At the beginning of the year, I suggested five disciplines to incorporate into your daily routine, to keep your pipeline full. The easiest of the five, but most overlooked discipline, involves keeping yourself at the absolute forefront of industry trends, legislation, compliance and regulation. Keeping informed of up-to-the minute market changes and legislation is vital to being a true expert, which is exactly what our clients need and deserve. We owe it to them to not only be able to answer all of their questions, but also to educate them about the mortgage industry in general.
Continuing education courses and seminars are obviously very important. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to spend every morning in a seminar, or all afternoon participating in a Webinar. Therefore, we need to be smart in terms of how we go about this. If we don’t have a structured practice in place, we run the risk of becoming distracted all day long by news and updates. That’s where the daily discipline of strategically spending 20 minutes to sharpen our skills comes into play.
To increase efficiency when it comes to reviewing the latest updates in the mortgage field, it’s wise to create a filter system in your e-mail. Set up e-mail filters to automatically file your daily updates into a folder for keeping, to read at your predetermined hour. For example, I subscribe to a number of e-newsletters and updates, including National Mortgage Professional Magazine’s Mortgage News Ticker, Rob Chrisman’s Daily Mortgage News & Commentary, Larry Baer’s Market Alert, The Garrett and The McAuley Report. I also receive updates from NAMB via the National Mortgage Professional, and the California Association of Mortgage Professionals. Some of these come weekly, some come daily and others come multiple times a day. I don’t read them the moment they arrive as this distracts me from my work with clients, and my clients must remain my number one focus. All updates are immediately streamed to a specified folder so that I am able to read them, at the specific time I’ve set aside each day.
It is a good practice to read updates in the morning before getting to the office, or on lunch break. That way you can be informed of changes before you begin your work day, and check again around midday to see if there is any news you need to be aware of for the second half of your day. Trying to keep up with all news updates throughout the day can lead to procrastination, or at the very least, reduced efficiency.
In addition to reports from third-party providers, you also likely receive reports, updates or newsletters from referral partners or colleagues such as real estate agents, insurance agents, title and escrow companies, and more. Again, filtering these to a specified folder will help you remain focused during the day, as well as ensure that you do not overlook them or delete them without reading. If you are still looking for additional sources of information, sign up for a search engine service such as Google alerts, or use Google+ to flag relevant articles, and have those directed towards your education file as well.
Remember the reason you’re doing this is to further cement your own understanding of the mortgage industry. You’re striving to become a true expert, by building a foundation of knowledge. To that end, after you’ve spent your time sharpening your skills, try to recall one or two key points from what you’ve read to commit to memory. If it helps, you might consider determining who in your database of clients, strategic partners or networking group might be most interested in a particular insight. Then, send a synopsis or quick e-mail to at least five people who will find the information useful or insightful.
Committing to spending 20 minutes each day to further your own education will do wonders in terms of helping you become an expert in the field. The ongoing effort will provide you not only with information useful for your clients, but will allow you to also reach out to strategic partners with information that may help them, all the while, you will continue to build your own personal knowledge base.
Fred Arnold, CMC is past president of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals , current Treasurer of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals, and a mortgage professional at American Family Funding, a division of American Pacific Mortgage. Fred hosts the radio show SCV Chamber and Business Spotlight on AM 1220 KHTS, as well as the televised program “Out of The Rough” on SCVTV.com, channel 20. He may be reached by phone at (661) 284-1150, ext. 109 or e-mail [email protected]