The Heath Barnes Show

Mortgages Reimagined

with your host, Heath Barnes

Ep014: CRM’s: Allowing Structure And Growth For Your Business with Brendan O’Driscoll & Brittany Hincka

HBS 14 Brendan | CRMs

Today on the Heath Barnes Show, I’m speaking with Brendan O’Driscoll and Brittany Hincka, his team lead.

By incorporating a playbook and CRM (customer relationship management system) to their team, not only has it brought structure and organization, but it has saved their team time and helped to increase the conversion of their leads.

In this episode, see how having a CRM that allows you to track your metrics and clients can change your business for the better! And remember, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvements.” – James Clear.

Listen to the podcast here


 

CRMs: Allowing Structure And Growth For Your Business With Brendan O’Driscoll & Brittany Hincka

I’ve got some extra special guests in this episode, not only Mr. Brendan from Michigan, Grand Rapids, but also his Team Captain, Brittany. You guys are going to be excited about this show because we’re going to be talking about CRM and how that has changed everyone’s life. I want to start with this. This quote is by James Clear. If you haven’t read the book Atomic Habits, I will grab it. It’s a great book. It’s a great read.

The quote is, “Many people think they lack motivation, but what they really lack is clarity.” When I read that, what I think about is the clarity of your business because you’ve put together a playbook and a CRM. That’s what we’re going to be talking about in this episode. Stick around. Brendan, why don’t you go ahead? You were on the show, so most people know who you are. Why don’t you start by introducing your beautiful Team Captain, Brittany?

Brittany has been with us now for several years. I would like to say we stole her from one of the notoriously bad banks to work at in town. She labored over there for 10 or 12 years. To her credit, she couldn’t take it anymore and heard good things about us and reached out to us. We were fortunate that she went through the interviewing process. I heard about her. I never met her. When we hired her, we said, “This might be a new team captain.” When I met her, I was like, “This is it. This is going to be a game changer.”

We slowly put her on the team. You don’t want to bring somebody in from the outside and say, “You got a new boss. Here she is.” Brittany is going to join the team. She’s going to help us with A, B, C, and D. She spent a few months observing, tweaking and slowly showing them that she had a massive skillset. What I knew and what she knew was like, “Here’s the new team captain. We’re changing some things. It’s going to be way better. It’s going to make your life easier. You’re going to work more efficiently and less hours.” There was a lot of good stuff that was in it for them.

There are two questions about what you said. 1) In that process, you say, “When I was talking to her, I knew she was the one.” How did you know she was the one? 2) It’s hard to bring someone in that’s not been on the team without hurting someone’s feelings or creating some disruption. How did you do that?

From my point of view, I knew it because you can’t have a bunch of you. If there are ten Heath Barnes running around your office, it gets chaotic. She is supplementary and complementary because she does a lot of stuff that I don’t do. She also has such a wide range of talent that she can step in and be me. Maybe she’s not as salesy as me, but she can do it, where some people don’t want to talk to people on the phone. She had the skillset. Immersing her in the team is a slow process. A couple of people on the team were probably unsure.

I have one team member who thought they should be the team captain but also realized all the stuff that she has done. It would be like me trying to be the team captain. I wasn’t team captain before, which is why we needed to change because we can only get so far with a control freak, high D and high I sales guy was all over the place. You need structure, systems, and accountability within your own team. I even have accountability to my team captain.

Let’s hear from Brittany. What do you think your superpowers are as the team captain?

My number one superpower is remaining calm and knowing that there’s a solution to the problem. That helps everyone on the team, including Brendan, not panic. We’re not splitting the atom here. We’re doing mortgages, which are very important, but there’s a way to get through it and get everybody on track.

I love that. Somebody once told me. They’re like, “When you have a problem and are freaking out, are you going to be able to handle that problem better than if you’re calm and cool? No.”

It’s not a big deal until you make it a big deal. That’s what we’ve been talking a lot about before.

Where do you think you got the ability to remain calm in super difficult and stressful situations for most people, Brittany?

I got a lot of that from my dad. He was a foreman. When growing up, I could hear him on the phone and remaining calm and problem-solving, things like that. All through my education, I took a lot of courses on how to problem solve, stay calm, find the root cause of problems, and have that emotional intelligence too to help others through those calmly.

You’re going to be able to handle a problem better if you’re calm. It’s not a big deal until you make it a big deal. Click To Tweet

For everyone reading, if you can find someone that is a master in problem-solving, make sure you hire and make him the team captain. Besides problem-solving, what else is one of your superpowers in the mortgage business?

I’ve worked at a big bank for a long time and started there as an intern. I worked my way through each role through mortgages. I’ve done all of it. That helps me relate to everybody on my team and outside of the team. It also allows that if something is a hot file, I can jump in and wear that hat for that time to help the good of the team get through that. We’re a bigger team now, which is very exciting, but we’re all close-knit. If there’s one file to get through and we can all put our skills in there to get it done, we’re going to get it done. It’s having different hats, too.

Do you have nine people on the team now?

Yes.

You got to be organized if you’re going to have a team that big. I want to start off by talking about the playbook, how that came about, how Brittany was instrumental in getting this rolled out, and what exactly a playbook is.

As we grow as a team and an office, the more we talk about uniformity, the more we have to write it down like, “What’s this person’s top three job duties? What’s their job description?” If you’re not doing it the same in different areas of your office of the country wherever you’re at, what if things slow down and one region slower than the other if you can plug and play, “We’re going to help the Arizona office do some processing?” If we all do things the same way, because we have the same playbook, it’s easier to help, spread out the workload, and have some structure like, “How do you do this?” “I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it in a year and a half, but it’s in the playbook. Let’s look at it.” That’s the main answer. Brittany, what’s your answer to that question?

I would agree. Coming from a large bank to a smaller company in Threadstone, I struggled with not having it structured within the teams. I love the idea of the playbook. As Brendan said, it’s having steps, having the top three duties, having something there to hold myself and each other accountable, and also to help those that are joining the team so that we’re all doing it the same way.

For someone starting out, maybe they say, “That’s a great idea. Let me put together a playbook,” what advice would you give them?

The advice I would give them is to take it as it’s your first day on a job. What do you want to know that is expected of you and going to make you a good employee for that team?

You quoted Atomic Habits, Heath. This is from that book, “Don’t try and do it all at once.” The best thing in that book, if it’s the same quote, is that, “If you could get 1% better every single day, in 100 days, in three months plus, you’re going to be 100% better than you were today,” which is an amazing thing. One percent a day is way better than trying to bite off 50% by tomorrow. It’s too much. You’re going to be stagnant because you’re paralyzed with too much stuff.

If you just put together your loan process from beginning to end and what you are doing in certain situations, scripts, messages, and things like that, everyone’s going to be a little more organized in doing the same process.

We had a monthly team meeting before, unbeknownst to me. Brittany said we’re going to talk about the process. The back end of the team is going to talk about what happens when they grab the file after the purchase agreement comes in or we lock the refi. The front end of the team, my four loan officer assistant, we all got together and said, “What happens from when the lead comes in until we get the contract and hand it off to processing?”

It was fascinating. We had whiteboards. We’re scribbling on papers, and we got them plastered up in the office. The goal was to make sure that everybody’s doing it pretty much the same if we tweak some stuff. I didn’t know we were going to do it. The meeting went long, and they started worrying about, “I got other stuff to do,” but it was so productive that it was great that she sprung that on us.

HBS 14 Brendan | CRMs
CRMs: Being better 1% a day is way better than trying to bite off 50% by tomorrow. It’s just too much. You’re just going to be stagnant because you’re paralyzed with too much stuff.

 

I love the fact that you said, “We trained on the playbook.” A lot of people put together a playbook, put it on the shelf, and then never go back to it. Moving forward in the mortgage business, it’s going to be as important for us to continue to train our people but also to unlearn some of the processes along the way, which means changing things. If you’re not routinely changing your process, you’re going to get left behind.

I always give an example, “On your iPhone, how often do you get an update on the software?” It’s once a month. You remember this, Brendan. I don’t know if you change as a result of COVID. For ten years, I took every loan application, not myself, but someone on my team, on the phone. We took it by phone. I met everyone in person. As a result of COVID, we turned everything upside down. We sent them a link and then did Zoom calls. It saved hours. Unlearning is as important as learning new things.

Different people are on different boats. My partner, Kevin Polakovich, is the biggest loan officer in Michigan year in and year out. He meets with most of his people face to face, and we did evolve to Zoom. It’s drummed in that you have to meet people face to face. Sometimes our leads come to us so warm and well referred that the customer buys in without even talking to me. The teams and even the clients are like, “What do we have to meet with Brendan for? We already got it decided.”

I thought, “Why am I reheating this dinner that is perfectly cooked? Let it just be,” Maybe I’ll bring me another glass of wine. I’ll tack a napkin in your shirt, something like that. My team converts at such a high level that the only thing I can do is screw it up, like talking about something that they’re already comfortable with. It’s better for me to call and say, “I know you guys are off to the races. Congratulations. I want to see if you have any questions and introduce myself because I didn’t get to talk to you yet. I’m so excited.” I feel like, “I don’t need to meet with everybody if they’re sold. The only thing I can do is make it worse if it’s already done.”

For those reading, I don’t want you to change what you’re doing, but meeting in person, what I find is if somebody is going to drive to your office and sit down with you and spend an hour or 30 minutes with you, they’re probably going to do the loan with you most of the time. If you have them on the phone, they’re like, “Why don’t we have to come in and meet with you?” “You don’t have to come in. That’s what everyone else wants to do, but we can do a Zoom call.” Generally, they’re going to say, “If everybody else does it, I’ll do it too.”

You might be in a market where it will take them two hours to get to my office. All they do is Zoom. Jeremy was doing Zoom. Several years ago, it was like, “What the heck is Zoom?”

I love the fact that you have the playbook. You have a playbook and what you use to implement that playbook or make sure that people are following their process, which is the CRM. What CRM are you all using?

We use Jungo, which is from Salesforce.

You have been using it for how long, Brittany?

It’s about a few years since we went live with that.

Moving to a CRM is a radical change in your business. You have to say, “This is what we’re going to do.” Usually, people move for one of two reasons. It’s because they’ve got a lot of pain in their life or because they notice it’s going to give them a lot of pleasure. Is there a story behind when you all made the decision where you’re like, “I want to do a CRM,” and Brittany is like, “Let’s do it?” Tell me. What’s the story behind the implementation of the CRM?

Jungo was here when I started, but from what I could see, it wasn’t being utilized. When I met with the marketing director, I was like, “What is this? Why aren’t we using it? What was the pitch from Salesforce that made Treadstone want to buy it?” It became, “Why did we get it? What can it all do?” We reached out to one of Brendan’s people in the core that uses it all the time. They’re completely paperless. We met with him. It was great. I went through how he used it, just at a glimpse. I wanted it so bad. I could see how much simpler and more efficient it would make everyone’s job.

How did you see that? What did you hear? What did you notice?

Shoot, ready, aim. If you try and make it perfect, you're just going to not do anything for months. Click To Tweet

This particular person that helped us is completely paperless. I love that. That way, you’re not going to loosen up on your desk or have to take it with you wherever you are. You can hop in and do it. I like that idea, especially for Brendan. For a few years now, we’ve been trying to push him out of the office more so that he can’t meddle like, “Have coffee. Get drinks. We will hold down the fort. I don’t want to see you tomorrow.” I saw that as an avenue to do that. My mind works in a process way and is very systematic. I, right away, was like, “If this, then this, and it does it automatically for them. What are those things that we do, and every single week, no matter what path it’s going to take? What are the things that stick out?” I knew that it could become something so much bigger for us and our team.

It’s the curse of shared ownership, too, if somebody doesn’t take the ball and run with it. I knew what it did. The idea of me learning about this and implementing it made me sick to my stomach because I knew I would not do it well. It would screw up everything else that I’m supposed to be doing. My marketing director is well versed in loans and learned a lot from being around us all the time, but he doesn’t understand the nuts and bolts.

When I talk to another loan officer, he says, “It does this and this.” We set up this twelve-step drip campaign, and you’re like, “We got to get into this.” Nobody on my team was equipped to do it. Now, I am the biggest offender of not fully staying in it. I can’t type fast. Sometimes somebody calls me. I’m like, “Let me just take down your information in a minute.” I can’t say no, either. I’m the biggest offender.

Who was the guy? Was it Randall?

Yes. Randall and Brian in Milwaukee do it as well as anybody else. Randall was very giving and sharing us all the stuff that we needed to learn.

How long did it take you from the moment you said, “We’re going to get the system in,” until you started using it? What’s your advice for someone that might have a smaller team, like 8 or 7 people?

Figuring out what we wanted it to do, how it would look, and how it would flow took probably 3 to 4 months, and working with Jungo and Salesforce to write the code because I don’t know how to do that stuff. Talking with them about what we wanted took probably 3 to 4 months, and we hit the summer. It was like, “Do we want to roll this out? Is it going to work? I don’t know if now is the time.” We waited a little bit. I was still chomping at it a bit because summer is busy and stressful. I’m like, “I know that if this works, it will be much better.” I made the decision. I told Brendan.

I am flipping the switch on. It was November or December 1st. We went with it through the team and tested it. It worked well. There were a couple of kinks, but nothing crazy that would affect a customer or a realtor partner negatively. We worked on that and have been using it ever since within the team. We were a little bit smaller in 2021. It allowed us to be more efficient, get more leads, increase our conversion, and therefore meet more people on the team.

We were overwhelmed in 2021 because we got hit with 20% to 25% more refis than we were accustomed to. You have to trust somebody, so I trusted Brittany. I knew she knew what we wanted and needed to do to grow because what we were doing was putting a ceiling on us. You have to start somewhere, and it doesn’t have to do that whole 1% a day. It doesn’t have to do everything now. You have to start. It’s better, even if it’s just tracking your leads. You put them all in Jungo and can revert back to them. It’s a huge deal.

Where I get stuck is wanting it to be perfect and trying to map it out completely. If you start to use the scrum method, maybe you start using it from lead intake until you send out loan disclosures and work on that beginning process. I don’t know if that would work, but what’s your suggestion for someone that might feel like, “That’s too big of a mountain to climb?”

Brittany will answer that question. We talk about it all the time. Her favorite thing is shoot, ready, and aim because if you try and make it perfect, you’re going to not do anything for months trying to get the thing perfect. Roll it out and enter your leads. It syncs with Encompass and probably other LMS systems. Go ahead, Brittany.

I would start with familiarizing yourself with what it can do and what you want to get out of it. We wrote down pen to paper, “What does it look like? What do we want it to do? What are some things that can help save us time?” It’s that kind of thing. I would have that and have it to the side so you can reference back to it as far as using it. I would use it for entering your leads into it and maybe start using that as your lead tracker. I would use it for documenting any correspondence between you and the customer because that’s cool. It will tell you if they opened it or not. Outlook doesn’t tell you that. It’s all in there.

Anyone on your team could go to that contact page and say, “Brendan talked to them yesterday. This is what they talked about. Great. I can now pick it up.” It’s giving that customer that experience where it’s not like, “I now have to start from A and tell the whole story again.” They can pick right back up to where they were a couple of days ago. Slowly, as it pushes over into Encompass and becomes a deal, it goes on its own. Once it becomes live, it rolls. Once it’s ready for closing, the LOA knows, and then they can call a customer and congratulate them. Once you get more comfortable, the in-between would be the automation stuff that we turned on and are doing now.

HBS 14 Brendan | CRMs
CRMs: Moving forward in the mortgage business, it’s going to be as important for us to continue to train our people, but also to unlearn some of the processes along the way.

 

Would you advise someone not to have the automation in the beginning and make it easy?

Correct. Yes.

You got to be careful with the nut and bolt thing, like an appraisal. If you set your system up to say, “The appraisal came in.” Let’s say the appraisal came in $10,000 low. You think, “It came in. Everything’s good,” and then you call back and say, “We got on a negotiation issue here.” We never had an appraisal issue.

That’s when you send a nice email like, “I would like to give you an update. Unfortunately, the appraisal came in $15,000 low. What do you all want to do?”

You can have triggers. As much as you want automation, your file has moved to the first phase of underwriting. You can do some of that automated. You got to be careful not to become too robotic.

If you’re reading and thinking, “I don’t have a team of nine. I don’t get that many leads,” that would be the perfect time to implement something like this. We’re rolling into winter. It’s going to start to slow down. The fewer people you have or leads, the better chance you have of getting this under your belt.

You can be better. You can be a Jungu expert right away because you have time to do it, and it will help your conversion. As you grow and realize that it’s helping you, you’ll get better at it. You’ll then have the report the more data you get under your belt. You can dump old data into it too. We can dump stuff from years ago, and that was in it. I can call an agent and say, “I’m excited to be working with you on 125 Duncan Street. I forgot we closed one in March, and then we did another one in May. Those things closed about two days early. Was it a good experience?” They were like, “Yes. That was you.” You then get to the point where it’s like, “We have three deals in a row that were great. How come we’re not working together more?”

Brittany, how do you use it yourself? How is it beneficial for you as the team captain? Do you have a dashboard you look at? What are the things that help keep you on track? We’ll then go to Brendan.

The dashboard is probably one of my favorite things because I can peek into not only mine and Brendan’s but also the officer’s assistant dashboards and see where they’re at to make sure everything’s loan balanced and see if they need help without necessarily going to their desk and interrupting them because if you interrupt somebody, it takes them how many minutes to get back into what they were doing. I don’t want to take away from their efficiencies. I want to help them. It also helps LOA see their own conversion and set their own goals for themselves, which is exciting. Instead of it coming from us, they can see it and want to keep getting better and better. That 1% that Brendan says is great. It’s easy for them to check it versus having to go and try and pull reports and things like that.

It has allowed me to manage behind the scenes. I don’t like to micromanage. I don’t think anybody likes to be micromanaged. We’ve been able to step away from that, which is great. I trust them. They’re not going to forget anything. Nothing’s going to get pushed aside because somebody else was calling, and it was out of a piece of paper, and now it’s in the shred bin somehow. Nothing like that is going to happen. One of my favorite things is that they’re not working super late. The dashboards and the systems are in a place where they can come in. We’ve time-blocked their calendars of how to attack each part of that dashboard. When they leave at the end of the day, they can have dinner with their families. They know that they racked it out and didn’t forget anything.

I know we’ve all been there where you wake up at 2:00 in the morning and be like, “Did I do that? Did I call that person back?” None of that is happening anymore, which is a good feeling across the board. It also allows me to have a little bit extra time because I’m not in the trenches meddling and getting involved in everything because I know it’s being taken care of to work with other people on the team. They do the processors, our setup crew, other projects, and things like this. I’m working on how to make things more efficient. I’m always looking for ways to make the team runs smoother, faster, and better. Brendan keeps setting high goals for me, and I welcome those. I know that I will have to keep changing and improving those goals. It gives me a little bit of time to do that as well.

It sounds like you use some metrics to run your business, Brendan.

I didn’t use to. i just thought to wing it for a while. It went from 12 closings, 5 closings, 3, 10, to 0. It’s the old rollercoaster. A lot of people that are reading now know how exactly that stressful thing is.

Everything we do cannot be too robotic because then we’d just become the people that are trying to put us out of business. Click To Tweet

That’s how we started in the business. You’re leaning in and are like, “Maybe I need to find someone to show me how to do this because I can’t figure it out on my own.”

If you try and do it all on your own, you can only do so much. You need help.

When you’re using it yourself, what’s your dashboard? What are the things that you’re doing on a daily basis?

Here are the things that I’m looking at it now and the things I am excited. I look at my year-to-date, month-to-date, week-to-date, and what’s going on now. We have 359 deals. We had 1,126 leads. I don’t know how many leads and deals we had. The leads are down a little bit, so I’m wondering, “Do I need to bang the drum a little bit more?” We did a video that’s gone out to realtors like, “Now is the time to buy because we expect interest rates and prices to go up. If you wait, it could cost you as much as $70,000 on a $325,000 house. Buy the purchase price and the rate going up in 2023.”

What I realized is we have 182 people that are out, looking now. That’s for the whole year. They may have given up. They may be frustrated. I said, “Let’s hit them with this video because I don’t want them to get frustrated.” We got a deal in. These people have made sixteen offers. I’m excited. It’s one of my tasks. I got to call that agent and thank them for accepting our offer. This gives me a snapshot of what’s going on without bugging everybody. I can measure the pulse of my team. I can see that I have seven things to do. My little speedometer tachometer thing is out of the green, and it’s into the red. I have to call 2 or 3 agents and thank them for accepting offers. We do pre-approval videos. I have to do four pre-approval videos to get caught up.

If I don’t chip away at that or get it all done, the next thing is I get into the red, and it starts stressing me out. It also allows me to know where I’m at and what I need to do. If I have a big pile of leads this week, we don’t want to slow down the leads, but I’m not going to focus on that part because I don’t want to overwhelm everybody with more leads in the next two days. I want to focus on conversion and like, “What can I do to jump in? It looks like I haven’t talked to this person.” If we don’t have enough leads, I better get out and do all videos, activities, meetings, and phone calls because that’s my job.

As I’m looking at this dashboard, I’m thinking of any normal loan officer who would take the rest of the year off. You’ve closed for the year 359 transactions. Year-to-date leads are 1,126. What’s the difference between year-to-date deals and year-to-date closings?

They’re under contract but haven’t closed yet. There are 30 more closing in. I look at this every day because I’m obsessed with it. There are 18 done, and there are 30 or 31 closing on October 30, 2021, which is a monstrous October for us. Three hundred fifty-nine are under contract, and 336 have closed.

Those are people moving forward. It’s color-coded, so you know where you’re doing good. All the results, you’re doing good, but the leads are down a little bit. What’s the difference in the color? Red means you’re off by how much?

I have set up a color coding system because, as a team, we know how many leads and deals we want to get per week. We’re only through until Tuesday. As the week goes on, we’ll see it turn yellow and hopefully green.

For fun, I’m sure that from time to time, when Brendan comes in and is having a bad day, you can turn everything red.

He notices the speedometer turns red pretty quick.

Here’s the important thing now. Most people don’t realize that you need to be planning for 2022 in October. Shamefully, I should have it on paper by October 1st 2021. It will be done by the end of the month. This also tells me where I’ve been. You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. We know what kind of Januarys and Februarys we have. I know that in 2018, 2017, and before that, my January and February were historically horrendous. It’s because we didn’t do enough in the last quarter of the year to hit the ground running. You get caught up in holidays, Thanksgiving, going to too many Christmas parties, and all that other stuff. We’ve had monstrous first quarters for the last couple of years, even before Brittany got here because I knew I had to do more in the ball.

HBS 14 Brendan | CRMs
CRMs: Having the habit of tracking or numbers on a daily, monthly, weekly, monthly basis, allows you to see where your issues are.

 

We beat on our loan officers for that because you don’t want to turn the corner behind. You can have huge first quarters just by doing the work now. It’s also something that if you know how many leads you have and what your conversion is, you can set your goals. You can teach your realtors this, too, because we’re doing it soon. Realtors won’t like it, but this is a class on, “How many deals did you close this year?” “I think about this.” “How many leads did you get?” “I have no idea.” “How many can you do next year?” “I’d like to do 60 units.” “What’s your conversion?”

It’s simple math. How many leads do I need to close? How many deals to save or help so many families? Now I know how many leads we get here. We have a detailed system for the last couple of years that’s accurate. If I say to Brittany like, “I want to close 40 loans a month in 2023,” it’s not on paper yet, but that sounds like a good number because we’re averaging about 37. Forty sounds good. We don’t need to go crazy and overwhelm the team. To close 40 loans, we need to have X number of leads for conversion, and we figure out how Brendan is going to find X number of leads because that’s his job.

Share those metrics with us. You got your goal of how many deals you need to close in a year and break it down to how many leads you need. It’s usually that lead conversion. What’s your lead conversion, like total leads to closing? What’s the percentage?

Brittany, you might even be able to share that year in and year out thing. There are a couple of answers to that question. Our conversion is up over 31%. That’s closing. I was always stuck at 26 and 27.5%. I was at 24.5%. You also got to remember that some of the conversion is we have 185 people out approved and looking. That’s another 18%. Pre-approvals were close to 50. They’re not all going to close. I also know the more we track this stuff that 42% of our credit poles turn into closed loans, which is a good number.

I’m working on the adaptation to credit pool data. We don’t have that yet, but Brittany is good with numbers. She looked at 17, 18, and 19. When I want to set goals, she says, “We’re not just going to say X amount of month. Let’s see what the flow normally is in a winter climate like Michigan.” The only intangible this 2022 is inventory. People can’t find it. We need to have at least 10% more leads because we’re not used to having 185 people out looking. We are used to having 50 or 60 people out looking.

I loved that one. There’s a shortage of inventory. A lot of people are like, “There’s a shortage of inventory.” It was a loan officer. That’s every opportunity for you to get the client ready. Hopefully, you work for someone that allows you to submit the loan and get it 100% approved. For those that are reading, Brittany put up a beautiful spreadsheet that shows every month and what their closing percentages were. This is incredible. For those reading, if you’re a loan officer and your closing ratio from total leads to closings for the year is 20%, that’s pretty good. 20% to 25% is rock solid. Brendan’s doing 25% to 40%. These are some incredible numbers. Brittany, is there something you want to say about this document that you have here?

To piggyback off of what Brendan said, I like having the historical data because I didn’t just want to say, “Thirty loans a month.” I wanted to weigh it based on how the mortgage world goes and how it’s very cyclical. I took a weighted average of the history, and that’s how I came up with these numbers. For anybody out there that’s like, “I’ll take 400 divided by 12,” you can do it that way, but that’s not real life. Doing it this way cycles with the team. Everybody in the team knows what these goals are and try to hit them. It’s good visual management for everybody.

With the actual hard numbers, we can look at and divide the deals that are in the pipe versus the leads. It’s almost 32%. If you take the other 182 people that are approved, that’s another 16%, but it’s not 48% because I know that some of those were from January and February. If we didn’t do a good job with our CRM, they might have forgotten who we were and gone somewhere else. They might have gotten frustrated and given up. That’s the other reason for sending that video out that I talked about earlier. Let’s get them re-engaged. Let’s not quit on them because their realtor probably forgot about them too.

As I look at that, I think back to James Clear quote, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” With the habit of tracking numbers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, you get to see where your issues are. Using this allows you to see immediately, “Brendan’s going to make some calls.” This helps everyone to have more organization and clarity about what their day looks like. Does it provide you with your task? I’m assuming that the Jungo gives you a task list. Is it done in the order? Should you do all those tasks on a daily basis?

It’s categorized by date and priority. If it’s immediate, it says high priority. You answer that, Brittany. You are better at that.

As you were saying, we have the test set up if they’re due today or tomorrow, giving the LOA more time to put notes for Brendan. Some of them are by priority high. Those are what I would like him to get done within the same day. That’s my subtle way of saying, “Get this done today.”

Here’s the good thing about having daily team meetings and having everybody involved once in a while. Maybe somebody hit a button, and it wasn’t ready. I said, “This says Heath Barnes I’m supposed to call. I thanked the listing agent, but he didn’t say he got a purchase this morning. Did he get one?” “I’m sorry. I must have been going too fast.” Our communication stops me from calling and saying, “We didn’t accept Heath’s deal. It was a crappy offer. It was cheap. He went too low. He seemed like he’s crazy.” The whole point of it was, “Is this really a deal?” It also allows you to look for things if you have good communication on the team.

You’ll have a daily team meeting every day. How long is it? How did it change before the CRM? What’s it like now?

Brittany will tell you the before and after. The daily team meeting happens at 8:45 every single day, no matter what. If we’re not here because of COVID, we’re doing it on Zoom. It’s five minutes of fun, “What did you do last night? What did you do this weekend? What’s going on? Where did you get that shirt?” The next five minutes is, “How many leads did we get yesterday over the weekend? How many deals did we get?” The last part is gratitude. We have gratitude journals.

Don’t be intimidated by a CRM. Even if your business is rocking and you’re doing great, it’s just going to help you become even better. Click To Tweet

This is a great one. The one-minute gratitude. What are you grateful for? It’s difficult to be grateful and grumpy at the same time. It’s a good way to end your meeting. The long meeting is on Tuesday. We have a pipeline meeting that lasts anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. That’s so we can go through every single deal and update the buyer, the seller’s agent, and the buyer’s agent about what’s going on every single week. If I’m not here, which I’m not for 40% to 50% of the meetings, Brittany runs them because I’m out doing something else. Brittany, tell him the before and after difference.

Before, it was all paper. People would bring in their clipboards and like, “I had a lead from Mr. Johnson,” and somebody else says, “I also have that lead.” You’re duplicating stuff. “Who’s actually got it? Who talked to them more?” It’s stuff like that. Now, it’s so much simpler. You pull up Brendan’s dashboard on the TV in the office and go over it together and make sure everything’s in there correctly. It’s way more efficient and smooth. It gives us more time to talk about fun stuff and gratitude.

It becomes competitive, too, like, “Daniel got 3 yesterday and Tracy got 2.” Lauren’s like, “I got one. They’re sending it over. The seller has to sign in yet. I don’t want to be left out.” Celebration-wise, we have a buzzer there, and we say, “We got a deal.” When that happens, everybody drops and claps their hands.

Can you tell me what happens again every time you get a contract?

They get the buzzer.

You’ve been in the business for how long, Brittany?

I’ve been in the business for a couple of years now.

Let’s hear it, Brendan.

A deal comes in, and there’s some yelling and clapping around the corner. That’s what happens when the deal is closed.

Any advice on things people should not be doing when they implement a CRM? Are there ideas you tried and are like, “Don’t do this?”

Too much automation. It’s great to have tasks to say like, “Maybe you want to send this email.” Don’t have them go out automatically because then it’s too much. It feels robotic to a customer.

How do you know it’s too much? Is there any guidance there on knowing what is too much?

It depends on your team and your salesperson’s personality. If you are very much into texting and emailing them all the time, where that seems normal, that’s fine. You can normally tell if they open them or not, too, because Jungo will tell you if they didn’t open them. You can see like, “No one’s opening these anymore. They don’t care. I’m doing too much.” What we did at the beginning during the testing phase is I made several contacts for myself where I was the realtor and the client and had all the automation turned on. I was like, “This is way too much. I don’t need to know every single step. You don’t know what is important to me.”

HBS 14 Brendan | CRMs
CRMs: When using a CRM, avoid relying on too much automation. It will feel robotic to a customer.

 

I love that idea, Brittany. You make yourself the test client first. Maybe you have one person in your office be the agent, buyer’s agent, listing agent, and client, and see what that process looks like. Would you say you all communicate on a weekly basis to everyone by email on automation?

I wouldn’t say automation, but we talked to them every week, whether it was a phone call, text, or an update. Every week is different in the way that we have it set up because we don’t want it to seem robotic. Maybe the first couple of weeks, it’s a phone call, and then it’s a text like, “How’s it going?” for every group of people. The next week, it’s a handwritten postcard that we send them, “I hope shopping is going good. Here’s a gift card for Starbucks. Get a coffee while you’re out looking for a house.” It’s stuff like that to differentiate us from other people. We make sure that we’re in front of them, so they want to come back and stay with us.

You get a feel for what works because when texting first came out a couple of years ago, you can text somebody saying, “This is on schedule. We’re closing next Friday,” to a person you know is going to talk your ear off for 15 to 20 minutes. Maybe you’re even playing golf, and he was like, “I don’t have time to skip a whole and a half. I just want to send a text out.” Too much texting is too impersonal. Calling the same group of people every week, I don’t have enough stuff to talk about every week.

Using a phone burner or a dialer system is great when you want to get information out. If you’re leaving the same canned message and emails, people know what’s going on, but it’s a slide-out. That’s just a phone burner. This is not personal. You slow down and say, “I haven’t talked to you in a while. I want to check in and see how your kids did last weekend.” Everything we do cannot be too robotic because you become Redfin or Zillow. You become the people that are trying to put you out of business, quite frankly.

Sometimes we lose the relationship when we stop using the phone, calling people, and just texting and emailing. When a new lead comes in and when you’re following up with them, call, text, and email. One of those methods is going to connect with the client. Any lasting thoughts as we begin to wrap up about advice for someone who either is thinking about using Jungo? This is not an advertisement for Jungo. If you’re not using Jungo, go for it. The purpose is to get you to start using a CRM.

A lot of people use Jungo in the mortgage business. It’s good familiarity because you talk to somebody and say, “My friend Michael in Washington, when the appraisal comes in, this and this happened.” We avoid the pitfall of sending out an appraisal that’s not ready to be announced yet. I said, “How much would that cost?” “Jungo did this module for $400.” “That’s a home run. Let’s plug it in.” It’s the uniformity thing. Whatever you do, start doing it and let it help you. Brittany, you got a better answer for that.

My advice would be not to be intimidated by it. Maybe your business is rocking, and you’re doing great. You might be thinking, “Why would I do this? Why would I change what I’m doing now?” It’s going to help you be even better and hopefully grow your business. Change is good. I know some people are afraid of change and change is hard for some people. We have a couple of people on our team that thought it would be difficult for change, and they loved it. I am so proud that they went in and burst. It is a game changer. Do not be intimidated by it. Take a chance. Just because something might have a hiccup in the beginning as you’re testing and rolling out, don’t give up. Invest the time in yourself, your team, and your business. It will be worth it.

Find somebody who believes in it like Brittany, who was excited about it because you don’t want other people in the opposite like, “I don’t want to do this. We’re going to change this.” I’ll go by a partner and say, “This is working. Don’t be changed in this field. It works because of this. We want everybody put the pickle on the burger the same way.”

You got to find someone that’s excited about it because they can see the reward. The reason Brittany got enrolled is you could see what the rewards are going to be for yourself and the entire organization. If you can see the reward, you’re going to do the action. I sincerely appreciate you hopping back on the interview. I’m sure you’ve got a bunch of agents to call.

My business runs itself, Heath. That’s what I do.

Brendan, I appreciate the two of you being on. Thank you for your time. I acknowledge your hard work, dedication, and your ability to give it away and tell someone how to be successful. That’s why you’ve been so successful and why you attract someone like Brittany. I’m sure Brittany’s the same way. Thanks for your time.

I might not want to share in your market, but you should share with people and tell them what’s working because otherwise, you’re a selfish ogre and need to stop.

I wouldn’t even share the people in your market because 99% of them aren’t even going to do it. Thank you all for your time. This is another great episode.

It was fun. Thanks for having us on.

There you have it. Another great episode. Don’t forget to check out HeathBarnes.com. You can find out more about all the ways we can help you at HeathBarnes.com. That’s it for this episode. We’ll talk next time.

 

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