Mortgage Lending 2014

Mortgage Lending 2014

I realize not all of my followers are connected to mortgage lending, but from time to time I want to specifically speak to a subject I have close ties to. In my role as an Executive Coach with Building Champions I currently serve over 25 clients who are either loan originators, branch managers, or regional managers. All desire to be successful in business and in life.

As many of you are aware, the mortgage landscape for 2014 is shaping up very differently than just a year ago. With rates rising slowly (following a record 3 year run of historical all-time lows) the market is virtually void of refinancing opportunities. Most banks and mortgage companies saw this coming last summer and began telling their producers to wean their reliance on refinance loans to fund the majority of their pipelines.

To replace this record-setting volume, loan originators began a mad dash to re-engage with the real estate community in the hopes of shifting their production to purchase business. For a few, that business never went away and simply required an adjustment to the business plan. For most, it meant a completely new plan of attack… or a quick exit from the business.

For those that had the vision to stay and fight to be relevant in this space, 2014 has suddenly shown most a truism: what got you here won’t get you there. This market is lean, mean, and ready to frustrate even the most positive of people! Inventory is spotty, values are inconsistent, and buyers are coming to the table with really difficult credit histories. Add to that, the most common referral sources are the real estate agents who have buyers out in the market… and those agents are overwhelmed with lenders begging them to meet for coffee, lunch, or happy hour.

In this dog-eat-dog world of mortgage lending, only the big dogs seem to rule the porch. And they are not about to let any new puppies eat out of their bowls. So what is a loan originator to do if he/she wants to thrive?

I see many professionals in many markets, and the lenders who are making it happen have three common denominators: faith, hope & love.

The best lenders have faith in a market that has many positive factors, and they just refuse to listen to the bad news about the few things that aren’t working. They know their competitors are afraid and they thrive on that!

The best lenders have hope that the growing trend of value growth means that they can cast a 10 year vision and believe that a lot of better days are ahead. They hear the doubt in their competitors and they use it as fuel!

The best lenders love this business and all that it provides for them, their families, and the clients they get to serve. They love the pace, they love the battle, and they love winning. They shake off losses quickly and use that loss as fuel to go after the next one with even more vigor. They simply love mortgage lending!

Faith, hope & love. Do you have them? The greatest of these is love – because a love for this business will put faith & hope back in play. Without love, you can fake it, but you won’t make it. The best lenders already know this, and they are just waiting patiently on the porch to eat out of your bowl.

So… Where is the love?

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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Coaching Leadership


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What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference?

Like many of you I have studied many great authors who write about people who achieve success. I have also read those who have learned the deeper impact of significance… Both can be powerful, but often I realize that the separation between good and great is often very slight. Yet it feels like a Grand Canyon! History suggests that very few people accomplish things that many of their peers dream about, but never experience.

So what’s the difference between success and significance?

Let’s start off by dismissing a lie about success: Many “successful people” have created an insulated world in which they work so hard and carry so much stress, that they literally feel like they are one weight shy of a shipwreck inside. Yet they’ve been told, “never let them see you sweat.” So they wear busyness like a badge of honor and receive the accolades from everyone who praises their incredible capacity and work ethic. That praise both feeds the beast to achieve and numbs the pain of the stress they feel inside.

The truth is, most of the truly successful people are so clear on their purpose that they manage their margin like a treasure they can not afford to lose. As Warren Buffet is credited with having said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

By living with the conviction to say no to many really good things, and avoid being busy all day/week, the truly successful actually have the margin to be significant. To follow a calling. To lead a team toward a level of purpose that separates them from their busy peers.

Another truth about most successful people is they get more rest than you would believe. They drink water, they stay fit, and the sleep at least 8 hours a night… with no late-night TV. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Try it for 30 days and you will learn two things – getting enough rest is both hard, and good.

By living with the conviction that their body is a critical part of their ability to achieve great things, the truly successful have the capacity to be significant. To think clearly. To listen more. To lead by example that most of their busy peers can never quite get right.

A final truth about most successful people is they aren’t fixed on what their competition is doing. Oh sure, they know their market, they know their numbers, and by result, they know who their competition is and what they are doing. But they have a clear resolve to focus on what they can do better.

This conviction is so important – it allows the truly successful to have composure as they go into the daily battle. The know what really matters for their victory each day/week/season. They find significance doing the few things that really matter, that they can control, and they do not let what others are doing distract them from their vision or their plan.

This video clip is a beautiful example of thinking differently about success… I hope you will find some inspiration today in your world to apply something new so you can start moving from success to significance.

What will be the difference for you this week?


Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Coaching Leadership


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Decisions Have Consequences

Decisions Have Consequences

This weekend I received some disturbing news about a friend. We have not been as close in the last few years as we were 10 years ago, and I was not prepared for the reality that his decisions over the past two years had left him in. My point here is not to gossip – I love my friend, and I have no motivation to air his dirty laundry. I know if anyone were to air mine, I’d be embarrassed, if not humbled by the impact of some choices I’ve made in my life. Let’s just get this out there now: If we’re making an “I’m not perfect” line, let me in.

My message today is simple: Decisions are like dominos. For good or for bad, our decisions have consequences.

Stop and take inventory of your decisions so far this year. We are, for all intents and purposes, 25% of the way thru 2014. How are you doing so far with your personal goals? How about your professional goals? What can you do today – and this week – to make sure you have a plan to get your momentum moving back toward the results you are hoping for?

Let me give you three clear steps to take today.

  1. Be honest. First with yourself, then with the ones who you love, as well as all those who are counting on you. Stop blaming your results on things that you can’t control, and stop making excuses for the things you can control but you chose to ignore. Every choice you make today is either moving you forward or backward – don’t buy the lie that tells you to put off today the things you know you need to do. You own those choices.
  2. Be forgiving. First with yourself, then with the ones you love, as well as those who you counted on and didn’t deliver. Every day that you hold blame against yourself and others is a day you limit your potential to move forward. Living in the past is like trying to swim in the ocean with your belt tied to an anchor. You get to work really hard and don’t really get anywhere. And if you give up, you drown. Cut the line and forgive your past so you can get moving toward your future.
  3. Be smart. First with yourself, then with the ones you love, as well as those who make a living based on the choices you make. I don’t care if you run a Fortune 100 company, are employed, or are self-employed – you know there are certain things you must do each and every day to win. If you didn’t make a single sales call yesterday and your job is selling, be smarter than that – decisions like that will eventually put you out of business. I could give you 100 examples, but you get the point – do the hard things required of you to succeed in the role you are being paid to perform.

As you pause and reflect, what changes do you need to make in your business plan in order to get your year moving in the right direction?

What decisions do you need to make in your life plan to get the things that matter most back on track and moving toward the results you will be happy with?

As you consider these questions, remember… you are already moving in the right direction by writing down your answers. Then all you can do is take action!

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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Coaching Leadership


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Give Me a Break!

Give Me a Break!

Yes, it is that time of year. Here in Portlandia, many families are ready to flee from the cold and rain to find warmer weather in destinations to the south in an annual ritual known to all students as: Spring Break.

To those  of you about to work right thru until the summer with no time off, I say, give me a break!

I know the excuses – I’ve heard them all… The economy is too tight for a vacation… I’m just too busy… I can’t afford the backlog of work that will pile up if I leave… My competitors are still working and I can’t afford to lose any ground… and on, and on, and on…

E-Myth Spoiler Alert – this is the delusional rationale that every entrepreneur struggles with!!  There will always be an excuse, so be prepared for the more compelling reasons why you truly need to get away from it all.

  1. Burnout.  Without regular breaks with full disconnect (yes, I’m talking to the smart phone addict in all of us) the risk of stress-related burnout is incredibly high. In order to reduce stress you need many things – a balanced diet, exercise, sleep… but critical is the ability to escape from your routine in order to properly refresh your body & mind.
  2. Distance.  Remember the old saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder”? Think about your employees, or your team. You probably think that can’t survive without you. Actually, they all wish you would go away for a while so you can come back rested, relaxed, and happy. Let’s face it – it’s nice to be missed, so give them a reason to miss you.
  3. Appreciation.  Most serial entrepreneurs experience the dip when they get away – it takes 2 days to decompress, then a long stretch of fun as they forget about work for a while… but then the wheels start turning and they suddenly remember what they love about their business and they get excited to return. Hint – if you find yourself dreading the return, that should tell you something.
  4. Creativity.  During that stretch after you decompress, a fog begins to lift in your mind. Suddenly your brain is functioning properly again as you allow your creative juices to flow like they did back when you started your business. Don’t be fooled – go-getters, promoters, and connectors of all types need the freedom to be creative in business – give your brain a chance…
  5. Perspective.  Let’s face it – after a long stretch with no breaks, even your favorite work begins to feel like a daily grind. You get caught up in the day-to-day problems and putting our fires, but this never allows you time to reflect and develop strategies to decide if the problems you  typically manage could be avoided with proper planning. Remember, you can’t see the forest when you spend all day staring at one tree at a time.

I’m sure there are dozens of other good reasons to get away – think of every person you love and you can probably start imagining reasons I could never spell out for you. Hopefully you are wise enough to see the point – trust me you and everyone around you will benefit.

So go ahead – get out of here! There will be plenty of work for you to do when you get back.

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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Open Season


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Welcome to Sales 4.0

Welcome to Sales 4.0

Welcome to 2014 where we now live in a new and exciting season in sales. Looking back, a lot has changed in the history of sales. Of course sales people have existed for thousands of years, and most could be found in a bazaar or marketplace where vendors brought and sold products daily to buyers who came looking for specific items. Think of that as sales 1.0

If you grew up in a baby boomer home where your father was in sales, you’ve heard all of the stories… and some of them were true! In the post WWII era thru the 1970′s sales activity expanded from reactive to proactive. New salespeople went door-to-door and used every trick in the book to get in front of the decision-maker. Most carried samples and were prepared for live demonstrations because the best potential was to catch a warm prospect who was live on the hook and reel them in. Think of this as sales 2.0…

The 1980′s brought new technologies and new strategies that included more direct mailing, fax marketing, and more networking into the mix. As the sales person found even the slightest bit if interest, the full-court press was on with a quick pitch that led to the follow up process. Quotes were faxed (later emailed), and calls were made over and over until the prospect finally agreed or was forced to move locations and change numbers. This was the season of sales 3.0… and guess what? The sales process has changed again.

Welcome to the season of Sales 4.0. Today, any customer you’d like to serve can spend about 20 minutes online and be equally informed as you – the sales professional – on everything from function, to price, to availability. The customer is more educated than ever before and they now have systems set up to block (or at least filter) those of you still operating in sales 2.0 or 3.0… So where does that leave you as a sales person?

How about being HIGHLY VISIBLE to these people when they begin searching for information? If you know consumers are looking for information related to your product or service, why not be highly engaged? You can build credibility with customers who consume your content, as long as it is accurate, it is easy to find, and even easier to understand. And if they can see that other credible people have also chosen to trust you as a resource for their solution, then you have simply increased your market cap.

The bottom line – both online and in person you must be present with answers to questions. With that visibility you must build credibility with information to support your answers to their questions in order to be chosen as the solution provider. Oh, and by the way… the sales transaction will be driven by the customer, not you. You are the supplier – the customer will drive the demand.

This is a paradigm shift for some of you because it means that you have to spend more time learning about the client’s dilemma… their needs… their problems. It’s less about “selling” and more about providing answers – proactively. You need to be where they go looking before they have even contacted you so you gain the inside track when they are ready to click “purchase” to close the sale.

Is it time to review your Simple Business Plan to see where you can begin applying sales 4.0 strategies?

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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Coaching Leadership


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As a coach I am called to serve many clients who bring unique styles and circumstances to the table during our sessions. Occasionally I find myself thinking that the dilemma they keep facing needs to be simplified.

In that spirit I offered my previous post as a clear directive to stay focused on only the the things that matter most that you CAN control.

Today, in good humor, I offer an even easier answer…

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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Open Season


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How do you end your week?

How do you end your week?

I talk with a lot of successful clients. Most of them manage more activities in a day than they should, and we spend time regularly trying to find out what really matters that they CAN control, and we focus on that first.

At the end of the week, lots of loose ends get left undone, and for some of you that is stressful. Nothing leaves you more exhausted at the end of a week than feeling like you could not get everything done. Leaving it only means it is just waiting for you on Monday, when… surprise – more things get added to the pile!

There are a few proven strategies to priority management that we coach and practice, but I’d like to focus on how we finish the week. Michael Hyatt touched on this in his “How Millionaires Manage Their Time” blog. One of his examples is a best practice called “The Friday 15.” Let’s take a look at how Michael presented it:

Practice the Friday 15. This is a system that was introduced to me by my millionaire friend, Hugh Culver. It is a great way reset your week, even though you want to be relaxing or going home early. It sets you up for the next week, so you can be more productive.

[In this exercise] you only have fifteen minutes. The first thing I do is look at my plan for the week. [When I do] I see this disaster that started out so beautifully organized. I got a lot of stuff done but a lot of times my list is longer than when I started.

So I looked at that and decided what it is that I can just finish in a couple of minutes. Because sometimes I just need to return a phone call, pay a bill, or change something on my blog. I get it done!

The second thing I look at is what I want to move to next week or I want to either delegate to the people that I outsource to or that I want to get rid of. So I delegate it or dump it.

Then the third thing is to create a new plan for next week. One of the mistakes we often make when we create a plan or a list is we put everything in there that we hope to do. But our expectations are too high. What I encourage people to do is keep it down to about a dozen things that are really critical for next week and that’s what I call your flight plan. So, just like a pilot taking of, I now know where I need to land. So by Friday those need to be completed.

The last thing that I do is I clean up my area. I put stuff away. I get rid of clutter. I get rid of the Post-It notes, those three felt pens, two pens, and a pencil, because when I come in, I want to feel successful. And I never feel successful if I’m surrounded by clutter. Because clutter is not only a distraction—I look at it, and I think about it!—clutter reminds me I have not completed something.

So when I come in on Monday, I feel successful, I’ve got my flight plan and I’m ready to go. So that’s why I call it your ‘Friday 15.’”


My question iswould this simple proven strategy help you to tie out your week, leave your work with a feeling of accomplishment, and re-enter the work space Monday refreshed to tackle the things that matter most?

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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Coaching Leadership


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