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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