Good Vibe Squad
“We are not just a marketing company, we are not just a consulting company. We are a life transformation and growth company.”
CONTENT QUICK LINKS
It is with great pleasure I announce Colleen Wietmarschen has been promoted to the position of Managing Editor for both The Vision and the Women With Vision Magazine. Colleen, who joined the publishing team as senior editor not long after the inaugural issues were published, today manages the editorial team, provides liaison with contributors, as well as writes, edits, and oversees the publication of each issue. Colleen’s warmth, humor, and dedication as a leader are central to the success of 20/20 publications and we are thrilled to celebrate her continued success within our firm. Well done, Colleen! And thank you.
As always, a big Thank You goes out to all who have subscribed to both magazines. I hope you enjoy today’s issue and will share www.TheVisionMag.com in social media. Reach out and congratulate your peers whose bylines and profiles appear in these pages. Tag us in your posts #thevisionmag and #2020visionforsuccesscoaching. We love the feedback!
How you play the 4th Quarter will define your success in next year’s market. Now is a test for our industry and everyone working in it on many fronts. Understanding the economy, the history of our economy, where it is going, and who wants to do mortgages is all at stake right now. You have a choice to educate yourself, find the best resources, and make sure you get it right. This month’s cover and the story of Good Vibes Squad represent resources to help origination pros take their game to the next level.
I met Preston backstage with Gary Vaynerchuk in January 2019 when I spoke at Agent 2021. Preston was a speaker and an up-and-coming supporter of originator marketing. Now with a full-fledged lead source company chock-full of marketing support, Good Vibes Squad is showing up to add the fuel. What will your fuel be?
We are helping you find your fuel at 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching and if you sit down and read the pages of our magazine you will find much more to lend to your power. We hope you enjoy this edition of The Vision and we welcome you to share it with others and subscribe to the now free feature magazine.
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Written by CaZ
Creating Mission Statement
“Our mission is to help local communities through empowering lenders to take control of their lives. Our agency Good Vibe Squad serves as a Growth Partner for Loan Originators across the country. Providing them the tools, coaching, and support they need to grow their business in good markets, and even more so, in bad ones.”
with Barry Habib
Vision Summit and with Christine Beckwith
Two-Comma Club Award
Tips for Success
- Despite the feeling of uncertainty or fear, seasons with hard market conditions are actually the best time to invest in yourself. That can take many forms. Education, partnerships/services to support you, marketing. Never cut off your sources of business when it gets hard, that will only further amplify your struggles. If you think the current market is harder right now, imagine how hard it is without a pipeline. That’s an example of why you need to double down during a difficult season.
- Focus on doing the activities that only you can do. If you can delegate something to someone else (prospecting, processing, accounting) then do it! The more time you mess around with $20 an hour tasks robs you of your opportunity to focus on $1,000 an hour tasks.
- Even when it’s uncomfortable, delegate as much as you can. That’s a key to growth.
From my own experience and learning from mentors, there are three things that can hold us back as entrepreneurs: our skills, character traits, or beliefs.
- First identify which of these areas do I feel are my strengths and which ones I lack. If I feel my skills are not enough, then I can start by educating myself and learning from people who have done what it is that I want to learn. And part of learning is practicing and immersing ourselves in the process. It’s the same saying that you cannot learn to ride a bike by reading a book.
- Once I have the necessary skills, I must look within myself to see which necessary character traits can help me succeed. This includes having the discipline and work ethic to grind every day and do the things that you might not like to do.
- Lastly, belief is having the right mindset and conviction in whatever it is that I am doing. I need to lift my standard of what is possible and believe that I am truly making a difference in my clients’ lives. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with growth-minded individuals and mentors who have walked the path and have gained the wisdom that I can learn from.
Depending on the stats one looks at, between 50 and 70 percent of business partnerships fail within three years. The reasons are broad and, for this article, of no interest because we are here to talk about a partnership born of a serendipitous meeting which flourishes rather than fails.
“We have a synergy of constantly supporting each other. We don’t discourage each other. We help each other make sense of the ideas; sometimes, it means poking holes or adding supporting ideas. There are a lot of reasons why I think McBilly and I work really well. But it falls back to we’re really good at helping each other focus on the good things that matter because there’s plenty of negative, and it’s easy to get sucked into that.”
Good Vibe Squad started from less than nothing and has grown to become a multi-million-dollar Marketing Agency helping clients close over $2 billion in funded loans. The company has grown to employ more than 50 team members during the course of five years and currently serves over 200 Loan Originators across the country. Good Vibe Squad did not spring up fully grown, nor did the strong friendship and successful business partnership of its principals; it started with mutual appreciation of each other’s skills. Preston Schmidli and McBilly Sy were social media friends who truly came to know and appreciate each other during a mastermind meeting both attended.
Preston describes what drew him to McBilly saying, “It’s a funny story. We spent the day together at the mastermind. I watched as he cracked his laptop open, and if you know anything about McB, he’s a big tabs guy, 30, 40 tabs, he’s gotta have ’em all open. He was working on a demo presentation, building one tab at a time, using tabs like slides in a PowerPoint. It was a brilliant presentation. Truthfully, I started out wanting to steal this dude’s slide deck for my sales presentation since I was using a one-call phone close with no presentation. Keep in mind I have an abundance mindset now, but this was during a poverty-stricken part of my life where I was struggling and desperate.”
By the end of the day, the perspective of both men changed as they forged a friendship based on mutual respect. Preston continues, “I came clean and told McBilly, ‘I wanted to get your slide deck, but Bro, I can’t do that to someone I respect and appreciate. I believe with my sales call process and your presentation, we might have something great.’
We flirted back and forth with the idea of partnership over the weeks after the mastermind. In the end, we decided to test working together on two sales calls back-to-back, and we closed both of them. At that time, we were solopreneurs, making enough to pay the bills, but in debt and not living anything close to a lavish life or reaching the dreams we had. Making two back-to-back sales like that was an eye-opener for both of us. So, we leaned into this partnership. I don’t feel like we ever looked back. It was a catalyst moment in our lives.”
Of course, it has not all been a rosy success. Failed initiatives and mistakes inevitably are made.
“One disappointment we had on the journey was when we co-founded a software company alongside Good Vibe Squad Marketing because we had a great idea the market needed. It was needed, but it was also a different market than the one we serve with Good Vibe Squad. For us, the experience was incredibly draining and eventually we exited the company to focus on serving one industry. The lesson was it’s OK to have multiple companies but serving two masters at the same time can destroy you.”
McBilly picked up the story saying, “We appreciate our partnership, especially because we have a comparison. It was a terrible experience for us at the time, even though now we’re grateful for the experience because we grew the software company and were able to successfully sell and exit.”
“You’ll never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you do. You’ll always be criticized by someone doing less. Remember that.” — Denzel Washington
When asked what they consider to be the magic behind their business and their partnership success, they credit culture, caring, and community. This pair tends to lead from the front, as evidenced in one of their favorite sayings, “you can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” Preston makes it a point to avoid what he calls drive-by delegation, where a task is handed off with nothing but an expectation. Both men ensure training and support is provided along with tasks, providing intentional time for teaching to gain the desired outcome. They also promote a culture of breaking things. McBilly sees it as leading with transparency and considers it important to be open with struggles and wins, as well as always being their genuine selves with clients and coworkers.
“It boils down to the fact we actually give a f**k,” McBilly says. “We care. That’s not what we got into this business for, but it has become the power behind our success. It’s the culture we built. We didn’t take the shortcut or follow the short-term vision to fast money. We took the longer, harder route and discovered we truly want success for our clients and built our foundation on making it better for them. Culture literally starts from the top. Because we care and give the same message publicly and internally, this culture seeps through the organization and the community we function in.”
“We were at a different mastermind and evaluating our mission statement,” Preston continues, “and realized McB and I have anchored back to helping the borrowers. We stopped looking at loan officers as our ultimate client. By helping them, we help the borrowers. Our loan officers became the catalyst for the impact we want to make for the borrower This mindset shift made us realize where our core values lie.
When a new team member joins us, we teach them about the impact our clients are making so they understand it’s a big deal getting a client from three loans a month to ten because that’s seven more families pulled out of an apartment complex and put into a good neighborhood. There’s only so much fun and excitement in solving mortgage problems, right? We wanna see these borrowers’ lives change for the better, and we do that through empowering our clients.”
McBilly tags in to finish the thought, “We are not just a marketing company, we are not just a consulting company. We are a life transformation and growth company.”
“The biggest thing we can do is make them believe their life can change and they deserve transformation and growth. Our mission is to help transform lives, drive growth, and help local communities.”
This servant leadership style clearly overflows into their personal lives. Preston credits the success they’ve had in business with his being able to help his parents renovate their homes and retire. He is focused on ensuring his parents are set up for success in retirement and on giving them the opportunity to travel or live as they want, free of the regular burdens of life. His vision for success is to live a life free of financial constraints, surrounded by people he loves, while having the freedom to do what he enjoys and using business to impact other people for the greater good.
McBilly has been able to help his family immigrate from the Philippines and thrive in this country. His vision for success is different now than five years ago when he and Preston began their journey together. Then, it was to be financially free. Now he is in a position where it’s not only about money. His vision grew to include helping other people experience the transformation, freedom, and fulfillment he has been blessed to experience.
“Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade.” — Roy Amara
“We’ve had the opportunity to do cool things on this marketing journey, to travel and speak on stages across the country; be at masterminds with people we admire, love, and respect; meet amazing mortgage professionals who became clients, who then became friends. When we look back at any one year, it feels less eventful. When we look back at the greater part of the decade we’ve worked together to help loan originators, it’s evident how many impactful opportunities we were able to participate in, and that’s a wonderful thing. The main goal of any business is to be profitable. But we believe thriving businesses go deeper than that. It’s about becoming profitable while maintaining integrity and seeking opportunities to make a difference in clients’ lives. And that is truly what we do.”
Of course, Preston and McBilly have far to go in their journey together. From a marketing perspective, their goal is to provide even more value. Good Vibe Squad has shifted from just generating leads to trust-based marketing. Their model combines the lead generation aspect with personal branding. They view personal branding like a turbo-charged engine in a powerful car. To their way of thinking, driving the car fast requires a good driver.
“That’s why you need a marketing system,” McBilly explained. “You need to have actual people and systems in place, and then you need a really good driver, right? There’s no point in having a fast, turbocharged car when you have an inexperienced driver. That’s where the mentorship comes in. This is why companies like 20/20 Vision are so valuable. Mentorship is uplifting, builds skill sets, and teaches from experience. We really look at it holistically, and that’s where the coaching comes in. You need to have the systems in place, you need to have a fast car, and then add the turbo charge of personal branding. And that’s how you could really win in our current marketplace.”
“Yes,” Preston chimed in. “Even in a down market, and I would say especially in the down market, you need to invest in yourself and go both feet in because there has never, in the history of time, been somebody who retracted in a down market and then expanded in a good market. Whoever works now in the winter and has the most resources for when the snow melts will be the person who takes the market share. This is an incredibly important season for loan officers to believe in themselves, be willing to take risks, and bet on themselves. You know, it’s a better investment than anything available in the stock market or the real estate world. Betting on yourself and giving yourself the tools, the coaching, the consulting, and being around mentors and peers who are on a journey of growth is more than a good idea; it’s necessary for human survival, especially in times like these.”
“Resourcefulness and being creative in rising above adversity are two important characteristics in a business leader. Hard times require you to have a creative vision for your company and the future.”
“I was really inspired, McBilly added, “at the Vision Summit hearing Christine Beckwith and Karen Deis discussing the struggles they have as women in a male-dominated industry. I can relate as a minority in a non-minority-dominated industry. Their conversation opened my eyes to the subtle jabs and disadvantages women experience being in this industry. It inspired me to do everything I can to empower everyone in this industry to have a better seat at the table.”
These two genuine young men believe in each other, in their company, and in the industry, saying, “The mortgage world is great because it’s a forever and recession-proof industry. In good times, people need homes. In bad times, people need homes. Even when the world has volatility and things feel unstable there will always be a higher demand for housing than almost anything. And that’s a beautiful thing. There’s a lot of opportunity in good and bad times. As long as you do the hard work and are smart about it, there is a constant and massive opportunity to grow, not just financially but also in making an impact in your own and your clients’ lives.”
These men believe fully in the concept that one is the average of the five people you spend the most time around. Solid coaching and mentorship are critical to success. Their lives changed in big ways for the better when they sought to grow by looking for and entering rooms where they weren’t the smartest people. Mentorship and masterminds are personal to both. This is how they met and forged their super strong partnership, setting life changes in motion back in 2018. They credit their individual pursuit of mentorship for setting them on their current path and look forward to where the evolutions of their continuing journey will take them, their business, their families, friends, clients, coworkers, and you.
Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy this new feature which will highlight coaching clients who have achieved the Vision Master and/or the elite Vision Master Honors status with 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching. These are professionals dedicated to success in life and career and to ensuring their success includes helping others succeed in reaching their own goals as well as enhancing the continued health and growth of the industry we serve.
Masters in Making will appear periodically in both The Vision and the Women With Vision Magazine.
Grab the Brass Ring through Knowledge, Communication, and Collaboration
Written by: Colleen Wietmarschen
If we had a crystal ball and could look into the future, what would we tell our teenage and young adult selves? Statistics show four out of ten people regret their life choices and would most likely do something entirely different than they once considered. The same is true for Jesse Rodriguez. While he can’t travel back in time, he offers encouragement to colleagues and employees as a teacher, leader, and expert in the mortgage industry.
Jesse would tell his younger self to “grab the best opportunity for your career, and more than likely, you’ll reap the financial freedom to do what you love on the weekends!”
What? Is this advice a bit backward? Not in Jesse’s experience. Most young adults are being advised to pursue their dreams and not settle for anything less than making a career out of their passionate interests. And while Jesse would not disagree, his advice is the opposite. He suggests finding what motivates and leads to success and making that the goal.
Jesse’s primary goal in business is to compete and win. But Jesse isn’t motivated by the money. His family is his most tremendous success in life. He came from a small, close-knit family, which grew when he married his wife and joined her beautiful and unimaginably kind family. Jesse looks to build a company to outlast him, provide for his family, and set the course for his and his family’s future.
Whether teaching or leading, Jesse believes communicating, collaborating, continuing to learn, and accepting failures as lessons are critical, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or an employee.
Les Brown said, “Develop your communication skills because when you open your mouth, you tell the world who you are.”
Jesse believes if you work on any skill, “communication should always be at the top of your list. Learning how to communicate properly is the foundation of society.” We can constantly improve our ability to communicate.
Sharing information sets Jesse apart from others in the industry. He’s an open book and isn’t afraid to answer questions or share information with clients, employees, or competitors. If something works for him, he’s willing to share it to elevate others. “I have no secrets or special sauces. Remember, there are no stupid questions. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!”
“As my business partner and best friend, Jesse brings the best to our team! He is loyal to the bone and sets the best example of what a leader should be.” Javier Del Rio
While most of us would like to be an expert and do everything, it’s important to realize we can’t. “Do what you do best and partner for the rest” is Jesse’s greatest lesson. It’s critical to know which activities you do best and those you don’t, and when you “leave your ego at the door,” you’ll save time, money, and frustration. Look for people and companies that don’t specialize in what you do and collaborate with them. A network to help your business be the best it can be is vital to success.
Jesse Rodriguez has been in the mortgage business for over 20 years; it’s the only job he’s known since quitting college. His knowledge of the mortgage industry runs the gamut from a residential mortgage lender to owner and operator of a mortgage brokerage to current co-owner of one of the largest mortgage brokerages/hybrid lenders, Simple Home Loans. They aim to make the mortgage loan process as simple and easy as possible for everyone and, simultaneously, ensure the human aspect isn’t lost.
Jesse’s biggest strength as a leader is abundant knowledge. Throughout his career, he has worn multiple hats carrying a unique skill set and understanding the entire loan process, from loan origination to closing and everything in between.
Technology changes at a rapid speed and learning to leverage technology is going to be a significant contributor in the future. Technology will fade out many jobs, whether it’s the business’s operation, compliance, or sales side. Still, he hopes the technology will enhance employees rather than replace them. Jesse envisions the companies which combine personal touch and relationship sales approaches with the developments and disruptions technology brings will be the ones to last.
Although an expert in the mortgage industry, Jesse knows the importance of life-long learning. He is aware of the technology hurdles the industry will face but understands the value of the information because it’s how you continue to grow. He says, “it’s going to be fun!”
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ~Henry Ford
A wise man once told Jesse, “In this business, you must learn to change the tires on the car while it’s going 50 MPH in fog.” Jesse said he feels like this every day but wouldn’t want it any other way.
Accepting Failures as Lessons
I can’t say I know many people who see failures as lessons, but then again, most people are not like Jesse. His biggest disappointments were when he didn’t try to do something because he feared failing. Jesse has failed more times than he’s succeeded, but he sees every failure as a lesson in and of itself. “I’m at peace with it and look forward to failing more.” I think this is a huge teaching moment for everyone: it’s OK to fail.
Jesse leads by example. His priorities are setting proper expectations, putting people in a position to win, and creating a culture where balance and continued improvement in yourself and your business are encouraged.
Learning to communicate and collaborate with others, acknowledging the importance of knowledge, and seeing failures as lessons learned are what turn great teachers into leaders and leaders into masters.
While Jesse can’t travel back in time and look through the crystal ball, he’ll cross the path with his employees or colleagues and help them discover what’s important to know as they walk their journey to find their way. Jesse Rodriguez is an accomplished Master in the Making.
Written by: Leora Ruzin
Rockstar. Dynamic. A Swiss Army Knife. These are adjectives used to describe Denise Tragale, Regional Vice President at Stearns Lending. I have to admit being called a Swiss Army Knife would be really awesome, especially in the context of how Denise operates in her role with the company.
As Nick Pabarcus, EVP of Wholesale Lending further explains, “Denise can adapt to a myriad of roles and responsibilities while maintaining a baseline of fantastic ethics. That character translates not only to diversity and inclusion but to great team morale and a fun atmosphere for all of her direct reports, peers, and colleagues”.
Born in Long Island, NY, Denise’s parents worked tirelessly to give her and her siblings all they did not have. It is no surprise to learn she works with the same effort and tenacity as her parents did.
Denise has been with Stearns Lending for a little over eighteen months and came to the organization with nearly thirty years of experience in banking, mortgage lending, and more specifically, operating in the wholesale lending space. When asked how her career has progressed, Denise described how she started out in operations before finding her calling in sales. “I started in 1992 in operations, first in processing then quickly underwriting. I realized I enjoyed the sales side and became an account executive in 1999. By 2003 I became a sales manager and branch manager. Having the operations experience helped me elevate our branch to be #2 in the nation at American Home Mortgage. I spent the remainder of my career as divisional/regional sales leader covering large portions of the country. Most recently at Stearns, I took a position that further rounded out my experience as VP of Business Development where I was part of the leadership team implementing key strategic initiatives for the channel. In July 2021, I was promoted to lead the east sales division as one of four Regional VP’s for Stearns Lending, LLC.”
When asked how Denise describes herself as a leader, it is clear her style of leadership is centered on integrity, trust, and a call to action to always do the right thing. Her philosophy focuses on listening as key behavior, on consistently coming from a place of compassion and thoughtfulness, and demonstrating how actions speak louder than words. Her laser-sharp focus transcends to how she works with her associates, how she helps her clients and by extension, the borrower.
As Allyson Foley, EVP of Wholesale Operations further explains, “She is devoted to the success of her people, her peer group, others within the organization, and her clients. Denise has extensive mortgage background which helps her navigate through her role. She is dedicated and hardworking. Denise’s passion for doing the right thing for the client shows in everything that she does.”
Perhaps what is the most fascinating part of Denise’s story is how she came to be in the mortgage business, and how what she learned in college has been invaluable as she has grown as a leader. She credits sheer accident for her entrance to the mortgage business. “I always thought I wanted to be in the medical field and decided to take a gap year once I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra. I was able to land a position as a copy girl for a mortgage company and with that began to learn how to process loans. I soon realized the industry has lots of opportunities and saw the need for underwriters was demanding. After two years I became an agency/jumbo/government underwriter.
I have been able to apply skills learned in college in a way of being tactical in my thought process and been able to capitalize on that strength. I will add as a psychology major trained to analyze situations to determine best response has been an ability I have grown over the years.”
Using the tools she has garnered while in college has certainly helped her connect with people in a way that other leaders envy from afar. She has also benefited from wearing many hats along her journey, and she understood early on that being adaptable to change is what separates good leaders from great leaders. As Denise further explains, “sitting in several seats throughout our industry has allowed me to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have learned that when one door closes another opens, which always has led me to further advancement. I believe all my experience as a sales leader has allowed me to be impactful as a mentor to many Account Executives over the years. Maintaining those relationships is key as they have developed to lifelong friendships.”
Denise is certainly no stranger to change (as most in the industry can relate to), and while she has dealt with setbacks, she truly feels that the best leaders are those who adopt the right mindset to change. When the vision for success is commitment, anything is possible, providing you keep that commitment at the forefront. “As you know, in the mortgage business, there is always change,” Denise states, “Over the years my career has pivoted as a result of organizational and market condition changes but I have always kept the right mindset. Being adaptable to change is key! Being able to in a sense go with the flow and not let emotion or ego get in the way. I have heard many stories of folks who are unable to land on their feet after setbacks in their career and I believe wholeheartedly this one component is the reason. You do not want to get stuck looking in the rearview mirror saying I should have done that.”
At the very core of what motivates Denise, and what she thinks makes this industry the best, are the acts of helping others. Whether it is to help a fellow co-worker reach their truest potential, help a wholesale partner achieve their business goals, or help a borrower own a home, Denise stays focused on the bigger picture. What is truly refreshing, however, is what she feels is her greatest success in life. As she states, “My greatest success is my children. Being blessed to be a mother is one of the most cherished moments of my life. My career has enabled me to be the best I can be and having the balance between family and work is key.”
When speaking of family and being a mom, Denise reflects on what she does during those moments when she isn’t actively working. With a main goal to be healthy and enjoy all that life has to offer, Denise pays special focus on finding the ever-elusive work and life balance. She enjoys going for hikes, playing tennis, and traveling. She loves to learn about other cultures with her husband of 27 years and her grown children.
Denise has a favorite quote which could not be more perfect for the caliber of leader she is. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” ~ Charles Swindoll
These words remind her to be aware of how often people react to a situation immediately as it happens, with an end result usually one of anger or presumption. “Just imagine,” Denise said, “If everyone just took a moment to reflect before responding, just imagine how much more we could all accomplish together.”
Wise words indeed, Denise!
Tips for Success
- Be honest. Always.
- Be a good listener – to actively listen takes practice but is instrumental for success.
- Accept criticism – this will help you to grow and learn.
- Surround yourself with successful individuals.
Written by Ashlee Cragun
You’ll notice when you join the business world, there is one term you hear regularly. Leaders use it to understand where employees are regarding production and time management. Coaches use it as a term for encouragement and evaluating organization. Coworkers use it to compare notes, individuals use it to understand where they should spend their time, and companies use it to evaluate where they should invest their money. The term is R.O.I. which stands for Return on Investment.
In business, ROI is used to identify past, present, and potential financial returns. The calculation is straightforward: does the value received exceed the investment? Evaluating ROI on a regular basis determines the success of a business. People use this calculation when developing business strategies and deciding where the best place is to invest time, energy, and money to obtain the best return. No negotiation is needed.
Although ROI is a common term and a necessity in determining the success of every company, there is one issue most companies, leaders, or employees don’t understand or realize as the easiest and fastest way to gain ROI. In this article, we will look at ROI in a different light. We will throw out your existing thoughts of ROI and develop them into what it could be and how it can lead to greater success than you can imagine.
For the remainder of this article, ROI stands for Recruiting, Onboarding, and Inclusion. Those three words will make or break any company or team. We will dive into each of those briefly and discuss who, what, when, how, and why. Consciously focusing on these three items can cause a ripple effect on the return and throughout the company. Although each of these stands alone, they create a foundation of success; if you remove one, the stability of a company will waiver.
A company’s objective is to grow revenue, and this objective is most commonly achieved by recruiting and expanding its staff. Recruiting is one of the most important aspects of any company. Are they adding the right people to the company at the right time? So many times, companies hire too quickly and not efficiently, costing them more overall. Having a well-thought-out and systematic vetting process is more productive when hiring staff. This process isn’t just about if they are a good fit for the position. Recruiting is the ability to determine if they are the right fit for company culture and helps the potential employee determine if the company is the right fit for their long-term career goals.
When a company takes the time to dig into each person, whether found through a lead, recruiter, referral, or job application, the ability to retain the employee rises significantly. Below are a few best practices to consider:
- Determine the actual requirements of the position. What tasks are needed to complete the work, and do they require specific training? Or are they teachable skills if you find the right person?
- Consider the values of your company. Are they flexible, adaptable, fast-paced, or innovative? Use these to help form the questions you want to ask.
- Be truly interested. Ask about who the interviewee is as a person and show interest in who they are outside of work. Discovering more about who they are outside of work allows for the ability to discover what they value. Ensuring the company’s and the individual’s values match is key.
- Provide a career path. Do you know what the end career goal is for the potential employee? Can you realistically provide the path to help the individual meet their goals?
- Know their skill set. Have you determined what their skill level is currently? Do you need to do a skills test? Do you both fully understand what the position requires and where this person truly is in their career path?
One of the biggest failures companies experience is rushing a hire. During the process, it is essential to take your time. The best hires come from taking time to learn about them and make sure they are not only a good fit for the company but the company is the right fit for them. One of the most respectable things a company can do is be honest when someone isn’t the right fit or recognize you are not a good fit for them. Doing so allows a company to gain more respect from the recruit.
Recruiting is a long-term game. It takes a lot of time to dive in and make sure the company is securing the best possible person for the position they are looking to fill. As a company, you can invest a lot of time in finding the right people, but you waste your time securing top candidates if you aren’t prepared for them when they start, which brings us to our next point.
When people hear onboarding, they often think of boring training and paperwork. However, onboarding is much more than that.
Onboarding is the time for a company to make a great first impression. It is like going on your first date. It is the time when a company can stand out and show they are invested in success and a long-term relationship. During onboarding, you have the ability to demonstrate the importance of a person’s experience. Starting somewhere new is stressful, and when a company is prepared and has a plan for the first few days, weeks, and months when someone joins a company, it helps provide a sense of stability and belonging. It shows the company is invested and develops trust for the long term.
Developing an onboarding program can be difficult and time-consuming, but it can also be fun. Below are a few ideas to incorporate:
- Create a memorable experience. What can you do to make sure their first day, week, and even month is a positive experience?
- Think outside the box. What can you do to make sure they know you are excited for them to be there? Do you have a welcome lunch planned? Do you know something unique about them? Could you tie this to a welcome gift? Do you have a welcome gift?
- Be prepared. Is their equipment set up? Do you have the needed training completed and assigned in advance? Do you have a FAQ sheet available so they have a place to reference?
- Assign a concierge. Is there someone who helps check on this person periodically throughout their first few weeks to make sure they have everything they need? Is this person someone in addition to their direct supervisor?
- Have an updated resource center. During the first few weeks and even months on a job, people will always have questions. Is there somewhere they can go to find what they need? Is it easy to navigate?
- Have a roadmap. Do you have a roadmap demonstrating what to expect during their onboarding process?
Onboarding is one of the most overlooked abilities to develop loyalty and can influence a person’s perception of the company. If a company is prepared for them to start, it shows the company is organized and invested in their employee’s success from the very beginning and throughout the time they are employed.
Although onboarding is the start of developing loyalty, it is not the end. Every person has an innate need to know and feel they are important to the success of the big picture. Companies that create a continuous atmosphere of inclusion and career development have a higher retention rate. In the world today, one of the most used words to describe companies is “culture,” but what is culture? Have you used it before to describe where you work? Read the following two statements:
I work for a company with a great culture.
I work for a company with a great culture and that makes me feel included by creating an atmosphere to help me know they are invested in my future.
Which company would you work for?
Creating an atmosphere of inclusion doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Below are a few cost-effective ideas to create this environment:
- Career planning. Coach and train the leaders to actively meet with their teammates to discuss their career paths and develop milestones or goals.
- Create an environment of innovation. Do you have a place for employees to submit creative ideas or give feedback?
- Personal growth opportunities. Develop or host training for people to develop new skills, whether it is personal or professional development.
- Mentoring or shadowing program. Create a program allowing employees the opportunity to share their skills with others or the ability to develop skills in different areas of the business.
- Provide service opportunities. People love to give back. Find opportunities to bring people together throughout the company for a cause outside of the organization, encouraging them to work together.
- Actively listen. Regularly ask for feedback and use the feedback to make positive changes within the organization.
A company can recruit amazing employees and have the best training and onboarding. Yet, if leaders are not looking for ways to help current employees know their success is a top priority, they are setting themselves up to lose those employees to companies whose ROI includes and invests in everyone’s success.
ROI to Referral
When a company chooses to focus on recruiting, onboarding, and inclusion, they experience team loyalty beyond belief and build a failure-proof foundation. However, removing even one of those three pillars can be catastrophic. Don’t rush the process. Ours is an industry invested in growth through referral and while this technique is used often in new business recruitment, referrals are also one of the most successful and practical methods to grow and fill a company’s staffing needs. ROI leads to committed employees who want to share their experience and will refer other top professionals. The best employees are referrals from great employees.
Take the time to find the right people, onboard efficiently, and include and invest in the future of your teams. Remember, when people love where they work and feel part of a worthy vision, ROI, no matter how it’s defined, is profitable for all: the company, team members, and the clients.
Written by: Jenny Mason
If we don’t grow, we exist but aren’t fully living. Change is inevitable in this crazy world we live in, but growth is optional!
Sometimes change can be unpleasant, unwelcomed, and downright hard. Change, in-between the state of letting go of what we’ve known and allowing something new to emerge, can be quite frightening.
We must fight to not drown in the seas of woe is me or shrink back from the monsters of fear. If we take our focus off the waves, the fears, and ourselves, change will be truly transformational. Like it or not, change is necessary; it’s a catalyst for us to grow!
Unanticipated events have a way of taking us out of our comfort zone, don’t they? About three years ago, my family had an unexpected event: my dad had a quadruple bypass which spurred my daughter’s calling to pursue a nursing career. My husband wanted to ensure she was taken care of and didn’t go into debt, so we moved from my isolated mountain paradise to a busy city to be with her.
We didn’t know where we were going to live. For over a month, we stayed in hotels with kids and a dog. School was about to start, and I found myself freaking out because I was focusing on the waves and not finding a place to stay. I was beginning to sink into the seas of woe is me. I was like a fish out of water floundering around, which caused questions to arise. I felt like I was missing something; I wasn’t satisfied or fulfilled. What was my purpose?
I asked God, “What gift do I have?”
I felt like I really didn’t have one, so I started soul-searching. I asked myself, “What do you like to do? What sets your heart on fire?”
I thought, I love encouraging others; then I thought, how am I going to encourage others? Once these ideas surfaced, the what if’s and the waves of excuses started rolling into my mind one after another, I thought, I’m providing a different level of service. I am not really on social media, I don’t have followers, and I don’t have an impressive title. Then, I started considering, what if I become famous? What if I put myself out there and people don’t like what I’m saying or like me?
The cyclone kept spinning, and I realized I would stay stuck in my isolated comfort zone unless I took action. I chose to act. I had a few connections on Facebook, about 1,000 followers on LinkedIn, and a few on Instagram. I made a commitment to post something positive, encouraging, inspiring, hope-filled, motivational, or thought-provoking every day.
It was hard putting myself out there as we are programmed to believe we are only successful if we have so many followers, shares, or likes, and we sit waiting to hear the endorphin-releasing ping sound when we receive a like, a heart, or a thumbs down. Then, once again, I realized I was making it about me. Wasn’t this supposed to be about giving to others?
I continued putting myself out there, sharing my heart and my mind, and I have continued interacting daily for the last three years. Do I have a bazillion followers, likes, and shares? No, but I remind myself it’s not about popularity, shares, or likes; it’s bigger than me. It is worth it if I can encourage, inspire, motivate, or help just one person. And I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is when I receive a message from someone clear across the country (someone I’ve never met) who says, “because of your words, I was able to keep my head above water.” It is so much more rewarding than winning the game, the sales contest, or being #1. It is truly awe-mazing when you live for a purpose bigger than you.
Was the whole change thing easy? Absolutely not!
Was it worth it? Absolutely!
Seeing your effort make a difference fuels the flame to keep going; it truly is fulfilling. I have found the more I continually focus on others, the more I grow.
When we look for the opportunity and believe something good is going to come from it, it’s truly freeing and transformational. When COVID hit, our landlord decided he wanted his house back, and you know what, I didn’t freak out even when we had one week left to vacate and still nowhere to move. I switched my focus from the waves to the One who provides, from being afraid to being excited to see what door was going to open, and we found the best place for our family!
In the last three years, I have had transformational growth, mentally and spiritually. The ignitor of inevitable change initiated my change. People who successfully navigate change have optimistic beliefs, and believe change will bring positive into their lives. Something exciting is waiting on the other side of this transition. How we perceive change is important. When we replace fear with excitement, it’s easier to welcome change.
What we focus on grows. We can focus on ourselves and our feelings and choose to have a positive or negative mindset, which determines our path. Thinking this stinks, we’re most likely going to drown in the seas of woe is me, but if we keep telling ourselves something good is happening, something good is coming, and believe there’s always an answer, it will keep us in the game.
Our bodies don’t know the difference between excitement and fear. We feel the butterflies and start to sweat, so by quickly turning our thoughts of worry or fear into excitement, our whole outlook changes, and most often, the outcome. Put positive action into a negative emotion, and no matter how small, the action will change the emotion.
When we look back, almost every time we experience change it brings something positive into our lives. We may not see or feel it at the time, but eventually, we will.
Finding your purpose tends to sit at the intersection between what we care about and where we can contribute the most to help others. Connect to something that ignites a spark of emotion in you, and relentlessly pursue what sets your soul on fire.
So, when change comes your way, or if you are not feeling fulfilled to take the focus off the waves, fears, yourself, or whatever is keeping you in your comfort zone, ask yourself how you can help, serve, encourage, or bring value to others. You are uniquely qualified to serve others, and inevitability of change can be the compass to find your purpose.
The key for a compass to be effective is always to take the next step. When you do, you will find true success and significance. Change is inevitable, and growth is optional! Choose to grow. I’m rooting for you!
Written by: Ruth Lee, CMB
“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant
I ate the last Palisade peach today from the four-pound box we got at a roadside stand. It feels like just yesterday the snow was melting, and today the air is becoming crisp again. From my remote office, I watch the kids with brand new book bags marching dutifully behind their parents to the bus stop. My husband is eyeing his snowboard and getting my skis waxed. Fall has again arrived. After thirty years in this industry, I’ve seen a lot of autumns come and go. Some are seasons of bounty and harvest, while others, like this one, feel mean and mingy.
“Autumn embraces change, even as she is falling to pieces.” ~ Angie Weiland-Crosby
It is hard to watch our colleagues struggle as the industry shudders and shakes, but it is important to recognize this is a season of opportunity in the mortgage industry. In ten years, we will look back, with pride, at the meaningful innovation and change being wrought over the next twenty-four months. I opened Titan, my second company, in July 2007. Winter came early that year, and by January 2008 we’d lost almost all our clients and capital reserves. I learned my most important lesson as an executive and entrepreneur: how to let things go. We escaped what could have been and rallied the team and our resources to build something better, stronger, and more resilient than we originally conceived.
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” ~ Unknown
Now it is your turn to lead through uncertain times. Leadership is easy when everyone is winning. It is not as simple when there is doubt. In the face of change, your team and your company are looking to you for motivation, strength, and courage. And let me say this: building a thriving business in the face of what was called a meltdown was hard, but we made it through because we refused the alternative. Today, business remains bountiful. It is not as easy, but it is there for those who want to take it. For a short while, your team may need to borrow your vision to see opportunity and thrive where others hide.
“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.” – Delia Owens
Let me tell you about the golden lining in the clouds that gather because it is important as leaders to ensure you maintain a growth mindset. The talent on the street right now is epic. There are game-changing people out there looking for a chance to take your company to the next level. Don’t shy away from the opportunity. This is the time to double down on recruiting, marketing, technology, coaching, and education.
“If I were a bird, I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot.
I struggled with this article and rewrote it a couple of times. Then I liberally borrowed inspiration from the words of better writers than myself. Playing scared is no way to play. We are a vibrant and healthy community of mortgage professionals. This is your moment. Be courageous. Be inspiring. Be kind.
Written by: Megan Anderson
Should I pay off my mortgage early? And if so, what’s the best way to do so?
These are questions that many homeowners wonder about, and ones you may have heard from your clients through the years. My guess is many homeowners do not fully grasp how amortization works. Let’s review the essentials of amortization and why it might be of benefit for your clients to pay an additional amount toward their mortgage each month.
What is Amortization?
Amortization is the process of reducing or paying off debt with regular payments. In order for your clients to fully understand amortization, we must break down the parts of a mortgage payment for them.
The majority of mortgages today are fixed payments and part of that monthly payment is broken into two parts – principal and interest. The amount of interest is calculated from the interest rate and remaining loan balance. So, as the loan is paid off, the amount of interest paid decreases over time.
The principal portion is the amount that remains after the interest has been deducted. Unlike the interest portion, as your clients pay off their loan, the amount going toward principal increases over time.
Consider this example you could share with your clients. Let’s say they have a mortgage of $100,000 at 5% for 30 years. Their fixed payment, or the amount they would pay every month, would be roughly $537.
To calculate the interest portion in a month, we multiply the balance of $100,000 times the annual interest rate of 0.05 and divide by 12 months in a year to get $416.66.
Meanwhile, the principal payment for the first month is what remains after the interest portion is deducted. In this example, we subtract the interest portion of $416.66 from the total payment amount of $537, which gives us $120.34 paid toward the principal. Using this amount, the loan balance is reduced from $100,000 to $99,879.66.
The following month, the new loan balance is used to calculate the interest portion of the payment. Since a smaller amount of money is owed to the lender, the interest charge for the month is $0.50 lower at $416.16. That makes the principal payment in month two $0.50 higher at $120.84.
This process repeats each month with the interest portion of the monthly payment gradually declining and the principal portion gradually rising. Every month that goes by, your clients pay less interest because their loan balance is lower.
The Power of Amortization
One simple way for your clients to accelerate the payoff process of their loan is to pay an additional amount each month because 100 percent of these extra payments are applied toward the principal balance on their loan.
Surprisingly, even small extra payments can have a large effect on your clients’ finances over time. If the payment in my previous example was increased by just $200 a month, your clients would pay off their loan 13 years sooner! This would mean your clients would make 159 fewer mortgage payments in total.
360 payments: $537/month
Total Paid: $193,256
Total interest: $93,256
Paying $200/Month Extra:
201 payments: $737/month
Total Paid: $147,708
Total interest: $47,708
This example is a great way you can show your clients how they can reduce their overall interest expense. Your clients can consider these extra payments as investments that earn them a guaranteed return equal to their loan’s interest rate. And in rough times like today, with recession talk on the horizon and the stock market having seen better days, this rate of return might outperform alternative investments. This is just one example of why it might be a good idea for your clients to pay off their mortgage early.
But what if your clients can’t afford to pay an extra $200 a month toward their mortgage?
During times of economic uncertainty and high inflation, it might not be possible to put a set amount of extra money towards a mortgage payment each month. But occasional lump sum payments can also be a great way to achieve similar results.
Let’s say that after 11 months of regular payments, your clients have an extra $2,000 that they could put towards their mortgage payment.
This one-time extra payment would shorten their loan term by 15 months, equaling $8,055 in payments. What is magical about this is the compounding effect. Each time your clients make a payment they are going to keep more of their money and spend less in interest.
Amortization is a great way to educate your clients about how to create wealth, meet their retirement needs or achieve their goal of owning their home free and clear – and the tools available in MBS Highway can easily help you illustrate this. Take a free 14-day trial of MBS Highway and learn more about how our Bid Over Asking Price, Buy vs. Rent Comparison, Loan Comparison tool, daily coaching videos, lock alerts and more can help you better serve your clients and grow your business now and for years to come.
In addition, all the tactics I covered in this month’s article are taught in our Certified Mortgage Advisor (CMA) course. There is even a PowerPoint presentation with slides that you can use to present this information to your clients, along with a coaching video you can watch to help you feel confident and comfortable presenting this information.
CMA teaches you about economic and housing reports, candlestick patterns, recession indicators and how to use mortgage debt to create sustainable lifelong wealth for your clients. This course empowers you to step away from being a salesperson so you can step into being an advisor for your clients.
This knowledge has made a powerful difference in my life and my career, which is why I’d like to offer you an exclusive $400 discount for this course. Simply use the code VISION upon sign up.
After all, investing in yourself today is the smartest financial decision you can make for your future success and your ability to help your clients build wealth through real estate.
Written by Peter Wietmarschen
Sometimes, when life seems to be going in a million different directions and our work seems unending, finding the time to sit down and read feels impossible. I have been going through a particularly hectic stretch, and I kept putting off my research for what book to read for this month’s review. After procrastinating a little too long, I scrapped together a few minutes one afternoon to go out to my porch and browse Amazon.
The beauty of the world sometimes, amidst the craziness of the universe, reaches out to you and points you in the right direction. This path is how I came across what I believe is the perfect book for this month’s review: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.
Why was this the perfect book for right now?
First, this book seemed to jump out at me because the title What Got You Here Won’t Get You There was a prevalent phrase my business coach used. The simple concept boils down to the actions you take to reach one level of success, won’t take you to the next level of success.
Second, as we all know, this industry is going through a changing cycle. Over the past two-plus years, there have been many successes, but What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Now is the time to buckle up, work on your systems, and be prepared to reach your next level of success.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful is written by Marshall Goldsmith, a widely respected executive coach. He has worked with hundreds of C-level executives throughout his career, and this book is an adaptation of his training for these high-level executives. From the description: “Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith shows in this book subtle nuances make all the difference.”
Goldsmith states many executives have one or two slight interpersonal flaws holding them back from reaching the pinnacle of their careers. His job as an executive coach is to point out the skills and habits his clients have built to achieve their success, but they may not be the right skills and practices needed to reach their next level. He points out how when we are successful, we often link our success to the actions we make. While this attitude is not always wrong, there are almost always minor flaws and habits we create along our journey, yet we succeed despite them.
I want to point out this book is not merely for C-level executives, but for everyone looking to reach a new level of success. While Goldsmith lays out the lessons regarding high-level leaders, each of us can make changes and be mindful of bad behaviors and habits to avoid them. In this industry cycle, one of the best improvements we can make is to ???
In the book’s second section, Goldsmith lays out 20 habits successful people have that are detrimental to their future success. Each successful person does not carry all 20 of these habits, and more likely than not, only carries one or two. But the effect of just one habit can have on our future success is truly significant. Without being too reductive, many of these habits are some form of winning too much. This leads us to put others down in our words and actions, whether intentionally or not. Having too many wins pits us against everyone else, and as leaders, we must cultivate a sense of community and teamwork.
For example, something as small as beginning sentences with but can lead your team members to believe you do not support them or trust their judgment and skills. A single comment such as this from a leader is remembered by direct reports longer than you can imagine. Habitual comments like this add up over time and can sow distrust among your team.
The third section of this book focuses on Goldsmith’s seven-step system to change our behavior. The first area of change comes from receiving feedback from others on our behavior, and it lays the foundation for change as it can clearly and succinctly point out the areas where other people see we need to improve. While most people do not intentionally seek to cause harm to the team, their team is on the receiving end of their actions and words. Having a clear understanding of what causes our direct reports to distrust us will help us make the necessary changes to become better leaders.
Overall, I think this is quite a thought-provoking book. Many of us know a leader who was bound to a few of these bad habits. And many of us will recognize a few bad patterns we might have and want to change. Having knowledge of these habits and a clear guide on how to change them is advantageous to our growth. The one complaint I have is there are 20 bad habits listed in this book, and Goldsmith directly states in a few instances how many of these habits are directly related to winning too much. I believe he leans a bit too heavily on this habit and could either lose a few of these habits or not explain them as just another form of a previously mentioned habit.
My rating for What Got You Here Won’t Get You There is 4.25/5.
Looking ahead: I will be back next month in the Women With Vision Magazine to review Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown.
On October 11, Finding Honor: The Journey to Truth, Christine Beckwith’s powerful new book, rose quickly through the Amazon New Release and Best Seller ranks to land at the top of the heap! If you missed the launch, please do yourself a favor and grab a copy today. Critics are hailing it as her best book yet.
And be sure to catch these other great reads from Christine Beckwith. Feel free to go grab them now on Amazon!
Breaking the Cycle is filled with engaging stories wrapped around a theme of power words and is an invaluable treasure trove of practical, hands-on advice. Jam-packed with easy-to-implement suggestions, you’ll read sage advice from two women whose diverse career paths literally write the book on how to create your version of success!
In Wise Eyes: See Your Way to Success, Beckwith tells her life story in a style that is real and raw, but brutally honest. Wise Eyes is a handbook for professionals wanting to walk a direct path to incredible success.
And in her most recent book, Win or Learn: The Naked Truth, Beckwith joins more than a dozen other C-Suite professional women from across the mortgage, real estate, and finance industry for frank discussions about what it takes to succeed as a woman in the top eschelon of business in today’s world.
Are you a reader who likes to share the wealth and benefit received from consuming a great book? Just as we welcome Peter Weitmarschen and Leora Ruzin to these pages as book reviewers, we would be delighted to welcome you as well. We consider all submissions. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk books. –Editor
Beckwith Unplugged and Uncensored
Season 3, Episode 24: Why I Shared my Journey to Truth
There is a time for honor. A time for sin. A time to ask for forgiveness, to regret. A time for overcoming or shrinking, as well as growth and retribution. A time to advance and a time to retreat. Eventually, there comes a time to find honor. To honor thy self. This time comes by listening to our internal wiring, the voice inside our souls, not the one in our heads that sabotages good thoughts. Honor comes with time after ignoring or depleting ourselves. Honor is a path we find on our way to salvation.
This is why I wrote my journey to truth.
Buy it for yourself, I promise there is nothing out there like it.
Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BHKVC1C8/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PHQ5EH31VGTA8MMEXZXS
ABOUT THE SERIES
Beckwith Unplugged and Uncensored is video podcast designed for Christine Beckwith, a long-time business executive turned executive coach in the banking, mortgage, and real estate industry. In this totally transparent and sometimes raw monologue, Beckwith tells it like it is…publicly. Emotion is the driving force behind all human intellect, accomplishment, and success. If you cannot feel where you are going, you cannot SEE it either. As the visionary behind 20 / 20 Vision for Success, Christine brings her personal and professional philosophy to the mic. Listen in because these are lessons you will want to learn here instead of anywhere else.