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17 Steps to Success…or Failure


Pssst … how much TV do you watch every day? Sure, you could be using the time to plan tomorrow’s calls, dive into a good book, or envision where you’d like your life to be this time next year, but you closed a major deal today and you’re entitled to a little mindless relaxation, right?

Success In The Reverse Mortgage Industry

Actually, yes. While an occasional evening such as the one just described is akin to the occasional chocolate binge, it’s what you do all the time that creates your life. Many indulgences are OK, or even beneficial, in moderation — think of all the positive press dark chocolate has garnered in recent years — but as a daily diet, not so much. And when it comes to your reverse mortgage business, it’s the small choices that add up to results, or not.

This infographic demonstrates how successful people make 17 daily decisions differently than unsuccessful people, and shows how these tiny tweaks signal an overall life outcome. Consider whether you tend to:

  1. Feel grateful … or entitled?
  2. Compliment … or criticize?
  3. Forgive … or hold a grudge?
  4. Share the credit for business achievements … or horde it?
  5. Accept responsibility … or lay blame for failures?
  6. Read every day … or watch television every day?
  7. Keep a journal … or say you keep a journal but don’t really?
  8. Embrace change … or fear change?
  9. Share information … or horde it?
  10. Exude joy … or exude anger?
  11. Continually sharpen your skills … or assume you know it all?
  12. Set goals and life plans … or fly by the seat of your pants?

While everyone needs and deserves a little time out of mind, munching chocolate (or your treat of choice) in front of a sitcom, making these “left side” choices most of the time will green-light your life and help elevate your reverse mortgage business into the success zone. And that’s bound to be delicious.



Leave a Comment


  1. Hi Amara, this is another excellent article. Keep up your great work. I enjoy all your articles, especially the ones that relate to my reverse mortgage business such as this one.

    I have a question. The title is 17 steps to success or failure, but there are only 12 listed. Please explain.

    • Owen,

      Good question. Actually the 17 items are shown in the info graphic link. It’s a great resource.

  2. Hi Owen ~

    Shannon beat me to the punch. Yes, I compressed the 17 steps featured on the Infographic into 12 for clarity and brevity. Just click on the infographic link in the 3rd paragraph and you’ll see 17 success and 17 failure attributes.

    Thanks again for your interest and accolades!

  3. Amara, Greetings!

    I believe that being a positive thinker is, in fact, a gift. Very likely, someone has computed the ratio of people who are positively oriented and those who are negatively oriented.

    I’ve been married to my wife for over 45 years and I can share from experience, trying to change a person who is negatively oriented into a positive thinker is an arduous if not virtually humanly impossible task. I believe “change” is seeded by a new grasp of a life philosophy, such as a belief in agape from God. But, your 12 steps of introspect may help foster a beneficial awareness in someone who is looking for changes in his or her life.

    But that’s an aside. The purpose of this commentary is to encourage you to offer those steps as a challenge to LOs in understanding their clients. By asking the right questions, an LO can better understand what will truly make his senior clients happy. A RM is a financial planning tool, granted, but for most seniors, ‘feeling comfortable’ with their decision to change to a RM is incredibly important. Gerontologists should agree that a significant financial change in a seniors late life can be very stressful. Stress is a subject I always bring up to my clients during the course of their interviews. As a close, my product is the solution that will diminish stress in their lives and accomplish their goals. That pretty much sums up my job description. That’s what I do.

    I believe that many of the 12 questions you raise create the perfect segue to developing feedback questions while earning a senior’s trust. By phrasing questions carefully, it’s a way of getting to know prospects better and adapting the available products to what makes them feel best about the plan, all while building confidence.

    Have a great day, thanks. jf

  4. Jeff,

    Thanks for a wonderfully insightful and engaging response. I appreciate your perspective: asking seniors the right questions and helping to diminish stress in their lives ought to be the optimum goal for any reverse mortgage professional.

    We’ve discussed ways to engage senior prospects in past posts that you may have missed, such as this one on the Art of Socratic Selling: https://www.hecmworld.com/reverse-mortgage-news/art-socratic-selling-reverse-mortgage

    I’m sure I’ll be writing on this topic again, since, as you point out, it’s key to building a successful relationship and hence one’s HECM business.


  5. Amara, I appreciate your lovely reply. Thank you!

    I did take a minute to view our boy Socrates’ selling methodology. Good stuff! His methods were likely the building blocks for modern “Counselor Selling” techniques.

    More times than not, cases that I have closed, had an initial telephone interview that lasted well over an hour and some over two. No one can accuse me of being just an “order taker”. Time flies by when you take a genuine interest in a client’s issues and problems.

    While most seniors’ problems are often common in nature, making them feel as though their issues are unique is key to providing them with a solution that they will embrace.

    I’ll look forward to your next posting. Thanks, again! jf

  6. Jeff,

    I’m sure you are beloved by the people you serve. Making people feel understood and cared for is the key to success in any business ~ and for our world as a whole. Ever thought of becoming an ambassador? 🙂

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