Yes, it really is you

When a deal falls apart, it’s time to admit where the real fault lies – because doing so can only improve your business, writes Rob Campbell

There are no more excuses. It’s you.

I’m the first one to admit that I’ve had a history of pointing the finger at everyone else when deals fall apart, or the phone stops ringing. It’s the underwriter, it’s the insurer, it’s Ron Butler (love you, Ron). But the fact that your business isn’t growing is solely your own fault.

Let’s look at the current state of our business. Yes, lender guidelines are tightening. Yes, rate shoppers are being fed vitamins and trained to eat their veggies.

But what about the pros to being a broker in 2016?

Property data is available through Purview. Our social has never been bigger. Our ability to index online gives our audience an easy channel to find us. The speed at which we can communicate with our lenders and Realtors is insane. Remember the old “push hard, there’s three copies” applications? Neither do I, thank the heavens.

A decent internet speed and a USB mic can give you so much opportunity, you could be taking an application on your laptop from the Caribbean and no one would notice – unless the waves were too loud.

Broker network? Pick one – there are a lot of great options out there. Top splits, underwriting hubs, state-of-the-art CRMs… and that’s just Broker Financial Group. The business is buzzing all around you, but you don’t want to go get it. You don’t want to wake up and take this seriously.

Your business is hurting because you’re not learning. And you’re not learning because your business is on standby. 

Now, again, I’m hugely guilty of all of this. Wake up late, hang out with a friend for a two-hour coffee. Pick up the kids at daycare, oh, and would you look at the time? It’s already a quarter after ‘I’m broke.’ If you haven’t read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, go grab one off the shelf during that two-hour coffee with your friend. Somewhere in there you will find ‘The Dreamline.’ This exercise was a huge eye-opener for me. You list everything you want to be, have and do in the next six months. Then put a cost to those goals to figure out what your target daily income will have to be to reach those goals.

That’s when I realized that a two-hour coffee with a friend had better bring me $750 in business; otherwise I’m going to cancel that coffee and reschedule for the weekend or evening. Tim’s book also taught me to excel at my strengths and to outsource (or automate) my weaknesses. That’s so important to realize, but so little of us do. 

My first broker told me once, “You’ll make more money saying no than you will by saying yes.” It’s true. Networking is so hard to do, right?

Wrong. Twenty years ago, you’d have to attend your local chamber of commerce function to get to know other business owners. You’d have to call another broker in another city to see if they know of a lender that will lend on that property that just can’t sell. Now? We have Twitter, Facebook groups, WIMI and tons of other channels. How about Scott Peckford’s podcast “I Love Mortgage Brokering”? Are you kidding me right now? The gold in that podcast is priceless – top-notch brokers talking about how and when they crushed it, what systems they use, what books they read. Go listen to it, especially episode 31 – that guy’s dreamy.

If your business is not lifting off the ground, you’re just not focusing your energy and efforts accordingly. I’ve only just started to focus, after five years, and I’m now seeing the fruits of my labour.

The market will always change. Rates and regulations will always create difficulties. Rate shoppers are doing their pushups and drinking lots of electrolytes. But your biggest hurdle right now is you.

Don’t wish it were easier – wish you were better.

Rob Campbell is a broker with Broker Financial Group in Guelph, Ontario