I don’t know if you know this, but I used to be a Boy Scout back in the day. I wasn’t too good at a lot of the things we did in survival training, but I liked learning about everything. One of the skills we had to learn was how to make a fire. To get a spark to start the fire, we learned how to create friction with a drill bow – basically, a round wooden stick that was in a vertical position, placed on a second flat, horizontal piece of wood. (Think of an upside-down T.) Then we would wind a string around the vertical stick to spin it back and forth quickly; the friction caused at the contact point between these two pieces of wood created a spark. Once we had a spark, we could start our fire. So, friction caused us to create fire.
Now, is creating a fire in business a good thing? Maybe… but you want the fire to be about visibility in your market, generating leads, and getting and closing lots of deals instead of having a raging fire in your infrastructure, your team, or your in-house systems. The way to make sure you have fire in the right places in your business is to create a frictionless business.
Look around your office right now. How far away is your computer? Your printer? Your stapler? Can you reach them without pulling a shoulder? Is your chair comfortable? Do you have pens and paper handy or do you have to get up and walk over to a file cabinet to get them? Can you get ahold of a team member easily or do you shout down the hall to get their attention? Where are the things that hold you up or take extra time because they’re not set up just right for you to be productive and at peak performance? Those are your friction points.
Here are other friction-makers in business… not having a complete file on your prospects, clients and/or agents and referral partners. Not being able to see exactly where each deal is and who is handling what part of the deal(s). Not having the right team members – trained – in place. Doing manual data entry on the same file in two or more places. Basically, anything that is redundant as a processor that gets in the way of or slows you in delivering a great result and experience to your potential and current clients is a friction point.
Or we can think about it in the opposite – what makes a frictionless business? I would suggest having the ability to call up and rely on accurate, relevant, complete information on each prospect, client, agent and referral partner on command. Having the ability to communicate to each of your prospects and clients quarterly is a big deal. Having the right technology to leverage your time and energy. Having the right team members who are trained and can handle processing the deals once you get them in the door. Having the right corporate culture that supports innovation, fast-thinking and serving your clients in a personal way is critical. Having the ability to attract new prospects and then convert them to work with you for their deals easily is a big key to success.
Basically, anything that allows you to attract, educate and nurture clients and close deals more efficiently, quickly and easily in a cost-effective, timely and streamlined way makes your business frictionless. (Try saying that three times fast!)
4 Keys to Frictionless Business
While you can see there are many things that add up to having a frictionless business, there are four keys that can help you leverage your time and energy in making your mortgage business frictionless and more successful with less effort.
1. A Motivated Culture
The culture of any business is, basically, the heartbeat of the business. It’s the unspoken ‘hum’ that you and your team members create through language, behaviors and attitudes. The unwritten culture guides team members in making decisions, collaborating effectively (or not), gives your team ‘the feels’, and creates safe space for trying new things to improve helping your clients. When I say ‘safe space’, that’s not about the office environment, although that’s important too. Instead, it’s a mindset that supports team members in finding new ways to support your clients and close deals more effectively. Growth needs motivated team members and wiggle room. So your culture needs to value continuous improvement, forgive mistakes and celebrate progress.
Business exists to serve clients and get paid for doing so; if your business isn’t wrapping everything around your clients, you are overlooking opportunities for growth. Consider every aspect of your brand promise, your business processes, your operations, your skills and your ability to deliver a delightful experience to your clients. Where needed, upgrade (or establish) what’s needed to ensure your clients have an exceptional experience with you and your business. If you aren’t quite sure yet what that means, focus on delivering better value and a smoother, happier experience for your clients because that’s what will make sure your business grows over time.
As we’ve already established, business is about serving clients – clients who lead dynamic, busy lives and who might have short attention spans – using your resources and capabilities. Business is changing faster than ever before in history. Your clients are being bombarded with messages and are doing more self-service research and being more informed than ever before too. You need to be able to understand trends, problem-solve and make quick decisions in your business. Your team needs to be agile and able to adopt new processes that will help serve your clients better. Being able to flex with the changes that are inevitable – because people are always changing – is how your business stays fresh and viable for the long-term.
4. Invisible Intelligence
I think I just made up a new business concept – invisible intelligence. What I mean by it is that your clients should never see you sweat. Your processes should be automated. Your team members should be able to answer the phone and pull up that client record to continue a conversation like they know what’s going on with that file. Your marketing should be cohesive, with clear messaging that relates back to your brand promise. Your online advertising should be strategic and target prospects using real-time data. Basically, make the operations invisible to make your business frictionless and your results seem effortless.
Altogether, when you look at the friction points in your business so you can eliminate, or at least neutralize, them, you set yourself up for more efficient and effective operations. That means you and your team become more productive. And that means you can help more people get the homes they want, which makes your business more profitable.
Where can you see that you need to eliminate friction in your business?
Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn
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