4 Keys to Building a Frictionless Business

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.

2. Client-Centric

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.

3. Flexibility

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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What’s Working For Your Mortgage Business Right Now

Carl White - Focus On What's Working Right Now in Your Mortgage Business - Mortgage Marketing Animals

It can be really fun to chase the next bright shiny object to build your business. In fact, I am often asked about my thoughts on the latest widget, gizmo or tool that can help grow a mortgage business. While cool tools certainly have a place in creating business success, they can be a slippery slope because we will rely on them to do what we need to do for our business growth. Relationships are the key to business success and tools can’t replace relationships. Can tools help nurture relationships? Yes. But on their own, tools are meaningless when it comes to sustainable business growth.

One of the greatest blessings of being a loan officer is having the opportunity to be creative. And one of the worst things about being a loan officer are the opportunities to be creative. While creativity is a great tool to have in your toolbox, too much can actually be a problem because when creativity combines with intelligence, you start getting a lot of new side projects.

Bear with me now because I’m going to explore a side road. There is something interesting that happens with success… your thought patterns change. Remember how you felt right after you got your first five loans a month? What did you think about that? Since I think you and I are pretty similar, chances are you thought, “hey – I did that! I can do anything now!” I think everybody likes to believe they are smart, and they can do anything they put their mind toward doing. And I believe that too. I believe you can do what you set your mind on but here’s what gets in the way: humans are hardwired to be creative.

Creativity plus smarts equals new projects. Each project you start is like the start of you building a new bridge. With creativity and inspiration, it’s easy to start building bridges; it’s a lot harder to finish the ones you’ve already started. But if you don’t finish the bridges you start, you never get to the other side. That’s the downside of “new”, “next” and “future” calling your attention.

In my opinion, it shouldn’t be all about what’s new or next, or what’s working for somebody else… instead, the question you should be asking is, “What’s working for my business right now?

The One Question to Ask Yourself

One question I always ask loan officers is, “How did you bring in your last 10 loans?” I don’t care whether you’re closing 30 loans a month or one loan every other month — what really matters is what you did to bring in your most current loans. Whether it took you a week or a year to accomplish it, what’s important is how you did it. Why? Because that’s working for you right now.

Some people will say it was closing on time or going to closing right away – which are great! – but you have to go further in answering that question. In those scenarios, ask yourself, “What did I do to bring that loan in for it to close on time? What did I do for that loan to be able to go to closing?” You have to think back to the original activity that brought in those ten loans. It might have been meeting with real estate agents, delivering a clear call to action, teaching a class to new homebuyers, social media marketing or something else but, no matter what it is, the key is to identify it and do more of it. And, naturally, to eliminate any obstacles in your way to doing more of it.

Once you’ve identified the activities that are working for you, try evaluating them using the following four steps. Remember, in answering the questions for all four steps, your ratings should be based on your approach vs. anybody else’s approach.

  1. Write down the methods you used to bring in the loans.
  2. Rank the strategies that energized you the most, using a scale of 1–10 to with 1 being the most draining and 10 representing the most passion for you.
  3. Use the same 1–10 scale only this time you will measure each strategy to see how sustainable it is and whether you can keep it going on a continuing basis.
  4. Use that same 1 – 10 rating system to measure how easy the activities are to use and complete.

Of the strategies you have been using, whichever one gets the highest grade is the one you want to be doing. Instead of focusing your attention on the new or next strategy, you just learned what you’re doing that’s working for you. Your goal is to do more of those things. As a result, you’ll find yourself feeling more energy, and enjoying your work more, because you are using strategies and techniques that are sustainable for you and don’t cause additional stress.

What does all this mean? The secret to great success in business is turning off your big brain and all that creativity from time to time. You don’t need to think of new ways to improve your business; instead, make it easy on yourself. Just do more of what’s already working.

What are some of the strategies you realize are working for you? Remember, even if you share them below, they won’t work the same for somebody else – instead, you’re sharing to inspire others to think about new possibilities. It’s impossible to ‘steal’ someone else’s way of doing business because each of us is unique. Even if someone adopted your way of doing something, their results will be different because they aren’t you.

Now I’m not asking you to share top-secret proprietary methods or anything you don’t want to share! But if you have a tip or strategy or turning point of discovery in your business, you might be the catalyst to helping someone get new results in their business. We are all friends here… thanks in advance for being willing.

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn

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#LoanOfficer #MortgageMarketing #MortgageExpert #LoanOfficers #LoanOriginators #Lenders #MortgagePro #MortgageBroker #FreedomSeeker #Branding #Mortgage #MortgageLoanOfficer #MortgageAdvisor #MortgageBanker #TheMortgageMarketingAnimals #CarlWhite #FreedomClub #LoanOfficerFreedom #MortgageLife #MortgageLifestyle #HomeLoans #LoanOfficerLife #LoanOfficerLifestyle #MortgageBoss #Entrepreneur #MortgageFinanceAdvisor #MortgageAdvisor


Are You Asking or Begging for Business?

Let’s look at two different selling conversation scenarios. In the first, the loan officer looks concerned, is over-selling with too much information and practically throwing themselves on their knees in front of the client, a bit like they are pleading for their life. They might not actually get to inviting the client to make a buying decision because they’re too engaged in their own stories about why the client should work with them. In the second scenario, the loan officer has good posture, appears confident, and asks, “Can I help you get your house with a great loan?” Which scenario do you think is going to be more attractive to a client?

I’m obviously over-dramatizing these scenarios, and it’s obvious which one a client will be more comfortable with in a buying decision. But I’ve seen a lot in my years in this business; what loan officers don’t know about how they are showing up in their selling conversations is hurting their business. This usually happens when the loan officer is new to sales, is intimidated when they think of asking for business, or feels like sales is a big manipulation. They don’t know they are, by default, setting themselves up to beg for business.

If you approach a selling conversation thinking about how badly you need the commission, that’s a mental set-up to beg for business. You are thinking about yourself, and your focus is on your scarcity vs. helping your client. If you believe that selling is unpleasant, that’s a problem too because you will naturally avoid or postpone having the sales conversation or it will come out strange when you do get to that point in the conversation.

Then there are the big-box banks that have high quotas; loan officers there are focusing on reaching those quotas so they might put their client into a program that is not in their best interest so the LO can hit their numbers. Call this unscrupulous or call it career survival tactics – either way, it’s not helpful to the client which is where our attention has to be focused.

The reality is that asking for a sale is good salesmanship – it’s something we call “closing”, and it needs to happen to help the client get what they want – their new home. When I ask someone for business, I’m confident I can help that person in many ways and dramatically impact their life for the better. To me, when I ask for business, I’m really asking, “Can I help you in a way I know I can?

In fact, when I don’t ask for a person’s business, I’m being disrespectful to that person because I know I can enhance their experience. If I hold back on making an offer because of my own projected fears that I’ll be “begging” for business, or sounding too “sales-y”, I’m preventing that person from getting the best possible service through me to have their dream home. My attitude is what determines the quality of my “ask”, so my focus is always on providing the service I know will, ultimately, help that person. And when I do that, I change that person’s life.

At the risk of taking us off-track for a second, let’s look at that for a minute… how many times has someone asked to help you with a purchase or to make a decision about making a purchase – and it changed your life? If it was something you wanted but weren’t sure how to get, or something you thought you couldn’t have until someone showed you how it could be yours with their help, wasn’t that life-changing – in only good ways? A good sales conversation shows you how you can have what you want faster and easier. And that goes for your clients too.

Four Parts in A Sales Process

There are four parts in a sale: traffic, relationship, call to action, and follow-up. Each part is about 25% of the sales process.

  1. Traffic is about how many people are seeing your business and being referred to it.
  2. Relationship focuses on how those people who learn about or come into your business feel about you. So you could have a decent amount of traffic coming your way, but if they are unclear about the value you provide or they don’t like how you do business or, worse, you insult them in some way, you’re probably not getting the sale.
  3. The call to action is one of the most critical parts of making a sale because it’s where you set up the close. You might have good traffic, and your people like and want to do business with you, but if you don’t tell them how you can help them and what they should do to work with you, you won’t have any deals.
  4. Lastly, follow-up is about being efficient in the second (relationship) and third (call to action) parts of the sale. Follow-up makes the relationship more tangible, clarifies the action steps and sets the stage for the outcome of doing business together.

All businesses have bottlenecks in one of these four areas. Any time someone comes to me with a problem about sales, I look for which stage of the process they’re missing or not handling well. For example, that loan officer might tell me they’re meeting with clients and agents but not asking for business. When I hear that, it’s good news. Why? Because it means all they’re missing is a call to action, which is the quickest, easiest and cheapest fix of the four parts of the sale. It’s nothing more than actually asking for business.

What gets in the way of asking for business? I believe it’s the fear of rejection. When people say no to us in the sales world, they’re not saying, “I don’t like you,” even though that can be what we think sometimes. But that’s a lie. It’s not personal. The reason a prospective client says no is almost always because that individual doesn’t need what we’re currently offering.

I have a good example for you. Recently, I bought a set of new tires for my Jeep. I thoroughly enjoyed the sales process – the business is solid, the tires are spectacular, and the salesman – Larry – was a great guy. Imagine if Larry were to call me up today and say, “Hey Carl, you know those big expensive tires you bought? I’ve got the deal of a lifetime. For $100 – a fraction of the original price – I’ll sell you a whole new set. You just have to use them for yourself and not sell them.” What would I say? “Larry – no, thanks.” That would be my answer not because my experience was terrible, but because I don’t need another set of brand-new tires at the moment.

So when an agent tells you “no,” it just means they’re already working with an amazing loan officer and everything is working great. But you and I know things go wrong all the time; and, when they do, there is an opportunity. If their loan officer isn’t asking for business and you are, eventually you’ll win out because you’re the one who’s doing all the asking. A gentleman I saw speak at a seminar once told me an invaluable piece of wisdom. He said, “Carl, whoever makes the most offers wins. If you want to make more sales, make more offers. Ask for more business.” It just stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Business is about asking how you can serve with what you know or have to help that person. Good business means you can get the transaction done in a clean, timely way. Great business means you care about the impact you’re having with the person while delivering value on your promise to them.

So, as you’re having a conversation with someone — I don’t care who you’re talking to, how the conversation started, or what script you’re using — one of the last things you need to say is, “Can I count on you to give me a call?” Asking this question ensures you’ll close on time, secure ongoing updates, get follow-ups on your leads, and increase the number of referrals you receive going forward.

Presenting a Call to Action (CTA)

The last part I want to go over with you is what happens if you haven’t presented a call to action before. Many people think giving a call to action sounds weird and is “too sales-y.” But are the guys who talk about football “too football-y?” Are the parents who talk about good parenting “too parent-y?” No, of course not. You are in the business of making dreams come true through loan opportunities. You are in business, period. So when you talk sales, and ask for business, you are being a good steward of people’s dreams.

The first thing to remember is that a call to action only seems weird to the person giving it. What if I were to ask you, “Hey, you’ve been a member of our group and receiving these newsletters for a while now — has it been helping you?” I think most everyone would say, “Well, yes.” From there, I would respond with, “Could I ask you for a favor? If you know of another loan officer in your area who may not be part of our group, could I count on you to introduce us so that we can tell them what we do over here? I’d like to help them out, too.

When you read that, I doubt you’re thinking, “The nerve, Carl — I can’t believe you actually asked me to do that!” In fact, you – and many others – wouldn’t find it odd at all. You might think, “Of course I’d like to help you out, Carl. You help me, and I’d like to do the same for you.

Even though I know I can help you and other loan officers, and that my call to action is received positively, it feels weird every time I present that call to action live. However, for the person receiving that information, it doesn’t sound weird at all.

On a side note: when one loan officer does better, we all win. The only real competition we have is against who we were yesterday. So when you help another loan officer, you’re helping that person take care of their family and all the clients in their world, which you probably wouldn’t meet anyway. We attract clients who are our best fit. Generous people generate. The amazing loan officers who work with me and my team get that. We’re an amazing group… shout-out to The Freedom Club and the Mortgage Marketing Animals members!

Anyway, always remember the call to action only sounds or feels weird to you, not the person receiving or being invited to take action on it. So set aside those mental goblins that keep you from asking for business and just do it – just make the ask. That’s the secret great salespeople have discovered – they ask for business. And they make a lot of asks – with confidence, a service orientation, and clarity so people don’t misunderstand their call to action. Be one of the great salespeople – ask for the business. Do you have questions about how to close a sale? Are you stuck in a pattern where scarcity or low sales-esteem is causing you to not make an ask? Or do you have words of encouragement for others based on when you learned how to make a good ask?

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn

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#LoanOfficer #MortgageMarketing #MortgageExpert #LoanOfficers #LoanOriginators #Lenders #MortgagePro #MortgageBroker #FreedomSeeker #Branding #Mortgage #MortgageLoanOfficer #MortgageAdvisor #MortgageBanker #TheMortgageMarketingAnimals #CarlWhite #FreedomClub #LoanOfficerFreedom #MortgageLife #MortgageLifestyle #HomeLoans #LoanOfficerLife #LoanOfficerLifestyle #MortgageBoss #Entrepreneur #MortgageFinanceAdvisor #MortgageAdvisor

Crushing Call Reluctance Into Calling For Cash!

Let’s get the bottom line out of the way at the beginning – call reluctance can kill your business if you let it. Better you hear that from me now, than your future empty bank account. The good news about call reluctance is that you can turn that into calling for cash, once you understand what’s going on and just how much power you have to change it. (And I’m using the word ‘cash’ because it sounds cool… calling for ‘establishing and cultivating really great relationships’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

First, know that you are ALWAYS at choice in your life. Nothing is bigger than you in your life – including call reluctance, fear of success/failure, or anything else you can name – UNLESS you allow it. So you are choosing to have call reluctance be an issue in your business after you’ve read this article.

Now there are a few factors that can contribute to call reluctance. A big one is your personal sales-esteem. Meaning, it’s about how you’re showing up in a sales scenario – confident or not-so-much? Maybe you’re new to sales, or you’ve got sales experience but you’ve heard a lot of rejection, or you have taken the brunt of people’s frustrations in your calls in the past. When your sales-esteem is low, that phone can get really heavy.

Maybe you don’t know what to say once you actually get someone on the phone. It’s that awkward moment where you don’t feel prepared with something to say or you freeze up because you can’t think for a minute. This happens in personal 1:1 meetings too. The good news is that this is easily addressed. Read on…

Maybe you have a lot of distractions – like tweets calling you out or emails pinging in or you’re trying to handle a call while getting the battery of your car fob changed. It’s hard to focus and make calls when distractions are present.  

Something that affects many loan officers is not having easy access to your call list contact information so you have to go on an archeological dig for it before you can even begin thinking about making calls. (This happens to be one I know all too well.)

If you’re like me (well, who I was back in the day), you might think you need to have more discipline to get those calls done. But discipline is a non-factor when you are fired up enough about what it is you want – think about that the next time you want Chunky Monkey ice cream at 2 a.m.! The answer on this one? When your desire (to connect with prospects) is bigger than whatever is blocking your path to it (call reluctance), you will make your calls.

It can get real easy to forget that you have the potential to change someone’s life by making that call. Their dream might be to own a home, and you might be able to make that happen for them. When you really get that, there ain’t no phone big or heavy enough to stop you from making that call.

Just like anything else in life, momentum makes achievement easier. So when you find your call rhythm, you create momentum – and you just want to keep making those calls and having conversations that matter. That’s when you finally realize calls are not about you – it’s about what you can do for the other person on the phone. When people know that, your business will just naturally grow. People don’t generally care to do business with you until they know you care about them first.

I’ve been in this business for a long time now – I won’t go into that now… let’s just say I’d have to take my shoes off more than once to count that high! Anyway, I can tell you one of the biggest secrets I know about being successful in our industry is simple — be humble. Just show up. Get out of your own way by focusing on the other person. Share how you can help someone get what they want. Make the calls. Have the conversations. Meet people. Keep it real. And, in case I wasn’t clear, make the calls.

This is a hot topic for me. In fact, I am so passionate about making calls and what gets in the way that I sat down and wrote a book with one of my good friends – Kevin Gillespie. You might know him as one of the top trainers in our business. We wrote this book to share the best of what we know. Back in the day, we didn’t have the internet or fancy marketing techniques – we had the phone and our feet. So we know what we’re talking about and we put it all in this book. In fact, it’s now a best-selling book. You can get it here: CrushingCallReluctance.com.

If call reluctance has ever been, or is right now, a factor in holding back your business growth, I’d love to hear from you. I want to know how it’s up for you… what’s your call reluctance story? How did (or does) it show up for you? What affect does it have on your business? How did you overcome it? Now is your time to make a different choice about call reluctance… how does it feel to take your power back from the phone? I’m serious — let me hear from you below.

AND… if this is something that’s a problem for you in your business today, I really want to hear from you. You can get past it – every great salesperson has had at least a brush with this issue. And many, including me, have gotten smacked by a big, heavy dose of it. Maybe it’s a rite of passage.

In any case, don’t let call reluctance be bigger than you and kill your business. This is your invitation to crush your call reluctance once and for all so it becomes calling for cash— my team and I have your back. Fill us in – we’re here to help.

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn

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#LoanOfficer #MortgageMarketing #MortgageExpert #LoanOfficers #LoanOriginators #Lenders #MortgagePro #MortgageBroker #FreedomSeeker #Branding #Mortgage #MortgageLoanOfficer #MortgageAdvisor #MortgageBanker #TheMortgageMarketingAnimals #CarlWhite #FreedomClub #LoanOfficerFreedom #MortgageLife #MortgageLifestyle #HomeLoans #LoanOfficerLife #LoanOfficerLifestyle #MortgageBoss #Entrepreneur #MortgageFinanceAdvisor #MortgageAdvisor


You Cannot Cross A Half-Built Bridge

Carl White - Loan Officer Freedom - Mortgage Marketing Animals

Loan officers are some of the most interesting, engaging, intelligent, creative and dynamic people I know… and that is exactly why these people can end up chasing success all over the place or, worse, never experience it.

Imagine seeing success as being a place across the river – a chaotic, rapids-filled, fast-paced river with a lot of people also trying to reach success ‘over there’. That success is about more pre-quals, more ideal client leads, more closings, more deals… it’s all just waiting for you, but you can’t get to it easily. First, you have to get across that river with challenges like fast-moving white water rapids, competition with other river-crossers in all kinds of boats and vehicles of their choice, eddies that can slow or even sink you with the distraction of trying to get out of them and maybe some alligators are in there too.

So what do smart loan officers do? They start building bridges.

For example, one bridge might be using Facebook marketing, so you get signed up and really get into the process – maybe even 80 % done with it – when you see there’s a new LinkedIn ad that promises success. So you jump straight into that, leaving the Facebook ‘bridge’ incomplete and, while you’re researching how to make the most of the LinkedIn ad, you learn about a new marketing technique from YouTube, so you get into that. You hop from one bridge to the other, never finishing the first one, and the result is that can’t reach the land of success across that river.

When you don’t finish a project (bridge), you won’t get the results you want. Then, 3–4 months down the line, you might think, “Geez, none of this works. I’ve tried everything and nothing works.” You’re still standing where you started because you never finished any of your bridges. The secret to success is focusing on one bridge at a time until you finish it, so you aren’t leaving your bridges half-built. Like my daddy used to say, “good bridges keep your boots dry.

The 4-Part Formula You Can Use to Reach Success

I have a four-part formula I use to make sure I’m not starting a bunch of projects all at once. Maybe it can help you too.

The first thing I do is consider all the potential strategies available – I want to see my options. Then I decide which one is going to make me the first dollar or give me the first closing. At this point, it is important I not get greedy by choosing the one that’s going to make me the most closings or the most dollars. Instead, I choose the one that’s going to give me the first return the fastest. As in, I choose the bridge that will get me across to success island the soonest. Why? Because once I’ve crossed that bridge, I have income, which means I can start hiring assistants to help, and that changes everything. You are probably like me in thinking things just get easier with a little money in hand, right?

This next second step requires brutal honesty. You need to ask yourself, “How likely am I to complete this strategy (bridge)?” You have to think about your history, what you’ve achieved to this point, how much you’ve got to put into this strategy and rationalize whether it’s a strategy you are likely to complete. Does this mean you have to be able to complete every step and all the ins and outs of this project with the dotted I’s and crossed T’s? No. This means you need to be able to start with a simple project, finish it to get some cash in the door and hire people, let them flesh out the refinements, and you move on to something more complex.

For me, when I start a project and realize I’m not going to complete it on my own, after years of working with myself I have finally come to understand I need someone else to help me get through each step. This is not a pride thing! It’s a ‘gotta get it done’ thing. So be smart – get the help you need as you need it. Find a way – hire an intern, bribe your kid, go to a support group – to get enough help to get you through the bare minimum of building that bridge.

The third step is “Can I delegate it?” In other words, once you’ve made your first dollar with your completed bridge, is refining and maintaining the bridge something you can delegate to somebody else?

Remember, your biggest responsibility is to be the rainmaker – you need to make the phone ring and get the deals in the door. So when that bridge is built and you’re getting closings from it, you’re getting money to build your infrastructure. The money you’re bringing in is your tool to hire somebody to help you – so delegate that bridge and focus on doing what only you can do to build your business. That means you’re getting the benefits from getting this bridge (strategy) up and going, someone else is doing the work to keep it going and make it better, and then you can go back out to build your business. If you cannot (or will not) delegate that bridge, you have just created a job for yourself – and that’s not business-building, that’s a job.

The last step of this formula is “Does it look like fun?” In other words, is this strategy (bridge) something you will enjoy working, at least in the early stages? Let’s face it: people do what they like doing. If you don’t enjoy something, it’s going to feel like a chore and you’re not going to want to work it. Or, if you’re like me, you might even end up sabotaging it because you sideline it, or it somehow ends up on a reject pile no matter how much you want to get it done. Go with a strategy you’ll enjoy and the whole thing will be that much smoother – I guarantee it.

One last point – here’s a good way to keep track of all your bridges and ideas for bridges. You might be more high-tech than me, but I find it works to keep a little spiral notebook in the front left pocket of my jacket. I keep an ongoing list of good ideas I hear so I can refer to them whenever I’m ready later. Why? Because I want to keep going on my original project – my current bridge – so it gets done.

When I have finished that bridge, say No. 1, then I look in my notebook to determine my best options and start this process over again. I determine which is the fastest-producing strategy and start working it – let’s call that one No. 2. I do not even think about No. 3 until No. 2 is complete. But when I’m ready, I pull out my notebook and use this 4-part formula to help me choose the right strategy and stay focused on building and finishing my next bridge.

Building bridges, for me, means victory. I feel like a winner because I have reached success in the way I chose and built, I have money in my pocket, and I get to keep that success going by being a good delegator. All that means I am being a business-builder by having a team and systems in place, so I can delegate keeping that success going to one of my wonderful team members or hire someone new to join our team and help. The wins just keep coming at that point.

What half-built bridges do you need to finish? They say writing them down and making them public is a commitment that helps you make it happen.

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn

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