Build New Opportunities This Season

We all need more repeat business and referrals. Here are some tips on building new opportunities this season!

 

Are Your Goals Still Working For You?

In January I spoke about setting your goals and in February about the difference between motivation and discipline when it comes to attaining you goals. But if it still feels like you’re treading water maybe it’s because your goals are in conflict with one another or the market. What I mean is that you may have a goal for your business that is in direct conflict with a goal you have for your family or maybe because of new market conditions not attainable. For example, your business goal may mean you have to work weekends at open houses, but your family goal is to make more of your daughter’s soccer games which are always on Saturday afternoon. In order to maintain balance and not allow your goals to conflict with each other, it helps to put them in four categories: Business, Financial, Health, and Family/Relationships and reassess your priorities.

You should have a few short-term (3 months) and a few long-term (12 months) goals for each category. You should also have the top action steps you’re going to take to accomplish each goal. Look at your list again. Are any of those action steps in conflict? If they are you’ll either need to revise your goals or find a different way to take action on them. Then finally, you’ll want to identify what you want to avoid the most and the top way that you typically sabotage yourself in meeting this goal. It is completely okay to change what you committed to when the year started.

These are what I call “away values.” They are things you are patterned to do that no longer serve you. For business one of my top away values is being passive. I want to really be able to speak up and move forward, not just swallow whatever I’m thinking in fear others won’t agree. I worry too much about everyone liking me, which is impossible in this business. I need to hold others accountable or take the massive action I need to. Reminding myself everyday that I battle this, helps me push past it to achieve my goals.

Realistic Goals

Once you’ve re-evaluated your goals and you’re comfortable that they are realistic and not in conflict with each other ask yourself these questions:

Are these really my goals or what is expected of me from my family, my boss, society, or anyone else?

If you can’t answer yes, then the goal is not a good goal and you are setting yourself up for failure. If the goal isn’t coming from your higher purpose, your desire, or what you envision for your life, then you will be lacking the leverage and the dedication required to take the actions that will get you there.

Are these goals aligned with my core values?

For example, if you know you have a core value of balance but you’re working 60 hours a week to reach an unrealistic business goal, then those are going to be in conflict with each other. You’re not going to have the time to nurture relationships if you’re a workaholic.

How much time do you have to allocate to your goals?

Do you actually have enough time in your day, week, or month to accomplish all your goals? Will you be able to prioritize your time to accomplish everything? You want to make sure that the goals you set are achievable.

Does this goal provide the feeling or outcome you want to achieve and will it sustain you long-term?

I always tell the people I coach if your goals aren’t life or death, don’t write them down. You should approach goal setting like, “No matter what I will do (fill in the blank) and I’m going to stop at nothing to get it done! Not taking action on the goals you set is more devastating to your psyche than if you didn’t set them at all.

I like to keep all of my goals in one place so I can easily review them often. I use a journal and each goal has its own page. I’m going to reiterate the importance of reviewing your goals every day. If you do so, you’ll drive the concepts of what you want to accomplish deeper into your subconscious and conscious mind so they become more patterned. I redo my goals every six months and I suggest you should too, especially since our business is one that changes frequently.

For example, let’s say someone’s goal in business is to be more open-minded and connected. Maybe it’s because they realize they’re an asshole – they have a habit of sending nasty emails to people and have combative relationships whether it’s a referral partner, a processor, or a client. When they enter into territory where something goes wrong, their natural response, their path of least resistance, is to be a jerk because they’ve always acted this way. When you are rude or condescending, you minimize the amount of success you have. People will not work as hard for you as they do for people who are kind and grateful. If this person looked at their goals and their away values in the morning, they’d be more intentional that day in terms of not being a jerk. If their goal is to be a kinder person, they can decide in the morning how they are going to do that. Perhaps they could send a gratitude email to every person who made a difference to them the previous day.

I realize not everyone likes to journal. It doesn’t really matter what form you use to keep your goals as long as they are easy to access and you commit to a daily morning review. Some of the individuals I work with have them set up as their screen saver. Others have written them on their bathroom mirror or a poster board at work. I’m sure someone has even made them into an audio recording they can listen to each day. You need to choose whatever works for you and keeps you closer to the life you want to live.

Are You Really Prioritizing Opportunity Creation?

When I talk about opportunity in the mortgage and Real Estate business I’m really talking about lead generation. As you all know, a lead is the name and contact information for someone who is potentially a future client. Generating leads should be your primary focus whether you are a loan originator or a Realtor®. Any referral you receive can be thought of as a lead, but not all leads have to be referrals. A lead can come from a service like Zillow, or it could be from a cold call list for a particular area you bought from a marketing firm.

Leads are either unqualified or qualified. An unqualified lead is someone who may be simply “shopping.” They may not know what they need or they may just be curious about what the market is doing and what’s available. It could be they don’t understand what you offer versus the rest of the industry or your programs may be out of their budget. They might also be someone who was referred to you as part of a networking group who may not even be looking for a home or a mortgage. While it’s possible to convert unqualified leads, the conversion rate is low and the time to convert is long.

Qualified leads on the other hand know exactly what they are looking for. They have a general idea of the solution they need and are most likely aware of your company. Qualified leads often come from your referral sources or other sources where someone specifically is looking for a home or a loan. They are much more desirable and far easier to convert.

Identifying their unique conversion rates will help you create a better stream of sustainable business because you will be realistic about what is in your pipeline. Some people brag they have a huge list of leads, however many of them will never convert. Separating them within your Customer Relationship Manager and marketing to them differently will ensure you maintain long term success.

Finding the Right Leads

Garnering the right leads for your business requires knowing who your ideal customer is – age, income level, business owner or employee, education, etc. Once you know their demographics and attributes you can share the vision of your ideal client with your referral sources so they can send more of these types your way.

The easiest way to determine your ideal client is to go back twelve months and spend time thinking about all the transactions that you’ve done. Which ones had clients that you really valued working with? What was it about them you enjoyed? Were they better educated? Were they willing to trust your advice? Were they all first-time homebuyers or retirees looking to downsize?

The next thing you want to do is determine your “why.” Why is it important to you to help these families? What can you do better than anyone else to service them? Your first inclination will probably be that you want to make money. But that’s rarely the real reason why you do what you do. Dig deeper. Clients instinctively know when you are truly interested in being of service to them rather than simply lining your pockets. Having a clear understanding of you why will help you stay focused on the vision of your perfect client and bring you more joy in working with them. You get to choose where you get your business so choose wisely.

Do Unto Others

This old adage is as true in this industry as it is in everyday life. If you want to get consistent, highly qualified leads from your referral sources you need to be willing to do the same for them. The more you give out the more you will receive. We have far too many self-centered sales people that only want to receive and not give. The Law of Reciprocity is a great one to study because you won’t feel as disappointed as much. You may refer out to someone, but then you might end up getting more referrals from another source. Don’t worry about measuring reciprocity one on one…just know if you continuously are adding value to others businesses it will come back to you eventually.

I also encourage you to refer within your own specialty as well. There is more than enough business to go around. For example, maybe there’s a homebuyer who doesn’t fit into any of your loan programs. Don’t leave them hanging. Refer them to another loan originator who does have a program that will suit them. Our maybe someone comes to you who wants to buy a home in an area that you are unfamiliar with or is further than you want to travel for showings. Refer them to someone you trust who does sell in that area. Whenever you help someone meet their goal, they will look favorably on you. Keep that person in your database and reach out to them regularly. They could end up referring someone to you who does fit. Holding onto lead that are not in alignment with your business plan may take away from helping more people that are.

How Do You Keep Your Passion and Creativity Alive?

The mortgage and Real Estate business can often feel like a grind. We do the same things day in and day out which can lead to burn out. Many people then feel trapped because of the high earnings potential this industry provides. Most of us cannot simply quit and decide to be a heart surgeon so we lose the freedom to choose what we are doing. The job will get heavier and heavier UNLESS you find passion again. So, how can we overcome these cycles? We can find things both inside and outside our jobs to keep our purpose and passion alive. My purpose in life is to share wisdom with others that can lead them to more joy and less suffering. I have found that I get to do that in my leadership job but I also have found a way to do this outside of work. In addition to my Foundation to Sustainable Success book and platform, I am also the founder of Big Voices and author of the recent best seller Big Voices. Writing before work helps me wake up excited and feeds my creative hunger. I saw a quote the other day that said purpose is your best alarm clock and I firmly believe this is true. If you are feeling off or need some renewed energy, I would encourage you to explore something creative to do. Whether it is recording a video, writing a blog, sharing your music, painting, or anything creative to help you feel alive.

I want to share my recent interview on The American Dream Show. Not only does it explain the Big Voices Movement but also shows you what someone within this industry can do with their creativity. The founder, Craig Sewing, was in mortgage when we met years ago. He had a burning desire to also share more of his creative side and started first with radio while originating loans. Over time, he moved to television where he now brings his show to millions of people nationwide weekly. He is always looking for industry professionals to collaborate with as well, so if this is something that interests you reach out to them at Ignite Media. I am not suggesting you quit your day job like Craig did in mortgage, but I am certain you will be more likely to live an extraordinary life if you find more passion and creativity!

If you are feeling sluggish, have some compassion for yourself and simply make the decision that you are not trapped and you have freedom to write a new story today. Take some time to invest in yourself and add finding creative ways to build your business to your plan!

 

Own It!

I had the opportunity to spend the day recently at a Women’s Council of Realtors® event. I was supporting my friend Cheryl Keller who was being installed as President for California. I also had the privilege to speak on a leadership panel with some amazing women. It is important to note that all of these women were on their time, not getting paid. They wanted more than just a real estate career; they wanted to be together and joined to connect. Being installed at the President level takes years of commitment and selfless dedication. These women are either business owners or 100% commissioned Realtors®, so when they take time from real estate to be a part of Women’s Council of Realtors® one would think they would lose revenue. That it turns out is not true.

I loved the connection and collaboration happening in that room. Women from all over California and a few from out of state were there. Each of them exceeds the average income from real estate by more than double. Women’s Council of Realtors® offers more than just connection, it also offers leadership and education designed to help a Realtor® grow as a professional. The average age of a member is around 53.

I couldn’t help thinking about how many professions don’t offer support like this. Women are expected to find industry professionals on their own to connect with. They have to seek out their own leadership training unless they work at a unique company that offers it. I wish that more organizations that supported women advancing in leadership positions existed. But since there aren’t, we as women need to spend more time on ourselves. There are so many ways we can develop our leadership skills.

The National Association of Realtors® President Elizabeth Mendenhall’s campaign is called, “Own It.” Her intention behind the campaign is that we need to take personal responsibility for our careers and own our power. Her inspirational message that day really made me reflect on what I could own more of. I have always had a Big Voice mindset that I share in my book of the same name, but I have added some things here that Elizabeth inspired.

Own Your Success

We can no longer use excuses as to why we don’t have the time or will wait for tomorrow to start living our best life. The time is now and we either need to admit something is not a priority or start moving towards it.

Own Your Tribe

We must surround ourselves with like-minded women who push us to be our best. If one doesn’t come with your profession, find one, or create one. We must seek out what we need or loneliness or complacency will set in.

Own Your Mindset

Although I reviewed what I believed to be my positive mindset every day, I didn’t realize that I had some internal conflict brewing. When my editor returned the first draft of my book with suggestions for revision, she pointed out that I had written living an extraordinary life and being mindful was not easy eight times, the word “difficult” 51 times, and used the word “hard” 90 times. I was absolutely shocked because I hadn’t realized that my perception internally was that my life and journey were hard. I absolutely feel blessed on a daily basis and lead a good life. I reflected on why I thought it was hard and here is what I came up with:

  1. It is hard being a mom that works and tries to balance it all.
  2. It is hard having a sister that is struggling.
  3. It is hard to live without a mom and an older dad that has a hard time staying happy.
  4. It is hard being single and not having anyone to share life with.
  5. It is hard not having an abundance of like-minded friends in my industry who support one another.
  6. It is hard to accept who I was before.

As I reviewed the six things I realized I had choices that I was missing. I set intentions to change. Obviously, I can’t change my parents or my sister, but there is a lot more I can do. I had secretly been feeling sorry for myself when I had all the power to overcome these things. Needless to say, I have shifted my mindset as a result of being with these women at Women’s Council of Realtors®. Here are the things I am doing to truly “own it” going forward:

  1. Getting super clear on ensuring my time is in alignment with my priorities. I am evaluating every aspect of my businesses and making sure they are turnkey and streamlined. I am devoting more time in learning about something before I delegate or hire someone to do it. The underlying fear of “is this right?” is diminishing as I trust my intuition more.
  2. I am spending more time on what I am grateful about with my family. I am accepting of my sadness and grief, but will transcend it into deeper connections with others. I am blessed to have other women in my life that mother me. I also have friends who are like sisters that support me.
  3. I am so appreciative of my alone time, but haven’t spent enough time appreciating it. I accept God’s divine timing for whenever someone comes into my life. I am also opening myself up to the truth that I can’t spend too much time at home and I need to be more adventurous.
  4. I am seeking out organizations like Women’s Council of Realtors® to join that support my purpose and leadership development. Ironically, at the event I connected with the speaker who has already impacted my life. I know that this has been missing for me and that rather than do anything, I was being passive.

I encourage you to look at your life and find out what you can “own” more. These are things within our control that with intention and a mindset shift we can change. And if you happen to be a real estate professional, join Women’s Council of Realtors® and start growing today!

Goal Setting

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill

It’s still the beginning of a new year – you have a new book with about 300 blank pages that you’re going to fill. But fill with what? Are you simply going to scribble your way, jotting a few notes here and there, or recording just the highlights as your parents may have done in your baby book? Or are you going to strive to fill every page, every day with extraordinary, sustainable success stories?

I like to believe that everyone’s ultimate vision is to lead an extraordinary life. By that I mean doing what you love and loving how you do it. The best tool I’ve found for helping you get to an extraordinary life, to have joy in your work, and of course to make the money you want to make is to set goals. Goal setting propels your vision forward. They are the things that allow you to maximize your resources: time, skills, knowledge, passion, etc. Goals are what help you make the most of your life and feel fulfilled with what you are doing.

 

Goals Need to be Written

When you write out your goals, you’re creating an external representation of your internal desires and reinforcing their value. Setting tangible goals allows you to break the big dreams of your vision into bite-size, achievable steps. But more importantly, goals hold you accountable. They get you out of that “if only” rut that so many of us fall into: if only I had this or if only I had that, I’d be happy. You can’t allow “shoulds” into your vision and you can’t allow “if onlys” into your goals.

Part of goal planning is becoming that person who is joyful and happy today even though you haven’t yet achieved your total vision. Goals allow you to celebrate your successes along the way. Celebrating is important. Celebrating reinforces your commitment. And more importantly, it re-patterns your brain to strive for more successes. To be effective goals should be S.M.A.R.T.

Specific – get exceptionally clear about what you are going to accomplish. The more specific you are the easier it is to accomplish a goal and celebrate it. So rather than saying I’m going to make $200,000 this year, you could say I’m going to contact 30 people in my database each week.

Measurable – set goals that you can measure. If you can’t measure it, then it isn’t specific enough. You can’t celebrate what you can’t measure and you are trying to generate feelings of success. Don’t assume because one of your goals is a feeling, i.e. I want to feel more gratitude, that it can’t be measured. It can. All you have to do is assign your feelings a scale where maybe 1 is I feel no gratitude and 5 is I feel gratitude for everything around me. Each day give yourself a number based on how you feel.

Action Oriented and Realistic – nothing gets done if you can’t take action. Make sure your goals are realistic and within your control. If you have to wait on someone else to do something before you can accomplish your goal then you’re back to relying on “if only.”

Time Sensitive – if something is going to get accomplished it must have a non-negotiable deadline. Set it and hold yourself accountable to it.

 

Goal Setting Process

Your vision encompasses your entire life, so your goals need to do so as well. You’ll need to balance your goals in four categories: Business, Financial, Health, and Family/Relationships. Make sure that the goals in one category are not in conflict with the goals in another.

So create a couple of short-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months) goals in each category. Next identify the top action steps you’re going to take to accomplish them. Then finally, you need to identify what you want to avoid the most – these are your away values.

Away values are the things that will cause you to self-sabotage and not achieve your goals. Examples of away values might be passivity, perfectionism, or judgement. Write these down next to your goals so you don’t lose sight of them.

I use a simple 4 step process for setting goals in each category.

  1. Make a commitment. No matter what you are committed to these goals.
  2. Identify what you really want. Not what your wife or your boss wants – what do you want?
  3. Recognize why you want it. Let’s say you want to make $20,000 a month – okay why? What difference does this number make in your life? Do you need to pay for a child’s college? Do you need to take care of sick parents? What is the why behind the goal?
  4. Create a plan in order to achieve it. Nothing gets done without an actionable plan. Writing your goals down but not taking action to accomplish them is a waste of time.

Every day I recommend that you review your goals so that they are set deep into your subconscious and conscious mind. At the same time review your away values. Were you able to keep them from interfering in the action steps you needed to take today to achieve your goal? If not, how will you keep them from interfering in the future? It is only when we are vigilant that we are able to re-pattern our brains to lead an extraordinary life and to find sustainable success.

Run Your Business Like A Business

How many of you entered this business, either as a real estate agent or a mortgage originator, because you liked the freedom it afforded you? My guess is that most of you did. It’s wonderful to be able to set your own hours, develop your own method of doing things, not have a limit on how much you can earn, and generally work without anyone staring over your shoulder. But that freedom you desire so much doesn’t come free.

What most people don’t realize is that when they choose to become an agent or originator they are also choosing to become a business owner. Unfortunately, not many of us understand what that entails. We’ve come from a corporate environment or maybe we’re fresh out of college. Either way, we’ve grown accustom to having other people tell us what to do – we have an employee not an owner mentality.

 

Develop a Business Model

If sustainability is your goal then you must begin to think like a business owner. You need a business model that defines goals and activities. You need to have the metrics in place to measure the efficiency of what you are doing. You need to understand the return on investment (ROI) of your time and money.

For example, most people in this industry don’t know where their referrals come from. Is that marketing plan you spent hundreds on bringing you referrals? Or is working your database consistently the main generator? You need to be able to answer these questions if you hope to build a sustainable business. You need a predictable model.

Predictability comes in measuring activities and efficiency rates for getting referrals – the lifeblood of this business. What happens far too often is that we get lazy when times are good. We become reactive order takers; too busy to maintain the activities that will keep business coming to us when things slow down. And when business does slow down, we quickly fall into a scarcity mindset.

It takes discipline to keep the scarcity mindset at bay. It takes having a plan that you work the same way regardless of how busy you are. It takes doing activities that you know will generate business consistently no matter what. If you stop working your plan, your plan will stop working. It’s really that simple. This business is all risk, all the time. You must be actively focused on earning partner referrals from the very beginning. If you build a predictable referral model, and you keep the discipline to work it even when you are busy, you can create sustainability.

 

Key Components of a Good Business Model

A business model for sustainability starts with an effective business plan. Research states that only about 5% of people in the mortgage and real estate industries have any kind of business plan, let alone one that is effective. There are 3 major reasons why you need a business plan.

First, it allows you to share your strategy, priorities, and specific action steps with your spouse, significant other, management team, and partners. You want others to support your business plan so you need to share it with them so they can align their actions with yours or at least understand when you might have to put in that 60 hour week.

Second, it helps you to deal with displacement. When you consciously decide to spend your time or other resources doing a particular thing to move your business plan forward, you’ve also consciously decided not to do something else. That is displacement. Being aware that you’ve already made these decisions keeps you from falling into distraction traps.

Third, it is the primary vehicle by which you grow your business and in turn develop new business alliances and referral partners. Here is where the metrics start to pay off. They give you the data for what you should be doing every day and help you understand the levers that control the desired output you want.

A solid business plan includes the following:

  • Business vision
  • Production and activity goals
  • Levers (where you get business and how you plan on increasing those resources)
  • Non-negotiable activity plan
  • Marketing plan

I also include my I AM Statements for business as a reminder to focus on mindset as well.

Triggers and Reactions

It’s no secret that the real estate and mortgage business are filled with problems. It can be frustrating because the majority of problems you face are outside your control, i.e. low appraisals, repair issues, buyers who get cold feet. These are what I refer to as “triggers.” A trigger is an event or thing that causes an emotional disturbance within you – fear, envy, scarcity, anger, frustration, etc. Triggers may also cause joyful reactions but most people don’t need help dealing with the good stuff.

Respond vs React

Triggers that cause negative emotions tend to cause us to react, usually in a negative way. This can come in the form of distraction, anger, projection or anything else that doesn’t serve us long term. What we need to learn is to identify our triggers upfront and then have a plan or an approach in place so that we choose to respond rather than react. Reacting is allowing the emotion to guide your actions or behavior. You might yell, shut down, or send a nasty email. Responding, on the other hand, is waiting until you have assessed the situation and calmed down before you take any action.

A Plan for Response

In all cases, except those that actually threaten our lives or the lives of others, we want to be responding not reacting. A person who gives considered responses rather than flying off the handle when something goes awry is a person who is well-respected, easy to work with, and easy to refer. When something triggers you, use this four step process for calming your reaction and giving yourself space to respond.

Step 1 – Become aware you are triggered.

Acknowledge that you are emotionally disturbed, i.e. you are angry, you are frustrated, you are sad, you are depressed, you feel hopeless, and have a choice to either react or respond. Keep the emotion from becoming a long-term feeling. Getting aware that you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, will help you remain detached from what your body has been patterned to do based on your past experiences. Having space between your emotional reactions and how you handle them will allow you to be more in control.

Step 2 – Identify what preference is not being net.

Triggers only occur when your preferences aren’t being met. Most preferences are created by our ego and really aren’t as important as they seem. It is an ongoing journey to manage our preferences and triggers. The fewer preferences we have based on other people’s actions or behaviors, the more joy we’ll have in life and our business. That’s not to say we can’t have standards and boundaries. They simply need to be clear and agreed to by the people we do business with. Then everyone knows what to expect.

Step 3 – Recognize your hallucination.

If you figure out what your hallucination is when your trigger isn’t met, you will understand why it is bothering you so much. Your hallucination is the worst-case scenario that you are worried about. The goal again is to have a plan that enables you to respond, not react and to admit you are hallucinating. Figuring it out helps make it more predictable. So many of us immediately go to the worst-case scenario as soon as something doesn’t go as planned. We start thinking we’re going to lose the client forever, or worse yet, we’re going to be a total failure and not be able to provide for our family, even when the situation had nothing to do with us and was totally outside of our control. What I encourage you to do when a trigger causes you to hallucinate about all the bad things that are going to happen is to state the trigger out loud. Say, “My trigger is X because my preference of Y isn’t being met, so I’m hallucinating that Z is going to happen.” Just the act of saying it out loud is often enough to see the ridiculousness of what your trigger is causing you to feel.

Step 4 – Avoid or grow.

The last step, and certainly the most important, is to decide to grow through the trigger or strive to avoid it. Let’s take for example a preference for not getting stuck in traffic. When it happens you could choose to grow through it. You could use the time to raise your energy and do a mini meditation, you could be more grateful, be more present, listen to a podcast, or do something else that allows you to grow and become more patient. You could even make calls to prospects and referral partners.

Or you could avoid it. You could say I’m just not going to drive at this time of day, or I’m just not going to take this route because you don’t think there’s any way that you could grow through it. That’s okay. My hope would be that you would always try to grow through it first. But we all need to give ourselves permission to draw the line when we simply can’t.

Importance of Trigger Management

It’s important to manage triggers because triggers are what derail people every day. Triggers cause individuals to become ineffective and produce negative energy. No one likes to work with or be around someone who has negative energy. It causes a domino effect. Maybe you get a couple of triggers strung together. Now you’ve had a bad day. Then you bring it home and you’re not present with your family because you’re still dwelling on those triggers and negative feelings. You don’t exercise and you don’t take care of yourself. Without the ability to manage your triggers you end up creating a whirlwind of chaos.

The goal is to bring joyful energy into every situation. I love this quote by Brendon Burchard from The Power of Personal Responsibility:

“The power plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy. Similarly, we don’t have an attitude, we generate one.”

Our energy and attitudes have to be generated every single day. Allowing our triggers to drain our positive energy and replace it with negativity and self-doubt does not serve us.

Business Systems

A system can be defined as a procedure, process, or method, or course of action. Systems are put in place to achieve a specific result. They are the critical building blocks of your business. When effective, they work together to provide results that are consistent, measurable, benefit your client, and validate and enhance your value proposition.

For your business to be successful you need to have a processing flow that is documented from start to finish. You can create massive opportunity but if you don’t have a solid plan to handle it you will not convert well or create the experience needed to ensure your clients come back and refer you to other people.

Regardless of whether you are in mortgage or real estate, your business system should be made up of three parts: opportunity – which is how you prospect and nurture leads, pipeline management – which is how you handle deals in progress, and database management – which is how you keep in contact with your past clients and mine them for referrals. Within each of these sections you have what I call blueprints or recipes. These are the written step-by-step formulas that you use to accomplish the things you do.

Unless you work for a really unique company, it is unlikely that these written systems will exist in your company. I’m constantly amazed that our industry lacks this level of professionalism and the technology required to succeed. In most cases it will be up to you to determine how you like to work and what is effective. If you aren’t by nature a person who has a lot of discipline and structure in your business, writing out these blueprints or recipes – how do I handle leads referred, how and when do I communicate during the process, and how do I stay in touch with my database after closing – will give you a consistent method of performing these tasks.

Once you have documented systems in place then if you have a support team, you must communicate with them exactly how they supposed to work. Then if things don’t work as planned you’ll know if the system needs to be tweaked or if clearer communication and teaching of what is expected is required. The beauty of a blueprint is that you can modify or change it.

 

Opportunity

An important aspect of prospecting is creating an experience and process flow for how you handle any lead or referral. Whether on the phone or in person you should decide ahead of time what discussion flow and tools you’re going to use. You will also share this with anyone that refers business to you so they know what to expect as well. This business system is all about how you handle new leads. It is a blueprint or recipe that contains everything about what to do when you receive a lead. It should ensure that every time you are presented with an opportunity you go through the same ritual. This should include an incubation plan based on where the prospect is in the buying cycle. If your CRM or customer relationship manager, doesn’t have call, email or text campaigns built you should invest in one that does or create your own.

 

Pipeline

You need to create a process flow and communication system that you can use once a deal enters pipeline. You know exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing every step of the way. You know what your role and responsibilities are as well as the roles and responsibilities of others. You know the deadlines you need to stick with based on contingency removal dates and close of escrow dates. Managing your pipeline with consistency is the key to ensuring your database will come back to you for future loan or real estate needs and refer clients to you. All communication should be layered with your Referral Efficiency Script (request for 2 referrals per year) and allow them to provide feedback.

 

Database

How you manage your database long-term will determine how successful you are in creating a sustainable business. If you receive 2 referrals from every person you do business with and convert 50%  into closed sales, you will already have built a predictable flow of business that will stay consistent. Building a system that you commit to upfront will ensure that in any market you follow through on obtaining as much business as possible.

An effective and efficient way to manage your database is to choose the right Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) that does the follow-up and tracking for you. It takes into consideration your marketing plan and holds you accountable. Having a CRM that sends emails, tracks interest rates, market values and includes direct mail will make it easier to stay in touch. It should also tell you when clients have birthdays and transaction anniversaries so you have an opportunity to call them.

If you don’t commit to having business systems, your business will run you and you will not have replicable results. Customers want to work with people who are methodical and yet relational. You need to build a business where you offer both!

I AM Statements

One of the things that works for me in maintaining a positive and successful mindset is to focus on a series of I AM statements every morning. These are statements that describe who I need to be in order to run a sustainable business and cultivate the energy I need to keep me disciplined and undistracted. For example, I AM patient, I AM clear, I AM smart, I AM grateful, and I AM courageous.

 

Our Brains are Not Hardwired

Scientists used to believe that our brains were hard-wired. That once we reached adulthood we were stuck with what we had. But then, after many more studies and testing, they discovered that the brain is more “soft-wired.” It is possible for it to evolve and change as the information and sensory data we feed to it changes.

The most remarkable thing is that it will evolve and relearn even when we are giving it information that may not yet be reality. It seems the brain can’t actually distinguish between an actual event and an imagined one. That’s why our dreams often seem so real. So by learning to control our thoughts we can deliberately rewire our brains to make ourselves more successful and fulfilled. We can learn to have success mindsets. Simply seeing ourselves as successful is the first step to eventually making success a reality. That’s also why so many athletes use visualization to help them perform at a much higher level.

 

The Power of I AM

The brain’s ability to learn and respond to imagery is exactly what makes I AM statements so powerful. Start by taking a hard look at your mindset. What areas do you need to change or improve in order to have a mindset that is geared for sustainable success? These are the areas that you want to build “I AM” statements around.

For example, if you have a mindset that says I can’t be successful because there is always too much to do, I’m constantly overwhelmed, then you may need I AM statements like these: I AM organized. I AM prioritizing my business daily. I AM not distracted easily. Or if you have a scarcity mindset, you may want I AM statements like: I AM prospering. I AM confident. I AM surrounded by abundance.

I encourage you to spend a few moments reviewing your I AM statements every day so that you internalize them. This is the quickest way of reprogramming your brain to build, and believe in, a mindset that has you focused on becoming the person you want to become. Then include daily non-negotiable activities in your business plan. They should remind you of the new you and what this new person can do, not what the old you with the old mindset would done.

To help get you started, here’s a series of I AM statements geared toward business:

I am ready for this day. I am equipped and empowered. I am not going to let anyone steal my joy. I am focused on things that are in alignment with my goals or mission. I am focused and clear on what I need to accomplish today. I will not allow triggers to disrupt my plan.