Question one: What's my mission and purpose? Every plan starts with a mission … a reason why. For example, if your mission in 2013 is to make $200,000 in income, you would conceivably do anything and everything to achieve that goal, regardless of whether your actions are healthy or unhealthy for you, your business or your relationships. It becomes easy for you to lose focus, and engage in daily habits that meet your immediate needs for money at the expense of your long-term needs for money and growth. That’s why making money is not a sufficient mission and purpose. The reality however is that most people get into the mortgage business for the sole purpose of making money. Think back to how you got started in this business. Some friend or relative probably told you the money was good, and suggested that you “give it a try,” so you did, and here you are, 10, 20 or even 30 years later. Your mission and purpose hasn’t really changed. You’re still in this business because it makes a good living for you and your family. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if your only goal in life is to make a good living, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article right now. You want more than that. I know you do, because I do too. We all want more than that. It started when we were kids. We all wanted to be a hero or something … an athlete, a super-dad, a super-mom, a movie star, a rock star, and the list goes on. We wanted to live more than just an average life. We wanted significance. We wanted awesomeness in every sense of the word. But somewhere along the way, we just kind of gave up on those “kid” dreams and decided that “adults” need to make money. So we got into the mortgage business and never looked back. I’m asking you to look back. December and January are good months to look back and think. Think about what you’ve done and where you are. Think about what you haven’t done and what you still want to do. During that process of thinking, you’ll realize that you still want more. You still want significance. You still want awesomeness in every sense of the word. There’s just one slight problem: Awesomeness, significance and more, requires more. It requires more than you just thinking that you’re awesome or significant. It requires other people thinking that you’re awesome and significant. However, the only way they’ll think that you’re all that is if you REALLY ARE all that … TO THEM! Otherwise, you’ll just be another cocky arrogant fool of a loan originator … like so many of your competitors. That’s why your mission and purpose should be focused on very simple question: How am I making someone else’s life better? That’s the key to awesomeness and significance. While the “Average You” would be content to have a mission and purpose of “making money,” the “Awesome and Significant You” might have a mission and purpose to “help financial and real estate professionals improve their life, business and relationships through [name your unique talents and skills]”. If that was your mission and purpose, your 2013 plan could be drafted in such a way as make you awesome and significant to financial and real estate professionals. Of course, this would probably result in you making a lot of money along the way. Or, the Awesome and Significant You could have a mission and purpose to “make the experience of buying a home extraordinarily pleasurable for clients and strategic partners by [insert your unique talents and skills].” Again, that’s a mission purpose worthy of you and your potential. That brings us to our second question. Question two: How does my strategic plan result in making someone else’s life better? All of sales, in fact, all of business, is about solving a problem for somebody. It’s about making someone else’s life better. So, once you draft your mission and purpose, the next step is to write down how exactly you’re going to solve a problem for someone or make his or her life better. For example, borrowers today have these problems (and more that you should think about, ask about and solve): ►Very complicated and very unpleasant loan process ►Lack of communication or misinformation from loan originators ►Lack of strategic guidance around the largest debt and/or largest investment of their life Real estate agents have these problems (and more that you should think about, ask about and write down): ►Lack of qualified buyer leads ►Poor time and energy management ►Complicated deals Financial advisors have these problems (and more that you should think about, ask about and write down): ►Lack of referrals from current clients ►Too much time spent on low-impact, low-revenue clients ►Lack of value received or reciprocation from current strategic partners Therefore, your 2013 strategic plan should be drafted in such a way that helps you: 1. Discover the problem of your target audience (start asking people what they need and what would make their life better) 2. Paint the pain of your target audience (if people don’t know they have a problem, or if they don’t see their problem as a BIG problem, they won’t pay any attention to you or your solution) 3. Present a clear and simple solution to the problem(s) of your target audience (make it simple, easy and obvious that doing business with you will solve a specific problem for your client and/or strategic partner) Question three: What daily habits will I engage in to implement my plan? Your plan is completely worthless unless you implement it. The key to implementation is to break down your plan into daily habits. For example, let’s say your plan is to establish five solid strategic partnerships that each generates two purchase loans per month. You could break this down into a daily habit of making five outbound phone calls each day to potential strategic partners for the purpose of scheduling a conversation to see if there may be a fit. If only 30 percent of these people schedule a meeting with you, you will have met with 96 people over the course of 90 days. Out of those 96 meetings, don’t you think at least five of them would lead to a great partnership that generates at least two purchase loans per month? (If not, you should seriously consider getting some training or coaching in the area of strategic partnerships.) Alternatively, let’s say you already have existing strategic relationships that you want to take to the next level. You could make a habit of scheduling at least one lunch every two weeks with each of your current strategic partners. At the lunch, your mission and purpose would be to ask lots of good questions to uncover problems and challenges that your strategic partners are facing. Once you uncover these underlying needs and problems, you could create solutions and take your relationships deeper. Either way, your daily habits should be focused on doing something to deepen your relationships and achieve your mission and purpose. And I’m not talking about marketing. Lots of loan originators waste so much time marketing to thousands of people that they forget to pick up phone and make a sales call to the few people who really count. Would you rather spend your minutes, hours and days marketing yourself to close two or three purchase loans per month, or would you rather spend your minutes, hours and days building deep relationships with a handful of people that will result in you closing 10, 20 or 30 purchase loans per month? The choice is yours. The result you get in 2013 is 100 percent dependent on the choices you make once you ask and answer the three questions that we’ve talked about here. Best of success to you as make your choices, and let me know if I can help in any way! Gibran Nicholas is a speaker, trainer and coach to more than 7,000 of America's top entrepreneurs and trusted advisors. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of CMPS Institute and Strategic Relationship Academy, an elite performance training and coaching program for top producers. He may be reached by phone at (734) 606-0200, by e-mail at [email protected] or visit http://GibranNicholas.com.