Happy New Year! Well, happy beginning of February! I know that, usually, in the beginning of the year, everyone comes out with their hot takes on what you should be doing to your business in the New Year. Well, I am not everyone and this isn't your average list.

I have sought input from some of the best in the business of mortgage lending and real estate to present you with real insights for finding success in 2019 and beyond. Here’s what they had to say:

Barry Habib, founder and CEO of MBS Highway:

We all know that your past client database can be a great source of business. But so many loan originators are neglecting this potential gold mine because they are of the opinion that their previous clients who have lower interest rates would not want to refinance. A closer look at their client's overall debt picture may show that, like most people, their client has some debt. 

Additionally, it is highly probable that they have seen their home appreciate to a significant degree over the past few years. By doing a cash-out refinance, we can restructure their debt and maybe even eliminate their mortgage insurance payment. On top of this, they may be able to access some cash.  

Take this strategy to the next level by showing them that they can put the amount of money they are saving on the refinance toward paying down the new mortgage at an accelerated pace. This could save them over a decade of payments and give them substantial resources for their children’s college or their retirement. This is what an advisor and debt manager should do. This is what the loan officer of the future needs to do.

Dave Savage, CEO of Mortgage Coach:

This is the year of digital open houses. Skip the paper listing sheet and offer to email or text the details of the home directly to potential buyers. This way, you capture their contact information and are able to follow up with them after the open house. You also can add details to your database, such as the type of property they’re looking for and what their goals are, so that if another home comes on the market that is a perfect fit, you now have a base of ideal contacts.

What about how people feel about the content I put there and how they review my work?

Social sales expert Chelsea Peitz weighs in:

Nobody receives 100% positive reviews. It isn't realistic. As a content creator, I ask myself, "Will this content speak to people? Will it help them solve a problem or teach them something new? What if they hate it?”

Everything we put out into the world publicly will be reviewed, ranked, criticized or rated at some point on some level. Godin talked about how the very best books in the world all have one-star reviews. The fear of a bad review causes people to dumb down their content to appeal to the masses, which is actually the very definition of mediocrity.

Staying on the content track, Dustin Brohm, host of the podcast Massive Agent, chimes in:

You can’t start 2019 on the right foot without leaving 2018’s crap behind. In this case, you need to let go of the notion that you need to constantly talk about real estate just because you sell real estate. In fact, don’t talk about real estate AT ALL! That is, if you want people to pay attention to you, your brand, and your content.

Instead, do videos and content about your community. People will see that you’re an agent or lender. Be the local expert, and you’ll eventually become a local celebrity. A celebrity people want to work with and hire… to sell their homes.

Would you like to know what the #1 Facebook ad expert in the real estate industry thinks?

Travis Thom, founder and CEO at Leads2Listing.com, throws in his two cents:

Attention. Consistency. Influence. These three things should be a part of your focus as you plan and build content for 2019. The easiest and fastest way to develop this type of content is through video.

You should be creating educational content that highlights your strengths and focuses on providing valuable information that position you as the authority figure in your market. Ideally, once a week, you’ll create and publish a video on Facebook and then turn that same video into a Facebook ad that you will run to two different audiences.

The first being a custom audience that includes your sphere of influence and the second a cold audience that doesn’t know you, yet. The audience already familiar with you will be reminded of your brand and this will help to encourage referrals and repeat business. Ideally, this cold audience would be located in a market area that you want to tap into. Over time, and with consistency, your brand awareness will grow and so will your influence and ability to win more clients.

We’re not done yet! Here are some quick hits from some other highly successful professionals:

Shannon Milligan, icon agent for eXp Realty:

Building a customer experience will be of the utmost importance in 2019 as it’s the one thing technology can’t replace. Focus on MVP programs and value after the sale to solidify relationships and secure future business.

Karin Carr, expert real estate Youtuber:

If you aren’t using video to get new clients yet, why not?! Video is the next best thing to being face to face with your prospects, and you can make a video today that will bring you clients, next month, next year, even three years from now. Just be friendly and genuine, teach them something they need to know and publish those videos on a consistent basis. It’s the best free marketing there is.

Nate Smoyer, host of the Tech Nest Real Estate Podcast:

Stay focused on dominating one marketing channel to reach your most ideal client before trying to be everywhere, reaching everyone.

Tonya Morrow, managing broker at Liz Moore & Associates:

Pick 50 Facebook friends. One at a time, look back through 2018. Find reasons to reach out to congratulate, send condolences, ask about a vacation, etc. Rekindle the relationships and set reminders for follow-ups.

Michele Bellasari, blogger and agent:

Go back and review all the content you have put out there in the last couple of years and repurpose it. Create mashups of social media posts and use on a podcast or your flash briefing or turn into a blog post. Turn a video or vlog into a social media post and a blog post. Start working smarter with content you have already created.

Try to execute the tactics and employ the advice from the leaders above. They gave you the foundation of your playbook – it is up to you to put it in play.

As for my tip? Voice marketing with podcasts and flash briefings. But the specifics for that will be for my next article. Stay tuned!