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The Professor, The Pickle Jar, and Two Cans of Beer.

I don’t know if y’all know about my buddy Kevin Gillespie.

Kevin is one of my business partners, and a very near, very dear friend. But most importantly, Kevin sometimes serves as my personal accountability partner, and I serve as his. We make sure that the other doesn’t get too caught up in a quicksand pit of little things that, left unchecked, can consume you.

Sadly though, Kevin and I are busy guys. Between coming up with future strategies, working with our clients, and handling the day to day needs of our businesses and our employees, we can get pretty swamped. And sometimes, it gets overwhelming, and we can get caught in that sandpit.

But tell you what, every time one of us starts to get a little in over our heads, the other brings up a great story and fantastic life lesson that we learned some time ago, and I’d like to share it with y’all today.

The story is about a professor, an empty jar of pickles, and two cans of beer.

A college professor stood before his freshman philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he silently picked up a very large, empty pickle jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. Then the professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. Next, the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.” The professor then cracked open the two cans of beer and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. “Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions – and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.” “The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house and your car and so on.” “The sand is everything else – the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. “Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and do the laundry. Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities… Life is not a dress rehearsal… The rest is just sand.” One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.” “It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a beer with a friend.”

Moral: Life is full of all sorts of distractions, worries, stresses. There can be a lot of “sand” in your life, but remember that the golf balls come first. You can deal with the sand later. Whenever life starts to get too full of sand, and you start struggling to fit your golf balls in, crack that beer, reconnect with a friend, and let them help you find a way to fit the golf balls. If you need help sifting through the sand, come hang out with me and Kevin for a couple days here, and we’ll crack a beer with you and help you re-organize your pickle jar…..

www.MasterMindRetreats.com

 

Article Originally Published on LinkedIn
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Words of Encouragement…

“Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.”

Words are a powerful thing. Regardless of whether they’re used for encouragement and positivity, or in anger or disgust, they have a lasting effect on who they’re directed at. Take me and my buddy Jim for example. We’re the perfect example of how both positive and negative words can affect someone for the rest of their lives.

So when I was about 7 years old, I was in front of my grandfather’s house rowing an old 12-foot wooden fishing boat in the river that his house sat on with my grandfather watching over me. As I was slowly heading over to the other shore, I heard my grandfather bellow from the shoreline: “Now that boy knows how to row a boat!” When I heard his words of encouragement, I found myself digging in and giving it all I had. I imagined that if there was a skier being pulled behind my boat, she would be holding on for dear life as I raced across the water. When I heard my grandfather praise me like that, all of my doubts and misgivings about my rowing skills vanished, and I had suddenly become the best dang rower in the state of Florida.

Now, I had not thought anything about that for many years, until one day not too long ago. A buddy of mine, Jim, and I rented a small rowboat down at Hillsboro State Park (just a bit down the road from where I live now), and it has a pretty swift current. We all know that if you are going in a canoe or small boat, you always paddle upstream first, and do the easy “downstream drift” on the way back. So as we jumped in the boat (which had but one set of oars), my buddy Jim asked: “Who starts first to go upstream?”

Remembering my grandfather’s words of encouragement all those years ago, my chest swelled with pride, and I confidently said, “Jim, I’ll do the upstream part, I know it sounds funny, but I have a knack for rowing a boat, it’s something I’m really good at.”As I was sitting there rowing upstream, making pretty good time, I starting thinking about what I had told Jim, “I have a knack for rowing a boat, it’s something I’m really good at.” Keep in mind, that it had been probably only half a dozen times or so that I had even rowed a boat since I was a small boy boating in my grandfather’s river, and I honestly had no reason to believe that I was an expert rower, except for my grandfather’s comments from way back when. That’s when I chuckled to myself. Here I was, a grown man, with adult children of my own, and around 40 years later, the words of encouragement that my grandfather had given me on that one particular day, had planted itself as a “known truth” and shaped my belief system that I was a world class fishing boat rower. As I sat there with my friend Jim, chuckling, he asked me what was so funny, so I told him the story. After I told him why I thought I was such an expert oarsman, he laughed and he told me that I had stated that I was great at rowing with such certainty, that he didn’t even question it and was sure I was the best to be rowing upstream…

As we sat there in that boat, quiet for about a minute, I saw tears well up in my friend’s eyes. I asked him what was going on. He told me that as a young boy, his father told him that he would never amount to anything. He said it was right at that moment that he realized he had bought in to his father’s corrosive comments so many years ago, and that because of those words, in the back of his mind he truly believed he wouldn’t ever amount to anything either, and he had been carrying that weight with him since he was a small boy.

My point in sharing this today is, please give words of encouragement to all you come in contact with, no matter their age. You never know the impact that it will have, not just for that day or even that week, but perhaps for their next 50 years or more. I’m forever grateful that I had an amazing grandfather who gave me an abundance of encouragement. I wish I could thank him at this very moment, for giving me the opportunity to tell YOU that YOU are an amazing person, and God only made one of you. You are unique in all of the histories of the World, and you are worthy of amazing things. If someone ever told you that you wouldn’t amount to anything, I want you to forget what that person said, and listen to what I’m saying now: You WILL amount to something, and you WILL be successful, because I know you will, and I believe in you. Stop carrying that weight around my friend, and be happy, joyous, and free in your life.

I know you can do it. It’s time that you realized that you can do it too.

Warmest of wishes,

Carl White

P.S. On a side note…Want to hang out with a small group of LOs and map out ways to close more loans in less time and with fewer headaches….. so you can spend time rowing your boat? Get the scoop here: www.MasterMindRetreats.com

Article Originally Published on LinkedIn

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Loan Officers / Jimi Hendrix & The Right Handed Guitar: How to Overcome Adversity in a Rising Rate Market

Jimi Hendrix played his guitar “both-handed”. The Stratocaster he was famous for was turned upside down and restrung for a leftie. Why not just get a left-handed guitar? In his early teens, Jimmy’s dad purchased a guitar for him. He had been playing a one-string ukulele that he found on a trash heap. Jimi’s dad purchased the guitar for his son, but demanded he play right handed. Back in those days lefties got a bad rap. Jimi learned to play the guitar upside down and backwards to fit his left hand. He became obsessed with practicing his guitar. Constantly practicing. He also learned to appease his dad by playing right handed, or as he later described “both-handed”.

When he was playing his guitar as a “leftie”, when he heard his father walking down the hall to his room, he would switch over to playing it right-handed in mid-song without missing a beat, playing it as one consecutive song with no breaks.

He knew if his father caught him playing left-handed, he would lose his prized possession, the guitar.

Jimi said it was learning how to play in this situation of adversity is what lead him to be, what many would say, the best guitarist in the world.

This lead to a lifelong practice of taking right-handed guitars, turning them upside down, and restringing them for a left-handed player. The effect on the Stratocaster was the complete opposite of what was intended by the guitar maker. “Bright highs and delicate lows” created by the restringing set Jimi apart among, of course, many other things.

Times of adversity are where the gold mines are found.

Much has been said for how overcoming tough times creates great players. But I see lots of folks out there showing info graphs of rates in the 80’s or talking about reduction of buying power. While those things are true, it’s not why people buy homes, and not why they get a mortgage from you. They buy from you because your unique selling position fits their goals.

If you are selling rate and cost, you might as well sell pencils. Don’t be a commodity, bring value. When we sell based on our values and principles, the people who need those values and adhere to those principles will find us.

“What are you trying to say Carl?” Well, what I’m trying to point out to you is: what people really want, and why they should get it from you. BIG HINT: It’s not rate.

We just had a Freedom Club (a group of top loan officers) meeting where these top loan officers from around the country talked about the scripts and methods to lead clients to what they really want. Your clients want someone with expertise, options, knowledge, someone guiding them through the murky waters of purchase a home. Someone with their best interest at heart. They want a good degree of certainty and convenience during the process.

The scripts we wrote have nothing to do with rates and everything to do with your client’s ultimate goal.

There will always be someone that only cares about price, or has a wealth manager at a big bank that will kick your butt in rate. Those people are not your customer. Move on my friend! Send them to your favorite pencil seller.

If you need help communicating your value to clients, we have the scripts just for you. If you are having difficulty with knowing your unique strengths and how to attract clients in need of those strengths, we can help you with that as well.

Join Us Here: www.MasterMindRetreats.com

Tough times call for innovation, obsessive practice, knowing who you are and how you best serve your clients. Wrap that up in great scripting to have the confidence to keep closing loans while others are checking Chase’s website to see if their rates are okay.

Let’s turn that guitar upside down and backwards. See you in Clearwater.

Carl
Article Originally Published on LinkedIn
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Hierarchy of Leads- Overcoming Call Reluctance- Ralph Watkins

So, I recently got a call from a client who said, “Man, I’m really struggling today.  It looks like my call reluctance is rearing its ugly head….again.”  ☹   Since most Loan Officers deal with call reluctance at some level, I thought it would be good to share an idea that has coalesced into a guiding principle.

I asked, “So, what is at the heart of your call reluctance?  Is it a fear of all calls or ‘just’ a fear making cold calls?”  She said, “I really hate making cold calls.”

As an aside, if your call reluctance is a fear of making ANY phone calls, you may need to reconsider whether this is the profession for you.  If you fear making cold calls, which is really the fear of rejection, take heart, you’re in good company and depending on your situation, you may be fretting over nothing.

“Fair enough,” I said. “I’m just curious. How many loans with contracts do you currently have in your pipeline?” “About 12,” she replied.  “Cool,” I said. “Do you remember that ninja system we have for marketing to your pipeline, which, by the way is your number one source for new business?”  “Yes,” she replied again. “Great!  Have you made those calls for this week?” I asked. “Well, no. Not yet.”
“Ok, well whom should you be calling first for more business?  Is it people with files in escrow in your current pipeline who actually WANT you to call them, or people who don’t know you, aren’t working with you and want you to just leave them alone?  ‘Uh, well clearly, the people in my pipeline,” she answered.

“That’s right!” I continued. “Now, after your pipeline, your next best source for business is your past client database. Are you totally current with your quarterly calls, your monthly mailer and your weekly emails to your database?”  (pause) “….uh, no.”  “Ok, so same question, whom should you call first for more business?  Is it people that you have already helped and know how awesome you and your team are, or people who have never worked with you and don’t know what you can do?”  “Well, it would be the peeps in my database,” she answered again.

Ok, good.  Now let’s talk about Realtor calls.  Why do we even make them?”  She answered, “So that we can book face to face appointments to create new referral relationships.”  I said, “Correct! Now, who is it easier to get to meet face to face with you, Agents you know or Agents you don’t know?”  “Agents I know, of course,” she said. “Right.” I continued. “So, who should you be calling first for appointments?”  “Agents I know.”

I then asked, “Do you have any issue calling Agents you know and inviting them to coffee?” “Nope.”
“Ok, well you’ve been doing loans in this town for over 20 years. You must know dozens of Realtors.” “I do,” she agreed.  “Perfect,” I said. “So, using our Thor’s Hammer system for reaching out to Realtors, if you call through your known Agents first, you’ll likely never even get to the ones you don’t know.”  She responded “Wow! I guess I never thought of it that way.”

So, in summary, FIRST we call though our pipeline, THEN we call through our database, THEN we reach out to our known Agents.  After these calls have been completed, then in your spare time, if you feel like it, you can make cold calls to unknown Realtors. 😀    Understanding this Hierarchy of Leads and using it to prioritize your calls really can help you overcome call reluctance.

Now, what if, on top of having call reluctance, you’re brand new in the business (or just returning), have no pipeline or database and you don’t know anyone?  The good new is that we have an excellent strategy for working with Title Companies to generate an unlimited warm list of producing Realtors who are expecting your call.  The bad news is that that will have to wait for a different post, OR if you’d like that information sooner, why not click the banner on this page to schedule a free strategy call?  In addition to that strategy, we’ll help you take an inventory of the business assets you have and then map out a blueprint to help you move forward by using what you have to get what you want.  You may discover that your call reluctance is “much ado about nothing.”
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To Build a Fire- Ralph Watkins

One of my fondest memories of my father was his love of camping. We had a huge green army tent that could sleep our whole family of seven plus assorted cousins and friends. We camped regularly at several locations in Michigan and Central Florida where I learned about hiking, canoeing, exploring and of course, how to build a fire. I really loved it when it was cold and we all sat around the fire to stay warm and enjoy each others’ company.

One of the early lessons was pretty straight forward. What do you do if you want more heat? Do you A) carefully build on the fire you already have by adding increasingly larger twigs and sticks, then logs that can burn to generate many times the heat that you started with, or B) start a whole new fire from scratch hoping that the combined heat of them will somehow warm your campsite?

The obvious answer is “A”. Yet when I interview Loan Officers across the country to help them map out their success strategies for the next 12 months, an alarming number of them choose “B”.

What do campfires have to do with the mortgage industry? A fire is certainly an asset to your camping experience. It serves more than one purpose, providing warmth and acting as a center of activity. You need to expend the time, energy and resources to create it but once it is going, it’s easy to maintain. Much the same can be said of the marketing for your mortgage business.

I’ve lost count, though, of how many time I’ve seen Loan Officers walk right past a blazing fire in their marketing which will give them everything they need, in order to try to start a brand new one. I’m frequently on the phone with people who are closing 5, 8, 10, 12 or even more loans per month and NEVER reach out to their existing pipeline or their closed loan database for more business while embarking on undeveloped strategies that will take much more time and investment to bring to fruition.

The aforementioned sources are not simply the low hanging fruit in your business, they are ripe fruit that has fallen off the tree and is just waiting to be picked up.

“But don’t I have to call referral partners and book face to face meetings to develop relationships that generate referrals?” Honestly, that depends. There are marketing strategies that are appropriate for each stage of business development. If you’re new to the business (or just returning) so you have no relationships, pipeline or database of closed loans, then yes. You need to be banging that phone. But if you’ve already got the “fire burning” with established relationships, a full pipeline, and a growing database, shouldn’t you build on that instead of starting a new fire?

“Does marketing to my pipeline and database actually work??” Our client Brandon increased his business by 633% in 12 months just by marketing to his pipeline. Jay went from 5 closings to 20 closings per month just by marketing to his database.

“Are those results typical?” Of course not. 🙂 According to the 80/20 rule, if 100 Loan Officers close 250 loans in a month, just 20 of them will close 200 (or 10 each). That means that the other 80 “typical” LOs will close the other 50 between them (or 5/8 of one loan each month). Then again, the typical LO doesn’t market to their pipeline or database. They are too busy starting new fires that go out before they get hot.

By the way, the reason that this “inside” marketing works is that when it is done properly, it doesn’t look like marketing. It looks a lot like helping, and it is much easier than starting new relationships from scratch. The even better news is that it can be done FOR you by most high schoolers.

So, do you want to build your business the hard way or the easy way? If this resonates with you, why not click the banner on this page to schedule a free strategy call? We’ll help you take an inventory of the business assets you have and then map out a blueprint to help you move forward by using what you have to get what you want. Who knows? You may discover that you have a burning fire you didn’t even know about.
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