Your Business is an Ecosystem

It’s really easy to get insulated in your perspective about your business, like it’s only a numbers game. The truth of it is that your business is an ecosystem, or a system (a network), formed by individual parts through interaction to form a community. This community – your business ecosystem – is interdependent on each of its’ parts.

For example, a community has homes, schools, grocery stores, churches, restaurants, boutique stores, auto supply stores, shopping malls, parks, all fueled by the electric company, water company, internet provider, cable companies… you get the point. Each part of the community has its purpose; each part depends on the other to be successful.

Likewise, your business is an ecosystem. You have an agent network, referrals, client leads and the deals that come from them, the commissions that are facilitated by marketing activities, relationship building and your team. Your team works with systems and technology to handle phone calls, track the progression of deals in the works, stay in touch with your clients, send out holiday cards and much more. You have to know your lenders and have a Rolodex of professionals to share with your clients when they need good contacts. Obviously, this is just a short list of what goes into making just one deal work… it’s mind-boggling what we do for a living!

So here’s the thing… you have to think about supporting all parts of your ecosystem to make sure everything is working right. That means everything from Thor’s Hammer to knowing the signals and timing of a deal to paying your team what they deserve (and which can never be enough, really… because, without them, you can’t do what you do, right?). Every part of your ecosystem has to be healthy and connect seamlessly to the other parts of the ecosystem.

I guess you could think about that in terms of technology too because your smartphone has to connect to the internet and have the right apps and sync with your computer for email and calendar. If any one of those things doesn’t work right – with just your smartphone!, your business will pay the price – you could miss an important call or update, unintentionally blow off a meeting, or miss a referral.

In case it isn’t clear yet why this is important, your business ecosystem influences how your clients and employees experience your business and the expectations they have of it. How all the parts of your business connect, and how effectively you streamline your operations, will determine the success (or not) of your business. The natural law of business is to deliver better experiences for more perceived value through efficiency – or your competitor will.

Now, one last factor in understanding ecosystems… your clients have their own ecosystems going too. Their ecosystems orient around their priorities – booking a pet sitter, scheduling travel, buying insurance, hiring movers, getting laundry done, going to the grocery store. You and your business are, ideally, one element of their ecosystem. However, if your client has a negative, or even just marginal, experience or, worst of all, their trust is broken about what they expected from your business, they will vote with their deals (and future referrals).

Clients are now more knowledgeable and empowered than ever. The last best experience they had with any business is how they will evaluate and set expectations with yours. If they call in, they expect you to know who they are, where their deal is and what’s next to get it done. Why? Because Amazon knows them and if Amazon can figure out what’s going on, you should be able to as well. The not-so-secret secret to that is having a good, healthy ecosystem in place.

The point is that your business needs a health check on every part of the system regularly. If you haven’t done an audit on your business ecosystem in a while, now is a good time to make that happen. Make sure you have the right people, the right technology, the right systems and protocols, the right hardware… otherwise, you’re fighting uphill to just get things done and you’re working too hard to overcome the kinks in your ecosystem.

Here’s the problem, we can’t read our own label when we are inside the jar.  It takes somebody outside our jar to help us take an honest look at best practices / most results from activities.

If you would like myself, Scotty, or Ralph to look at what you are doing to see what tweaks could be done to get even more results with even less effort, you can reach out to us at www.LoanOfficerStrategyCall.com

See ya there.

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

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Which Is Better to Build Your Business– (K)new or New?

Like you, I watch our industry to see what’s going on… one of the most interesting things I find is the emphasis on using ‘new’ technologies or ‘new’ strategies or ‘new’ methods to build business. Why? Because I have always found that the ‘(K)NEW’ – with the silent K – always wins more business.

I’m a guy who likes all the newest whiz-bang toys and all that comes with shiny new technologies… I can’t lie about that. Just check out my 3-wheeling car to know that’s the truth!

But here’s the thing – in every business situation, it wasn’t the shiny new thing or the latest and greatest tech that got me business. Yes, those can help generate leads and give my business visibility. But, when it comes down to it, what has gotten me business every time is when I did what I knew to do – treat someone right and get the deal done, call my “warm” database – that got me business.

If you aren’t up on current lender rates and options, if you don’t have your act together to help your client get pre-qualified, if you don’t have a team backing you to process loans and help your clients, if you aren’t leveraging technology in the right ways, that’s going to hurt your business in some way. (You know it too – I’m just calling it out here.)

But all that stuff pales in comparison to knowing how to treat people right and getting the deal done. It’s not what’s ‘new’ that brings you business but what you (k)new about your client, your agent and your lender, and how to work the process, that brings you business and gets deals done.

Now I’m happy to go through the latest stats and powerhouse strategies and tell you what’s working right now to build your business, I actually use most of them myself. Don’t get me wrong! But there is a more important foundation that, if you don’t have it, all the ‘new’ ways in the world can’t help you.

The foundation under all that other business-building stuff is what you know in your gut is the right thing to do about how to treat people and then to follow-through to help them get what they want. And that’s not really something anybody can teach you. You have to feel that in your belly. It has to be part of who you are or your business doesn’t have a solid base to build from, no matter what innovative marketing strategies or lender ratios or cool website or fancy technologies you use in it.

So pay attention to what’s happening ‘out there’, for sure, to help you build your business. But know that all that ‘new’ stuff doesn’t mean squat if you don’t use what you (k)new going into any deal about how to treat people right and commit to helping them get their deal done.

Somehow, I just ‘knew’ you needed this little reminder. (And yes, that was a totally shameless pun – just because I could!)

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

If you have questions about this topic, set up a free strategy call with one of our coaches at loanofficerfreedom.com/strategycallrequest

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The 7 Core Beliefs of Very Successful Loan Officers

So often business success doesn’t come down to tactics and strategies but, instead, rides on one fundamental basis on which everything depends – your core beliefs.

Having worked with elite producers from all over the U.S., I have learned that there are some core beliefs that these very successful loan officers hold that make the difference in their performance and productivity every day.

First, they believe success comes from service. Service is about keeping your clients and agents informed, in a timely way, about what’s going on and what they can do to help expedite the loan process. It means being available when needed, even if it’s not during banker’s hours (there are systems that we have in place so it doesn’t have to be “you” that is available after hours or weekends). It means making sure your clients have what they need and want throughout the deal, which may include having one of your team assigned to handle their file so it’s not only you personally providing stellar service. It means having a person answer your office phone every time it rings. It means no unwanted surprises in the deal – communicate, communicate, communicate.

Second, elite producers are generally willing to do what others are unwilling or unable to do. For example, they find a way to make more connections, have more face-to-face meetings, attend more local networking events and cultivate more relationships and referrals every week. Whether that’s through a marketing strategy that opens the doors or sitting down and making the calls or using social marketing creatively or something else, these loan officers go above and beyond to create the results they want in their business. There is a level of humility in that these are also the people who will empty the wastebasket and put on the office coffee in the morning.

Third, the depth of their network is more important than the breadth of it. That might sound like the exact opposite of what I just said but read both these points carefully. They do what it takes to meet people AND they go deep in those relationships vs. just having a large superficial network based on business cards. People have to know you care before they care about doing business with you.

Fourth, they know that leadership is, in a sense, ordained by others. Leaders do not stand up, proclaim themselves a leader and that’s it – they need followers. Without followers, without a team, without a tribe, a leader does not exist. Leaders earn their title every day. Smart loan officers build their teams and communities successfully when they remember this fact.

Fifth, elite loan officers pay it forward. When they get a referral, or get handed a great opportunity, they acknowledge where it came from and pay it forward in some way. When they participate in their community, they get the gift of feeling good about what they do and who they help. Generous people generate.

Sixth, no conformist has ever made history. Very successful loan officers push the edges of the status quo to do what’s needed vs. what’s expected or even what others think is right. They follow their nose to go outside the box and do the right thing for their clients to get the deal done the right way.

Lastly, they choose themselves first. This is not about being selfish! Instead, this about not waiting for anyone’s permission to be successful or take right action for their team, their clients, their business, and their families. Wealth is a by-product of doing the right things in the right order based on the right mindset. By knowing that they deserve the rewards of their hard work, they experience them.

Look, I don’t pretend to know all the answers. But having been in the business and being good at it, and then having had the chance to meet, work with and hang out with these super producers, I have picked up a thing or two. These are just some of the things I’ve observed over time and that I think make a big huge difference. Beliefs create action and action creates results, so if you want different results, check your beliefs. Get your beliefs lined up and your business should flourish.

 

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

If you have questions about this topic, set up a free strategy call with one of our coaches at loanofficerfreedom.com/strategycallrequest

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Each Customer is a Unicorn

Sometimes it gets real easy to forget that each of our customers is a unique individual with a full life, dreams, loved ones and fears around really going for what they want, especially when it comes to owning property.

On top of that, business generally is getting more competitive by the day. There are a lot of things pulling at your customer to make decisions. I read a statistic the other day that says we all get bombarded with something like 80,000 messages a day! How does anybody get through all that?

Well, the short answer is that it’s about authentic relationships and remembering that a great customer is like a unicorn – they’re hard to find, they have choices about who they want to work with and they symbolize prosperity. (That is a true statement – go Google ‘qualities of unicorns’!)

So, what is the proper care for a unicorn, I mean, great customer?

Obviously, you need to appreciate them. Demonstrate that you care for each customer. Keep them informed, make your callbacks on time, let them know their options, learn about who they are in case you can help them with your connections or in some other way.

Be prepared when you share information. Do not waste time or come across as disorganized because that makes just about anybody nervous – be professional.

Keep it real. Ask about what’s going on in their lives. Sometimes life gives us lemons, even in the best of circumstances. If they’re going through a stressful time, listen and empathize… see if you can help in some way but, sometimes, all any of us needs is an ear. Don’t gloss over it; instead, be supportive and apply the Golden Rule (treat them the way you’d want to be treated).

Check in beyond the basics. This isn’t just about business – it’s about someone in your network who you care about because business is personal. So, send a holiday card, congratulate them on their kids’ graduation, call them to say happy birthday, ask how they’re doing and if there’s anything they need that you can help them with, even if you’re not working a deal right now. Because then they will remember you the next time they have (or someone they know has) a deal.

In the end, each of your customers is a rare and precious thing – a proverbial unicorn. Not only do they help you be prosperous in your business, but they can add joy and happiness and humanity to your world when you do it right. And, in the end, that’s pretty magical.

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness

Article Originally posted on LinkedIn

If you have questions about this topic, set up a free strategy call with one of our coaches at loanofficerfreedom.com/strategycallrequest

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Being a Loan Officer Is a Journey, Not a Destination

Most kids grow up thinking they want to be an astronaut or a ballet dancer or a professional athlete; it’s hard to spell mortgage as a 7-year old, much less know you want to become a loan officer. But when you are called to help people change their lives through owning property, being a loan officer is the absolute best career to help others and live a great lifestyle at the same time.

I talk to many loan officers every week and one of the recurring themes is around how they want things to be different right NOW. And I get it – I really do. At the same time, if we all got what we wanted in the exact moment we thought it, it would be chaos (and we might want to take a few things back!).

So, let’s consider what it takes to be a successful loan officer. There are two paths that you have to walk at the same time – both of them are journeys and both of them lead to destinations along the way.

The first path is about the technical, external business stuff – like, knowing the process of attracting prospects and converting them into clients with an app and pre-qualification process, getting the right paperwork together, doing the follow-up with your clients and real estate folks, making sure you have the right team in place, having the right technology and systems to make it all easy and a lot more. (If you read Crushing Call Reluctance, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what goes into setting yourself up for success.)

The second path is, maybe, the more significant path. It’s the internal path of knowing yourself, knowing why you do what you do, being in integrity with who you are, being transparent and authentic and real in your relationships, being humble enough to know your place in the grand scheme of things, having the right amount of ego to know you make a difference in people’s lives. When you are successful in your business, it will amplify who you already are… so if you can look yourself in the mirror with a sense of pride and purpose, you are going to naturally attract even more success.

If you aren’t having the level of success you want in your business, it might not be about the external stuff – tactics, techniques or strategies; instead, it might be because you aren’t keeping it real about who you are and why you have your business. Either way, being a successful loan officer is a journey, not a destination. I guarantee that you will learn – and enjoy – more when you slow down enough to take in where you are instead of rushing toward a destination that’s really just a moving target.

Why do I say your destination is a moving target? Because it’s natural to reach a goal and then go for a bigger one. So, the destination is kind of an illusion because you will never really meet a ‘final’ destination (at least, not until you are six feet under). That means the journey is what really matters – and that happens today, tomorrow and then the next day.

If your journey isn’t what you want, it’s time to course-correct. You need to think about how things would be different in your ideal world, then do the work to get them in place. If it’s about a new technology, technique or strategy, go get it and make it happen. If it’s about a new process or system, talk it through with your team and make it happen. If it’s about your own level of motivation, attitude or alignment with who you really are, or if it’s about confronting your fears, finding what is keeping you stuck in playing a smaller game or really ‘getting’ how important your work is to your clients, it’s time to address that thing to keep your journey moving smoother and easier. Profit will be a by-product of doing that.

So focus on the journey and you will naturally arrive at the right destination(s) both in your career and in your life.

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

If you have questions about this topic, set up a free strategy call with one of our coaches at loanofficerfreedom.com/strategycallrequest

 

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