length, it is no more than an eighth of an inch. But wandering around the floor of my kitchen, it calls you to mind. I've been watching this small creature for more than 10 minutes, and all I can think about is you! OK, maybe for a fleeting nanosecond I considered calling the exterminator; but mostly, I think about what you are doing today. I wonder if what you are doing is what the ant is doing. You need to understand that the ant is not looking for food. It is lost. The food it eats is the aphid. It is the only food it eats. And if it eats enough aphids, cocooned animals that allow the host plant to survive, the plant dies. So I'm not watching an ant in search of food. No, this one is lost. It found its way into my house by accident. If it was looking for food, I probably wouldnt be thinking of you. My sincere hope is that with some direction from me and my peers, you'll stop wandering around, being lost in your marketplace, and will soon pick a market that you want to attack, and you will do it with every fiber of your being. Pick a direction, think it out and follow it. Get yourself to the finish line as fast as you can, and along the way, pick up the emeralds and rubies that you'll trip over while moving in that direction. I believe strongly in marketing. Of course I do. I believe in it to the extent that I say, all the time, that every marketing plan will workevery one! There is not one marketing plan that will fall flat. It's not possible. But, and this is a big but, some marketing plans work better than others. Some are more effective because they tell the audience what they want to hear. It addresses a need so blaringly true, that the message gets through to every level of consumers. Can you imagine for a moment how much easier the ants life would be if it truly knew where it wanted to go and then hot-footed itself in that direction? I'm going to have to kill the little SOB. It annoys me to think that it might wander into one of its friends, and then Ill have to deal with two wanderers. Use your imagination. The thoughts I have for this ant are the same thoughts I have about you, individuallyyou! Not some eponymous person. You! All of this applies to your work environment, and I cant help but believe that part of my responsibility (a horrible word) in life is to help you see the picture I'm painting and how it impacts every facet of your life. Here is what you need to do: Set a goal Often, it seems that by saying or writing, I get through to so many people. But setting a goal is often the hardest part. It is so hard for many of you to see into the future. And that is what you need to do; you need to see yourself 30, 60 or 90 days from now. You need to think of yourself and where you want to live 12 months from now. Where do you want to be living in five years? What do you want to be driving? What kind of country club do you want to belong to? Where do you want to be buying your clothes? You see, setting a goal requires you to think about your future. See into the personal crystal ball. If you haven't done these things, setting a goal is an exercise in dreaming of air. So, I'm asking you to think of how much money it will take to get you the things you want. Some people want me to say: How much money do you want to get the things you need? OK, either one is OK with me, but thinking about your future and what you want/need is the first, most important step. Make a plan I call this "living backwards." You need to find out how to get to the goal. What marketing plan(s) will work best in getting you to the place you want to be? What marketing plans are most effective? You'll note here that I do not write: "What marketing plans are the easiest?" Most often, you need to step out of your life, uncomfortable as it is, and get into a place that allows you to earn the money you have set for yourself as a goal. A plan requires a lot of thought. What have you noticed is working best? What methods of production are getting the most/best results? I want you to know that I believe in every marketing plan ever devised. It is just a simple fact, however, that some marketing plans work better than others. For example, it's probably not too effective an idea to put a balloon in the air above your office that says: "Mortgages here! Get your option mortgage here." But marketing to successful real estate agents (note: I say "successful" ones) is a good plan. And what do you think they want from you? They want ideas. They want new and fresh ideas that will help them continue to be successful. Ninety-nine percent of all loan officers are not doing this, so it seems natural that you should do what others do not do. As a last idea for this section, you need to have four marketing plans working all at the same time. Not one or two, but four. Probably not more than four, but certainly four! Now the really hard part I call it "beat it to death." Remember when I told you that every marketing plan works? You remember and probably agree. But now, since you've decided to do what is really effective and since you are a member of this great country where immediate results are most often the desired norm, you need to hear it from me: Not every idea you try is going to work right away. Not every idea is going to get people to think of you first when they need a mortgage. But I promise that if you beat it to death, it will work. There is nothing that can counter that, nothing. This is where the art of Winston Churchill needs to be paraphrased: Never give up; never, never, never! I'll never stop thinking about you, and that's a good thing, for both of us. My destiny is to remind you of how to reach your full potential. I know the pitfalls and accept them. Do you know your destiny? Are you prepared to face the consequences and conquer the obstacles, both real and imagined? Or are you just going to stay lost like the ant and become history? Ralph LoVuolo Sr., CMC is president of Mortgage Motivator, a mortgage industry training and coaching firm. He is a founder and past president of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers, a teacher accredited by the New York and New Jersey Real Estate Commission, a former associate professor at Atlantic College and New York University, and a published author. He can be reached at (609) 652-6901, e-mail ralph@mortgagemotivator.com or visit his blog at www.mortgagemotivator.blogspot.com.
Published
Oct 16, 2008
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