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Four Questions to Ask Yourself About Certification

Gibran Nicholas
Nov 07, 2011

Now that you’ve passed your Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) licensing exam, what’s next? Do you even need certification above and beyond the minimum licensing requirements? Here are four questions that help you make an informed decision about (a) whether to get certified, and (b) which certifications to pursue. I. What’s the benefit (beyond the initials behind my name)? We all want to receive a great return on investment (ROI) whenever we spend our time and money on something and certification is no different. It is utterly useless and a total waste of your time and money to get certified just to get a bunch of initials behind your name. First of all, the initials are meaningless to the majority of your target audience. Second of all, who cares most about initials behind your name? You! But you aren’t selling to you. You are selling to me, my neighbor, my Realtor and my financial advisor. We don’t care about “you.” We care about “us” and what can you do for us? Many people with initials behind their name take their focus off of solving the customer’s problems. Instead, they focus on themselves, their initials, and why they are God’s gift to this Earth. That’s what you need to avoid … don’t get certified just for the initials. Are the initials nice? Sure. Do they set you apart and add credibility? Maybe, depending on who you talk to. So why get certified if not for the initials? Any certification you pursue should give you three specific results: ►Increased confidence: You should be able to do or say things that you were not able to do or say before you got certified. For example, let’s assume that you are afraid of contacting financial advisors because you don’t know what you would say or how specifically you can solve their problems. A certification that claims to help you increase referrals from financial advisors should give you the skills, training and systems to increase your confidence level when you approach financial advisors and have conversations with them. ►New skills: If you really want to set yourself apart, do something for someone that no one else can do for them. A certification should give you the skills to increase your competitive advantage and help you solve problems that your competitors cannot or will not solve. ►Easy to implement daily habits: It doesn’t matter how many tests you take, how many seminars you attend or how many initials you have behind your name if you don’t take the daily steps to turn it into sales. What really matters is whether the certification gives you a system that you can use every day in your business when you talk to borrowers and referral partners. II. How will this certification increase my confidence? There is nothing sexier in this world than confidence. You can have the best mortgage rates, best loan programs and the best customer service on the planet. So what? Do you really think that’s why a borrower, Realtor or financial advisor chooses you over everyone else? No way! They choose you (or don’t choose you) because of how you make them FEEL when they talk to you, and when they do business with you. If I am greedy, I will do business with someone who makes me feel that no one else can give me a better deal. If I am fearful, I will do business with someone who makes me feel that I won’t be safer with anyone else. If I am human, I will do business with someone who makes me “Feel like I am the only girl [or guy] in the world” (to quote Rihanna). You can’t make me feel that way unless you have confidence. Confidence that what you are doing is in my best interest and the confidence that what you are saying is so beneficial to me that it will positively change my life forever. How do you get to that level of confidence? By having the right skills and that brings us to question number three. III. How will this certification increase my skills? The mortgage salesperson of the future has to have the kind of conversations where the customer would pull out a checkbook and write a check for the call because it was so valuable. Do you bring that level of skill to your conversations? If not, find a certification that helps you develop those kinds of skills. I’m talking about the types of skills that: ►If I’m a borrower, help me feel good about my retirement even though I just lost a bundle of money in my retirement account. ►If I’m a borrower, help me feel good about funding my children’s college education even though I haven’t started saving yet. ►If I’m a borrower, help me feel good about buying a home even though the whole country (and the whole world) seems to be losing its mind. ►If I’m a Realtor, solve my problems and help me differentiate my listings from all of the other listings in the market. ►If I’m a financial advisor, solve my problems and help me add value to my clients’ personal lives and financial well-being Could your skill set use improvement in any of these areas? If so, find a certification that helps you improve upon these skills. IV. How will this certification impact my daily habits? You can have all of the skills in the world, but they’re literally worthless if you don’t take the daily steps to turn your skills into sales. There are two factors that help you evaluate whether a certification would impact your daily habits: ►Your own level of commitment: Certification is not a spectator sport. You need to commit the time and financial investment to get certified and implement your new skills. Even if a certification program is designed to give you the exact results that you want, you won’t get any results at all unless you follow the system. It’s kind of like working out. You can invest in the P90X exercise program or even join a gym if you want. But if you don’t spend the 30-, 60- or 90-min. a day working out, you won’t get any results. That’s not because the system doesn’t work. It’s because you didn’t work the system. The same is true with mortgage certifications. If you are committed to implementing the certification, the certification should give you the results you bargained for. ►The usability of the knowledge/certification: Life is not theoretical. Neither is the business of mortgage origination. Therefore, the certification you choose should be grounded in practical daily habits that help you implement your new skills. Some certifications include software and/or other implementation resources. These are the types of certifications that could be most impactful in your every-day business. What’s next? Don’t get certified if you have all the confidence in the world, if you don’t need any new skills, and if you are completely happy and satisfied with the results you are generating with your current daily habits. On the other hand, the right certification could really benefit you if you could use an extra dose of confidence, some unique new skills, and some more effective daily habits. Gibran Nicholas is the founder and chairman of the CMPS Institute (NMLS Provider ID# 1400384). The CMPS Institute administers the Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist (CMPS) and Certified Mortgage Coach designations through the CMPS Premier membership program. CMPS Premier consists of certification training and software that gives you confidence, unique skills, and four daily habits to generate more business with borrowers, Realtors, and financial advisors. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]
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