Eat Failure For Breakfast

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” 
– ALFRED A. MONTAPERT

Get used to eating failure for breakfast every single day. A large part of this business, especially in the early days, is constant and unrelenting defeat. Every single morning you will get up and get in the game, and then at some point you will be slammed down and defeated. You must immediately pick yourself back up and say, “May I have another, please?” You may then be served failure for lunch. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to ask for another serving. You may get served failure for dinner. At the end of the day you’ve been beaten down again and again on the same mortgage file by lender after lender, or on multiple files by clients jumping ship. You will ask yourself (more than once) if it is time to give up.

The answer depends on how highly you think of yourself. Are you the mortgage oracle? Have you processed thousands of applications with dozens of different lenders? Did you write the lender rule books? Do you know every single exception that every single lender is capable of?

Me neither.

I figure I know about 20 percent of what there is to know about this business. The other 80 percent is fluid and unknowable. The rules are changing all the time. But the one thing I do know is that in that sea of constant change there is often a way to get a file complete with at least one lender. And so you keep pushing.

There is always another client, and another chance to communicate your value proposition more clearly. Dust yourself off and ask, “May I have another, please?”.

A Case Study in Miraculous Timing

In the summer of 2015 I had such a file. We were two days from subject removal, and the down payment documentation was just not clicking. Then it was revealed that the down payment was in fact essentially gifted. This was a file-killer, as the subject property was an investment property. At that time all AAA lenders required that down-payment funds for a rental property purchase had to be from the applicant’s own funds. Gifted was not an option, not at the required rates.

I advised the clients to leave it with me for 24 hours, since they still had 48 hours to go, and allow me time to call every lender I knew and just ask the question I already knew the answer to.

Was I asking a stupid question? Some might say I was.

However, how shocked was I when a certain super-cool BDM said to me, “I am not supposed to say anything until tomorrow, but we are actually announcing a policy change on this very thing in the morning. We are going to allow gifted down payment on rentals.”

Are you kidding me?

Seriously, what are the odds of such a huge policy change the day of subject removal?

You must be asking this same question—I know I was.

Wow. A large part of me felt as if I was wasting the clients’ time, the Realtor’s time, and the time of the many BDMs I was calling. Always recall this key mantra: The one who asks is the one who receives.

If you keep pushing, asking the “stupid” questions (by now I hope you get that there is no such thing as a stupid question in this business), then you just might have victory for dessert… at 9:45 p.m.

Sometimes it may be victory for the clients and not so much yourself—for instance, when you find a solution for a file with a lender that we simply do not have access to. But over time you will come to realize that every (short-term) victory you serve up for a client is a (long-term) victory for you too.

As soon as you admit defeat, you’re finished. If you give up and stop digging, oops—just three feet further, or perhaps just three phone calls further, you might find gold.

Always be looking for ways to turn your obstacles into opportunities.

Never, ever stop.