Watch the Fox 35 Video here.
Andrea Tlumacki was one of the people not afraid to take the plunge… and she has been rewarded for it! With the deadline of the $8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit approaching – it is urgent to develop a plan of execution. Most people are focused on the restriction of closing before the expiration of Nov. 30th. Fair enough… but many are not building a time line in order to establish milestones that one needs to meet if they desire to witness the delivery of an $8000 Treasury check. This is done by finding the advice of both a rock-solid Realtor and a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist.
Andrea Tlumacki did. Expert real estate advice from J. Robert Brown – owner of Prefer 1 Real Estate – proved priceless. Not only was she able to nail down a low mortgage rate of 4.500%, but received unparalleled direction from Robert Brown’s corporate-world experience to get a purchase price that would make an investor envious. In her interview with Andrea, Tracy Jacim states, “time is running out,” and the time to delay is over.
Many of us are familiar with Student Syndrome – but the need to:
- get approved for a mortgage,
- identify a dream home, and
…has a time line of about a week. Sure, things can be closed a somewhat faster in the proper circumstances, but as volume elevates in the weeks ahead for lenders, the length of time it takes to actually close will be increase.
In other words… it is important to engage in the Orlando Real Estate process quickly if you hope to benefit from the First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit before it expires.
Wow! we have seen a lot of changes and more are on the way. Many people are questioning, what is coming next, how do I handle it, and what should I do with my business and career. I have found that it really all comes down to 4 simple strategies that the top people do to get, keep, and maintain success.
Here they are…
1. Determine your commitment level. Are you all in or all out. It just isn’t possible to get half pregnant so you either are or you are not. There is the story of having eggs and bacon for breakfast that really drives this point home. In the story, the chicken was available, but the pig was committed. There are a lot of opportunities in today’s market, and how you see them is based on your level of commitment.
2. Be Consistent! It is really hard to gain traction and everyone wants something now. I hear it all the time…What is working now? What people really mean is how can I get a loan that will close today so that I can put a paycheck in the bank. When you determine to be committed, you also have to realize that success is built over time, not all at once. You will meet failure face to face on your journey, but you must remain consistent throughout.
3. Be Memorable! If you go to an agents office, speak at a chamber event, or network at BNI are you someone people will remember? You’d better be if you want to succeed. Develop your brand, your image, and your hook and think outside the box. Make it a part of who you are as a person. Stand out or sit down. People are too distracted today to think of you unless you are truly rememerable. Gitomer says, it is not who you know, but who knows you!
4. Develop Quality Relationships! At the root of every successful person is a rolodex of quality realtionships that they worked to develop over time. When you meet an agent, client, or referral partner what system do you have to build the relationship? Remember you must invest 100% of you into the relationship for it to be a success because you can not control the investment of the other party. Choose your relationships carefully and then give them all you got!
Think about how these apply to you. Are you being your best? If not, then improve, the choice is yours!
If you need help with your sales, then check out our new book! It is a real kick in the pants and guaranteed to help you bust out of a sales slump!
- To generate new ideas and share best practices in an effort to increase revenue and create efficiencies in each member’s businesses.
- To establish a space for accountability, goal setting and encouragement amongst entrepreneurs who are not necessarily reporting up to or being pushed by a Manager. (They are the captain of their own ship)
- To network and cultivate possible referral relationships with other professionals.
Professionals generally enter into mastermind groups with great enthusiasm and high expectations. However, after six months to a year of meeting, many groups find that the excitement has a tendency to wane and unfortunately, the attendance then follows suit.
Here are 7 helpful tips to help keep your Mastermind group engaged, consistently attended and growing…
Tip #1-Make sure you have a variety of professionals attending who share similar pains.I’ve talked to Mortgage Professionals who have formed mastermind groups made up soley of Realtors or Financial Planners. This may seem like eutopia for YOU, but the group will eventually suffer and may even begin to feel that your attempt to put together a mastermind group was purely self serving. Fresh perspectives, unique approaches & creative business models are more easily derived from groups that include different types of professionals. Of course, only include professionals who share in your pains (i.e. generating leads, branding one’s self, teammarketing, effective sales scripts, budgeting, etc.)
Tip #2-Include creative “shake-ups.” Make one of your Mastermind sessions an event that the entire group attends, like a seminar or presentation on sales techniques or social media, a chamber mixer or www.meetup.com event. Assign chapter readings and group discusssion from popular business or self help books, like Think and Grow Rich, The Success Principles, The Tipping Point, or Taming Your Gremlin. Use one session to train on a particular product, system or new technology the group is interested in. Spend one session watching a Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield or Wayne Dyer DVD.
Tip #3-Establish a rotating guest speaker list. Assign each mastermind group member a month that they are responsible for inviting a guest speaker. The guest speaker could be a physical fitness expert, a life or business coach, a social media guru, a holistic healer, a local top salesman, a Manager sharing his/her team leadership secrets, a branding expert, a local blogging superstar, etc.
Tip #4-Share the knowledge.Post your agenda, guest speakers’ names, take-aways and “aha” moments and newfound knowledge from your mastermind groups on your blog, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Encourage everyone in the mastermind group to do the same.
Tip #5-Don’t be a venue hog. Find other locations, other than YOUR office, to hold your mastermind sessions and change it up from time to time. I had a client hold one at a local park with great success. You can also go to your local library, favorite coffee house, wine bar or bistro, community center or recreation center, pastry shop or even one of your group member’s residences.
Tip #6-Introduce the 20 Questions game. When utilizing “group think” to help solve a member’s current issue, dilemma, roadblock, bottleneck, conflict, etc., have each member ask that person questions about their current situation, not to exceed 20 questions. No one is to suggest or tell the person what to do, nor make statements or share their opinion. They are simply to ask questions to help the one individual experience a breakthrough and to do so without comparing, assuming one person has the solution, or inadvertently creating tension or conflict in the group.
Tip #7-Survey the group. Never assume that your members are satisfied with the current format, agenda, guest speakers, direction and/or vision of the mastermind group. You know what they say about “assuming.” The best way to keep your mastermind group alive and kicking is to be open to changing things up, trying new things and most importantly, listening to the V.O.M. (voice of the mastermind) Here is an example of a mastermind group survey using www.surveymonkey.com that you are more than welcome to copy…Click Here to take survey
The power of the mastermind comes from each member’s unique experiences, knowledge and willingness to share. As the leader of the mastermind, you owe it to yourself and the group to be picky about who you choose to invite as a member. Set the bar high! Find individuals who are smarter, more creative, more innovative and more financially savvy than you are.
It’s like Jack Canfield once said, “You are the average of the five people, outside of your family, that you hang out with the most.” Take the time to find the “right” members and choose to raise your average.
Are you in ______ for the long term?
Often people will get laser focused on their immediate needs and then neglect or ignore their long term needs. Yet, the long term is what defines you and gives you the freedom to enjoy the immediate! Is this you? What is your _____? Family, Work, Friends, Marriage?
When you are working on a project, do you find it easier to quickly dart over to your fast food joint for your quick gut-fill of grease? Or do you walk the 5 blocks to the sit down restaurant that offers fresh healthy food? The fast food satisfies your hunger (immediate); the walking and healthy restaurant satisfy your hunger, health, and waist line (long term).
When you are headed to an appointment, do you wait until the last minute to leave so that you can squeeze out one more email/read one more blog and pray that traffic is on your side, only to arrive and apologize for being late? Or worse, your family and friends start telling you that the meeting time is 30 minutes earlier in order to accommodate your continuous tardiness? Oh sure, you finished your task (immediate); but not keeping your word affects your long term accountability and reputation.
Did you have a good year and convince yourself that you need to be rewarded with the new house/car/boat instead of properly building your reserve account?
Do you have trouble planning for the future and seeing the value that your immediate decisions and actions will have on your long term needs? Most salespeople that I talk to and work with are no different. In fact, salespeople are arugably the worst planners for the long term. They focus on the immediate and their “today”! They do not realize that the actions of today will significantly affect the results of tomorrow.
It does not matter where you work or who you work for. It does not matter if we are talking about family, work, friends, marriage, or personal satisfaction. You are in business for yourself – even when you work for someone else. You need to take responsibility for yourself. You are the CEO of your You, Inc., and you need to work on and plan your business!
The year is half over. Are you meeting your goals? Did your new-year-resolutions evaporate by January 10? It is time to blow the dust off of your business plan and see if you are still on target? Or did you forget to put together a plan?
Many people do not have a business plan, and worse, most do not even know how to prepare one! You do not have to wait until the beginning of the year to put together a plan. And your “business” can be your family life, your relationships, or your life goals. Next week, we will review how simple it is to put together a plan….even if you have never had one, and even if it is the middle of the year! After all, in life, just like in sales, the year does not start over on Jan 1. The year starts over EVERY day. And, for salespeople, the year starts over after every sale! So, even though we are in July, now is the beginning of your year and time to get started!
Are you in ______ for the long term?
The other day I was on Facebook and noticed an update from Top of Mind friend and all around great guy Judah Hoover of Signature Finance & Consulting in Harrisburg, PA. It inspired me so I asked Judah if he’d allow me to share his story on the Top of Mind Blog. Enjoy:
It is when things go wrong that we have the opportunity to really shine. Over the past few years I have been developing relationships with small, local community portfolio lenders. Local lenders are the best way to close non owner occ loans. But they are not always as flexible when it comes to place and time for settlement. This particular bank wanted to close the loan during normal business hours, in my office or theirs. Going to the borrowers’ home, place of work or off hour settlement was out of the question. But that is the trade off for lending in the name of an LLC with less then 4 months seasoning on the title after a complete rehab. To complicate matters the borrowers are growing their rental portfolio in the area but live over 2 hours away, so the trip to settlement was a over half a day out of their day, they had to bring over $20k to the table just to get out of the high interest loan they were in, the appraisal was cut, the lender wanted 1 year of payments to be held in a CD for extra security and on and on. But the borrowers were thrilled to be getting out of the private loan they were in.
This is when the real trouble started. I got a call 15 mins before settlement. The borrowers’ car had a major engine failure and they were sitting along the side of a busy highway. I was concerned that if we put off settlement it would be hard to get everything lined back up again… not to mention the turmoil the next few weeks would bring to the borrowers, being down one car, while they argued with the local mechanic about oil pan tightening procedures.
The banker and notary arrived. Now keep in mind local bankers are the textbook definition of “inside the box” thinkers. Fortunately I got a good bank rep that day. I explained that our borrowers were stranded, the tow-truck was on its way and we had a short window until they were taken to some dealership or repair station who knows were and we had to track them down again. The banker hesitated for a moment before laughing out loud, “You really want to have a road side settlement”. “That is exactly what I want to do”, I assured her. I packed everyone up before they could change their minds and off we went.
5 mins later I was standing in the hot mid-day sun by a busy highway while settlement happened in the air-conditioned car we drove to find them. The police arrived to see what was going on and I talked to them so the borrowers could keep signing. He was impressed when he heard the story and asked for one of my cards. The tow-truck arrived just as they finished signing. They were very glad, as I said they really needed the loan. I got a call a day later from them thanking me and to let me know they will be telling their friends and family they “must use Judah Hoover” when they refi or buy. I have been working with the lender for a while and at a settlement with the same lender a day or so later the head of commercial lending said he is happy I am a Loan officer that works hard for my borrowers. When a lender knows you are sending them good loans they get approved so much easier. It is when things go wrong that we have the opportunity to shine.
Do you have a story like this you’d like us to share on the Top of Mind Blog? If so, please comment below and we’ll reach out to you right away. Or if you’re shy, you can call me at 404-943-9910.
I spend most every morning in front of the computer – taking in the play-by-play on the economy, real estate market, mortgage landscape, etc.
And here’s the conclusion I always seem to come to: I don’t understand macroeconomics well enough to have an intelligent opinion as to where we’re headed. Furthermore, I don’t believe that our elected officials understand any better than I do. Here’s what I think I know:
1) Our entire economic system is built primarily on fairy dust in the form of:
a: Consumer Confidence – In other words, if the mainstream media gets a hold of enough good news from one day to the next, we consumers can let out of that big sigh of relief and get back to …
b: Consumption – Because it’s simple really. We replace our ’98 Camry with an ’09 Passat. Progress has been made. Jobs have been created. With any luck, technology will continue creating reasons for us to ditch old for new.
2) Today begins the 2nd half of 2009. It appears real estate values have begun to stabilize (depending on who you listen to). Corporate earnings have been better than expected (for the most part). So things “seem” to be looking up.
I had lunch with Jim and Alan from Phoenix Global Mortgage yesterday at one of my favorite spots – the Cheesecake Factory at the Perimeter Mall just outside the “perimeter” of Atlanta. I’ve probably conducted 20 business lunches there over the past 5 years (great location, fun atmosphere, good food). If you didn’t show up for lunch at 11:30, you weren’t getting seated for a solid hour. The place was always mobbed. Check out the picture I took from the parking lot after lunch with Jim and Alan:
For those of you in Atlanta, this is what the parking lot at Perimeter Mall might look like at 1AM on a Tuesday, not the height of the lunch rush.
So here’s Mark Green’s personal economic forecast for the next 12 months, and beyond.
1) Consumers are making more intelligent purchase decisions.
And all I have to say to this is – It’s about damn time. The role of our mainstream media is to educate and inform us, right? Well they’ve downright paralyzed the economy. Long term, this will end up being a good thing. But what does it mean to us as entrepreneurs and salespeople?
2) Business will be harder to come by for all of us.
That statement either scares the bejeezus out of you or it excites you. I guess it depends on how confident you are in your ability to execute in a difficult economy. Shortcuts are getting ready to disappear, and for a long time.
3) Your skill set and sphere of influence database will be your only two weapons moving forward.
If you’re dependent on Lending Tree to fill your pipeline every month, and you haven’t been reinvesting into those relationships, you’ll be feeling the pain in your stomach that kept you up at night only 12 short months ago. Who is Lending Tree looking out for anyways – you or them?
If you’ve been slow diving into social media because it’s foreign to you, you’ll be feeling the pain too. It doesn’t matter that you don’t get Twitter. What matters is that your clients DO. Who are you looking out for – you or them?
Here’s the really good news. We’re in the service business. Therefore, we don’t have to deal with bugaboos like managing an inventory, retail space, etc. As small businesses, we have the ability to act quickly if we so choose – and without asking for permission from three layers of management. The next six months are going to shape your success for the next five years.
If you’re like my friend and client Scott Evans, you’re licking your chops because you’ve spent your entire career systematizing and executing. If you’re looking at the rest of your refi pipeline, nursing and caressing it, completely oblivious to how you’re going to compete in a strictly purchase environment, I hope this article serves as a wake up call.
Based on what I saw at the Cheesecake Factory yesterday, I can’t imagine that the economy is anywhere close to a recovery. In fact, I think the worst is yet to come. And I’m very okay with that. It doesn’t scare me one bit. My personal finances are in order because I made some good financial decisions at home. Professionally, I’ve surrounded myself with the best talent I could find. I trust them and they trust me. We have a plan, and each day we come into the office and execute on that plan. If the market recovers, that would be a lot of fun. If it doesn’t, it’s still going to be a lot of fun.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Focus on innovation and execution. See the people. And above all, construct your life and your business to where the 11:00 news doesn’t affect your overall happiness one way or the other. The way I see it, whether the economy tanks or whether it explodes – 2010 is going to be a fantastic year for me. And I hope the same is true of you too.
Shocking. That’s the only way to describe it. One minute you’re planning for a farewell tour and the next you’re actually saying farewell to life.
Look, this blog is meant to be about mortgage marketing and crm, and that’s all good. But sometimes there are life lessons that just can’t be ignored. Last night served as just another wake up call for me. I’m 38 years old and carry around a stress load that just doesn’t make any sense for a “regular joe”. Sure, 10 years ago, it was just stress. But now, there are days where I feel the physical effects of the stress. My heart rate races sometimes at night – and I just lie awake staring at the ceiling until the subconscious takes over – thankful to arise the next morning. One day, who knows when, the next morning will not come.
Top of Mind Networks production manager Dante Jones shared his perspective in a Facebook update last night:
“The goal is not to live forever. The goal is to create something that does.”
There’s absolutely no doubt that MJ will live on into perpetuity. The haters will remember the controversial side of MJ. The rest of us will remember his genius and the fact that charity always brought out his best. In a sense, it’s a shame that he was not able to outlive the controversy – surely it factored into his early death. In fact, I’d guess that the stress of MJ’s everyday life is what ultimately killed him.
We talk about perspective all the time. The passing of MJ serves as another wake up call to all of us. In the mortgage business, the typical litmus test we measure ourselves against is how much money we’re making. And money’s good. Money’s fun. But money in the bank doesn’t make for legacies.
My measuring stick – how many people did I help? And I think that’s the ideal measuring stick for mortgage originators.
We in the mortgage business have the unique opportunity to make great livings while doing good deeds. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the Mortgage Revolution. You’re going to begin hearing about Mortgage Revolution – the premier event for ethical mortgage originators – over the coming weeks and months. Can we teach ethical origination techniques that will also make the cash register ring? Can we implement a universal Code of Ethics for the mortgage industry? Can we raise $250,000 for charity?
This industry is starving for leadership right now. Quite frankly, if it wasn’t “profitable” to throw a big event for mortgage originators, it just wasn’t going to happen. 2009 is proof of that. My goal – no, make that my legacy – is proving that wrong. I know that Mortgage Revolution is going to be my full time job for the next 4 months, and it’s an unpaid volunteer gig. But at the end of the day, I’m positive that we’re going to change the mortgage industry for the better – perhaps forever.
It’s an accomplishment that pales in comparison to MJ’s legacy. But we all have to start somewhere.
We have all said it, and for short snippets of time, we may have even done it. My question – how’s that workin’ for ya now!? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t even have this nailed down myself. In fact – disclaimer here – this post… yeah, I am writing for me.
If the reader gets something out of this, uh, that is good too.
It is a noble and glorious thought that the mere love of our families, addictions [like living indoors, eating daily, etc.] and desire to grow are enough to take us where we want to go in our careers. You would think – wouldn’t you? I would! What would being accountable to 2-3 other guys in the mortgage business bring to the table that my deep affection for my family would not? The short answer is – I don’t know! The slightly longer answer [with no greater insight, mind you] is that I DON’T KNOW BUT IT WORKS.
For some reason,accountability with people you respect, like, and trust can be the ‘magic bullet’ that many are searching for. So why don’t more of us step up to the plate and become accountable to one another?
Whether it is fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being vulnerable [i.e. being "found out" that you are human] or something few of us would admit to – fear of success, fear can be the biggest stumbling block to any action. My advice? [Remember, this post is for me, not the reader] GET OVER YOURSELF! You are not that big of a deal. Suck it up punk!
The key to a successful accountability relationship, as I touched on earlier, is for it to be with people that you respect, like, and trust. Without that – your results may be less than you desire. Why? Because there needs to be internal pain for not performing or pulling your weight and that will ONLY work if you have to report lack-luster efforts to someone you care about. This also leads in to why they must be people you trust. Not only must you care about them – but they must care about you as well… meaning they will be firm but still support you. [Don't worry, this doesn't mean you have to turn in your "man-card" - quite the contrary, actually.] I am reminded of a segment out of a very popular book – you may have hear of it - the Bible, that I understand as applying to accountability. It goes something like this;
This kind of vulnerability and accountability only works when you know those you are entrusting your ‘humanness’ to, have your best interest at heart. Now there are two ways to do this – you can either throw money at it, or throw time at it… just pick one.
This is the ‘throw money at the need’ solution. I personally have never really been coached, in the sense that I have paid someone to keep my feet to the fire. The one exception is that I participated in a joint weekly call with Tim Davis and about 30 LOs. This was a great thing to participate in and may be an inexpensive way for folks that have never been “coached” to see what it can be like. Typically, however, due to mere numbers of participants, the personally attention is diminished and you won’t get the full impact of coaching. [The other side is you don't have to pay the full freight either.] Two coaches that I trust are Tim Davis and Victoria del Frate.
This is the ‘throw time at the need’ solution. A team can consist of 2-5 players – anymore and I think you are diluting the impact. Five is an absolute maximum. Here is why it takes time for this solution to unfold. First, YOU – cowboy – have to be the kind of person that people respect, like and trust. Building that awareness with people that are worthy of being accountable with is not easy and is an investment that can only mature over time [Law of Incubation]. For the record, I have attempted being accountable to folks that fell completely flat. You will too. Expect it. You first accountability group will not likely be the final one you end up with. So what – start anyway. The second reason this takes time… chemistry and likemindedness are difficult to find and even harder to maintain. Once you find it – you will know – and will be forever better.
In conclusion, here is a small exercise.
“I, [insert name here], commit to myself to seek out those that I respect, like, and trust. I am doing this [not I will do this] in order to begin identifying those that can help hold me accountable for the things I should be doing anyway for Pete’s sake. [Yes, you have to say, "for Pete's sake" or it won't work.] I have made it this far in a battered industry – and dog-gone-it I owe it to my peers, my family, and myself to be better than I am today.”
Go get ‘em Tiger!
[Batteries not included]
I just started a new free podcast for Today’s Loan Originator called The Originators Guide. Here is today’s episode and notes. Enjoy and go make a sale!
Setting proper expectations in today’s market
- You have to accept the current market
- It is what it is. Stop living in the past.
- Some will some won’t so what
- You have to be knowlegable about the current market, this builds your confidence
- This requires study from trusted sources
- You have to communicate clearly, politely, and with authority
- I like phone communication followed up with a written documents, then seared in with video
- Do Not talk industry language with clients. They will nod but they do not understand!
- Remember facts tell but stories sell. Use stories to illustrate your point!
- You MUST get EVERYONE’S buy in. the agents, the buyers and the sellers!
- Make sure you UNDERPROMISE and OVERDELIVER!
- This is no time for short rate locks to gain an extra 25
- Watch your good faith estimates!
- When you know that issues can come up build that into the time!
- You have to establish a frequent communication system
- You better be calling them long before they call you!