Greg Frost, my good friend and mentor, often starts his presentations asking the question, "Have you been in business 12 years or one year for the 12th time.” The question he is really posing is, “Are you reacting to the environment around you or are you learning, growing and evolving year over year making each year better than the previous?” If you are tired of the treadmill repeating the same old story year after year and struggling to achieve, it may be that you're working with a broken process. You see, through tens of thousands of hours of coaching top originators and mortgage executives over the last nine years, I have realized that a great majority of mortgage professionals have been following a planning process that is highly reactive and therefore, has significant limitations. You see most strategic planning processes start with a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. While this is a good exercise to assess the lay of the land around you, it's a horrible way to start a planning process. In this article, I will introduce you to the three-step proactive planning process that my coaching team walks its clients through that has yielded growth rates of 40 percent, 60 percent and even 100-plus percent year over year growth for many of our clients over the last nine years. If you implement this process we know that you can follow the same strategy to develop your success plan for 2014.
We realized that, unlike the reactive SWOT process, you have to begin with a vision in mind, one of purpose, personal goals, and exactly what you want to achieve, and then work backwards from there to find the strategies that will get it done. In our coaching program, we introduce our clients to a volume and goals exercise that gets them thinking about where they want to be a year from now. In an ideal world, what kind of production, what kind of lifestyle, what kind of income and what kind of client experience do you want to create in your business? Take a few minutes to answer these questions for yourself and create a vision of what you ideally want your business and life to look like. As you do, put aside thoughts of limitation, and for a moment, give yourself permission to dream big. Put possibility to the side and instead of thinking “I can’t,” ask “How can I?” Instead of quickly dismissing what you may think is unreasonable or impossible, start by asking the question, "Well, okay, it may not be possible, but if it was, what would it look like?” Using this line of thinking maps out what that ultimate vision of success looks like for where you want to be at the end of 2014.
Once you are clear on that definition of what you want your volume to look like, then it's time to start the actual planning process and work the numbers backwards to determine what your closing volume must be to achieve those goals. Through a process using of volume goals, simples exercises, it's just a matter of math. With our coaching clients, we walk them through an income and volume goals Spreadsheet that takes the income they need to support that vision, and works the numbers based on commission-per-loan and lead conversion percentage down to how many leads they need to generate weekly in order to reach these goals.
Once you have identified what this weekly lead generation target is, then it makes it a lot easier to stay focused on generating a consistent volume of leads. And this consistent proactive lead generation activity will yield the production and revenue goals you seek to obtain. Just understand that this is where you want to be a year from now, so you've got a whole year to grow towards that volume one step at a time throughout the year.
Once you know what your lead generation target; the next step is to determine what strategies you are going to use to achieve that lead generation goal. Often in my coaching work, I challenge my clients to dream big and to start with a number that may seem totally impossible just to challenge them to see how easy it can really be. For example, one of the examples we often use in our on-site workshops and small group coaching sessions, we use the income target of $50,000 per month. Now for some of you, you may have already surpassed that number, so take that and double it to $100,000. But for the rest of you, that may be a pie in the sky dream that you don’t believe is even remotely possible. But I promise you, there are hundreds of loan officers all across the country making that kind of income and more every month. Now, in the $50,000 example, it works out to about eight leads a week to hit the target. But think about it, eight leads a week is less than two a day, right?
How hard is it really to find two people a day that you can help with a home loan? Think about it seriously? Worst case scenario … if you had to literally cold call apartment renters out of the phone book (cross-referencing the Do-Not-Call list of course), how many calls would you have to make to find two people who are at least somewhat interested in buying their first home? And if you simply offered them the opportunity to look at whether they could benefit from buying a home right now by offering what we call a free home opportunity evaluation, how many dials would you have to make to find one or two who were interested? In our experience, the worse case was 30 to 40 calls and you'll find two or three people who are already thinking about buying a home. Now, this may not be the easiest way to do it and it certainly would take a significant amount of discipline and accountability to make it happen on a daily basis, but if you made 40 calls a day, I guarantee you would find one or two people who could benefit from doing something different with their mortgage and housing situation.
But is there an easier way?
Let's say, for example, you introduce this planning concept to real estate agents and other financial or insurance professionals in your community, and over the course of the next 12 months, build six or seven good partners who are focused on generating one good lead a week in conjunction with you through the market reach and communication initiatives of the team you have created. Call it the “Home Opportunity Initiative” or something similar, where you work together in concert to reach as many folks with the opportunity to benefit from buying or upgrading their housing situation. As a result, the team of you are all now generating eight to 10 leads per week that are showing up more or less on auto pilot just due to a concerted effort and consistent approach to reaching out to people in the community who could benefit from this amazing housing opportunity.
Once you have the strategy, how do you make sure that you stay on track throughout the year. Well, the magic secret we have figured out is a simple phrase “What gets measured gets done.” It is called “The Hawthorne Effect” based on the group that identified this scientific principle, but the reality is if you track your performance daily, your performance will increase significantly, just by the simple fact that you're tracking it. Of course, if you're tracking your lead volume on a daily basis and you get to Thursday and have not yet hit your lead volume for the week, you still have a chance to adjust your activity and make sure that you are putting in that extra effort to hit your target for the week.
Now the key here is consistency. See, if you fall off two, three or four weeks in a row and then all of a sudden end up with a bad month. If you fall off a couple of months in a row, you end up with a bad year. However, if you stay on top of it starting early in the year, and keep on track and focus on the progress that you're making towards that higher volume goal of where you want to be 12 months from now, then you can celebrate the progress that you have achieved this week over last week and month over the previous month. Focus on progress, and you'll build momentum and an energy that will fuel levels of growth far beyond your imagination, and you might even find yourself expanding your goals sooner than you think. I encourage all of you to take the initiative, to set a course of action in motion, and begin with the end in mind to stretch your belief in what’s possible.
Are you ready to get started? If so, here are the three simple steps in the Plan to Win Process:
►Step 1: Set your plan
►Step 2: Decide your strategy
►Step 3: Track your progress
When you take these three simple steps of planning, I guarantee that you will see significantly bigger results when you look back at what you have accomplished in 2014. And to help you in this process, simply go to www.maccelcoach.com/solution and get a free copy of the planning tools mentioned in this article. I wish you all the greatest success as you execute your 2014 Success Plan.
Erik Janeczko is a certified and nationally recognized business coach and speaker with Maximum Acceleration. He may be reached by phone at (888) 819-7047 or e-mail [email protected]