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The Simple 3-Step Formula Loan Officers Need to be Following Right Now

The mortgage industry has definitely made a shift in the past few months from a refinance market to a purchase market. So what does that mean for your mortgage business?

Well, if you’re like my branch, we did 68% purchase and 32% refinance last year, so things aren’t going to change much for us. But if you were really heavy on refis last year, you’ve got some adapting to do. The activities that worked for you in a refinance market aren’t going to work for you now that things have changed.

You’ve probably also noticed that it’s really loud out there too. There are a lot of voices clamoring for your attention. Do this! Do that! No, do this! No, do that! If you’re feeling overwhelmed and confused, you’re not alone.

Which strategy works? That’s all you need to know, right? What’s going to actually work?

The ICE Formula that Actually Works

I’m going to give you a formula I use whenever I hear a new idea—a “latest and greatest” idea. And, trust me, with all the traveling I do—and hanging out with top-level loan officers in our Freedom Club—we’re constantly sharing ideas, and there are a lot of good ones.

So how do you decide which one to run with? If you try to run a little bit of all of them at the same time, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin and probably won’t get any results. So I like to focus on one at a time. But how do you know which one? How do you know if something is worth your time?

I like to keep it simple with something I call the ICE formula (or method/exercise/strategy). 

Do yourself a favor and grab a piece of paper and write I, C, E down the left side. ICE is an acronym. I stands for Impact. C stands for Confidence. E stands for Easy.

  • I (Impact)
  • C (Confidence)
  • E (Easy)

Then I go through whatever new idea I’ve just heard using ICE as a filter. I ask myself honestly what the impact of this idea will be, how confident I am that it will work, and how easy it will be to pull it off.

I is for Impact

Let’s talk about impact first. I ask myself, “Carl, once this project is completed or this employee is hired, how much will this impact me and my business? How much will it move the needle? How many closed loans is it going to bring in?”

Let’s say I’m working on my logo. What impact will that have on my business? Zero. What about putting my face up on the water tower? Virtually nothing. There’s no offer being made. Nobody’s picking up the phone and talking to a referral. Branding is likely to have little to no impact. That’s my personal experience and, believe me, I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this stuff—bus stop benches and dropping paraphernalia off at the chamber of commerce, etc.

So the first question: what is the actual impact this new and exciting idea will have on my business?

C is for Confidence

Then we move to confidence. How confident am I that I will get the desired results? And where is this confidence coming from? Do I have proof?

When I look to the high level loan officers in our Freedom Club and see their results, I copy their actions. And they often copy mine. It’s simple. We bounce ideas off of each other all the time. The magic of this is that, when I copy their actions, I get the same results they got. But the only reason this magic happens is because I know and trust these people. The Freedom Club is an exclusive, curated group of people who are a proven success. These people consistently share great ideas that have resulted in massive results, and they’ve got the receipts.

This is why I steer clear of unvetted Facebook groups. Anyone can start a Facebook group and pretend they know what they’re talking about, and most of these people have a struggle-bunny business themselves. You have to be really careful about who you listen to and whose advice you take. You need to see proof of their success first. I don’t copy a strategy unless the person can prove it got results.

E is for Easy

Last, but not least, how easy will it be to complete this project? How much time and energy will it take? 

More precisely, how easy will it be for my team to complete the project? If you’re working solo, then you’re the whole team. But when you have a team, it’s a whole different ball game, because you can leverage all these different skill sets to get the results you want. So the more complete question is: how easy will it be for the right person to complete this project? That’s one good thing about having a team—we’re not dependent on just my skills and my zone of genius. We’ve got all kinds of skills to pick from.

Measure the ICE on a Scale of 1 to 10

Once you’ve analyzed the impact this idea will have on your business, the confidence you have that it’s going to work, and the ease of actually implementing it, it’s time to get more scientific. This is where we measure each of these things—impact, confidence, and ease—on a scale of 1 to 10. 

For me to decide to work on a new project, the project has to rank 8 or above on all three scales. I need an 8 or above on impact. And, by the way, impact is measured in closed loans, families helped, revenue generated. I need an 8 or above on confidence. If I’ve seen 4 or 5 people in the Freedom Club doing this thing and knocking it out of the park, my confidence is going to be at a 10. If I’m trying something I’ve never seen done before, my confidence might be more like a 4 or 5. And it’s got to rank 8 or higher on being easy. Not easy for me, but easy for someone on my team with the necessary skill set. Something that’s a 1 would be super difficult and a 10 is spelling-my-name easy.

If you put this little exercise to work, you’ll find yourself working on extremely useful projects that provide a lot of closed loans, and it will be easy for you or someone on your team to do. And you’re confident in the results you’re going to get from it. If it ranks as a 7 or below on any of these things, you’re not going to do it. Find something else to work on. There are plenty of different activities you can do to bring in new purchase loans right now.

These Are Serious Times

This is a serious business, we’re in a very serious time, and we have to approach this very seriously. Now isn’t the time to waste time, money, or energy. Everything we do has to have great impact. If it has just a little impact, that’s when we get busy and not productive. We don’t want that to happen. You want to be highly confident that this is a real thing with results you’ve actually seen. You’re not listening to somebody in their pajamas in their grandma’s basement handing out bad advice on the internet. And you don’t want something that has 53 complicated steps. Pass on that. If you’re grinding, you’re doing it wrong.

We’re truly only doing things that are easy, that we’re confident will give us the results we want, with a big needle-moving impact, i.e. bring in more closed loans. Simple, right?

If you’d like some help walking through the ICE method with some projects you’ve been thinking about—or you’d like to map out your next steps in your loan officer journey—we’d love to help you out with that. Click here to set up a FREE strategy call today