Monthly Archives: January 2017

Don’t let thoughts of Monday steal your Sunday

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sunday2Have you ever been sipping your Sunday morning cup of coffee and instead of simply enjoying the aroma, the peace and the quiet, you’re already thinking about work on Monday and worrying about files?

The best way to combat your sweet cappuccino turning into a bitter cup of Joe is to immediately grab a pen and a notebook and take the first 15-20 minutes of your Sunday morning and empty all of those work thoughts out of your head and dump them onto the page.

Free-up your mind, knowing that your to-dos have been captured, your files prioritized and your goals jotted down.

This list doesn’t have to be pretty, nor does it have to be a list at all. It could be a stream of consciousness journal entry, a mind map, calendar entries, reminders in your mobile phone.

The medium you select doesn’t matter. However, allowing your mind to release its grip on the work week ahead by engaging in this quick exercise means the world to your loved ones who are eagerly awaiting your full and happy presence on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Separating Magnificent Managers from Mediocre Managers

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To all leadershipawardmy struggling Branch Managers weighed down by the dual goal of maintaining their own origination, as well as, inspiring other sales people to grow their production…Remember that you are responsible for providing tools, guidance, accountability and expertise to your sales team, but the drive to sell, the desire to close and the self-discipline required to be a successful Loan Officer either exists at the core of the individual or it does not. Being able to quickly identify the core of your sales team members and act accordingly is an ability that separates magnificent Managers from mediocre Managers.


Flawed Expectations

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expectationsThe following is a list of what I call, “flawed expectations” that are sure to cause my readers to flinch and shake their heads either in agreement or full blown denial.

My hope is that for those Mortgage Professionals who suddenly realize that they may be holding on to one or more of these flawed expectations, that this post will serve as a welcome, “aha” moment that will spur positive change and increased opportunities.

  1. When you expect to generate “X” number of leads each week but your focus and actions are not centered on sales-generating type endeavors every week.
  2. When you expect leads from new referral relationships after one meeting and a couple of follow-up calls.
  3. When you expect to get more done in a day but have no daily plan.
  4. When you expect to maintain a consistent pipeline but work inconsistent work hours.
  5. When you expect to grow your business with the help of an Assistant but have no systems in place.
  6. When you expect referrals for a job well done but never ask for them.
  7. When you expect loyalty from your Realtors but you don’t answer the phone.
  8. When you expect attendees at your event but call no one for RSVPs.
  9. When you expect your team to give their daily goals 110% while you give yours 50%.
  10. When you expect to double your income but don’t invest in your business.


Time for an Attitude Tune-up?

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Brian Tracy, entrepreneur, sales guru and motivational coach says this about ATTITUDE:

This attitude of looking for the good in every situation, of looking for the advantage or benefit in any problem or difficulty, is the way that the most successful people think most of the time. Superior people, leaders in all areas, face the inevitable ups and downs of daily life on the way to their destinations by taking complete control of their thinking and their emotions. They do this by choosing the words they use to describe a situation, their tone of voice, and their behavior in dealing with problems.

So, what’s YOUR attitude about getting out there and creating new business for yourself?positiveface

Here are three quick and simple ways to tune-up your attitude today so that more opportunities head your way tomorrow…

A Morning Dose of Positivity –How long has it been since you listened to a motivational series on the drive into work? Download your favorite positivity guru and use your commute, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, to accelerate your attitude.

Check Your Attitude at the Door-Every day, before going home from work, take two minutes to complete the following sentence in your journal or notebook: “Because of my positive and willing attitude, today I was able to………” 

Partner-up with a Positivity Pal-Ask a teammate or peer to engage in 30 consecutive days of positivity with you. Agree to send each other one email each day where you communicate one positive experience from your day and a specific wish of positivity to your partner. It could look something like this:

Dear Daniel: Today I made it a point to get out of my office. I had a very productive lunch with a Realtor partner of mine. It was well worth my time and effort and so much more pleasant than I thought it was going to be. I wish that you have a surprise encounter with someone tomorrow that leaves you feeling GREAT!

Remember, everything starts from the inside – out. Giving yourself the gift of a positive attitude today will directly influence whether opportunity knocks once, twice, three times or ever knocks at all.


Interview Questions to Uncover the Best Assistant for YOU!

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If you’ve come to that pivotal time in your career where your level of activity, focus and production warrants hiring a part-time or full-time Assistant, let me be the first to congratulate you!interviewingpeople

Hiring an Assistant may feel like a daunting task, but it is the only way you will be able to move your production to the next level. However, if your systems are not in place and you do not have a clear plan written down as to how you will best utilize an Assistant, you run the very real risk of wasting your time and money and taking a step backwards in your production, instead of forwards.

Always Remember: systems come first, and then people resources, when it comes to growing a business.

In the excitement, rush and sometimes desperation to get an Assistant on the team, there’s a tendency to see what we want to see in our candidates instead of what’s really there.

In order to combat this common mistake, it’s very important to prepare insightful interview questions that will lead to the candidate talking 80% of the time and you talking 20% of the time. You also want to be able to ask the types of questions that will uncover the following:

  • Previous work experience
  • Customer Service & Professionalism
  • Motivations & Expectations
  • Commitment & Interest

To aid you in this very worthwhile endeavor of hiring the best Assistant for YOU, I’ve included my, “Uncover the Best” set of interview questions to DOWNLOAD and use as you see fit.


Are You Gaining Results from your Business Coaching Relationship?

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cropped-address-bar-victoria-fifield.pngHiring a business coach is no small matter, decision or investment. Therefore, when you do finally find the, “right” Coach for you, it’s important that you reflect on and measure the results you are gaining from this very important business relationship.

Here are the top 10 things that your Business Coach can help you achieve if you are fully engaged in the process and are doing your share of the work-load:

I help my clients to…

1.     Turn wishes into goals and goals into calendar-driven action plans

2.     Consider alternate perspectives/stretch out of one’s comfort zones

3.     Embrace already-proven business growth strategies that fit your personality type

4.     Hone-in on your strong points as a sales person and leverage those strong points

5.     Incorporate your passions/interests into your business

6.     Balance competing priorities between home and work

7.     Remain focused on high pay-off activities

8.     Determine business growth strategies that fit your current capacity

9.     Use solution-based thinking as you approach challenges and make decisions.

10.   Identify and eliminate “time-sucking & energy-draining” activities, tasks, people and mindsets from your daily experiences.

All of which will help you to increase your income, succeed in business and live a more balanced and satisfying life.



What Does a Great Mortgage Business Plan LOOK Like, Anyway?

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Every Loan Officer who reaches out to me for a complimentary business coaching session can expect to be asked the following question, “Do you have a business plan?” Nine out of ten times, the answer is, “No.” In the beginning of my career, this used to surprise me. Coming from a corporate background, strategic planning, business planning and goal setting were expected at least, annually. How else was a business going to meet their market growth and business growth goals? How else would they be able to track sales projects, Marketing R.O.I., customer service levels, employee training & retention, systems implementation, etc., etc., etc?

What I discovered was that most mortgage companies were not providing the tools or education, nor were there any expectations of their Loan Officers to develop and share their goals or full-fledged business plans. No doubt part of the reason for the extremely high turn-over of Loan Officers across mortgage companies. Heck, if you’re not investing in and tracking your sales force, how are you effectively hiring the right team members, forecasting sales growth and providing the right tools and education to ensure retention? Hmmm? I’ll step down from my soap box now.

Ten years later, I’m happy to report that this has seemed to change somewhat, in a more positive direction and more and more, I am told that some type of goals are being requested and some companies have even taken the leap to provide business plan templates to their Loan Officers to fill out each year.

Helping Loan Officers to develop detailed business plans that will get them excited about taking action and give them a greater sense of direction and purpose about their businesses is one of my favorite specialized services that I offer as parexamplepicofexamplebizplant of my particular coaching platform.  It is a value that has proven its worth 10-fold for those individuals I coach.

I’d like to share an example of a detailed, mortgage-specific business plan with anyone who is interested enough to request it. Please email me at and I will be happy to send you a copy of one of my own client’s co-developed 2017 Business Plans, who has graciously agreed to allow me to offer it anonymously.

2017 is going to be a GREAT year for those of us who PLAN it that way! Cheers!


Be on the look-out next Thursday for Business Planning Season Part VI-The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Planning


Pave a Positive Path Toward Prosperity

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One of the toughest things to do as a solo-entrepreneur is to tell yourself the big, bold and sometimes, ugly TRUTH 100% of the time. The second toughest thing to do is to ask yourself questions, that telling yourself the truth about, will create real and positive change.

As sales folks, Mortgage Professionals must keep a keen focus on their customers at all times. If they don’t, the outcome has a direct and immediate effect on their pocket books. A regularly generated paycheck, regardless of effort, focus or customer satisfaction, simply is not part of the Loan Officer package. Every dollar derived is in direct correlation to the Loan Officer’s individual efforts with their customers.

The following, highly-specific, customer related questions may be tough to swallow if you’re not ready to tell yourself the 100% truth. However, I believe, if you’re up for the challenge, your answers to these questions will lead you to take actions that will surely have a positive impact on your pocket book in 2017.

This exercise is also an excellent one to share with your team of Loan Officers if you happen to be a Branch Manager.

  1. Do you do what you say your going to do BEFORE you say you are going to do it?
  2. Do you take a complete application, ask your clients the right questions and get the appropriate information/documentation up front?
  3. Do you know your program underwriting guidelines?
  4. Do your underwriters think you know your underwriting guidelines?
  5. Do your processors respect you?
  6. Do the processors in your office refer their family and friends to YOU?
  7. Do the title/escrow reps think highly of you?
  8. Do you go ahead and do a loan for a client even though you know it is not the best thing for them?
  9. Do you return ALL your phone calls?
  10. Do you return all your emails?
  11. Do you do the things you least want to do first?
  12. Do you complete your, “things-to-do” list for the next day before going to sleep?
  13. Do you prioritize your tasks and work on them in their order of importance?
  14. Do you surf the web when you still have calls or tasks to complete?
  15. Do you AVERAGE more than 30 minutes of television a day?
  16. Do you complain about not having enough business?
  17. Do you keep in contact with all your clients?
  18. Do you have all your clients, prospects and referral partners in a database (ACT, etc…)?
  19. Do you mine your customer database?
  20. Do you have systems in place to optimize your clients’ mortgage experience?
  21. Do your clients always know where they stand and what they need to close their loan?
  22. Do you withhold information from your clients and let them know “the real story” towards the end of the transaction?
  23. Do you read at least one book a quarter on business development, communication, ethics or the mortgage industry?
  24. Do your clients want do business with you again?
  25. Do your clients refer people to you?
  26. Do you have a compelling reason for someone to do business with you?
  27. Do your referral partners and clients think of you as an expert?


No Follow-up-No Glory!

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CoffeeCupIdeaOne of the biggest foibles that will cripple any sales person’s business growth is lack of follow-up.

In coaching Mortgage Professionals over the last decade, I’ve been told countless times by my clients how they feel that their #1 weakness in their business is poor follow-up as it relates to potential referral partners, attendees of presentations/classes they’ve given, leads from various, costly systems, and even with their own team members regarding task assignments and project management.

Why a sales person doesn’t follow-up at all or does so poorly, stems from one or more of the following (3) root causes:

  1. Lack of self confidence
  2. Lack of organization/time management
  3. Lack of systems

In most situations, tackling the latter two causes will cure the first, so my recommendation is if you find that you struggle with strong and consistent follow-up, turn your attentions, first, to identifying in which circumstances you fail to follow-up the most and then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have a proper series of follow-up call and email scripts for this given opportunity?
  • Exactly how many, “touches” do I feel is required to gain the value from this opportunity?
  • How much time am I willing to invest overall in the opportunity?
  • What system can I utilize to automate my follow-up efforts?
  • What system can I utilize that will prompt me to take each follow-up step?
  • Am I able to decipher between a good and viable opportunity for me vs. an opportunity that is best passed along or left on the table for someone else?

In answering the six questions above, you will then possess a detailed needs list in which to develop your perfect follow-up strategy to any given opportunity.

The last question from the list above generally stops people in their tracks. Many sales people have the mindset that every opportunity should be tackled with with the same amount of gusto. However, throwing yourself into every co-marketing offer, potential referral partnership, seminar series, membership and board committee is going to immediately hamper your ability to follow-up and follow through effectively in order to gain a real return on investment from any one of these opportunities. I am here to tell you that not all opportunities are to be treated equally, which is a whole other article topic in and of itself, so stay tuned for that one!

Need help in creating and implementing your Perfect Follow-up Strategies? Feel free to FOLLOW UP with me. I’m never too busy to help you achieve your business growth goals!