Taking Care of Unfinished Business with Steve Kyles

I sat down recently with my good buddy Steve Kyles to take care of some unfinished business. These are some things that people have been asking me about a lot lately, and we thought we’d answer all of the questions in one place. 

We love making an impact on the industry together. Like Steve said, “these conversations just continually make us better.” 

Our hope is that they make you better too.

First Item of Unfinished Business: Goals

A whole lot of people have reached out to me recently to ask me about goals. Like a whole lot of people. And here’s what I want them (and you) to know: 

Before you know where you want to go, you have to know where you are.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is: where am I? Where am I starting from? And you need to be completely honest and transparent with yourself. Where am I really? Tell yourself the truth. 

Then: where do I want to go? And I’m not talking about what you need; I’m talking about what you really, truly want

And the last thing: how am I going to get there?

The funny thing is, I told Steve, is that, deep down, we all know how we can get there. But we’re looking for an easier way. If you know how you’re going to get there, but it feels too hard, then don’t go. Change your destination. How bad do you really want to go?

It all comes down to this: 

  • Where are you? 
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How are you going to get there?

Most of the time, the reason people don’t get to where they want to go is this: they’re afraid of failing. So, instead of making their calls, they work on email, because you can’t fail an email. They work at rearranging their office because you can’t fail at rearranging your office. They go online and do research because you can’t fail at research. They go pick out a new logo because you can’t fail at a logo, right? 

These things are comfortable. And they don’t bring in loans. If loan officers would spend the same amount of time prospecting as they do checking their email, life would truly change for them in a very very epic way. 

Second Item of Unfinished Business: Prospecting 

Speaking of prospecting, let me ask you a question: What activity brought in your last 10 loans? 

People don’t often know how to answer this, because they’re not taking the time to truly evaluate it. The industry wants us so busy, but what are you busy doing? And which of those activities are actually bringing in loans? 

Figure that out, then go and do more of it. Period. And I’ll make it easy on you and give you the answer. I guarantee you that what’s bringing in the most loans is prospecting. It’s calling people and getting leads.

What’s keeping you from prospecting? Busy work? Files? Fear? Whatever those speed bumps or roadblocks are, eliminate them. Get rid of them. Delegate those tasks and get to work prospecting. 

I hear from people all the time, “I know I should be reaching out to more qualified agents and building relationships, but I can’t because my files are on fire.” Delegate that. Get more help. Tell your branch manager you need an assistant. It’s never been easier to find good help for cheap. But, for most people right now, putting out fires isn’t the problem. It was the biggest issue loan officers had in 2021, but now it’s different.

The number one problem loan officers are having right now is that they need more leads. 

If you don’t have enough leads, you’re probably not prospecting enough. If you’re closing less than five loans, putting out fires is not your problem. You’re not prospecting enough—or you’re not doing the kind of prospecting you already know works the best. 

We like to follow what we call a Rule of Four:

  1. Which strategy brings in the first dollar? 
  2. Which strategy am I likely to complete? 
  3. Which one will I enjoy doing? 
  4. Which one can I delegate out at some point? 

Someone who closes eight loans a month doesn’t even qualify to enter the room of many of the top producers in our Freedom Club. I don’t mean that to be disrespectful. I’m resetting what’s possible in your head. Good for you closing eight loans, but don’t deceive yourself thinking that this is all you can do or that it is good enough. It’s not.

What if you found out you could close 20 loans a month working even less hours than you’re working right now closing your 8 loans? What if it was just that easy? 

Trust us. It is.

Third Item of Unfinished Business: My Favorite Book

I asked Steve to ask me what my favorite book is, so he did. “Carl, what’s your favorite book?”

I didn’t answer directly. I said this instead: Before you read another book, go pick up the last book you read and do what it told you to do. Some of us are addicted to reading business books to help us become more successful, and then we don’t do a damn thing any of the books told us to do. Instead of implementing what we learn, we just pick up another book and repeat the pointless cycle.

Don’t read another book. Get the last book you read and do what it told you to do.

Maybe you read Think and Grow Rich five years ago, and you haven’t read another book since. Fine. Go read Think and Grow Rich again, and do what it says. It’s likely you’ll never have to read another book again. Maybe it was Atomic Habits by James Clear. Go read it again and do what it says.

I personally think that loan officers can read just one book and that’s one I co-wrote with my friend Kevin Gillespie—Crushing Call Reluctance for Loan Officers. Go read that book, do what it says, and you won’t need to read another book to become a successful loan officer. Yes, that’s a shameless pitch. That book is fire. And you can click here to see the rest of my books as well. 

I honestly don’t care how many books you read last year. I want to know what you did with the information you learned from the book(s) you read. How did you apply it to your life? What difference did it make? What measurable impact did it have? What results are you seeing because you implemented what you learned? That’s what I care about. 

That’s what you should care about too. 

Fourth Item of Unfinished Business: One Thing I Learned Last Year

Steve and I asked each other: what’s one thing you learned last year, and what are you doing differently because of it?

Steve, who is a producing branch manager, told me that he learned that bigger isn’t always better, that you don’t need to measure things that don’t matter. He no longer focuses on more for more’s sake. He focuses on more/bigger only if it’s going to make him more effective. 

He told a story of Truett Cathy being at a board meeting for Chick-Fil-A, the company he founded, and people kept saying, “We’re going to get bigger, we’re going to get bigger.” And Truett literally said, “Guys, stop. It’s not about getting bigger. If we focus on getting better, our customers will demand we get bigger.”

If you made a whopping 100 calls and talked to a whopping 44 people, that’s great, right? Well, how many appointments did you set? Zero? Then all of those calls, all of those chats, weren’t effective. You were just busy for busy’s sake. You’ve got to figure out how to make those phone calls and those talk-tos more effective. It’s not about being busy; it’s about being effective. 

If you’re putting in a lot of time, and you’re not seeing results, then you need to figure out what you’re doing wrong. Is your strategy wrong? Are you using the wrong scripts? Are you calling the wrong agents? Is your tone wrong? Figure it out and make the necessary adjustments. Don’t just keep calling more and more people the wrong, ineffective way.

Being effective, rather than busy, is how you live a life of freedom. 

Steve says he’d rather have a smaller team that is learning how to get better each and every day than a large team full of people who are busy, but not effective. Which is why he’s coaching the people in his branch right now, to help them double their business without doubling their time and effort. 

I told Steve that what I learned last year was that we need to prospect even when we think we don’t need to. Don’t think you’re just going to coast on the leads and connections you already have. Always be prospecting. Then, if the spigot turns off, so to speak, in the mortgage industry, you’ll be prospecting new people and you won’t miss a beat. 

If you’d like to see the kind of success in your mortgage business that our Freedom Club Members are seeing every day, we’d love to map out a plan for you. We make it simple and easy and free. As long as you follow the Daily Success Plan, you’ll experience that success. Click HERE to schedule your FREE call TODAY.