Happy Holidays everyone! I wanted to jot a few notes to you about this time of year in our crazy mortgage world.
First is that there are obvious dead days in these weeks that should give you the perfect opportunity to either take quality time off with your family(best), get totally organized in your office and retool your system for the new year, or take a day and review your business for the past year. You should have been reviewing your business for the past year already when you were looking back at your production to see where it came from so you could create a "naughty and nice" list. If you did I bet you were probably surprised at where the business came from. In particular, you probably noticed that the people who you hear from the most or request the most (highest maintenance), you don't close the most deals from. It is time to either sit down with then to see how they actually refer you, how they "prequalify" the lead to you. Or its time to prune them altogether.
After you have done the post-mortem on the year (and this year may need a mortem), you can tighten a plan for 2007. Think of all the areas you want to work on or emphasize and grow; cast the net wide. Then start prioritizing the list; take the 1st 3 on the list and see how you can integrate them in your calendar for the 1st quarter. Bake them right into your daily/weekly routine right thru March. If on Outlook use Task list as well. (see previous blog for more detail). If you have a team they should be creating the plan with you. If you are alone, you need a peer, manager or spouse (preferably all) to own the plan as well and keep you honest.
A note on cards and gifts....I see many folks out there running around and sending out generic holiday cards with signatures on them, nothing personal attached. I don't see the value. I know I get these from the people who deliver my paper and milk, do my plumbing or lawn cutting. Do I want to be included in that bunch? We should be personal advisors, a partner and advocate. If a generic card, there should be a personal note in each. If you have many laughs with your client, make it a silly card or one with a great picture inserted. Or make it based on a cause you support like Rebuilding Together or Habitat or a local hospital. Your gift could be a donation to that cause. Not doing one at all and sending Thanksgiving or Valentines cards instead saves you Holiday Madness and separates you. I have sent to my Realtors in the past a 3D pop up card from www.Graphics3inc.com . They are unique, many are housing related and people remember them. In fact, I have found that many collect them as ornaments year after year, hanging them on their tree or setting them up around the desk. Now that's brand building!
Your gifts should be the same. I made the mistake of trying to give something to everybody instead of recognizing the key people well who do the most for you. Take the time and make it special and unique to them. If it is something that can help them have a better quality of life or helps grow their business even bigger. That is how you want to be remembered by them. In that vein, giving calendars in November for the New Year is a great way to bake ‘you’ into their life. If you do that be sure to plant notes on certain dates. Have fun with it...make up holidays, add your birthday, an anniversary of when you started doing business together, ball team schedule, local town big dates, call you with referral date, etc
Make a note for next years plan to review your approach to the holidays. Shake it up. If people really love what you have done in the past they will call and let you know. Find away to make your letters and gifts truly represent you and have staying power. Happy Holidays!