Is your business plan complete for 2022? At APM, we set aside time every year for strategic planning on how we’re going to succeed in the coming year, and we encourage all loan officers to do the same. We know that the more intentional we are with what we want to accomplish, the more likely we are to achieve our goals.
In a rapidly changing industry, it’s necessary to outline your business objectives, set goals, and review and reaffirm these goals every 90 days. That’s why we encourage our loan officers to set a 90-day plan each quarter that helps them achieve their overall yearly goals.
At APM, we recommend that loan officers and branch managers focus on five key areas when creating their strategic plan and goals for the year. We often refer to these as the 5 P’s of loan officer business planning:
- Production and business development: Your business and what fuels it
- Process and technology: What technology or processes you can add to make your business more efficient and seamless
- Personal brand and marketing: Establish your personal brand and develop winning strategies for engagement and sourcing business
- People: Giving your clients the best possible experience
- Personal growth: Planning for your personal growth and development
Focusing on these five areas ensures that you’re covering every aspect of your work and personal life, maximizing your chances for success in all areas. And the best part: We’ve created a free guide that makes loan officer business planning simple and will help you evaluate your performance and set goals with action items to help achieve them. Click here to download the APM Guide to Loan Officer Business Planning & Business Strategies.
How to Structure Your Goals
Start with a goal, then break your goal down into strategies with action items will help you achieve your overall goals—here’s how to look at it:
- Goals: A goal is the result you seek to achieve by implementing the necessary strategies to get there. Goals define the destination, help you change your mindset to get to that destination, and create the need for specific tactics to get there.
- Strategies: Strategies are the stepping-stones for achieving a goal. They’re the method or plan that will bring about the goal, or the specific tactics that will get you from where you are to the end goal.
- Action items: These are the actions that are needed for a strategy to be achieved or implemented. Action items should be organized in the order of ideal execution.
Before we dive into the 5 P’s, it’s time to do an honest review of your performance over the past year. It’s important to look at your strengths and weaknesses, what went well, and what needs to be tweaked moving forward.
- What was your biggest success?
- What were some of your biggest challenges
- What do you wish you had done but did not?
- Did you have a good work/life balance throughout the year?
For more help evaluating yourself—and your team, if applicable—check out our blog post on “Evaluation of Yourself and Your Team” by clicking here.
The 5 P’s for Loan Officer Business Planning
First you’ll decide on your goals for each of these areas for the new year. Then you’ll set one to three strategies for each of those goals every 90 days and identify the action items that will help you implement your strategies. Every 90 days, you’ll make adjustments as needed and plan your next 90 days.
This allows you to make large goals but break down the things you need to do to achieve them without getting overwhelmed. It also builds in a specific time for you to review and reset course, which is so important in a fast-changing, dynamic industry like ours.
Once you’ve established your production goal for the year and have broken it down over the quarters, it's time to decide on the strategies you’ll use to reach that production goal for the first 90 days.
Strategies to meet production goals could include things like:
- Identify real estate agents that you want to gain a new relationship with. Study their business and success and develop a plan for building that relationship.
- Setting a local differentiation strategy and outline your competitive advantage in your market. This may include a niche client demographic or a niche program offering.
- Investing in lead generation to help grow your production.
There are any number of things you can do to increase production, but doing all of them at once isn’t the way to success. Decide which things you will do first, and then commit to doing those strategies (and action items to go with those strategies) for 90 days. In 90 days, you’ll be able to reevaluate and decide if it’s time to try something new.
Process and Technology Goals
Do you have the technology you need to efficiently run your business and win the race to the consumer in 2022? At APM, we know that technology can’t replace your role as a loan officer, yet we recognize the importance of integrating the right technology to improve the customer experience.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What processes do you have in place that work well for your business?
- Where do you see friction in the process for you, or your customer?
- Are you leveraging the best technology to help your borrowers navigate the loan process with ease?
- Are you partnered with a company that invests in technology to help improve the loan process, reduce turn times, and create a better borrower experience?
Personal Brand and Marketing Strategies
Personal brand and marketing strategies are key to source, transaction and retain your customer base. What strategies are you carving out that helps in all three areas, or as we sometimes say the before, during and after. By thinking about your business in these three areas, you’ll plan differently. Here are a few marketing strategies you may consider:
- Start a video playlist on the platform of your choice. Consistently add new video content and use this to establish your brand and expertise.
- Dedicate consistent time every week (e.g. 3 hours per week) towards increasing your social media presence. Download the APM Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing by clicking here.
- Change up your communication style, frequency and medium for connecting with your customers. Incorporate modern communication tactics to engage and enhance the customer experience.
So much of what makes you successful as a loan officer is the experience you offer the people who come to you for help. At APM, we talk about “Creating Experiences That Matter.” For you that might translate into creating raving fans and referral partners for your business. However you describe this, setting goals about the customer experience ensures that you never forget how important that is.
Here are some ways you could focus on your customer experience in the coming year:
- Each week, take the time to evaluate the experience you’re offering your customers.
- Deliver personalized services—how and when your customers want them. Change your approach to meet their expectations for communication, technology, and experience while getting a loan.
- Utilize a mobile app to drive customer engagement and make the process of getting a loan as hassle-free as possible.
- Dedicate time each week to managing your online reputation. Choose a platform to share and display reviews, and cultivate more reviews of your services (read more about that in our blog post here).
Just like with production goals, there are any number of ways to improve your customers’ experience. The important thing is to make sure you’re tailoring the experience to what your specific customers want, and that won’t look the same for every loan officer.
It’s hard to do the best work you can do if you’re not also thriving in your personal life. That’s why one of our 5 P’s for loan officer business planning focuses on personal development.
That includes setting goals around several main areas of your life, including:
- Health and wellness
- Learning and intellect
- Financial security
- Relationships and work/life balance
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your personal goals. What matters is that you take the time to be intentional about what’s working and what’s not and how you can make positive changes in the upcoming year.
More Help on Loan Officer Business Planning
By focusing on the 5 P’s of loan officer business planning and business strategies, you’ll find that you accomplish more than you ever have before and feel better while doing it.
For more help on the 5 P’s of loan officer business planning, download our business planning book here! It’s a fillable PDF that you can use to get started on your new goals—and the strategies and actions that will help you get there—right away.