Just before the end of the year, a friend of mine posted a note on Facebook announcing that she had just closed her last loan of 2014, originating a grand total of 117 forward loans during the year. She thanked all of the friends, clients and referral partners who helped her along the way.
The post got me thinking. For all the hyper-producers in the reverse mortgage world, there are many folks out there who are closing just 20 loans a year and can’t seem to get back to the numbers of their former glory days. While it’s tough in today’s climate to reach the numbers of old, I do believe that there are things that you can do to help move the needle in the right direction—even just a little.
In my opinion, you can’t have your best year in reverse until you have your best month in reverse, which starts with your best week, which can only take root and grow from your best day. If you don’t know how to have “a perfect day in the loan origination business,” how can you string together 365 days to create a successful year? So, let’s start small and focus on day one: the Perfect Day.
You arrive in your office at approximately 5:30 a.m. Maybe you just came from the gym. You’ve had some coffee and your head is clear. You are ready to hit the ground running. Your calendar is pretty full because you are a top performer, but you like to have some office time before you get out on the street, so you’ve arrived early.
First on the agenda is the morning marketing; I call it the “strive for five.” Reach out to your network in five different ways—send a tweet, write an email, post a blog, compose a handwritten note or set up a meeting.
Before the sun rises, focus building your direct mail or direct email lists, calling list, LinkedIn network or Twitter feed.
My goal before the day is over is to: -Mail five letters or postcards. -Send 100 networking emails. -Post industry news on LinkedIn or Twitter. -Call on five offices. -Arrange a meeting with a business partner. -Make a plan to attend a networking event.
Completing all of this may be a lofty goal, but I figure it’s best to aim high. If I could get a portion of it done, I’d consider it a perfect day in the loan origination business.
Letters and Office Visits Each week, I pick a referral partner to connect with and focus on that partner’s target audience. Each Monday I ask myself, “Who am I going to see this week? How many types of referral partners can I name whom I might like to visit in my city or town?” Today, let’s say I am going to see property and casualty insurance agents who sell homeowners policies. I am going to try to sit down with each one individually and discuss how reverses can help pay a home’s taxes and insurance. This means that last week, I contacted five agents to introduce myself and set up meetings, and this week I will focus on another industry, contacting five trust attorneys for next week’s meetings. When reaching out, I like to include one article about reverses, my bio, and a personal note saying that I would like to stop by next week to say hello and introduce myself in person.
Direct Emails In order to send 100 emails per day, you need to have a database of at least 2,000 referral partners. You might think this is a lot, but if you break it down, it might seem more feasible. Build a list of as many categories as you can. Aim for 20 (for the 20 business days in the month). Now, for each category, find 100 of them in your city, town and surrounding area, about a one- to two-hour drive from your home. In my city, for example, we have more than 100 builders, remodelers, and renovation companies, and more than 1,000 Realtors. By the time I add attorneys and insurance agents, I am already over 2,000. Some folks use Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, but there are lots of other great programs out there. Build a database based on referral type and then create a reverse newsletter with a couple of great stories, news and info about reverses, and your contact info. Hit the send button, and you have now just sent 100 emails to folks who need to know more about reverse and about you. Remember that all emails must follow the approved opt-out format so that folks who don’t want to receive your monthly emails can discontinue their education.
Postcards and Phone Calls In order to mail at least five postcards a day and make 10 phone calls to prospects, previous clients and referral partners, you will need to have a large list of contacts. My list is made up of do-not-call-scrubbed names, addresses and phone numbers of age-eligible potential borrowers who might need more information from a local reverse mortgage expert. You might also want to keep another list of all the folks you have already helped with a reverse mortgage, and anyone you have ever sent literature to who did not apply for a loan but requested more information. You can join any number of database management services (like salesgenie.com and infofree.com), which will allow you to search and either purchase a list or subscribe to their service so you can data-mine your area for prospects. Each day, take five to 10 names from the list and send a postcard with your contact information on it letting them know you are local and available to teach them about reverse mortgages. For past clients and fence sitters, your cards have a different skew: just saying hello and reminding them about your services should they know someone who might benefit. Keep the names of those you contacted and follow up with those folks by phone.
Networking and Events Aside from making phone calls and sending letters, it’s also important to physically get out and meet people. Think about what events you can attend; consider every civic group in your city and town. Think about real estate-related groups, chamber groups and other organizations that might hold public meetings that would allow you to network. Your local newspaper would be a great source of information about upcoming events, and various organizations will likely post their schedules online as well. Think about your list of referral categories and what groups those folks might belong to. Attend as many public meetings as you can. Talk to people so they will get to know who you are and what you do.
Lunch Meetings With all of this networking, you are going to have one great visit now and then, connecting with someone who will become a true referral partner for you. That’s the person who you offer to take to lunch. So each day you are planning your calendar for next week or the week after, sending postcards, making phone calls, setting up meetings or stopping in for an office visit for a face-to-face introduction. When you connect with the right partner, have lunch to talk more about how you can work together to build their business and yours as you educate clients and prospects.
It is my belief that if you start your day early, make a plan, work your plan, and be consistent and deliberate each and every day, your mortgage production numbers will begin to soar. A perfect day in the loan origination business turns into two perfect days. Those two days build into a week, which turns into a month of perfect days. Before you know it, your phone is ringing with prospects to see, your calendar is full of opportunities to educate, and your database is full of new referral partners who want to work with you and send you business. If you focus on these goals, and try your hardest to be as productive as you can be, you can have the perfect day in the loan origination business.