Believe it or not, the first half of 2022 is officially behind us, and we find ourselves in a completely different market than we were in just a year ago. Across the mortgage industry, we are seeing major layoffs and production is certainly slowing down compared to the last two years, but with home prices higher than ever and inventory growing once again, the market is still ripe with business to be had. The key to continued success is being able to shift and adapt your own strategy along with the market.
Earlier this month, we hosted a webinar, “The Market Has Changed. Have you?” in which three of our own XINNIX thought leaders shared their top tips and proven methods on how to adapt your business to thrive in any market. You can watch the full replay of that session here. As a bonus for all, we are summarizing the 8 most important tips they shared with our students that are sure to help elevate your success in the second half of the year and beyond.
1. Your business plan – your GPS to success
When you take a vacation, do you leave home without first checking the weather and booking your airline tickets, hotel, and transportation? Of course not! Unfortunately, most mortgage sales professionals operate their business just like this. Did you know that only 30% of loan officers operate with a business plan? Having a business plan is the single most important tool needed to succeed, regardless of how long you have been in the business. A solid business plan will lead you to reach your goals no matter what the current market looks like and will guide you on what to do when – not if – you hit a snag and need to adjust and adapt, which is why business planning is included in every single XINNIX Performance Program.
2. Take time to look in the mirror. Is your plan working?
Speaking of adjusting and adapting, while having a business plan in place is certainly critical to success, it’s important that you’re regularly checking in to ensure that your goals are still in line and your methods are in fact working. Your business plan shouldn’t be sitting on a shelf collecting dust or hidden away in a folder on your desktop. Schedule time once a month to pull out your business plan and evaluate what’s working and what needs to change. Things change and fluctuate all the time, especially in the mortgage industry! For example, the strategies and tactics you used to manage refi business over the last two years aren’t going to work in today’s purchase market. It’s time to shift gears back toward building relationships, making calls and networking!
3. Relationships will ALWAYS be king
Building relationships has always been at the center of a successful sales career. No matter how much technology evolves, that will never change! All the most successful sales professionals have taken time to invest in relationships and build a strong network of referral partners. With the right network in place, referrals can help sustain your business through feast and famine. The best relationships are mutually beneficial. You want to provide just as much value to your partner as they provide you. Go deeper than coffee and gift baskets. Ask your partners about their business plans and strategies. Not only could you get some great insight to apply to your own business, but it also provides you with the opportunity to step in and ask, “What can I do for you, and how can I help you achieve your goals?”
4. Become a student of your profession
American author, motivational speaker and leadership and management expert Ken Blanchard has said, “Once you stop learning, you stop growing.” When we become students of our craft and invest in our own professional development, we learn tips and tricks to grow our business, but we can use what we’ve learned to educate our customers and partners, adding even more value to those relationships. As sales professionals, it’s important to make sure that we are learning everything we can to make ourselves better salespeople, but as mortgage sales professionals specifically, it’s important that we study the market and become junior economists as well. Why is the market shifting? What does that mean for your customers? How does it impact your referral partners?
Back in April, we released an episode of Inside the Mortgage Mind, a XINNIX Podcast featuring our Founder & CEO, Casey Cunningham, and the Founder of Leo’s Circle and SVP of Residential Lending at Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp, Leo Anzoleaga. The discussion between the two is packed with insight on the importance of mastering your trade and educating your clients. You can listen to the full interview here.
5. What’s your “why”?
In the above interview, Casey and Leo also discuss the importance of finding your “why” and allowing that to be a source of motivation in following through on the goals and plans you set for yourself and for your business. Once you find your why, write a mission statement for your business. Identify your vision for the future of your career and the values you hold most dear. Allow these things to drive you forward in the pursuit of success. Franklin Covey offers some incredible insight and resources to help you do just this. Don’t miss out on this critical part of your business plan! And just like your business plan, your mission, vision and values are things that you should revisit regularly. Make sure that your priorities still align with what is most important to you.
6. Identify your keys (and your roadblocks) to success.
When creating and evaluating your business plan and your mission statement, it’s important to get real with yourself and think about the things that help to keep you on the path to success. Are you someone that needs an extra cup of coffee (or two) in the morning before making calls? Do you need to carve out time at the end of your day to prepare for tomorrow? Would you benefit from having an honest and reliable accountability partner? Be sure to build those things into your plan or your daily routine.
Likewise, identify weaknesses and roadblocks that may stand in your way and create a plan to navigate those hurdles BEFORE they arise. For example, find the best ways to conquer objections or overcome call reluctance. Are you a procrastinator or an over-preparer? Plan to cross those big “must-do” items off your list first thing in the morning.
7. Make your calendar work for you
We’ve all heard it said that time is money. As cliché as it sounds, time is truly the most valuable resource we have. There are only 24 hours in a day, and once they are gone, you don’t get them back. Do you find yourself getting ready to close shop after what felt like a busy day only to realize that you crossed nothing off your list? We’ve all been there. It’s critical to your success to not only plan your time but to protect it as well. Sure, we all use our calendars to book meetings or appointments and even note important deadlines, but are you using your calendar to its full potential? Be deliberate and intentional with your time. Set up time blocks for focus time, prospecting, networking, etc. and once it’s set, stick to it! By breaking down your day into smaller, more manageable chunks, it makes it easier to focus in on what needs to be accomplished in that block, and you’ll find that less of your time is wasted during the day.
8. Success lies outside your comfort zone
Entrepreneur, motivational speaker and co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Jack Canfield, once said, “The biggest rewards in life are found outside your comfort zone…Fear and risk are prerequisites if you want to enjoy a life of success and adventure.” When is the last time you took a leap and stepped outside of your comfort zone? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, to switch it up and try out a new strategy or set larger goals. Each month, set a new goal to stretch yourself a little further outside your comfort zone. Our Founder & CEO, Casey Cunningham, always says, “It’s ok to fail as long as you fail forward.” Trial-and-error is a necessary part of both our personal and professional growth. If you were to sit down with any of your personal or professional heroes or mentors, they would be able to tell you at least one story (likely more) of a time they tried something new and failed. The key is to learn from your failure and rather than staying down, use it as a stepping stone toward your next goal.
Join us on July 13 for an exclusive invitation-only webinar – “Pivots of a Top Producer: An ELITE Loan Officer’s Approach to 2022” – in which XINNIX Performance Specialist J.A. Dava will sit down with $200M mega-producer Rick Elmendorf as he shares how he has stepped outside of his own comfort zone over the years to reach and maintain such an incredible level of success. Reserve your seat today.
Which of these tips spoke to you the most, and are you planning on implementing any of them in your strategy for success? Is there a best practice you swear by that we missed? We’d love to hear it! Add your favorite tips for staying successful in any market below. We look forward to your feedback!