ADAPT OR DIE

dn-adaptThere are many words that could define 2020 so far, but it would be hard to beat “uncertainty.” From the pandemic to political unrest and social injustices, this year has been filled with events most of us never saw coming – and the year’s not over yet!

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of sitting out this period and waiting until the storm passes to get back to business. It’s just the opposite: we have to learn how to succeed while in the eye of the hurricane.

Now for some good news. Housing markets are HOT in many parts of the country. Low interest rates, dwindled supply, rising home prices and built-up demand has resulted in bidding wars and many offers over asking, so you can’t tell me people aren’t eager to buy!

You can be successful in this market – just as you can in any market – by learning to adapt to the current situation, customer, and lending environment.

So how, exactly, do you learn to adapt? You jump in head first.

Take Risks

Adapting equates to changing and change means uncertainty for many people, which is why they don’t do it. Learn to get comfortable with the unknown. Go outside of your normal zone and do things you normally wouldn’t.

I’m not talking about skydiving here. If you find most of your leads from social media, schedule some time to make a few cold calls instead. If you’ve been putting off video messages because you hate the way you sound on camera, whip your smartphone out and start putting it to work.

If you want different results you have to do things differently. Experiment with alternative ways to prospect, market and connect with clients, then see what sticks. Note that I didn’t say “see what you like best.” See what produces the results you’re looking for, then work to build that muscle.

Embrace Newness

This is an ever-changing environment, right? So start leaning in to what’s new and novel. This extends beyond changing regulations and COVID restrictions. Look into new technologies, motivational podcasts, cost-cutting strategies, customer service enhancements.

If you remain flexible and prepared for opportunities, opportunities tend to come to you. It’s the whole “I make my own luck” mentality. Part of making your own luck is adapting to whatever form that luck takes, so make sure you’re armed with the tools that can help you embrace any new opportunity.

Flip the Script on Failures

We often learn more from our failures than we do our successes. That’s because we’re so hyped on our successes that we don’t typically take the time to analyze exactly what went right. But when something goes wrong? We can agonize over it for days.

Don’t agonize. Analyze. Become an auditor and a forensic investigator and figure out what went wrong. Then course correct. Did it take you three days to get back to a potential borrower who ultimately went with someone else? Work on that. Did you make assumptions about a borrower’s ability to qualify, only to have underwriting shoot you down? Work on that, too. Sometimes you didn’t do anything wrong but the borrower went a different direction anyway. That still warrants an audit. Did they change their mind about the loan? Did a big life event occur? Did they get cold feet?

It’s always better to catch a problem before it kills a deal, but if that ship has already sailed, your second best bet is figuring out how you can prevent this from happening again. Nine times out of 10, it will begin and end with communication. Even if a deal falls apart, ask the borrower if you can stay in touch, and if they’ll keep you in mind should their friends and family need any assistance.

Cultivate Resources

Everyone likes a problem solver. Change, as many people view it, is a problem. So be their solution! If you’ve already embraced change, then it’s not a problem for you. This leaves you equipped to help others who aren’t as adaptable.

Take some time to learn all the tools at your disposal. Then make sure you’re utilizing them to the fullest extent! Catch up with colleagues and referral partners. Make new connections on social media. Subscribe to a few more relevant newsfeeds and podcasts to stay on top of the changing landscape.

If you do all this, you’ll be ready to provide assistance in a variety of situations. And helping a borrower, realtor, colleague or follower will always be beneficial – especially in an uncertain environment.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.