WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it as: the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level; continuing for an extended period or without interruption.
When I talk about sustainability in the mortgage business, I’m talking about having a consistent, reliant stream of new loans and subsequent income regardless of what is happening around you. There are several factors that affect your ability to attain sustainability. The most important of which is you. We’ll delve into that in later posts. For now, let’s start with some of the outside factors.
If you’ve been in the mortgage business for any amount of time you know the one thing we can always count on is that the market will change. Interest rate shifts often have the most dramatic effect but other things such as inventory, the overall economy, and consumer confidence drive market change as well. So how can you possibly create a sustainable business model with all of these variables at play? Simple – stay focused on the right thing.
The right thing in almost every circumstance is to focus on the purchase market since it is less likely to be affected by interest rate swings. Refinances on the other hand have high volatility. When interest rates go down, generally refinances go up. When interest rates go up, refinances drop. Focus includes being creative and innovative in how you reach and communicate with today’s purchasers and agents. Gone are the days when using a telephone and face-to-face meetings were the only ways to acquire business. Now you need to be as educated and online savvy as your younger potential clients in addition to still providing a “high touch” approach for the older generations.
RUN YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS
You’ve likely entered the mortgage business because you see the opportunity to earn “uncapped” income. I’m guessing you also like the freedom that mortgage origination allows – the idea of being your own boss. What many originators fail to grasp however, is that when they become a lender, they also become a business owner.
If you want to create sustainability, then you must think and act 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 of your time and resources. And if you don’t know how to put these things in place, you need to hire a coach that can help you get there.
CREATE A PREDICTABLE REFERRAL MODEL
Referrals are the lifeblood of this business. You must be actively focused on earning partner referrals from the very beginning. Working by referral does not mean you accept referrals when someone sends them to you. It means developing referral partners and referral pipelines that will consistently send business your way. You’ll need to build a plan to get these referrals and work that plan consistently day in and day out in order to create sustainability.
TAKE MOTIVATION OUT OF THE EQUATION
Motivation is doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done when we want to do it. Motivation is a “nice to have.” But it doesn’t get us where we need to be in terms of building a sustainable business. The majority of people don’t wake up in the morning excited to do the nuts and bolts work that needs to be done to build their business. Those are boring tasks – cold calling agents, booking appointments, entering information into the database, etc.
Building sustainability is about repetitiveness. It’s about doing the same things every day that you know will make you successful, even when those things are mundane. It takes discipline.
Discipline is doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done when we don’t want to do it.
Plan your work and work your plan – every day whether you feel like it or not. That’s what top performers in this industry do. That’s how they ride out the highs and the lows. That’s how they build a sustainable business. And that’s how you can too.