Where are you coming from?
I believe in the pile theory. The pile theory is simply the idea that whoever achieves the most tangible results in a particular field will usually have the most to teach. With that in mind, if someone has a bigger pile than you, listen. It they have a smaller pile than you, don’t. You wouldn’t take diet advice from an overweight person, would you? Or financial advice from someone who just filed for bankruptcy?
I went to a seminar a short time ago where one of the scheduled speakers was a hugely successful mortgage loan originator. I had heard of him and was looking forward to hearing him speak, as his pile was bigger than mine. About 5 minutes into his presentation, I stopped taking notes. After 10 minutes, I got up and walked out. I was disappointed. While my pile theory held up with regard to the speaker’s results financially, his methods, attitude, and techniques did not. In the mortgage business, success is often measured simply by financial success. Number of loans, closed loan volume, number of leads, etc. While we are all in it to make money, not everyone has the same vision of what success really means. Without this vision, it does not matter how many leads or loans you have, satisfaction and fulfillment will elude you in this business.
I discovered this early in my career. I read the trade magazines and industry publications. I listened to veterans with my company and modeled my business around what appeared to be a sound business plan. It wasn’t long, however, before I discovered what was lacking…ME! My business plan didn’t have “me” in it. It was like I was reading an instruction manual and building something step-by-step; however I wasn’t sure what it would look like when I was finished. That is what a vision is, what it looks like when it is done. As Steven Covey’s first habit states in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, you must “begin with the end in mind”. How true. You must know what it looks like when it’s done. This is not to say your vision will not change over time, but you must have one to begin with. The number one reason I have seen people exit this business is lack of vision. While they might blame it on lack of leads, the market, their company, whatever, in the end it is usually the fact that they simply did not have a vision, nor did they have a plan to get there. They simply tried a few things that appeared to work for other people.
I believe the key to finding that vision starts with where you are coming from. What I mean by this is, when you are conducting business, are you coming from the right place? Your vision must start here. If you are prospecting for new leads, what outcome are you hoping for other than getting them to sign on the dotted line? Are you trying to establish a long-term relationship with the client? Do you want them to refer you business in the future? Are you interested in their success? Have you calculated what their lifetime value might be? The speaker at the seminar I referred to had hugely impressive numbers; however his methods for obtaining those numbers did not fit in with my vision. This is not to say he was not a good mortgage professional, he simply had a different vision. Despite my desire to achieve his results financially, his methods were not compatible with my vision.
When conducting business, I believe coming from the right place is key to long term success. If you truly look out for your clients, they will look out for you. If you provide exceptional service, they will tell others about you. If you stay in touch with them, and continue to provide value for them, they will return to you again and again. While this may sound simple, even rather obvious, why do so few actually do it? Because they are not coming from the right place. They are coming from the desire to make money, achieve recognition, compete with their co-workers, squeeze maximum profits from each transaction, etc.
When constructing your vision, keep the pile theory in mind. Every contact you have with a client should be compatible with your vision- every phone call, email, text message, fax, advertising piece, mailer, etc. By coming from the right place, your career satisfaction will improve and you will notice that you no longer have a lack of leads, market fluctuations will have less impact on you, and there’s probably nothing wrong with the company you work for.