The holiday week been a time of reflection for me. The $1 trillion in ARM resets, the thinning out of the herd in my industry, and the trend of the consumer’s thirst for transparency in its service providers certainly present some amazing opportunities for the professional mortgage originator in 2007. Now, more than ever, it makes sense to have a well-thought out but flexible business plan. I say flexible because a few things happened to me this year that I couldn't have predicted in December, 2006:
1- I practiced extremely old-school marketing in January of 2006. I sent postcards, letters, cold-called just listed homeowners, sponsored open houses for Realtors, and reverted to the disastrous method of donut buying for real estate offices.
2- I was damn near broke in March, 2006. Well, I wasn’t really broke but I was seriously rethinking my ability as a loan originator as my pipeline was absolutely dry on March 1, 2006. This was the first time in 13 years that ever happened.
3- I discovered an e-mail marketing system called Constant Contact to produce professional e-newsletters to keep in contact with my past clients and referral sources. Warily approaching this system (remember, I was broke?) I learned that I could do it all for about forty bucks a month which is less than the cost of 100 postcards. I also learned that I could stratify my data into different groups to target a specific message. And it worked! March was HELOC month for me as I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.. Suddenly, an old-school loan marketer found the power of the internet as a marketing tool.
4- I delved into MySpace. I found a tremendous amount of inexperienced loan originators on MySpace who just didn’t know how to originate loans. MySpace also led me to Gateway Bank, our strategic partner that allows us to lend in all 50 states. Mortgage Leaders was born ( my origination team)
5- The summer of 2006 had come along and I was solvent. Adam Dalton, referred me to the Active Rain Real Estate Network and I discovered the power of the online written word in what is commonly referred to as a weblog (or blog). I helped grow the Active Rain Real Estate Network through consistent writing and invitations to others in my industry. October marked the complete reversal of course as I closed two loans from online blogging.
6- I expanded my online presence by writing on NELA Live at the gracious invitation of Cheryl Johnson, a real estate broker in Northeast Los Angeles. I am grateful to this anonymous (inasmuch as we’ve never met) but prolific influence for providing a platform for my opinions in California’s largest city. It’s no secret that I am a Dodger-hater so her courage is astounding. My success on NELA Live caused me to start America's Most Opininated Mortgage Broker.
7- I solicited Greg Swann’s help to be a contributor on the highly-viewed BloodHound Blog this December. BloodHound Blog is hosted in Phoenix, AZ, my old hometown, and is well-known throughout the industry for cutting edge ideas about the real estate industry
Why am I revealing this whole year to you? I’m frustrated because I usually have a business plan written, reviewed, and published by this time every year. When I sat down this morning to review the past year, I recognized that external events, new technologies, and a tremendous shift in how the consumer gathers information rendered my business plan 2006 completely useless. As such, I don’t feel so bad about not having the 2007 business plan in place before the Tostito dropped into the Salsa Jar.
Happy New Year from a more humble but nonetheless Opinionated Mortgage broker.