Your Mission is to Search & Rescue

A serving mindset opens more opportunities 

This week we discuss the importance of reverse mortgage originators having the focus of a search and rescue team. Search for those with a genuine need or financial pain that needs relief and solve the issue if possible.



3 Lessons Reverse Mortgage Professionals Can Learn from Amtrak & NYC’s Subway System


Signs, communication & reassurance

My wife and I just returned from our tenth anniversary vacation to New York City and Niagara Falls. Traveling comes with its own set of challenges but also opportunities for teachable moments. With a nine and a half hour ride from Penn Station to Niagara Falls and back the importance of how we interact with our potential borrowers and clients came to mind as the landscape rushed by our window.

Lesson #1: Clear communication is essential!

After taking the F train from Queens to Penn Station’s Moynihan Hall in Manhattan we continued to follow the countless signs to prepare for our departure. You have to hand it to New Yorkers- their signage is extensive and detailed, and while at times confusing, those who persist will find themselves at their intended destination. 

My favorite signs are those in New York City’s subway cars. Once boarded you’ll now instantly if you’ve boarded the right train. The interior sign shows you the next stop and how many stops until your desired destination. It’s simple, clear, and reduces a traveler’s anxiety as they can track their progress. Perhaps those originating in New York may want to create a chart describing the reverse mortgage process with a similar layout.

Establishing expectations reassures homeowners where they’ll begin and the steps required to ultimately fund their loan.

There’s signage and then there’s verbal communication. 

Amtrak’s announcements are somewhat reminiscent of going to a cattle auction. A steady cadence of fast, somewhat incomprehensible words strung together, coupled with the employee’s local dialect. When it comes to speaking “New York”, I have no problems and the accent rarely is an obstacle. It’s the pacing that doesn’t always ensure the message being sent is received by those waiting to board.

Lesson #2: Reassure them along the way

After two days of exploring Niagara Falls and city near our hotel we returned the Amtrak station for a 6:47 a.m. departure. Walking through the ground level doors and arriving at the second floor waiting area we found an empty waiting area and ticket counter. Not one employee was to be seen. “This place is a ghost ship”, I quipped to my wife. As the minutes passed I chuckled to myself wondering if we were in the wrong place. We weren’t. It just so happened that we were the only two passengers to board in Niagara. Let’s just say our choice of seats was unlimited.

In the same way reverse mortgage applicants may get antsy waiting for updates on their loan application’s status. The top mortgage originators I know are proactive and instruct their applicants that they will update them on one or two specific days each week. 

Lesson #3: Show a little tenderness

Any vacation or application for a reverse mortgage for that matter is a collection of experiences. Little waypoints along the way that become part of one’s collective experience. As reverse mortgage professionals it’s our duty to ensure homeowners receive a concierge level of service and politeness they deserve. Perhaps several of you reading this who have experienced superb service  have been inspired to reach for new levels of excellence in your own practice. 

Unfortunately, a trip to the dining car reminded me just how we don’t want to interact with our valued applicants and borrowers. After a 5:00 a.m. wakeup call coffee was at the top of my to-do list. Approaching the cafe counter the employee slowly got up from his chair and approached the point-of-sale computer. “Good morning”, I said. “Just a minute”, he gruffly replied, “I’m not ready”. Okay. After a minute or two of zero eye contact or even a greeting I placed my order for two coffees. “Just tap your card here”. Obediently I tapped my card but it didn’t take so I laid it down a bit longer. “I didn’t say keep it on there. I said tap it quickly”, said Mr. Cheerful. Throughout the exchange I refused to return rudeness in kind instead addressing him as “sir” and saying please and thank you.  After the card charged successfully I carried our  treasured hot coffee back to our seats. “What was that?!” I thought. That, was exactly what we never want our customers to experience.

Each of our interactions should (1) acknowledge our customers promptly (2) express gratitude for the opportunity to serve them, and (3) leave them a reason to ultimately give us a five-star review. 

Clear communication, a reassuring experience, and top-notch customer service are crucial to our success and reputation as reverse mortgage professionals. After all, anything we can do to smooth out a homeowner’s reverse mortgage journey may lead them to recommend their friends and family take your reverse mortgage train.

All aboard! 





Seven Ways to Work Happier


The following is from an earlier publication authored by Amara Rose.

We spend a lot of time focusing on ways to enhance the reverse mortgage experience for mature adults. Just as crucial, however, is the care of the reverse mortgage professional. The more relaxed, healthy, and well-rested you are, the better you’ll be able to listen and the more thorough and specific the service you’ll provide.

Here are seven ways to improve your workplace, mood, and manner:

1. Order in the workplace! There are people who can pull the precise piece of paper they need from a chaotic jumble on their desk. However, a well-ordered work area makes this exponentially easier. Think about placing your important documents in color-coded file folders, or whatever system suits your personality, available space, and daily needs.

2. Let there be light. Unless you have full-spectrum lighting, sun exposure through windows is preferable to sitting under fluorescent bulbs, which can weaken eyesight with their rapid, undetected blinking. Another health benefit of natural light is improved sleep, which affects the quality of life — and encourages people to get more exercise because they finally have the energy for it.

3. Go for the green. While plants improve air quality by breathing carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen, they also decrease stress and increase productivity by 12 percent, says a new AARP report. Maybe not a huge enhancement, but where else can you get a daily brain boost for the price of a little watering?

4. Vary the sitting. It’s a conundrum: sitting for more than four hours a day has been shown to increase the odds of developing cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease — ouch! — yet standing at a raised desk can lead to varicose veins, knee or ankle problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome. What’s a health-oriented reverse mortgage professional to do? The AARP article suggests (no joke) a treadmill: one study found those who walked during the workday lost weight and enjoyed greater productivity after one year. Of course, you could simply take a tip from one manager who possessed a lot of kinetic energy: he paced his office while talking on the phone, which burned calories, kept him from sitting or standing too much, and dispensed with the need for a treadmill.

5. Trust your animal instincts. A growing number of office buildings permit pets (and if you own the building, you get to make the rules). Pets help reduce stress, boost morale and collaboration, and raise efficiency.

6. Go walkabout for lunch. Give the sad-sack lunch-at-your-desk routine a pass and take a walk in the park; eat your meal while watching the birds. Or call a colleague and suggest you try that new sushi place. On the other hand, if you need to work on a closing or other mental task, staying focused at your desk is probably a better idea. Just try not to make a habit of it.

7. Music to your ears. While the younger generation seems to have earbuds surgically implanted, the AARP story does note that workers listening to music tend to complete tasks quicker and come up with better ideas than their quiet-loving colleagues. If you prefer to save music for after business hours, it still helps reduce stress, so listen to what you enjoy most when you’re unwinding at home, or on the drive there.




Finding the Balance of Flow (part 1)

Finding the Balance of Flow

Each of us has a limited capacity or reserve of physical, intellectual, or emotional energy that we draw from each day. This week Dr. Stephen Campbell looks at ways we can achieve a balance between those things that fill us and those that drain us.

7 Things to Do When Business is Slow


Customer service has waned in the last decade

Do you hear the crickets yet? Many reverse mortgage originators and managers report an unusual silence in sales inquiries, calls, etc. The optimistic side of us hopes it’s jus the calm before the storm. Truth to told there are ebbs and flows to any business cycle.

With that in mind here are seven things we can do when business is slow.

  1. 1. Research your local market. Reverse Market Insight’s Neighborhood Dashboard is a great tool to learn more about your local market and uncover unseen opportunities.

  • 2. Optimize your online presence. Can local older homeowners or their children find you if they search for reverse mortgages in your area? If not you’re effectively invisible. If you need to start from scratch or just improve your existing website, reach out to us and let’s find a time to chat.

  1. 3. Reach out to local professionals or begin building a network. Local businesses live or die based on relationships. We’re not the exception to the rule. Disciplined relationship building begins with planning and commitment. Find where the people you want to know mingle and join. Make yourself available and useful by volunteering at events or fundraisers. Your status and value will be noted. 

  2. 4. Enhance your skillset. When’s the last time you read a book on sales techniques, attended a seminar or workshop? If you have more time on your hands now may be the opportunity to get started. 

  3. 5. Drip, drip, drip with email. Do you know it typically a person will see your email five to six times before they respond. Setup a series of emails that introduces yourself or your services. Be careful not to hammer them with too many emails in a short period of time lest they unsubscribe. A Client Relationship Manager such as Reverse Focus’ Sales Engine has just such a tool!

  4. 6. Call your previous borrowers. Has their situation changed? Do they need assistance in requesting a withdrawal from their reverse mortgage? How are things going in general for them? Remember, people don’t care until they know how much you care about them. At the end, ask if they may know anyone who could benefit from a reverse mortgage just as they did.

  5. 7. Prepare for rate cuts. Some economists feel the feel the Federal Reserve has been too slow to cut interest rates most are betting they will cut rates this spring. If true, are you prepared? If you’re fortunate enough to have a CRM (Client Relationship Manager), then look for recent applicants who were short-to-close. Reach out to them (by phone and email). Explain that you are closely watching interest rates and if they drop enough to increase their loan proceeds to qualify without bringing in cash to the closing you will be the first to call them. 

In closing, when it comes to sales there’s one thing a close friend told me a decade ago that sticks with me to this day- ‘Activity leads to opportunities’. A good reminder and perhaps another way to say the harder I work the luckier I get.

Let us know what activities you find productive during this sales season in the comment section below. 




5 Ways to Beat the Sales Doldroms


Are you familiar with the word doldrums? In our modern lexicon it describes a slump, loss of motion, lack of productivity, or listlessness. For sailors the doldrums were no laughing matter before the advent of steamships and diesel powered vessels. Mariners used the term to describe a windless and potentially deadly zone near the equator where ships could get stuck or days, weeks, or longer as the sails hung slack. 


Today many mortgage and real estate professionals are in this windless limbo and consequently may find themselves with empty sails feeling uneasy, bored, or fearful.


So how do we start paddling back to where the wind can fill our sails? Here are five strategies for your consideration.


1. Be Consistent


Habits and routines may seem boring but they can serve us well. Practice consistent routines for outbound sales calls, mining your client and prospect data in a CRM, and meeting with area professionals who interact with potential borrowers. To ensure you don’t fall off the wagon schedule each of these as recurring events on your calendar. 


2. Use the Stockdale Paradox


The Stockdale Paradox embodies two elements: confronting the brutal truth of your current situation while maintaining an unwavering faith or belief that you will prevail in the end. This principle is named after Vietnam prisoner of war James Stockdale who was imprisoned in the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he developed several psychological tools of survival. Take stock of where your business stands today and boost your perseverence by envisioning where you want to be.


3. Adjust your message


Is your typical sales approach effective with homeowners? Is your marketing producing results? If not, take the time to dive deep into what motivated your past clients and take the pulse of your local market. Have conditions changed? Is the standard pitch of eliminating required mortgage payments working? If not, work to develop a relevant message.


4. Keep the essentials


There are some expenses that should be eliminated and others that shouldn’t. If you find yourself with fewer closings and less income resist the temptation to fold the tent. Folding the tent is eliminating those key services and tools that are essential to you continuing to market, engage, and followup with potential borrowers.


5. Stay in touch


When business slows take advantage of your time by getting on the phone. Professionals across all industries find that the more personal contacts they make the more likely they are to find a deal. Call your past borrowers and check in on how they’re doing. Ask for a referral. Meet a local advisor or realtor for coffee. No matter what- keep building relationships.

What do you do during a slow business season? Share your experience in the comment section below.