This time of year is when many people write or revise their New Year’s “resolutions” or update their short- and long-term goals.
Of course, some become frustrated when they fail to achieve their plans.
Now is an ideal time to take a fresh look at your resolutions and consider the best ways to accomplish them.
Keep the Resolutions
So, what is the secret to successfully realizing your 2015 resolutions? The basic “formula” includes:
- Outlining those actions you feel can be achieved in a reasonable time frame.
- Not overloading your list so that you become overwhelmed.
- Monitoring your progress on a regular basis.
- Asking others to help keep you on schedule.
According to Dr. Kerry Johnson, it’s important to establish realistic and meaningful goals. “The answer lies in being smart when you set them,” said Johnson, MBA, Ph.D. and a Tustin, CA-based international speaker and the bestselling author of seven books including Peak Performance: How to Increase Your Business by 80% in Eight Weeks. “When you set goals you can achieve, you want to make them long-term and big. A long-term objective is one that exists one to five years out. For example, adding three new niches, or expanding your business to numerous states or cities.”
Sample 2015 Goals
We checked with a few successful loan originators to see what their 2015 plans are and how they’ll accomplish them. For example, Dave King, SWBC Mortgage, Englewood, Colo., has a basic but effective approach. “Every year I have a resolution to simply get better than the year before,” he said. “This is not measured by volume, units, money or anything else tangible but by simply committing and always looking for ways to become a better originator. Once you do this, all of the tangible measurements like volume will fall into place just fine.”
One of King’s strategies is to enhance customer relationships. “This year one of the things I am focusing on is dealing with the situation, not the person,” he said. “Our business is full of daily complications and difficult situations. Therefore, the originator who can calm the nerves of a frustrated customer and not make it personal has a huge advantage. First of all, dealing with a difficult issue is far easier when you are working with allies rather than people who are upset. Secondly, by showing people that you care and helping with a calm, friendly demeanor, people will flock to you and your referral tree will flourish like never before. For many years, my staff has had a saying for customers who get confused and/or upset that they need ‘five minutes with Dave.’ So this year I am working on making ‘five minutes with Dave’ even better.”
Laura Sosa-Rocha is emphasizing two major areas. “My main goal this year is to grow my business and work with people I enjoy being around,” said Sosa-Rocha, Heritage Bank Mortgage, Atlanta, Ga. “If you can’t enjoy it then why do it? I want to increase my sales by 35-40 percent this year and in doing that make sure I also spend time with my kids and friends. I believe even though I do a lot of business it’s important to have balance and enjoy the things I work so hard for.”
Sosa-Rocha uses several ways to measure success. “I track my sales monthly to see where I am and do a quarterly checkup as well,” she said. “I also do weekly pipeline meetings to make sure I am on track for the next month. As far as family, I make sure to have dinner with my kids every chance I get and put them to bed. This business is crazy and it can take control of your life unless you take control of it first. I’ve also found it important to always prepare for the next day the night before.”
A key part of Matt Elerding’s resolution planning process involves his team. “My team and I recently sat down to set a couple of manageable, realistic, attainable goals,” said Elerding, The Elerding Team, Powered by HomeStreet Bank, Vancouver, Wash. “We agreed that 2014 was a successful year due in large part to our systems and sticking to those systems throughout the year. These include holding weekly status updates and pipeline reviews, killing ‘go-nowhere’ loans early on rather than dragging them out to their inevitable demise, and staying on top of our e-mail and voicemail boxes. We agreed that moving forward, adherence to these systems will ensure the best chance of having another productive and meaningful year in an industry that is always changing. Our primary resolution for 2015 are to focus on converting the ‘players’ within each transaction (buyer’s agent, listing agent, escrow officer, and seller) into referral sources, clients or both. We have found the most opportune time to resonate with a new potential referral source/client is while they are deeply involved in a transaction with us. If that transaction goes well, it creates an opening for a ‘warm call’ in which we can ride the wave of a recently (and successfully) closed transaction. Our second resolution was to commit to cross training.’ Our team’s mantra has been to become a ‘Three Headed Beast’ wherein each of the primary team members is able to do the jobs of the other two team members.”
Elerding knows that regular communications is essential. “In order to ensure that we stick to our goals and achieve our resolutions, we have committed to one meeting a month during which we review our plan and openly address what is and isn’t working,” he said. “We have agreed to be very open and honest during this session. It will allow us to tweak things to ensure that we are staying on the most efficient course possible in order to achieve our ultimate goal in 2015 – closing more than 300 units for more than $75,000,000. We have also agreed to have a very brief meeting every morning before launching into our day. This will allow us to ‘stay on the same page’ with one another and make sure that nothing pressing gets missed during that day. All the team members agree that if we are in constant communication with each other, very little will get missed and the inevitable frustration, stress and irritation can be avoided.”
Establishing New Year’s resolutions and related goals is usually the easy part. The challenge is to make the effort to accomplish them. These and other ideas could help you be more successful.
David Robinson is Associate Editor of Broker Banker.