The holiday season tends to be distracting and chaotic. It probably has been easy for mortgage originators to lose focus on the things that matter most in their business. But there’s no better time of the year than now to recenter, and build out the systems and processes to get you back on track.
Whether you’re rallying your team to get everyone motivated and ready to crush the new year, or you’re getting your attention back on money-making activities for yourself, there are many things you can do to get focused on making your mortgage career successful in 2021. If last year taught us anything, it’s that contingency planning and pivoting are vital skills that can’t be ignored. Building out plans B, C and D only helps you, however, if you know what could go wrong.
So, how do you navigate things if you can’t fully see what’s coming down the pike? You create a process of how to pivot instead of focusing on what the outcome of the pivot is.
A successful pivot plan tells you and your team how to come together and problem-solve the moment things go wrong. You can build in contingencies for mental and emotional processing that may need to happen, but when you and your team know what to do when unforeseen circumstances hit, it’s much easier to act.
The beginning of each year gives you the opportunity to recommit to your mission, your goals and the inspiration that drives you forward. If you have a team, this is even more important than if you’re handling everything yourself because your team needs to be reenrolled in your collective mission.
Before you strategize goals and tasks for the next quarter, it’s important to be aligned in your vision and your mission. This way, the strategies and tactics you choose afterward will be on par with the future of the business.
When looking at strategies for the first quarter, make sure you’re looking at what is actively working now, as well as the activities that will move the needle the most for your business. Think about it like this: For every five activities that bring money into the business today through sales and lead generation, there should only be one activity that is building the long-term health of the business.
For example, money-making activities are prospecting, following up, getting referrals and consistently posting on social media. Each of these things can help you produce a sales result today. Some business-building activities that don’t create money in the here and now — but will later — include blogging, creating a podcast, sending newsletters and even writing a book.
If you’re not sure what the best money-making activities for you are, look over your past three months of sales. Where did these sales come from and what did you do to close these deals?
When you can retrace your steps and see where your efforts make the biggest difference, then you know where to start now. Likewise, take note of the strategies and tactics that didn’t work. What did you spend time doing that didn’t yield a profit? What took resources from you (and your team) that didn’t yield a return on investment?
In order to alleviate distractions from your daily work, you have to be set up for success. The usual advice is to silence your phone or follow a strict schedule. The problem with these ideas is that they leave room for cracks in the foundation of your focus that you can fall through. Although no productivity practice is perfect, calendar chunking is a method that can revolutionize your ability to focus and get more done with less effort.
Calendar chunking involves blocking off chunks of time on your schedule, specifically for one task or a set of tasks. For example, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 to 10 a.m., you may respond to morning emails. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., you follow up with prospects. Then, from 2 to 4 p.m., you do your prospecting.
The idea is to switch between types of tasks as little as possible so that your brain can focus on what’s at hand. A study from the University of California, Irvine found that interruptions during tasks increased the workload, stress and frustration of study participants. This means that when you’re interrupted during your workday and switching between tasks, you’re setting yourself up for more struggle and stress than is necessary. This is why calendar chunking is effective.
When you have your day blocked off in sections, giving attention to only one particular task at a time, you create more ease and flow in your day. This gives you the opportunity to complete things in a timely and less-stressful manner.
Create time blocks you can stick to and section off certain days of the week for different activities. Maybe Tuesdays and Thursdays are your marketing days, and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are your money-making days. There are countless ways to make calendar chunking work for you, so long as you commit to following it.
If you have a team, this practice will help them, too. Through calendar chunking, you can coordinate meeting days and develop a workflow that supports your team’s focus and energy.
Make note of the things that can be done in your business for you, either through delegation or automation, so that you can give your attention to the tasks that require it.
It’s easy to get distracted by the things in your business that don’t actually need you. For example, you can set up automations for lead generation, appointment setting and lead qualification. These automated processes give you the freedom to focus on the things that actually require your presence and effort —such as closing deals and following up with strong leads.
As you continue to grow, make note of the things that can be done in your business for you, either through delegation or automation, so that you can give your attention to the tasks that require it. Marketing is one of the most important things you’ll do to get a consistent flow of leads in the door. The problem that loan officers can run into, however, is either marketing too much, which distracts from money-making activities; marketing too little, which means you’ll run out of leads; or marketing inconsistently, which creates dry spells for your business.
In order to focus on money-making activities, you have to learn exactly how and when to prioritize marketing. Here’s how: Much of your marketing content can be batched, outsourced and scheduled. Batched content means you’re creating multiple pieces of marketing at a time. This works perfectly with calendar chunking since the creation of multiple pieces of marketing is already worked into the schedule.
You can sit down for two to three hours in one day and get all of your weekly marketing materials ready to go. If you don’t want to do the marketing creation yourself, you can simply have it done for you, either through a team member or a third party who will create content on your behalf.
Once you have your content ready to go, you can load it into an automated content scheduler. This way, you can set it and forget it. This will give you the freedom to create multiple pieces of marketing materials in one work session while keeping your lead-generation system pumping every day of the week.
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Getting the most out of the effort you put into growing your mortgage business comes down to two main things: focus and efficiency. By keeping your focus on what matters for growing sales, and allowing other people or systems to handle everything else for you, you create an efficient machine that works for you. ●