Top of Mind Networks

How to Blow Up Your Phones Today Using Surefire

August 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Sorry, but I flailed for the first couple minutes of this webinar because I am a moron. Wasn’t showing my screen.

Please see a few notes from today’s training underneath the video.


1) So far more than 50 of you have replicated this technique. Some of you have shared your successes with me. Thank you, and please keep them coming. One way to share your success stories is to comment on this blog article (below). Thank you!

2) After sending your email blast, you can get an idea as to who is viewing it… in real time. On the right hand nav bar, scroll down until you see “Email Blast Report”. When you drill down into that area of Surefire, you’ll see who opened and viewed the email. Please know – this is not going to be 100% accurate… I can explain why in another blog post sometime. My point here is that if you decide to “call behind” your email campaign, you might want to prioritize the readers who you know interacted with the email.

3) Caleb’s success – and yours – is directly tied to the trust level you’ve instilled with your database over your career. If you’re a novice database marketer, that’s okay, but there’s no better time to raise your game than TODAY. Get your database cleaned up. Let us help you get it uploaded into Surefire. Let’s get fired up and start implementing right now. Who’s in?????

Thanks again to Caleb LeGrand for letting me share his success.
Thanks to Toni Flory for being my guinea pig for today’s training.
Thanks to all of you – our clients – for making this possible.

Sales Tips and Follow Up Requirements for Realtors and Loan Officers

May 22, 2011 by · 9 Comments 

Are you gaining new prospects, referral sources and market share?  Are you focused long term on gaining relationships and the actions for success?

Lucretius said, “Constant dripping hollows out a stone”

Are you hollowing out the stone for new referrals and prospects?

Better yet, do you follow through and follow up?

A huge majority of sales people don’t follow-up with their most recent customers let alone new prospects. In fact over 48% of sales people never follow-up with customers what-so-ever.

But the statistics tell us sales are made just:

  • 2% of the time on the first visit.
  • 3% of the time on the second visit.
  • 5% of the time on the third visit.
  • 10% of the time on the fourth contact.

A full 80% of sales are made on or after the fifth contact.

How many times are you visiting or contacting your potential prospects before you give up?

Think about this in your business.  Think about the last person to ask YOU for business.  It might be an insurance agent wanting referrals for your purchase clients or a home inspector looking to be suggested during the inspection period.   It might even be the local mortgage loan officer.  Do they expect your business the first time you meet just because they showed up at your door?

How many times would you want to talk to them before you trusted them with YOUR business?  How many times did they contact YOU before they either gave up and quit contacting you or they won your business?

How many times do you call or market to a new potential clients before you stop?

So how are salespeople doing?  Sadly 90% of salespeople make 3 or fewer contacts which is interesting since it has been proven that 80% of sales are completed after the 5th call or contact.

How do you compare?

If you REALLY want the business do not take no for an answer.  Take your prospects NO or indifference as a NOT YET because you have not built up enough trust and leverage to earn their business.  So what can you do?

Commit today to:

  • Send——–1 more hand written card
  • Set———-1 more coffee appointment
  • Deliver—–1 more letter of interest or personally memorable item
  • Make——–1 more phone call

Your prospects should trust that you follow up diligently and consistently with them to earn their business so they can feel confident that you will work that hard “ON” their business.  They should realize that you did the same to GET their business and stand out from the crowd.

Remember, “Constant dripping hollows out a stone.”

Start today and break through to new prospects.

Derek R. Egeberg

Branch Manager

Academy Mortgage Corporation

Top of Mind Moved the Needle for Jasmine!

September 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

What are we in business to do?  Sure, make a living.  But for me, that’s not nearly good enough.  I need something more.  And the thing that’s always kept me inspired are emails like the one I got this morning from a client named Jasmine Krnjetin with Silverton Mortgage in Atlanta, Georgia.

 ”Hi Guys, Wanted to let you know that I got two new loans from your TOM email that went out yesterday.  I know you guys know that you totally rock – but I wanted to take a moment to fully appreciate you!

Thank you so much for the beautiful system you keep in place that continues to prosper all of us “automatically” 🙂

Jasmine, thank you for the kind words.  We at Top of Mind are working on making our Surefire System better and more powerful every single day.  By the way, I just noticed that you earned Loan Officer of the First and Second Quarters of 2010.  Congratulations!

This is what we work for at Top of Mind, and feedback like yours today never gets old.  Stay tuned for some very big news from Top of Mind in the next 48 hours.  I’ll be breaking it right here on the Top of Mind Blog.

Worried That You Aren't Cut-out For This?

January 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

First off, THANK GOD for blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and all other social media avenues that have allowed us all to reach out and connect with folks we would have NEVER come across if it weren’t for these platforms.

I have had more fascinating, heart-felt, wisdom-filled conversations with strangers in the last year than at any other time in my life. Social media certainly has brought us ALL closer together in an intimate and powerful way, which I believe can only make us each more tolerant, patient, understanding and less fearful. (Now for stepping down off my soap box)

I’d like to direct this blog communication to those in the Mortgage Industry who right this moment are worried that they might not be cut-out for this.

I’ve had a few dozen conversations of late where a Mortgage Professional has expressed that this year would be their, “last ditch effort to make it in this industry” or their, “final chance.” In my efforts to dig deeper to understand the psyche & facts supporting this desperate, final charge into 2010, I’ve uncovered the following recurring themes:

External themes:

  1. They perceive they have absolutely zero professional referral partnerships.
  2. They do not follow-up or further cultivate relationships.
  3. They do not belong to any groups, clubs, associations, networking groups, etc.
  4. They do not ask for business.

Internal themes:

  1. They are constantly comparing themselves and their business to others.
  2. Their thoughts are preoccupied with worry, loss and lack of…
  3. They do not read, listen to or engage in forms of positive re-focusing.
  4. They feel alone, that no one can help them, that they must do it all by themselves.

For those of you who identify with any combination of the before-mentioned, I want to tell you, YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED RIGHT THIS MOMENT TO SUCCEED IN THIS INDUSTRY!

Here’s what I know you have:

The ability to change-You’ve done it before. Just think back over the time you have served on this earth. There have been other times of uncertainty, fear, isolation,…loss. You do not suffer those times any longer. At some point you began to laugh again, to create again, to accept a new way of doing things and to even embrace it.

The power to create- Think about all you have brought into creation, the careers, the ideas, the documents, the systems, the possessions, the friends, the children and the innumerous times you’ve re-created YOU? Your drawing board is still here.

The courage to act-What was it like when you first decided to leap into the mortgage arena? Did your business cards, marketing items, customers, knowledge, etc., simply appear out of your intentions? Or were there a series of baby steps and sometimes, gargantuan steps that you took that got your business off the ground? You couldn’t  do things the same old way that you had done them in the past, right? You’ve taken action in the face of many unknowns and uncertainties and you CAN do it again. Now, is no different.

Your well of worth runs deep. All of that glorious creativity and courage to change and take action are still within you, I promise you. You are a being blessed with a miraculous power to live a life exactly how you imagine.

Instead of imagining this year as your, “last ditch effort” imagine it as your year on the road to your greatest victories.

The struggles you perceive today do not define who you are or what you are capable of accomplishing. At some point in 2010, you WILL look back and all that you feared most will simply be a small blip on the radar of life. It will not hold you captive any longer.

Your choices from this moment forward, from day to day, hour to hour are the only things that you have 100% say-so over. Do not assign “bad” “good” “worthy” “unworthy” to those choices, no one else will. Give your mind peace and your heart hope, no one else can give this to you.

Here’s to all of the battle-weary, scared & scarred…Victory is well on its way, just over the next hill, your comrades know you WILL make it.

Still Don't Have a Business Plan?

January 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

j0438543Yep, it’s THAT time of the year again. Time to put aside a half or full day for some serious consideration of how you intend to grow your mortgage practice in 2010.

Being that I’ve been working with mortgage professionals and their business planning efforts for five years now, I can say, without blushing, I have some expert advice to share on this matter.

Sometimes you’ve got to creep-up on the business of business planning

What I mean is, if you tell yourself,

“Self, we’re going to spend all day today devising our business plan for 2010 and we’re gonna do it by ourselves, locked up in our office, with a blank Word doc or giant whiteboard as our business planning canvas.”

Likely what will happen is your “Self” will get cold feet, create reasons and emergencies and must-dos to keep you from what your subconscious sees as an enormous and brain-draining task.

To combat this, try a business planning warm-up exercise. Just stick one toe into the icy cold water to start. Here’s an exercise that I share with my own coaching clients who feel anxious about beginning the process: I CAN Plan Business ACTION Planning Primer

group meetingBuddy-up with other like-minded Mortgage Professionals

Going it alone truly does decrease the likelihood that one will finish his/her plan. Remember the old saying, “No one succeeds alone!”

Buddy up with 2 or 3 other goal-oriented, enthusiastic mortgage professionals in your area. Set a date and place, preferably NOT in your office or theirs and keep the agenda simple.

Here are 5 business foundations to consider as you begin to brainstorm your goals as a group:

  1. Time Management
  2. Marketing & Lead Generation
  3. Database Management
  4. Building Business Referral Partnerships
  5. Tracking/Metrics

Be specific with your goals and simplistic with your process

Creating dynamic, detailed, action-driven goals is the MOST important aspect of your business plan. All of our excitement, hope and renewed energy comes from the act of creation and creativity. Don’t just stop with a goal like:

Develop methods to cultivate my new business referral relationships.

Take it to the next level with actionable items like:

  1. Invite 5 of my new business referral partners to meet at my office on a quarterly basis as a Mastermind group.Rotate who will set the agenda and lead the group.
  2. Locate and schedule to attend at least 3 business growth seminars, workshops, or presentations per year. Call all of my referral partners to let them know about the event, and for those who agree to go to the event, host a dinner party immediately after to discuss take-aways and each person’s implementation strategy.
  3. Invite my new referral partners to join, and offer to write a recommendation for the ones who accept the invitation.

Pink HighlighterAlways set target action dates for all of the activities you must engage  in, in order to accomplish your goals. Looking at the year ahead can feel daunting. Decide when you’ll start on certain goals by quarter, first. Then take it down to months within the quarter and then finally into the week of that month you have designated as your target action date. Whatever you do, DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. Prioritizing your goals and getting them into your calendar drives a significantly higher percentage of success than passively keeping your goals in a workbook.

There are dozens of seminars, software applications and workbooks with CDs & DVDS on the topic of business planning, all of which can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars. Much of the content and instruction is complicated and quite frankly, overkill, for what is needed in order to develop an effective plan.

What you need:

  1. Very specific, actionable goals WRITTEN DOWN.
  2. All goals and specific action steps prioritized into your Outlook, ACT, Franklin Covey or other favorite calendar tool.
  3. “Buddies” with whom you can share best practices and brainstorm goals.
  4. An accountability partner that you meet with once or twice a month, without fail, for the entire year.

However you attack the business of business planning, just remember, it’s personal and will drive certain emotions and this is precisely WHY many professionals do not engage in the process even though they know they should.

It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, conflicted or overwhelmed when sitting down to write your goals and action plan. As the old saying goes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Your business, your family and most importantly, YOU are worth the effort.

Go Completely Mental

December 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Not only, “Tis the season to be jolly,” but I say, “Tis the season to go mental!” It’s nearly impossible to avoid it anyway, right? Just about the time when the leaves wither and fall and the afternoons turn in early, our attention starts to turn as well. Our thoughts move inward and we settle into a gentle reverie, contemplating the meaning of life and recalling what’s dear and important to us. Many of us unconsciously look for an outlet, and many times, it’s a creative one like painting, journaling or photography.

There are plenty of well-documented theories on why the change of seasons directly impacts our state of mind. However, what I believe would be more impactful than reading about the cause is discussing how to capitalize on the effect!

First, let’s illustrate the two avenues people take when they “go mental” during the colder months. There’s the group that searches out creative outlets and there’s the group that stews in their ruminations.

You may recall a brisk December day when you came home to find your significant other curled up in a blanket, staring out into the backyard. You, being the concerned and sensitive partner that you are ask, “Honey, is everything ok?” And your partner, having gone mental, responds without turning to look at you, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things…” Unfortunately, the outlet for the “Stew In It” group tends to be the unsuspecting partner.

On the flip side, you may recall a brisk December day when you came home to find your significant other curled up in a blanket at the kitchen table with family photos strewn about, scrapbooking tools at the ready. Or, perhaps your partner had pulled the table saw out from the garage or the paints and paint brushes that had been in the closet since last year. And you, being the interested and curious partner that you are ask, “Honey, what are you up to?” And your partner, having gone mental, responds by looking at you with enthusiasm sparkling in their eyes and says, “I just got this crazy urge to….” (you fill in the blank).

We know instinctively what comes next in both of the above scenarios. So which avenue do you want to pursue?

I believe that allowing ourselves some creative play during this contemplative time of year can ignite and inspire our career and personal aspirations. For most businesses, the winter months dictate a slowing-down period. What better opportunity to release your creative genius and tap into a part of your brain that mostly lies dormant the rest of the year?

So, what can you do right now to draw the best out of this winter “moodscape”?

Like everything else in life, it boils down to choice, which further boils down to conscious effort. Here’s an exercise to get you conscious about your choices. For the best possible outcome, invite your significant other to do this exercise as well.

Select 5 creative activities that you can engage in once a week throughout the winter:

  • Journal
  • Photography
  • Scrap-booking
  • Create a skit with your kids
  • Pencil sketch
  • Play a board game
  • Write poetry
  • Photography
  • Create a skit with your kids
  • Paint
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Create bead jewelry
  • Blueprint your dream home
  • Crotchet/knit/sew
  • Do a science experiment
  • Create a new logo
  • Write a song
  • Play an instrument
  • Create a new chili recipe
  • Build a house of cards
  • Do a puzzle
  • Make & name your own beer
  • Create a vision board
  • Write a sermon for church
  • Sculpt with clay
  • Write a family newsletter
  • Rearrange your furniture
  • Build a blanket fort with your kids
  • Bake and decorate a cake

Of course, these are just examples to help get your creative ideas popping. Once you have selected the activities that you will engage in, put them into your calendar and treat them like any appointment you wouldn’t dare miss.

By taking advantage of this seasonal phenomenon and engaging the creative mind, we set off a domino effect that leads to more ingenious problem solving, negotiating, strategic planning and brainstorming in our business lives.

The following famous quotes capture the importance of unleashing one’s creative brilliance.

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The ability to convert ideas into things is the secret to outward success.
-Henry Ward Beecher

Imagination is more important than knowledge. – Albert Einstein

What if,  instead of giving your boss a 20-page sales plan, you gave her a 30×40 Vision Board instead? How about having your team “Show-n-Tell” their goals during their next performance review? You might be thinking, ‘Has she gone completely mental?’ Yes, yes, I have and though I cannot predict where this creative landscape will take me or you, I know that it will provide solutions, new perspectives and limitless rewards.

I invite you this season to succumb to your creative genius, unleash the possibilities and enjoy going completely mental! I promise that your significant other will thank you for it.

Productivity Gained

December 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week I posted an article about the loss of productivity our office (and more specifically me) experienced after upgrading from Office 2003 to Office 2007 with a Microsoft Exchange Server. This post is to serve as the yin to that post’s yang.

There was in fact a pretty large learning curve associated with the upgrade, especially with Word and Excel. I feel I had become pretty darn efficient with both of these programs, and familiarizing myself with a new console proved to be kind of annoying. But I suppose some of that can simply be chalked up to simple resistance to change.

So last week I exposed a lot of the problems that can occur with an upgrade like this. Now I want to concentrate on the reasons to make such an upgrade. I can make the statement with no exaggeration that my email efficiency has at least doubled. I can check/send email from home, work, my mobile device, or any computer for that matter and all of my inboxes are in sync. If I send an email from my phone, MS Exchange adds that email to my sent items folder, so I no longer have to worry about what emails I have and have not responded to. I literally used to CC myself on all emails I sent from my phone just so I would have record of that sent email. This annoyance is no longer necessary. The same holds true for webmail (accessing email on the go via a web interface). This used to be just as clunky as phone email. Now with the MS Exchange internet interface I can access my email from any web browser with 90% of the functionality I have with my actual install of Outlook.

The annoyances of using the old webmail and the old cell phone email were so bad that it really kept me from doing any sort of actual work outside the office. I only responded to what I considered emergency emails. Now I am confident that I can be just as efficient in clearing out my inbox from the comfort of my own couch while my wife watches reality TV as I am sitting at my desk at work. And as a business owner that is huge for me. I have seen the light and honestly don’t think I could go back to ‘regular email’.

And the absolute best part is that since we are on an Exchange server now I can add my SPAM rules on the server level, not on the client level. In other words I can create rules that mark emails as SPAM before they even get downloaded to my inbox (and in turn synced with my phone). Another crutch I used to have with working on the go is that I got triple the amount of SPAM as I did regular email. So sorting through the SPAM to find the 1 or 2 actual emails on my phone was unbearable. I don’t think I have received a single piece of SPAM email to my phone since the change.

So for those business owners, branch managers, and IT guys out there; if you want to give a pretty solid boost to your employees in email efficiency I highly recommend giving MS Exchange a shot. You will get pushback up front, but they (like me) will see the light after only a few days of using it.

Shey, you are the man; thanks for making this happen!

Distractions and Shiny Objects – What's Your Vice?

November 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Hi, My name is Mark, and I’m a dysfunctional blogger….

DistractionsWell, not all of the time, but there are days that I’ll spend 8 hours looking at a computer with nothing to show for it.

Sure, lots of emails and phone calls get addressed asap, todo lists are cleaned up, back links to my new blog posts are spread throughout social network and blog comment land, and I’ll skim 25,000 words in a day on relevant news and education that pertains to my various business niches….

However, sometimes I fail to accomplish the single most important task that drives my business – Producing Content.

Since, I’ve already clearly defined my purpose on the web, there really is no excuse for any distractions.

I bumped all over the place when I was in my social media discovery phase, but now I know what I know, what I don’t know, where to turn for the answers, and more specifically, what questions to ask.

Yet, unless I guard the time that I spend in all of my online and other business related activities, I’ll find myself exhausted at the end of a busy day without having something of true substance out there working for me in the search engines and actually building perpetual equity in my online presence.

So, while I was doing a little research today on building a content calendar for the new Top of Mind Mortgage Marketing Show that Mark Green and I are launching shortly, I ran across this encouraging video from Darren Rowse on ProBlogger:

Whether you’re a full-time blogger, originator, direct mail marketer or radio host, it is essential to spend your time and energy doing what you do.

For example, as a blogger / Social Media Marketing guy, I need to produce valuable content on a consistent basis that drives targeted traffic, as well as increases the equity in my web properties.

Here is a quick outline of how I manage my daily social media flow:

  1. Google Reader:  Find out what’s happening, drill down specific research
  2. Posterous: Organize research in tabs and different targeted blogs
  3. Hootsuite:  Share stuff through various twitter accts w/ links back to posterous
  4. WordPress: Write / Comment
  5. Facebook / Twitter: Promote


Related Articles From The Web About Distractions:

Too Much Emailing, Too Much Texting, Makes you Stupid!

November 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

BrainAs a Business Coach, I am constantly reading anything and everything that has to do with neuroscience-how the brain works. The more insight, tools, practices, habits that I can share with my clients on how they can change their external results by consciously understanding their internal mechanisms, the happier and more productive they become.

Here is a gem that I came across in the pages of a new book called, “Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long” by David Rock.  Every mortgage client I’ve ever had has struggled with this one and I’m sure many of you have, too…

The Impact of Doing Too Much

A study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability by an average of ten points on an IQ test.

The author explains that the effects are similar to missing a night’s sleep or around three times more than the effect of smoking cannabis!

The author continues…

Despite the depth of scientific research out there about the problems inherent in partial attention, people continue to stretch themselves to do more at the same time even though the benefits they may be receiving are minimal. Being “always on” seems like a logical solution. Ergo, if you have more emails that can be done in the time at your desk, then do them everywhere.

Here’s the thing that my clients managing teams have found to be true- Being overly responsive to email and text traffic just increases the total number of emails and texts you get! People notice so they send you more issues to respond to.

Light BulbGet that IQ Back Where it Belongs!

  1. Set an auto reply message in Outlook every day to indicate the times when you will be returning email and voicemail. Change your voicemail daily, too. This only works if you follow it!
  2. Use text-messaging as a secondary tool for urgent matters when you can’t reach someone by phone. Only respond to texts that are of an urgent matter.
  3. Share your Outlook calendar (Read only view) with your team so they can see when you are available and when you are not. This will help you to manage those folks who abuse email.
  4. Set up rules in Outlook so that emails from friends, family members, email updates that you subscribe to and any non-urgent, but regularly occurring communications, are automatically sent to folders for later review.
  5. Turn off the option that audibly/visually alerts you when a new email has hit your inbox.
  6. Respond by calling, rather than emailing. It’s just way too easy for a lot of folks to waste a lot of time via email.
  7. If you happen to be a Manager, just think about the number of complaint emails you have received from your LOs and or support team vs. the number of complaints you have actually heard face to face or over the phone. Having been in your shoes, I can promise you that if you begin responding to “issue” emails with…

“I sense that you are upset-dismayed-disappointed-anxious (you choose the expression) about ________ (you fill in the blank). Let’s talk. I will be free at 3pm. Please call me at that time so we can discuss this situation.”

…that the number of these types of emails will dramatically decrease and you will find that the real issues will be left on the table, of which most can be quickly and effectively addressed and resolved in a single conversation.

Don’t let your productivity tools make you as dumb as a stoner! For even more brain cell-saving techniques, read 5 Way to Save Time on Email.

Do people really know, like, and trust you?

October 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

origmkcoahDo you ever wonder why some originators do really, really well with a system or strategy and you struggle with the same stuff?

Which system, strategy, or program is right for you? How do you choose?

What will really make you successful? Listen to today’s Originators Guide podcast to find out what 3 key ingredients you will need to have to very successful in life and business.

You can listen online here.

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