Arch MI
Season 4: Episode 4: Today’s Home Sellers

Season 4: Episode 4: Today’s Home Sellers

May 18, 2022

Episode 4: Today’s Home Sellers Survey

Real estate transactions are more than just agreeing on a price and shaking hands. There are a lot of complex processes that happen, which is why homeowners need the expertise of a Realtor® to sell their properties. Besides putting properties on multiple listing services, there are many things selling agents do and they are a valuable resource for lenders. Understanding what is going on with home sellers and the Realtors that work with them can give you insights into how you can position yourself as a resource or an expert.

 

Listen to this episode hosted by Blaine Rada as he shares more information on today's home sellers based on data from the NAR homebuyers and home sellers' annual report and his experience in real estate. Let's revive some Realtor relationships.

 

Tune in!

 

During this episode, you will learn about:

[00:31] Introduction to the episode.

[01:03] Today’s topic: Today’s home sellers survey.

[01:28] Listing agents and selling agents.

[03:26] Statistics on how home sellers find their Realtors.

[08:55] Realtors’ recommendations for future services. 

[11:38] For sale by homeowners.

[17:45] Incentives offered by the sellers.

[19:33] Final thoughts: Opportunities on how to obtain additional business.

[20:00] Ending the show.

Notable Quotes

  • Cultivating relationships with Realtors can be very beneficial as most of their clients come through referrals.
  • If sellers’ expectations are met or even exceeded, the vast majority will recommend the Realtor and plan to use them in the future.
  • Sometimes sellers say positive things about their Realtors, but that does not automatically translate to additional business.
  • Realtors are not taught much on mortgage lending and they rely on you to be the expert.
  • As mortgage lenders, we should be teaching Realtors more than we do to help them be better at their job.

Let’s Connect!

ArchMI Podcast 

Website: https://insights.archmi.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arch-u-s-mortgage-insurance/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/archmi_us/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/archmi_us/

 

Season 4: Episode 3: Today’s Homebuyers

Season 4: Episode 3: Today’s Homebuyers

May 5, 2022

Episode 3: Today’s Homebuyers’ Survey

Over the last few years, homebuyer demographics have drastically changed. It’s important to know the overall homebuyers’ market profile to understand where there are opportunities. Homebuyers have more diverse preferences than ever before. They come in all shapes, sizes and with a variety of needs. This means that Realtors® must focus on understanding “psychographics” to find clients a home that suits their preferences and needs.

 

Listen to this episode hosted by Blaine Rada as he discusses the importance of statistics and shares his own real estate experience. Let's revive some Realtor relationships.

 

Tune in!

 

During this episode, you will learn about:

[00:31] Introduction to the episode.

[01:44] Today’s topic: Today’s homebuyers’ survey.

[21:31] Racial demographic of homebuyers.

[03:27] Statistics based on sexual and family orientation.

[05:16] Psychographic vs. demographic information.

[08:32] Blaine's experience buying a second home.

[10:43] Blaine’s experience with psychographics in selling homes, the importance of working with a top realtor in an area

[11:14] The statistics of people paying more than the asking price.

[13:13] The amount of time that people live in their homes.

[15:51] The down payment source for first-time and repeat homebuyers.

[18:14] Key nuggets to keep in mind.

[20:32] Ending the show.

Notable Quotes

  • The psychographic of a person is far more important and useful than their demographic.
  • We need to post information online that people can readily find and speak about the things that are important to them.
  • You can’t position yourself as the best resource for someone if you don’t know what is important to them.

Let’s Connect!

ArchMI Podcast 

Website: https://insights.archmi.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arch-u-s-mortgage-insurance/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/archmi_us/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/archmi_us/

Season 4: Episode 2: The NAR Report: What it Means for the Housing Market

Season 4: Episode 2: The NAR Report: What it Means for the Housing Market

April 20, 2022

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is a trade organization created to support the interests of real estate professionals. This report is crucial for those planning to invest in real estate. The NAR report is based on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data and covers all three housing types:  single-family, condominiums and co-ops. 

Listen to this episode hosted by Blaine Rada as he shares the changes in NAR statistics between 1981 and 2021. Some of the highlights in this episode are marital status and homebuying behaviors, first-time homebuyers and the obstacles they face, and how technology has affected home search and buying behaviors.

Tune in!

During this episode, you will learn about:

[01:40] The National Association of Realtors Report.
[01:58] What this report is about, and who is the target audience.
[03:08] Statistics of marital status and homebuying behaviors.
[05:30] Here’s a business opportunity for Realtors: the “single women” niche.
[08:13] Statistics on first-time homebuyers. 
[10:20] Find a way of helping with down payments, and you’ll be in business.
[12:33] Statistics on the internet searching for homes.
[13:52] Why building Realtor relationships is key.
[16:46] Reasons why people buy or sell their homes.
[18:28] Key takeaways from this episode.
[19:55] Episode wrap-up and calls to action.

Notable Quotes:
● Understanding data puts you in a better place to spot opportunities. 
● Understanding demographics positions you for success.
● Accumulating a down payment is the biggest obstacle for first-time homebuyers. 

Let’s Connect!

ArchMI Podcast 

Website: https://insights.archmi.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arch-u-s-mortgage-insurance/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/archmi_us/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArchMortgageInsurance

Twitter: https://twitter.com/archmi_us/

Season 4: Episode 1: Reviving Realtor Relationships

Season 4: Episode 1: Reviving Realtor Relationships

April 6, 2022

Episode 1: Arch MI Podcast Season Four and What Makes It Different from the Previous Three

For the last few years, mortgage lenders have not paid much attention to Realtor® relationships. But reviving and cultivating Realtor relationships is more important than ever today. This topic is evergreen, and whether you listen to the episodes now, in five years or 10 years, the information will still offer value and practical advice.

 

Listen to this episode hosted by Blaine Rada as he explains the importance of Realtor relationships for lenders and presents an overview of the podcast season. He also shares his experience in real estate to give you additional context. 

 

Tune in!

 

During this episode, you will learn about:

[00:32] What makes this season different from the previous three.

[00:53] Why this is an introductory episode.

[01:16] Why this season is aimed at focusing on one theme: Realtor Relationships.

[02:47] The episodes will be shorter.

[03:16] Some of the resources we will rely on in creating content.

[04:16] NAR report: Profile of homebuyers and sellers every year.

[06:36] Blaine’s journey in real estate.

[08:45] Why Blaine became a real estate broker. 

[10:41] Ending the show.

Let’s Connect!

ArchMI Podcast 

Website: https://insights.archmi.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arch-u-s-mortgage-insurance/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/archmi_us/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArchMortgageInsurance

Twitter: https://twitter.com/archmi_us/

Season 3, Episode 6: We Perceive What We Believe

Season 3, Episode 6: We Perceive What We Believe

February 3, 2022

Intro

Welcome to the Arch MI Podcast, featuring our senior customer trainer, Blaine Rada. Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, or Arch MI, is a leading provider of mortgage insurance or MI in the United States. Our competitive pricing tool, Arch MI Rate Star, is the leading risk-based pricing platform in the industry providing rates based on a thorough understanding of the underlying risk. Here's your host, Blaine Rada.

[00:00:33] Welcome to the podcast. My name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I really appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing my perspective and experience from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I'm never quite sure what I'm going to say or how long it might take me to say it. However, I’d like season three to be a little different with shorter episodes and even easier to implement ideas. So, let's get to it.

I read recently that 75 to 90% of all doctor visits are stress-related. I mean, we know that stress has an impact on our health and I'm sure you've felt it physically in your body. Each of us kind of feels it in our own way when we're under stress. But most stress is actually a state of mind, which means that most of the reasons that we're going to the doctor are things that are happening in our head. And so I'd like to focus today on getting some weight loss for the mind. Wouldn't that be nice if we could actually lose some of that mental weight that we carry around. And so I'm going to walk you through what I call diseases of attitude, and I've got a list of 10. And I'm sure I probably could have come up with even more and maybe you could add to the list in your own way. But when I got to 10, I thought, you know, that's kind of a depressing list. So I want to keep it to no more than 10 diseases of attitude. And just so you know, I mean, I suffer from these diseases too. It's not like I've figured out how to cure these and no longer have to deal with them. So I know them intimately, but my goal is to share the 10 diseases with you to have you consider what you might be able to do to minimize their effect in your life and on your stress level and on your health potentially. And that's certainly what my goal is for myself. So they're not in any particular order, but I will kind of count them down as we go so you can keep track of them if you're making some notes. 

[00:02:49] So let's start with number one, which is pessimism. Pessimism is basically complaining. And of course we all don't like to be around complainers, right? I mean, especially if you work in an office environment or maybe in your household, if you've got that person that's around you that's constantly complaining, I mean, that has got to be one of the most annoying things to experience. So, you certainly don't want to be that person, right. You certainly don't want to be that person who's always looking at the glass as being half empty instead of half full. Always looking at why there's a problem instead of a solution. So, you want to try to minimize the time that you spend complaining. We all have things that happen to us that put us in that state of mind, but the key is to kind of catch yourself being pessimistic, to catch yourself complaining and to try to cut that off as quickly as you can. Sometimes it might feel good to get something off your chest and to verbally express your frustration with something. But, again, just remember none of us like to be around a complainer. Nobody likes to be around somebody who's a pessimist. So we certainly don't want to be guilty of that ourselves. That's number one. 

[00:03:54] Number two, the second disease of attitude is doubt. Another kind of insidious thing that we often don't think about. And doubt comes in a couple of flavors. The first one is doubting others and you can see how these start to get related to each other, right? I mean, sometimes we're pessimistic because we're kind of doubting others’ intent or doubting others ability. And that's obviously not a healthy outlook to have, but I would suggest that the worst kind of doubt is self doubt where you're holding onto very limiting beliefs. You're not believing in yourself. You're not feeling that you're worthy, however you choose to define that. That really puts you in a very bad state of mind. And again, I think that disease of attitude can certainly impact your health and your stress level. All right. So, this is going to sound as we keep going here, like a really depressing topic, but we've covered two of the 10, pessimism and doubt. 

[00:04:53] Number three expectancy. Now there's one that you probably wouldn't naturally think of would make a list of diseases of attitudes. So let me explain what I mean by expectancy. When we have an expectation about the way that we think things should be, what that does is it sets up a contradiction. It sets us up to basically have that expectation dashed. In other words, you might have some plans for the weekend and so you check the weather forecast and it's supposed to be a great weekend of weather. And so you make your plans and you're all excited about this thing you're going to do outdoors and sure enough, when the day comes, the weather's not so great. It's cold or it's rainy, or it's just not what you expected. Well, if you hadn't had an expectation that the weather was going to be great, the fact that it didn't turn out so well would not have been probably as big of an upset to you, right? It's the fact that we had this expectation that things didn't turn out the way we wanted. So the key is to learn to basically accept what is without resisting it. It's our expectations of the way that people should be, the way that people should act or the way that people should respond to us, the way that everything in our life is kind of planned out. Again, I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't do that. What I'm saying is we shouldn't have resistance to the fact that things don't always work out the way we expect. So, the sheer act of expectancy, the sheer idea of expectancy kind of sets us up to have natural contradictions because that's the way life is, and then we get upset. So, I'm not saying you can probably eliminate expectancy from your life, but you might be able to limit your getting upset by it when the inevitable contradictions come by just accepting that it is kind of what it is. That's number three, expectancy. 

[00:06:50] Number four is frustration. Again, kind of similar in idea. But more specifically, I think we get frustrated when the timing or circumstances that we've desired don't work out. If you thought that it would take you 20 minutes to drive from A to B and it took you 40 minutes, we get really frustrated by the fact that that didn't happen the way we wanted. This is a tough one for me personally. I tend to find myself in a frustrated state, more often than not, actually, if I'm honest with myself. And I think part of the reason that I get frustrated, so I don't know if this would affect you or not, but I'm just gonna share it from my own perspective, is that I have a desire to understand things like why is it that the traffic has suddenly slowed down to a crawl when there's nothing happening on the road. Or why is it that, you know, people behave in the way that they behave, they should know better. Again, these are kind of ridiculous questions to ask, because again, it is what it is. We can't have too many expectations around the timing of how things are going to work out or exactly how they're going to work out or we're going to experience frustration. So expectancy and frustration are kind of closely linked, but I wanted to provide each of those words in case they have a different meaning for you. So we've talked about pessimism and doubt and expectancy, which expectancy leads right to frustration. 

[00:08:23] Number five, fear and worry. I kind of put them together, fear and worry instead of listing them separately because they have some really common elements to them. And again, I am going to use this word expectation again, what we fear and what we worry is basically an expectation of an upcoming contradiction. Now, I'm probably expressing this in a way that you haven't heard before, but what I'm saying is that fear and worry, most of what we fear and worry about doesn't happen. It's an expectation that something's going to happen. It's an expectation about a change or an expectation about just the unknown. And I mean, this has been something we've been dealing with from the time we were children. Now you probably aren't scared of the dark anymore. Although honestly, there are times when it can be scary in the dark, but, if you're lying in bed at night and the lights are off, you're probably no longer worried about the fact that there might be a monster in your closet or something under your bed. But as a child, you certainly might've thought that. And of course that was not real. So you may have heard fear expressed as an acronym of false evidence appearing real (F-E-A-R) false evidence appearing real. In other words, we think that something is real and it's not. And a child being scared of the dark is a perfect example of that, because once you turn on the light, nothing in the room has changed. Everything is the same and yet they're no longer fearful. And so that's why often children want to sleep with a nightlight or the door open a little bit so that there can be a little light coming in the room. Again, that fear in and of itself is irrational and worry is the same kind of condition. You know, we worry about things that most of which, I mean, I've seen studies that say upwards of 70, 80, even 90% of the things that we worry about never even happen. It's like, we're worrying about some future thing that doesn't even take place. So again, I'm not saying that we can eliminate fear and worry from our lives, but if we call it out for what it is, that it's just basically some expectation of something not being the way it's really going to be, we can shine a light on it, so to speak and not be so scared. All right. 

[00:10:37] Number six, anger. You know, all I think I need to say about anger is that it's toxic. Of probably all of these diseases of attitude, this one might actually be the most detrimental to our health. I'm really not sure. I mean, I suppose there's a time and a place for anger, I suppose there's an appropriate way to express anger. I'm sure that that emotion has a value or we wouldn't have it, but for the most part, we need to just let things go. I mean, I've heard people say, well, anger is simply a feeling of loss. You know, the loss of control for instance, or the loss of something tangible and when that loss happens we become angry. Psychologists can study this all day long, it really doesn't matter to me as just a mere mortal who doesn't understand this stuff. But I know that I don't want to feel anger. It's a very destructive emotion. In fact, it's probably of all of the ones that we’re going through, it’s the one that I can physically feel in my body when it happens more than anything. And if you hook yourself up to a bunch of monitors, when you're angry, you'd probably see that your blood pressure is rising, your heart rate is increasing. I mean, things that are probably very stressful for your body. So just remember that anger is a really toxic attitude or a really toxic emotion. And the only solution I have for anger is to try to let things go, to try to be more accepting of things being the way they are. In fact, you're kind of seeing that as a common theme here. If we're just a little bit more willing to accept things the way they are and kind of take life as it comes, we can eliminate a lot of these diseases of attitude.

[00:12:15] All right. Number seven is guilt and we all suffer guilt in various ways. And some of it is from our upbringing and some of it is from the things we've been taught: how we're supposed to behave, what's acceptable, what's unacceptable. Let's just say as an example, that you've done something to somebody that you weren't behaving in your best way. In other words, we all stumble. We all have missteps and maybe we do something or treat someone poorly. And we certainly could have behaved in a better manner, but we didn't. In that moment we did something that now we feel guilty over. It's a natural emotion, but you don't want guilt to consume you. You don't want to be chewing on this guilt forever. So one kind of little formula that I could offer you that might be helpful if you're feeling guilty about something is to, first of all, realize that we're imperfect. I mean, if we were perfect, we probably wouldn't be here. Like what would be the point. I mean, living life is kind of like a journey through discovering your imperfections and just trying to be a better human being, however you define that. And so just recognize that we're imperfect. We make mistakes. We do things that we wish we hadn't done. We sometimes treat people the way we wish we hadn't treated them. Or we say things that we wish we hadn't said. It's just going to happen. It's a fact of life. We are imperfect. So is everybody else. We all are. So that's kind of the first part of this formula. The second thing then is to forgive. So realize that we're imperfect you as well as everybody else, and then forgive yourself or forgive the other person, you know, when somebody behaves badly or you do something that in hindsight, you wish you hadn't done. Forgive yourself of that. And then number three would be to resolve or commit to be better next. And you may not, again, be perfect next time, but at least resolve or commit to yourself that this thing you did, that you're feeling some guilt over, I'm not perfect and I'm going to forgive myself, but I'm also not going to just say, okay, well I've forgiven myself, so I'm off the hook, right? The third part of this formula is you need to resolve or commit to be better, to do better next time to not make the same mistake, perhaps. And again, this is not foolproof, you're never going to make the same mistake again, but hopefully that'll help you not repeat some of the things that you might feel guilty about. Okay. So we've talked about pessimism and doubt and expectancy and frustration, fear and worry, anger, guilt, number eight, confusion.

[00:15:09] Oh my gosh. Do I suffer from confusion, and maybe you haven't. Have you ever been confused? If you haven't ever been confused, do you think you might ever be confused in the future? Is it possible you might have a moment of confusion? I mean, I'm telling you for me, it's like a daily occurrence, where there's some moment where I'm like really confused. So, I've really tried to figure out how to get the handle on confusion. So one of the things that I've learned about confusion is that we actually approach it in completely the wrong way. So let's just say, you're trying to make a decision and you don't know what decision to make, and so you're confused, right? You don't know which direction to go in. And so what do we tend to do when we don't know what to do, when we have this state of confusion, especially about an important decision, what do we tend to do? Maybe you don't do this, but what I do is I seek out information. I want more information. Because if I'm confused, well, that must be because I need more information. Well, there's no shortage of information. In fact, we are drowning in information. And so I'm going to suggest that we actually do the opposite, that the cure for confusion is to ask fewer questions, ask fewer questions. In fact, I heard once of this philosophy called the half dozen theory, which says that there's really only about a half a dozen things that you would need to know about anything to be able to make a decision. So, think about some of the big, important decisions that you might make in your life. Maybe the purchase of a home or what kind of car to buy or, gosh, this is a big one, who to spend the rest of your life with. A life partner. Now there could be dozens of things that might go into that decision. There could be thousands of facts about an automobile. There are probably dozens of things that you might want to know about a home and maybe hundreds of things about a human being that you would want to know about them before committing to be with them for the rest of your life. But if you really boil it all down to what's really important, isn't it about a half a dozen things? Couldn't you list about a half a dozen things that are the main reasons why you would, or wouldn't buy a home. About a half a dozen things that you're specifically looking for in the purchase of a car. And even in choosing something as significant as a life partner, won't it really come down to really maybe a half a dozen things about that person that either makes or breaks that decision. I'm not saying that there's only a half a dozen things that you need to know to make a decision. I'm saying that there's probably only a half a dozen that really matters. So when we're confused, rather than seeking more information and trying to get more, I'm suggesting we ask fewer questions. Asking fewer questions leads to less confusion. And when it comes to decision-making what the research shows, because we're so anxious about making the right decision. I have to make the right decision. Okay. So, what the research shows though is that what's more important than the actual direction that you took, like what's more important than the decision that you made in terms of the quality of the outcome of that decision are things like the timing of the decision? Like when you made the decision could be more important than the decision itself and the actions that you took. So ask fewer questions and if you don't know, don't go. Maybe that's one cure for confusion is that if you feel kind of like you have analysis paralysis and you're not sure what course to take, what direction to go in, maybe if you don't know, you don't go. Or come up with some kind of a way to remind yourself that if you're that uncertain, if you're that unsure, maybe you don't make the decision. Maybe you don't take that step forward, or you don't take that action. I'd never want us to be so paralyzed with analyzing things that we never move because there is that thing that I mentioned analysis paralysis where we just won't make a decision because we’ve got too much that we're trying to analyze. But sometimes maybe that is the appropriate thing to do rather than forcing the decision or forcing the change or the direction that you're going to move in. Maybe the best thing to do is while you're asking fewer questions, also press pause and just don't do anything at this moment and wait for the timing perhaps to be better because remember, the timing of decisions is often more important than the actual decision itself. Okay. So that was number eight, confusion. 

[00:19:50] Number nine is certainty. The curse of knowledge, some people would call it. There is actually this thing called the curse of knowledge and the curse of knowledge implies that when you know a lot about something, you tend to think that everybody else kind of has that same level of knowledge or that they should know that. So for instance, take something as simple as, let's say you have a song in your head and you tell someone that you're going to hum this tune and you want them to identify what the tune is. And let's say it's something very simple that everybody would recognize, say, happy birthday or something that pretty much anybody has heard and knows how it sounds. And so you hum happy birthday or you tap on a table with your fingers, you tap out the melody to happy birthday. Even though you yourself, when you're humming or tapping, it will sound to you exactly like happy birthday, very few people will actually have any idea what you're humming are tapping. And that can be very frustrating. Like you're thinking to yourself, what is wrong with these people? I couldn't make it any clearer. It's clear as day that I'm humming or tapping happy birthday. Why can nobody hear this? That's what the curse of knowledge is about. We've got knowledge, we have an understanding of something and we're getting very frustrated that other people don't. So that's linked to this word that I used called certainty because when we feel certain about things, then we get very frustrated when other people don't seem to see it the way we do. So my suggestion to you would be don't care as much about what you know. In fact, it's healthy to just say, I don't know. Try to think of how many times in the course of a day, as you're interacting with various people, how many times when they bring something up are you willing or comfortable to say, I don't know. I think our tendency now, again, I'm speaking for myself. I think our tendency is we want to be certain. We want to be right. We want to always have an answer. That actually creates a lot of stress. So be willing to say, I don't know. Now, if you really want to push yourself, add don't know, don't care. And I'm not saying in a flippant way, like somebody is asking you something serious, I'm not suggesting you should tell them you don't care. I'm saying internally, like to yourself, don't feel like you have to care about knowing everything. It's okay to not know. So adding don't care is really more for just taking the pressure off yourself. I don't know and I don't care. It's not something I have to worry about. I don't have to know that. It just relieves a lot of weight off of you. You can probably feel that already. Just the weight of not having to know everything and be certain about everything all the time. All right. And that takes us to our last one. 

[00:23:01] Seriousness. And man, do I suffer from this one too. I can only speak for myself, but I tend to think that the people who are the most serious are the people who are kind of living in their head, in their thoughts. People who are very certain about what they believe. People who think they know a lot about a lot of things. That curse of knowledge. I don't know if life is really as serious as we make it. I don't know that all these things that happened to us in the course of our lifetime are really meant to be taken seriously. Some people would suggest that life is, you know, you need to have a sense of humor. You need to have a sense of humor as you're navigating through your life. I think there are times and places where obviously seriousness is important. But I think most of us air on being serious too much. Now, if you're one of these people that, as I was walking through this list you're thinking, oh that doesn't really affect me, or I don't really see myself having that problem. Hey, that is fantastic. I, myself, as I walked through this list could see all of these things in myself at certain times. So I've not mastered the ability to eliminate these diseases of attitude from my life, but I try to manage them. I try to recognize them when they're happening. I try to call them out when it's happening. I try to minimize the impact it has on my life. I try to manage it. Because cumulatively, if you think about it, I've only listed 10, we could probably come up with more than 10. But even just these 10, you put them all together, a lot of your waking hours, a lot of your life could be spent with these diseases of attitude. And again, this all goes back to the idea that stress is a state of mind and that most of the reasons that we become physically ill or need to go to a doctor are things that are stress-related. So let me leave you with two suggestions as we close. First of all, when you are faced with adversity, because let's face it, life can be challenging and difficult, and that's often when these diseases of attitude show up is when things aren't going well. But when you're faced with adversity, one suggestion I've heard that can be very helpful is to focus on the solution and not the problem. So maybe one way to just have a better outlook on things is to focus on the solution and not the problem itself. And my wife and I are very different in many ways and perhaps that's what's made our marriage work, they say opposites attract. And in some respects we're very different. And in other respects we're very similar. But one of the ways that we're different is that I tend to be an idealist. I tend to be one of those people that's always thinking, you know, the sky's the limit. Why not try this and why not do this and go for it, and be very idealistic. And I think that was just because of the way that I was brought up and very much my mother's outlook has been idealistic most of her life. My wife on the other hand is much more realistic. She's got her feet on the ground. She doesn't fantasize about stuff that's not practical. So, kind of almost two extremes right. Now, obviously the blending of those two, being optimistic and being realistic, the blending of those two is probably the sweet spot. That's probably the best place to find yourself. So I don't know if I heard this or I wrote it myself, you know, you're never quite sure when you think of an idea, if it's really your idea or not. But I came up with this phrase called realistic optimism and what I believe realistic optimism is, is seeing the world as it is. That's the realistic part. But always working towards a desired outcome or solution. Seeing the world as it is, but always working towards a desired outcome or solution. Not focusing on the adversity, but focusing on the solution or your desired outcome. So maybe those are some thoughts to  kind of help you with this kind of negative list, this is probably one of the most negative topics I've talked about in a podcast, but I thought it was important to call out some of the mental weight that we carry around. And I wanted to try to give you some weight loss for the mind today.

[00:27:08] All right. So that's it for this episode. But as I always say, at the end of these, the work on these ideas is not done. It's really just beginning. Because we think that clarity leads to action, when in fact it's action that leads to clarity. In other words, only when you put ideas into practice and you use them will you really understand what they mean for you. And so I encourage you in order to get the maximum return on the investment of time that you made today, take action on something that you heard, something that you found valuable. It's always a pleasure to spend time with you. This is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. Thank you for listening.

Outro

Arch Capital Group Limited’s US mortgage insurance operation, Arch MI, is a leading provider of private insurance covering mortgage credit risk. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Arch MI’s mission is to protect lenders against credit risk, while extending the possibility of responsible homeownership to qualified borrowers. Arch MI’s flagship mortgage insurer, Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, is licensed to write mortgage insurance in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit ArchMI.com.

Arch MI is a marketing term for Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company. All right reserved.

 

Season 3, Episode 5: The 4 A Formula

Season 3, Episode 5: The 4 A Formula

January 12, 2022

Intro

Welcome to the Arch MI Podcast, featuring our senior customer trainer, Blaine Rada. Arch Mortgage Insurance company, or Arch MI, is a leading provider of mortgage insurance or MI in the United States. Our competitive pricing tool, Arch MI Rate Star, is the leading risk-based pricing platform in the industry providing rates based on a thorough understanding of the underlying risk. Here's your host, Blaine Rada.

Blaine Rada: [00:00:33] Welcome to the podcast. My name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I really appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing my perspective and experiences from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I’m never quite sure what I'm going to say or how long it will take me to say it. However, I would like season three to be a little different, perhaps with shorter episodes and an even easier to implement ideas. We’ll see if that actually happens. So, let’s get to it.

I’m pretty confident that today’s episode will be a little bit on the shorter end just because of the nature of what I'm going to be sharing with you. And it's not as complex and detail oriented as many that I do. I find it interesting that people have t-shirts of either places or events that they didn't actually ever experience themselves. I mean, I kind of look at t-shirts that highlight something as being something that only the people who've experienced it should be able to have. But anybody can buy a t-shirt. Right. I mean, you can go online and probably find a t-shirt that says I love Paris, even if you've never been to Paris. I think the best shirts are the ones that actually you can't buy. In fact, you have to earn it. The only way to get your hands on the shirt is to earn it. I actually have a shirt like that and I was going to wear it today. It's actually one of my favorite t-shirts. I've owned it for a long time and I only wear it like very, very rarely actually. So it's still in terrific shape. And I was going to wear it today to kind of inspire me as I was recording this podcast. Um, but I put it on and I don't know what happened, but it seems like it's shrunk. It seems like the shirt got smaller. And then I thought, well, maybe I just got more muscular. Like maybe over time, I've actually gotten bigger and the shirt stayed the same. And then I realized, well, I don't think you actually get more muscular, like in your belly area, do you? Like that's not an area where you build muscle. So I thought, well, I really need to be comfortable when I'm recording a podcast, I need to be able to breathe properly and feel comfortable. So I am wearing a different shirt that's an event that I experienced, that I enjoy. But it's not this particular shirt, the one that I wanted to wear today. And I'll just describe the shirt for you a little bit. It's green in color. And across the back of the shirt, kind of like along the area of your shoulder blades in big yellow letters is the word finisher. And it’s a shirt that I got many years ago when I completed an ironman triathlon. Now, if you're not familiar with an ironman triathlon, it's basically a multi-sport event that involves swimming, biking, and running, sequentially all on the same day. And the ironman in particular is about a two and a half mile swim followed by a bike ride of about 112 miles. And then a full marathon of 26 miles that you run as if your legs aren't already tired enough. From a physical standpoint, athletically speaking, it certainly is probably one of my proudest accomplishments. And so I really cherish this shirt because it's not something that you could buy, you had to actually earn it. But do not be impressed by the fact that I've completed an ironman triathlon. I mean, athletically, I'm really very average. But I'm tenacious. I won't stop and I know how to train. I know how to prepare myself for whatever kind of crazy nutty thing I've decided I want to do. In fact, to kind of demonstrate that I'm not really tough at all, I'm not really that strong or that tough of a person, several years ago my wife and I, within a span of 10 days, we're going to become emptinesters. Both of our children were going to be leaving the nest within about a 10 day period. Our son was going off to graduate school and our daughter was going to finish her undergrad schooling. And so we decided it would be this fun ritual where we would all go, all four of us would go and get tattoos. Not like matching tattoos, we would each get whatever kind of tattoo we wanted, but it would be this thing that we would all experience together. Now, my wife and daughter had already gotten tattoos before. And so they were familiar with what that's all about. My son and I on the other hand, had never gotten a tattoo. And so it was completely foreign. I think I was the only one of the four of us that actually passed out while I was getting my tattoo. I remember vividly I was trying to breathe and deal with the pain and discomfort of getting the tattoo. My wife says that she remembers because she was kind of watching me the whole time. There was this moment in time where all of the color in my face completely left. In other words, I became as white as a white sheet. And then I lost consciousness literally for just a couple of seconds. And then she said the color came rushing back into my face as I woke up from my little nap. And interestingly enough, after I woke up from my little nap, I was fine as far as the discomfort and the pain. And the tattoo artist, now, she might've just been saying this to be kind, but obviously she’s done probably thousands of these. She's experienced probably any kind of person you could imagine in the chair. She said it's actually very common that it happens much more often with men, that men are the ones that lose consciousness instead of women. And that after they've taken this little two second snooze they're fine and that their body is much more able to handle the discomfort. So, I don't know what that's all about, but it certainly didn't show a lot of toughness. And so that became part of the bonding experience with the family. But, you know, aren't we really all just kind of ordinary people yet we're trying to do extraordinary things. You know, we're trying to either live an extraordinary life or accomplish extraordinary things, or do things in an extraordinary way. But in reality, we are all just kind of ordinary, right. There aren't that many of us who are truly extraordinary people. 

[00:07:07] And so goal setting, doing extraordinary things has always been something that really interests me. And so I've come up with a formula and as most formulas go that I've come up with, they are in hindsight. It's like, I wish I would've known the formula before I actually tried to use it. But it's in looking back at things like my ironman experience, where I can put pieces together in hindsight and figure out, wait a minute, there was a formula for being able to achieve what I consider to be extraordinary. And the formula is very simple. It's four As. And it's basically the idea that attitude plus aptitude plus action equals achievement. So when you're looking to achieve a particular thing and maybe that bar is very high, or maybe that bar is not that high, that you have to jump over, it's really going to come down to your attitude and your aptitude and your actions. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

[00:08:17] So I want to apply that formula to a more recent event that I participated in, known as the Tough Mudder. You may be familiar with what a Tough Mudder is, but just in case you're not, it's basically a 10 to 12 mile obstacle course. And so the Tough Mudder that I did in the Chicago area was 11 miles. Now running 11 miles as someone who has been a runner for most of his adult life, that in and of itself was something that was easy enough to train for. I wasn't intimidated about running 11 miles. But what was different about a Tough Mudder is it's not just about covering 11 miles, there were over 20 obstacles that you had to navigate on this course. And these obstacles were actually designed by British special forces. Now you could say that doing something like that would require strength and stamina and mental toughness. So, why would I do that? I mean, don't I already have the shirt? Don't I already have with my iron man shirt, the fact that I've done something that required strength and stamina and mental toughness. So, why would I do something like the Tough Mudder? Well, for a couple of reasons, one was, some of the proceeds from that event goes to support the wounded warrior project. And I wanted to be a part of something that was supporting the wounded warrior project. And also what intrigued me about the Tough Mudder was that you can't actually accomplish it by yourself. Now, if you do it by yourself, which I did, you're going to have to work with strangers, with people that you don't know to actually overcome these obstacles. For instance, there's one obstacle known as the Berlin Wall, which is basically a nine foot wooden wall. Well, I don't know about you, but there's no way I can scale a nine foot wall. Someone's going to have to boost me up. Right. So I'm going to have to step on somebody to get myself up to a point where I can grab a hold of something that's nine feet up and pull myself over to the other side. And so I was intrigued with this idea that, you know, as someone who's been a runner my whole adult life, it's never about teamwork when you're a runner. It's about me versus the clock. And yet there's no clock in a Tough Mudder. There's no finishing time. There's no ranking of where you finished compared to other people. It's basically get through the thing and don't leave anybody behind. Don't leave your Mudders out on the course. Make sure that you're working together to get everybody to finish. And those really intrigued me. So, let me apply this formula of attitude and aptitude and actions to my experience with the Tough Mudder. 

[00:11:05]  And of course attitude, I mean, it kind of goes without saying, right. I mean, to achieve anything significant, anything that might be difficult that you haven't achieved before you've got to have the right mindset, right. You've got to have a positive outlook for instance. Now I had my doubts about the obstacle portion of the Tough Mudder. I certainly had some concern about what those would be. And I knew that you didn't have to do them all. I mean, you could walk around them or skip them or you can kind of do whatever you want, but I'm the kind of person that tries to go all in. And so I had some doubts, but I certainly had a positive attitude. I certainly went into it thinking that this was going to be a good experience and that I was going to do okay. And they actually did a great job of firing everybody up. You know, they had someone who was kind of the cheerleader, so to speak, that got up high where everybody could see him and got people chanting and jumping and fist pumping. So, I mean, literally when the gun went off, it was like hundreds of warriors being sent off into battle and everybody was just practically screaming and couldn't wait to get at it. And that energy and that enthusiasm and that passion, that's really what I'm talking about with attitude. Your energy, your enthusiasm, your passion, in my tough Mudder experience that lasted until the first obstacle, until the very first obstacle. And I'm going to try to describe these as I mentioned a couple of these obstacles and I'm actually going to use what the Tough Mudder organization calls them. These are not my words. But the first obstacle was known as Arctic Enema. Well, now there is a visual for you, right? Arctic enema. So what I'd like you to just envision is something like a garbage dumpster, right? Something, a container about the size of a garbage dumpster that's basically filled with 35 degree water and has big chunks of ice floating in it. And so you have to not only jump into this 35 degree water dumpster, but you have to completely submerge yourself because you basically have to kind of swim underneath a board that's been placed in the middle of it in order to get to the other side. So after the very first obstacle, I am completely soaked. I am freezing cold. And I don't know if you've ever experienced this before, but what happens to you when you are in 35 degree water is that nothing happens because your muscles basically seize up. Your muscles basically stop working and it becomes hard to breathe. And that was just the very first obstacle. So after that, I'm still trying to keep my attitude right where it needs to be. I figured it can't get any worse than that first one. 

[00:13:48] Now aptitude is having a plan. Aptitude is doing your homework. You know, attitude is kind of how you think about what you know, but aptitude is what you know. And certainly for many goals, it's not just going to be a positive mental attitude that's going to get you to accomplish your goal. It's going to be the homework that you've done and the research that you've done and the plan that you've put together. So I knew a little bit about what some of these obstacles were and I shared some of this with my wife, as I often do. Because she doesn't necessarily understand why I do some of these crazy things, but she is supportive and I try to involve her as much as I can. And so part of my plan, part of my strategy was that I was actually not going to do the very last obstacle. The very last obstacle on the course was something that they called electroshock therapy. And I had seen videos of what this was, and I had seen a description of what this was. And both my wife and I mutually agreed, it was probably more strongly suggested by her than by me that I should not actually participate in that last obstacle. Basically, you were kind of running over these mounds of dirt. So kind of like these little teeny holes or little teeny hill. You were running over those as you were getting to the finish line, but hanging down from this structure that they had built there were these wires that had 10,000 volts of electricity running through them. And so you didn't know which wires would actually give you the jolt. But inevitably you would be running into wires that would have 10,000 volts of electricity. And I kind of thought, you know, I'm not really sure that that's a great idea. And so my intention was to walk around that one and you can imagine being the very last obstacle on the course, right. If you've gotten to that point and you're so close to the finish line, and then you choose to like I pass or like, I'm not going to do that one, that actually was kind of a difficult decision to make mentally, right. From an attitude standpoint, it was hard for me to say no to that. But I had my plan. My aptitude, my knowledge told me that that was probably not one that I wanted to do. And in hindsight, when I watched people do it, I saw people literally be rendered unconscious. I mean, I saw people faceplant themselves into the ground after getting 10,000 volts of electricity in them and thought, well, I made a really good call not to actually do that.

[00:16:15] Okay. So what's the last A? I mean, it's not just about attitude and it's not even just about aptitude. It's ultimately taking action. Any achievement requires that we actually take action and the actions have to be very specific, and the actions have to be with the intent of accomplishing your goal. And so one of the things that comes to mind when I think about action is the word resolve. And probably the best definition of the word resolve that I've ever heard is promising yourself to never give up. Promising yourself to never give up. One of the last obstacles on the course is known as Everest. And Everest is I guess they call it a quarter pike, basically a curved wall, so to speak. And the objective is that you take a run at this curved wall, this quarter pike, and you try to get yourself up high enough that the people who are up on the top and people who've already done it before you they're up at the top holding their hands and arms down so that they can hopefully grab you as you're trying to get to the top and pull you up and over Everest. This is designed for people who are light and have springs in their legs. Neither of which apply to me. But I'm trying to be a good sport about these and at least attempt every obstacle. There were certainly some that I failed at and some that I couldn't complete. But I at least want to attempt every obstacle except the last one that involves electroshock therapy. And so I took a run at this thing and I didn't get high enough to be able to reach anybody's hand. And then you come tumbling down, literally kind of falling down the thing. And I took a second run at it, and I think on my second attempt, I might've just gotten somebody's fingertips to touch my fingertips, but it still wasn't high enough that I could grab onto somebody and they could pull me up. I tried a third time, I didn't even get as high as I got the second time and came tumbling down. And I'm really getting kind of discouraged at this point because I really wanted to try to accomplish this. And I look over into the spectator gallery and my son is there. He had come to kind of cheer me on and just see what this crazy thing was all about. So I walked over to my son and I said, you know, every time I do this, I'm getting more and more tired. And I don't know that I have any more than one attempt at this left in me. I think I can just give it one more try, but I'm going to give it everything I have. I'm going to resolve to give it everything that I possibly have this one last time to see if I can get to the top of Everest. And as you can probably imagine, that was what was needed. I was able on that last attempt to get high enough that somebody could grab onto me and pull me up to the top. And then of course, I waited up at the top and helped many other people up, who had extended that same courtesy to me. Now again, don't be impressed by these physical feats that I have put myself through. They may not be anything that you would ever be interested in doing yourself. I'm simply using them as an illustration of the kind of achievement and goals that are important that we're all trying to meet. So why bother? I mean, you could say, well, why bother with doing these kinds of things that very few people might want to do, you know, can't a person just be satisfied and not have these high-level goals that they're trying to achieve? Again, it all comes back to, I think we're very ordinary people who are trying to live extraordinary lives, in our own way. However, we choose to define extraordinary. We're trying to live in an extraordinary way or accomplish extraordinary things. But when it comes down to it, we really are very ordinary. But the best t-shirts are the ones that you cannot buy. The ones that you have to earn, and every time you put it on, you can think to yourself, I got the t-shirt. I put my attitude and my aptitude and my actions together in alignment and I got achievement. I achieved something significant. I got the t-shirts. And when you do that, when you achieve something that you didn't think you could, not only do you inspire other people, the people who see what you've done and heard about it, but you inspire yourself. You inspire yourself to even try something more, something different. And I did that with a tattoo. Most recently, I got my second tattoo which was much more extensive than my first. In fact, it took three separate visits to the tattoo artist and probably about seven to eight hours in the chair getting this tattoo and I didn't pass out once. So there you have it. I have made progress with the right attitude and a little bit of aptitude and of course actions, there's no telling what you might be able to achieve. So it's a pretty simple formula, but my hope in sharing it with you was that it would inspire you and give you a structure, an easy structure to follow, to achieve whatever's important to you as well. So that is it for this episode. I actually made my commitment come to reality in keeping this a little shorter than they usually do. But again, the work is not done just because the episode is over because we think clarity leads to action, when in fact it's action that leads to clarity. We think that as soon as we've got it all figured out, we'll take action, when it's taking the action that actually helps us to figure it out. So, only when we put ideas into practice will we really understand what they mean. And so I encourage you to get the most return on the investment of time that you've put in today. Take action on something that you found valuable, put it to work. This is Blaine Rada with Arch MI, thank you for listening. 

Outro

Arch Capital Group Limited’s US mortgage insurance operation, Arch MI, is a leading provider of private insurance covering mortgage credit risk. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Arch MI’s mission is to protect lenders against credit risk, while extending the possibility of responsible homeownership to qualified borrowers. Arch MI’s flagship mortgage insurer, Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, is licensed to write mortgage insurance in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit ArchMI.com.

Arch MI is a marketing term for Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company. All right reserved.

Season 3, Episode 4: 10 Steps to Sales Success: Five Key Questions

Season 3, Episode 4: 10 Steps to Sales Success: Five Key Questions

December 1, 2021

Intro

Welcome to the Arch MI Podcast, featuring our senior customer trainer, Blaine Rada. Arch Mortgage Insurance company, or Arch MI, is a leading provider of mortgage insurance or MI in the United States. Our competitive pricing tool, Arch MI Rate Star, is the leading risk-based pricing platform in the industry providing rates based on a thorough understanding of the underlying risk. Here's your host, Blaine Rada.

Blaine Rada: [00:00:34] Welcome to the podcast. My name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I really appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing perspective and experiences from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I never quite know what I'm going to say or how long it will take me to say it. However, I would like season three to be a little different with shorter episodes and an even easier to implement set of ideas. So, let's get to it. 

[00:01:10] This is part two of 10 Steps to Sales Success. And part two is about five key questions. If you didn't listen to part one, it was five must have skills. And while these episodes do stand alone, there are some kind of complimentary things back and forth that you'll discover if you listen to both of them. So five key questions are simply questions that I believe successful salespeople ask themselves and get the answers to. And of course, it's one of the reasons why they're successful. So the very first one is what's my brand. Now branding, again, this is a really huge topic and there's a lot of experts out there that are much more skilled and knowledgeable about branding than I am. So I would encourage you to seek out that information and do your own research. But I want to just make a few suggestions about your brand. And this is, you know, primarily it's you, right. Brand you as opposed to the brand of perhaps the organization that you work for. But there are different levels of brand, right? There's the brand of the company you're employed by. There's the brand of the team or the group that you work for or with. And then of course, there's you. You incorporated, so to speak. What is your brand? 

[00:02:34] One of the most compelling parts of any brand is what's known as point of view. In fact, it's become kind of so necessary that you'll even hear the expression, POV marketing, or point of view marketing. And the way I relate it to the sales process is that people just want to know what you're all about. Like they want to know what you stand for, what you believe in. Even simple things like, why do you do this work? You know, what is it about this work that gets you up every morning excited to do it. Why do you work where you work? And we don't tend to think about sharing our point of view. Like a lot of people are hesitant to do that because they don't want to offend somebody or they don't think it's appropriate to share that kind of information unless they're specifically asked. But I would suggest that in the sales process, it is important to share your point of view. Because there's a lot of things that affect a brand or that can be identified as a brand that are not that. That are not your point of view. Things that almost anybody would be talking about that a potential customer or client would be interacting with. So for instance, is part of your brand that you're selling a solution to a problem, right? That's one way to look at a brand. What is the solution that you're selling? Another way to look at a brand is, do you help people achieve a particular result? You know, what is the actual result that you help people accomplish? Of course, many times your brand is kind of your product or products. And that's what you're kind of identifying with. I’m going to give you a suggestion for perhaps how to identify what you incorporated, what you personally might have as a brand that you're not even aware of or in touch with. And that is to make sure that you get feedback from people. And I'm sure you do, right. You have people that either say or write nice things about you. You've helped them in a way that they appreciate and they talk about it and they mention it, at least to you. If you start to pay attention to the feedback that you get, the testimonials, if you will, the endorsements, whatever word you want to use, if you start to pay attention, there will be probably two or three words that actually consistently come up more often than you've ever realized in people's feedback. In other words, these are the things that people are identifying in you that you may have never gotten in touch with yourself. I'll give you a personal example. Over the last several years, in my speaking and training and even the topics that I've spoken about have evolved over time. But over the last few years, I have started to see in the feedback that I'm receiving a couple of words like motivational or inspirational. Now I would have never identified with those words. In fact, I almost stay away from using words like motivational or inspirational because that is definitely not my style. In other words, when I picture those words, I think of somebody that if you were in an in-person presentation, you know, they jump on the table and they fist pump in the air and they shout and they yell and they make people scream and get excited. It’s kind of like this high energy, high octane kind of a presenter that gets people all fired up and then leaves the room, and then of course the energy dissipates. I've never identified with that particular style of speaking. Not only do I not do it myself, but I don't even necessarily get much out of it when I see someone who does it that way. But I don't think that's what people are talking about. I think what people are talking about when they say that they received motivation or inspiration is that I got them thinking. That I kind of got into their heads a little bit and they started to think about things in a way that maybe they hadn't thought about before. And that was kind of inspiring to them, and it kind of motivated them to do something with those thoughts. Well, that's spot on. That's exactly what I try to do. But I personally would have never used words like motivational or inspirational. Now that I'm seeing that come up consistently in the feedback that I get, it's helping me appreciate what those words mean and that yes, that actually could be a part of my brand. So part of identifying your brand is actually reaching out to other people and finding out what their impression of you is. Like, how would they identify your brand if they had to describe it in a couple of words. The other thing I'd have you consider in kind of tossing around what your brand is, are you more about the journey or the boat, right? The journey or the boat. So just using mortgage lending as an example, the boat is the mortgage, right? The boat is the outcome. People have come to you because they need a mortgage. You're helping them to get that mortgage, and so ultimately it's about that product, right? That's the boat. But there's also a journey that they're going to go on. The journey is this process that you're going to lead them on. And that may actually be more important to your brand than the boat itself. So again, what are you selling? I think a lot of times we focus on that product or the boat when it's really the journey that people are after. And you know, I mean, just think about why people would take a cruise as an example. I mean, yeah, it is about the ship itself. Is it glamorous, does it have the amenities they want, is it the size of a ship that they would want to be on? There's a certain amount of taking a cruise that is about the ship, the boat, so to speak. And for some people that is actually the main reason why they cruise. Like they never even get off the boat, even when it goes into a port and people have the ability to leave the ship, they stay on it because they just enjoy being on the ship and taking part in entertainment or in gambling and eating and whatever it is that they like to do. Other people, the ship is just a vessel. It's just transportation. They're all about the excursions, seeing different parts of the world. Again, I'm just using that as a metaphor in anything that you're selling, there's the part that is the ship and there's the part that's the journey. And it may be useful when you think about your brand to think about it from that standpoint. So basically, I've given you lots of potential homework, right? Are you selling a solution to a problem? Are you selling a product? Are you selling a particular outcome or helping people achieve a goal? Is it more about the journey or the boat? And again, ask for feedback. If you don't actually get regular feedback, it never hurts to even ask people, how would you describe the experience of working with me over these last several weeks and see what kind of words people start to say when they talk about you. You'll probably notice two or three key words that come up consistently. That's probably your brand. Okay, so that's question number one. Key question number one, what's my brand. 

[00:09:31] Question number two, why choose me? I think we need to have an answer to that question. Why choose me? And if we just want to cut to the chase, the shortcut is it's all about value. Because no one's going to do business with you if they don't perceive that there's a value in doing business with you. So again, to use our business as an example, realtors, if you were to talk to realtors and ask them how is it that we can do business with each other, right. What are you looking for? What do you need in a lender? How can we form a relationship and a partnership? If they were honest, they'd basically say, I need to know the value that you bring me and how it's different from everybody else that I do business with. And that may sound kind of blunt, but that's exactly what everybody's asking even subconsciously when they're trying to figure out who to give their business to, what is the value in doing business with you and how is that different from the other choices that I have. Those are the things that you're going to want to have an answer to. And it's kind of what I call, why choose me. Now what we're really talking about are competitive advantages. That's the marketing expression that would be used here, competitive advantages. And so I want to give you a quick primer on, well, what are those things, exactly. And they're usually things that have nothing to do with price. Even though people ask you about your rates and your fees and how much it's going to cost to do business with you. You know, they ask that all the time, unless you've got the lowest price in town, you need to have another story to tell. You need to have something else that you can explain as a reason why people should do business with you.

[00:10:56] So a competitive advantage really has three components. The first is that it's what you're all about. It almost kind of goes back to what's my brand. What is your point of view? Who are you? What do you stand for? A part of your competitive advantage is, again, you incorporated. It can't be something temporary. It can't be a sale that you're running or something that's just a short-term way of doing business. A true competitive advantage is kind of built into your DNA. It's what you're all about. And again, you could be thinking about this as you, your team, your company. Second part of a competitive advantage is that it's different. It's something that is maybe not one of a kind, pretty hard to be one of a kind in business now, because especially if you truly have something that's one of a kind, it's only a matter of time before somebody else has it. I mean, everybody just kinda copies from everybody else. So don't necessarily search for one of a kind, but what is unique or different in doing business with you? Again, it might be a product, it might be a service, it might be the experience they're going to have. It might be the knowledge or the way that you hold a person's hand and walk them through this transaction. Again, there's going to be some things that you do, well, maybe not one of a kind are at least considered different or unique. And the most important part of a competitive advantage is that you could actually quantify it. That you could actually put a number to it, that you could measure it. Because to just say things like, oh, I'm all about service or I close loans really quickly or I have a lot of experience or I work with a great team. I mean, all those things may be true and they sound fine, but if you could put a number to them, I have 30 years of experience. I work with people who've been doing this work for at least a minimum of 10 years. Everybody on my team has a minimum of 10 years' experience. Doesn't that sound a lot more compelling than I work with a great group, or we've got the best people in the business. It's kind of like answering the question, what's your interest rate? You'd never answer that without giving them a number, right? You'd never say some vague thing like, oh, it's really low. Or it's really good. If somebody asks you what your interest rate is, you're going to tell them what your interest rate is. So a competitive advantage needs to be that quantifiable. So you may need to measure some things in order to know what that is. Okay. So all of those things, again, are ways of trying to think, why choose me. It comes down to what is the value that you have, what is the value that you offer and how is that different? And again, another way of looking at it would be, is it a competitive advantage? Is it somehow such a part of how you do business and it's different from what's in the marketplace and you can quantify how good it is, then you're onto something.

[00:13:47] All right. Question number three. What's my niche? Or some people would say niche. I'm never quite sure which is the correct pronunciation. Probably either is fine. There’s a lot of conversation around niching. And in our business, I think what we tend to focus on is demographics. Demographics are basically how the world sees us, that's a demographic. How the world sees us. So as an example, I am a middle-aged man from the Midwest. I just gave you three demographics about myself. There are things that are easily quantifiable or easily measurable, easily determined. Male, middle aged, lives in the Midwest. And so companies will use that information to target market. They'll decide, well, we want to do business with middle-aged men, or we want to do business with men who live in the Midwest. And so we tend to get very kind of fixated in business on what demographics, you know, where are there opportunities, what demographic do I want to work with? And that's fine, other than everybody else is doing that. And so it just makes business harder because if everybody's focusing on building their business in the same way or going after, for instance, the same demographics, then it just makes it harder. So if you haven't heard this term before, I'm going to introduce you to psychographics. So if a demographic is how the world sees us, a psychographic is how we see ourselves. So now we're talking about things that aren't visible, we're talking about things that aren't readily knowable. What are my concerns? What are my fears? What are my goals? What are my aspirations? What am I anxious about as it relates to this transaction that we may be doing business together. And it's obvious now that all middle-aged men from the Midwest are not going to have the same psychographics, right. That becomes obvious. So if you can start to identify psychographics that you specifically are a good fit for, and honestly it might be ones that are similar to your own. Like, do you identify with people who are anxious about buying their first home and getting a mortgage? Now, a first time home buyer is a demographic. But people buying their first home who have a lot of anxiety around that process, now the anxiety part would be the psychographic. And do you see how you can position yourself differently? If you're an expert in working with people who are anxious and you have an ability and a skill to kind of calm people and make the process have less anxiety, you're starting to attract a whole group of people that otherwise would have never seeked you out because they didn't know that that was something that somebody specialized in. So psychographic allows you to really kind of niche down even further. And so I think that's a question that's worth kicking around. What are the niches or what is the niche that you're perfectly suited to serve? This is the group that you can help the most.

[00:17:07] All right. That was question number three. Number four, how can I stand out? Specifically, how can I stand out from the crowd? Sales is a crowded marketplace, right? There's a lot of choices. Probably never been as many choices as there are. And so how do you be different? How do you stand out? I mean, we've already kind of talked about a few things that kind of relate to that question, but let me give you a suggestion I haven't given before, I don't think in any of the podcast episodes I've done. If you think about the things that people dislike about interacting with a salesperson, there's no shortage of data on this. I mean, you can do your own research. Of course everything you find out there may not necessarily be true. You have to do some vetting and make sure that the information you're getting is accurate. But even intuitively, if you just asked yourself, what are the things that people dislike about dealing with a salesperson. There’s probably a common list. So I recently came across a survey that had three things. The top three things that people identified were problems that they said they associated in dealing with a salesperson. I'll just give you what those three things are. One of them was, they felt that sales people didn't listen to them. They felt that salespeople talked too much and didn't listen. Okay. That sounds reasonable. I can appreciate that. I mean, you've been in that position yourself as the buyer, right. You've been in a position where you've been dealing with a salesperson who is obviously not in touch with, you know, where you're at, right? They've not spent enough time trying to understand you. And they've just been kind of going on and on about themselves and their product and their company. And you're feeling like these people don't get me at all. That is a common complaint that people have about working with salespeople is they feel like they didn't get listened to and the salesperson talked too much. That was number one on the list. Number two, they feel like they didn't respond to their requests in a timely manner. Now, sometimes that's an unreasonable kind of thing, right. Like somebody called you up, you weren't available, they expect you to call in like 30 seconds. Well, that's obviously not reasonable. But I think there's some truth to people saying the sales person wasn't responsive. The sales person didn't honor their commitments because I've experienced it myself, right. As a buyer of products and services, I would say more often than not salespeople make promises and they don't honor them. And again, I don't think it's intentional. I don't think they're intentionally misrepresenting themselves. I just think that they make promises they can't keep, and that they're not very good at followup and that they're not responsive. And this is what's showing up in the surveys. People don't like that. And the third thing that I saw in this survey is that people said the sales person doesn't understand my needs. That kind of goes back to the listening. But they specifically said, the sales person doesn't understand my needs. So, if we just recap these problems that buyers have typically said they don't like about dealing with salespeople, that the salespeople don't listen to them, they talk too much, that the salespeople don't respond to their requests, especially in a timely enough manner or that the salespeople, they didn't feel understood their needs. If you simply work on not being any of those things, if you simply work on being the person that listens and doesn't talk too much or being the person that is responsive or being the person that really tries to understand what their needs are. In other words, if you simply try to do the things that people have said that this is what they want in a salesperson, because this is what they don't like in a salesperson doesn't that automatically make you different? Doesn't that automatically set you apart from the crowd. Because the crowd is what people are responding to. So whenever you see somebody saying, here's a list of things that I don't like about doing business, just don't do that. Just don't do those things that people say they don't like.

[00:21:05] All right. So that was question number four. Number five, who can impact my business? And I'm going to share an idea that I actually heard from someone else. So I want to give attribution to Mark Leblanc. Mark Leblanc is a small business owner that actually helps other businesses grow, helps small businesses grow. And he has what's called the advocate strategy. So what we're talking about here is, you know, who can impact your business. And the advocate strategy is probably the lowest cost, highest return thing that you can do to grow your business. So if you're interested in the lowest cost, highest return, it's the advocate strategy. And it has three pieces to it. And again, you can modify it to fit your approach, but I probably wouldn't modify it too much because Mark Leblanc has figured out that this is really a pretty solid piece of advice. So the first thing is to have a list of people, roughly 25 in number. Have a list of 25 people who you think are people who could impact your business. Now that in and of itself sometimes is a difficult thing to sit down and figure out. So who could impact your business? Well certainly, people who've worked with you before, right? So like referral sources or people who have used you before, you know, repeat customers, so to speak. The people who know you and like you and appreciate what you do. Those are certainly people who could impact your business. But it could also be just people who are your biggest fans. I mean, they may not even be people who you've done business with. Now, I probably would carve out family members. Although sometimes family members can actually be a great source of business building. It's just that sometimes that also gets a little weird because when somebody says, oh, you should do business with John. Then they ask why they said that and they say, well, I'm John's father. Well, right away that referral is a little less impactful because of course John's father is probably going to say, you should do business with John. But there are fans that you have out there. There are people in the business community, or in your personal circles who really admire you and trust you and just would be happy to speak kindly about you and send people your way. So this list of people obviously can change over time. It's not like the first time you write down 25 people's names that that list stays forever— those twenty-five people. People are going to kind of come and go in and out of your life. But that's the first step of the advocate strategy is to have a list of roughly 25 people that you've identified are people who could impact your business in a positive way or help you grow your business.

All right, the second part of the strategy is to contact them. Now, Mark’s suggestion is every 30 days. Now I know when I first heard that, I thought, wow, that's a lot of contact. Like, is this almost bordering on harassment? Like contacting people every 30 days, that's asking a lot. But it's not, when you think about it. And again, you can determine if 30 days is the right timing, just like you can determine if 25 people is the right number to have on your list. The idea is there's a lot of ways to contact people, right. I mean, there's reaching out and calling them or sending them a text or an email, or even sending something physically in what used to be called the mail. I mean, a lot of people don't use that anymore but there's lots of ways to reach out to somebody. And so Mark's idea is that you've got these 25 people and you're making some type of contact with them every 30 days. Okay. So number three, and this might be the most important part, the contact intent needs to be neutral. In other words, you're not selling, you're not reaching out to these people every 30 days to say, hey, got any business for me? Got anybody you could send to me? Because then that would probably be considered too much, right? I mean, to be banging on somebody's door metaphorically every 30 days to say, hey, you know, can we do business or you got any business for me, that would become a nuisance. Instead, the contact is neutral. It's not selling. Again, the possibilities are endless. You could just reach out to see how someone's doing. You could recognize some type of special occasion, like a birthday or an anniversary. You could send them a piece of information that you think would be valuable or interesting to them. But the key is you're not selling yourself when you make these contacts on a regular basis. And so here are 25 people who probably think very highly of you and the work that you do, and you're just kind of consistently staying in their awareness by reaching out to them as often as you choose, Mark says 30 days. Again, it could be as simple as just sending a little text. Hey, thinking of you, hope you're having a great day. I mean, to me, that qualifies as a contact. Or it could be something more specifically like, hey, I've got this new idea. I'd like to run by you, can I book 20 minutes of your time? Again, it's like the possibilities are endless. Now, this sounds really simple, right? A list of names, regular contact, don't be salesy. You know where the challenge is, it's doing it. The challenge is having the list, keeping it up to date, actually doing the contact every 30 days, and making sure that you're not selling yourself. Because that tends to seep in, especially if business is slow and I'm really trying to figure out how to do more business. You know, I start to get anxious and sell more to people. And again, Mark Leblanc is saying don't sell. The selling kind of takes care of itself. That's known as the advocate strategy. 

[00:26:55] Okay. So that was the five key questions. Again, this is kind of part two of 10 steps to sales success. And part one, we talked about some must have skills. Five must have skills that you just can't skip. This was part two, five key questions. First question was what's my brand. And I specifically highlighted point of view. People want to know what you're about, what you stand for, why you do what you do. But I gave you many different ways of trying to articulate your brand, including asking for feedback, finding out what people really value in doing business with you. The second question was why choose me, which really is a value question. What's the value in doing business with you and how are you any different from the other choices that people have. We talked a little bit about how that relates to competitive advantages. Question number three, what's my niche or what's my niche? We talked about the difference between a demographic and a psychographic. And if you can really market to people's psychographic, there's far less competition and you're far more compelling than when you just market to people's demographics, which is what we see on the outside, psychographics is what's on the inside. So we have to learn what that is, right? So you have to actually build a relationship to know what a person's psychographic is. Question number four, how can I stand out, specifically stand out from a crowded field? And I specifically talked about things that people don't like in dealing with salespeople. So just don't do that. Just don't do the things that people don't like and you automatically stand out. And then last was sharing Mark LeBlanc's advocate strategy, which might be the lowest cost, highest return thing that you can do. Basically staying in touch with people who can impact your business in a non salesy way. All right. Well, you know, as much as I try to not put too much content and not take too much time in these, it seems like every time when I'm done with one of these, I think, well, yeah, that was about another 30 minutes and I actually put a lot more content in there than I thought I would.

So much for my field that season three would be different. So far, it’s sounding a lot like seasons one and two, at least in my approach. I'll work on that as we go forward. So that's it for this episode. But again, your work with these ideas is just beginning. I’d like to finish with this idea that we think clarity leads to action, when in fact it's action that leads to clarity. And again, that's worth repeating. We think clarity leads to action when in fact action leads to clarity. Only when we put ideas into practice will we really understand what they mean. So I'm encouraging you, if you want to get the maximum return on your investment of time today, take action on something that you found valuable. It's always a pleasure to spend some time with you. This is Blaine Rada with Arch MI, thank you for listening. 

Outro

Arch Capital Group Limited’s US mortgage insurance operation, Arch MI, is a leading provider of private insurance covering mortgage credit risk. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Arch MI’s mission is to protect lenders against credit risk, while extending the possibility of responsible homeownership to qualified borrowers. Arch MI’s flagship mortgage insurer, Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, is licensed to write mortgage insurance in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit ArchMI.com.

Arch MI is a marketing term for Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company. All right reserved.

 

Season 3, Episode 3: 10 Steps to Sales Success: Five Must-Have Skills

Season 3, Episode 3: 10 Steps to Sales Success: Five Must-Have Skills

November 10, 2021

Intro

Welcome to the Arch MI Podcast, featuring our senior customer trainer, Blaine Rada. Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, or Arch MI, is a leading provider of mortgage insurance or MI in the United States. Our competitive pricing tool, Arch MI RateStar, is the leading risk-based pricing platform in the industry providing rates based on a thorough understanding of the underlying risk. Here's your host, Blaine Rada.

Blaine Rada: [00:00:34] Welcome to the podcast, my name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I really appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing my perspective and experiences from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I'm never quite sure what I'm going to say or how long it will take me to say it. However, I’d like season three to be a little different with shorter episodes and even easier to implement ideas. So, let's get to it. 

[00:01:09] This is part one of a two-part series called 10 Steps to Sales Success. And basically I'm going to cover five of these steps in part one and the other five in part two, each with a different focus. So, for part one, I'd like to talk about five must-have skills. And these are things that you just can't skip as I really thought long and hard about the most successful people that I know in the world of sales. And of course, you know, that could be any sales, really, but I focus primarily on mortgage lending since that's our business. I really came up with, I think, five things that, you'll agree with me, they can't be skipped, right. These are skills that really the best in sales possess. And so I'm going to kind of go through them each, individually, but let me give you the high level title of what each of these are and then we'll get into more nitty gritty. So number one is to modify your approach. Number two is to communicate effectively. Number three is to manage expectations. Number four is know your numbers, and number five is dare to be yourself. Now, just by hearing those words, you probably already have kind of an idea or a concept of where I might be going with this or what those things mean to you. Again, I'll get specifically into what each of these mean for me, but I would ask you to be on the lookout for, you know, listen for the things that are meaningful to you. The things that actually you think you can take action with or even come up with your own idea based on something that you heard me say. Again, these are five must have skills, part one of 10 steps to sales success. 

[00:02:53] So number one, modify your approach. Really what this means is to be a chameleon in a way, but not to be an actor. This is where it gets kind of tricky because there are salespeople who are very skilled. They've got the gift of gab, so to speak and they can kind of talk to anyone and walk into a room and connect with all kinds of different people. But they're not necessarily authentic. They're not necessarily being themselves. And so what I'm talking about is that yes, it is necessary to modify your approach because honestly, if you interact with people in only one way, which is the way you are, right? You're your default way. And I'm going to get more into what that is in a second. But if you interact with people in only your way, then of course the only people you're going to connect with are people like you. And there's lots of other people out there, and we don't want to miss the opportunity to do business with people who are different from us. So in essence, we need to accommodate differences in people. In order to connect with someone, you have to be willing to accommodate, to kind of move your style a little bit to accommodate what their preferred style might be. Some people would call this mirroring, as if you're kind of changing based on the reflection back that you're getting from someone. But let me specifically address what are the differences I'm talking about, because this is a much bigger topic than what we're just going to cover in this podcast. So I want to be really clear. I'm only really going to talk about two things that I'm suggesting you modify, and they're very easy to remember. And that's why I like to talk about these two things because any of us can quickly just remember what these are and start putting this idea into practice right away. So the two words I want you to remember are speed and temperature. Speed and temperature. Here's what I mean by that. If you imagine that you've got this continuum, right. Or you could even imagine it as like a line drawn on the floor that goes from one side of a room to another. And on one side of the room you have, when we're talking about speed, you have fast. And on the other side of the room, the other end of that line, you've got the word slow. And so you would put yourself somewhere on that line, right. If we were in the room together, I would ask you to go stand on that line either towards the fast area or the slow area, depending on your preferred style. Now, one of the tricky things about this is that we start to say things like, well, no, wait a minute, doesn't it depend on the situation? Doesn't it depend on where I am? Are there times when I do things more quickly than other times? Yes. All that is true, but we also have a default. When we're just kind of left alone to do the things that we do, the way we want to do them, we have a default approach to how we do things. And we're either faster or slower. Very few of us are literally right in the middle. That would be kind of like the cop-out choice to say, well, I'm right in the middle between fast and slow. Most people are not, most people tend to do things more quickly or more slowly. So what am I talking about? I'm talking about everything from decision-making to how quickly you speak, to how quickly you walk, to how quickly you eat, to how quickly you make decisions, to how quickly you drive. Either we tend to be people who are kind of in that hurry up mode, we'd like to do things quickly. We don't want to waste any time. Or we’re people that are more methodical. We take our time. We don't rush things. In fact, we get nervous around people who are moving too quickly. So the first thing I'd ask you to consider is, well, are you fast or slow? What's your lean in? And again, you can behave fast or slow depending on the circumstances. But in general, would you identify yourself as being a faster person or a slower person? And so of course the key is you're going to be dealing with people who are not on the same place on that line between fast and slow that you are. And so modifying your approach simply means you're willing to behave, modify your behaviors so that you're closer to the person that you're interacting with. Again, that's not acting because as soon as you start to act or be fake or not be genuine, people can pick up on that. And that's actually more distasteful than if you just stayed the way you were. But I'm sure you can think of examples where, you know, you've been with someone, let's say you're a faster kind of person, and you've been with somebody who's very methodical in the way they go about things. You know, they speak more slowly and they take their time and you're kind of sitting there thinking, oh my gosh, would this person just hurry up and get to the point. Or they like to, you know, we'll get to that in a second. I was already thinking ahead to my next point. So you are somewhere on that line between fast and slow and other people are somewhere on that line between fast and slow. And so the great salespeople have the ability to move their position on that line to modify their behavior without being phony, without being fake or acting, legitimately just accommodating another person's preference. So that’s speed. That's the first of the two words I wanted you to remember. 

[00:07:51] The other one you might recall is temperature. What that refers to is basically their personality. Are they people-people. People-people, I would identify as warm. Task oriented people I would identify as cool or colder. And again, there's no right or wrong, good or bad. You know, I hate to use labels because we have these preconceptions of what these words mean. There's nothing wrong with someone who's a task oriented person, for instance, they're just not as into people as other people are. You know, they're the kind of folks that come to work and just want to get their job done. They're not interested in talking about what you did over the weekend. They're not interested in asking about your family and it's not that they don't care about any of that, it's just that's not where they focus their attention. They focus on getting things done and not engaging in chit-chat. Whereas a people-person, a warmer personality almost can't get to work and can't get down to their business until they engage in some of that social conversation or chit chat, so to speak. So again, if you had this imaginary line from warm to cool, do you place yourself on the warmer end of that temperature scale or do you place yourself on the cooler end. Are you a people-person or are you a task person? Again, most of the time, what is your default place? And now you need to realize that lots of people you're going to be interacting with are not going to be on the same place on that line. And so you need to modify the way that you approach them and the way that you interact with them. So for instance, you know, be more interested in small talk if that's not your default, but you're talking to someone who really wants to talk about their family or what they did over the holiday or something like that, be okay with that. Let them engage in that small talk before you get down to business. So again, this first key seems pretty common sense, but it's not something we often think about. And so we don't even realize when we're kind of rigidly being ourselves. And of course there are some people who, that's their belief. Their belief is, I am who I am and I'm not changing myself for anybody, which is fine. You can have that belief. But the reality is, you'll only connect with people who are like you. Those salespeople who can connect with a wide range of people are the people who can modify their approach. Again, mirroring might be a concept or a word that would be easy to remember this by. It's basically accommodating the differences in speed and in temperature. 

[00:10:15] All right. So that's skill number one. Number two is to communicate effectively. And I talk a lot about communication in many of my podcast episodes. So, again, we're not going to take the whole podcast just to talk about communication, but I do want to highlight a few things that I think are specific to the conversation we're having today. Three things, really, that I would highlight in terms of what I consider to be effective communication. First of all, get good at asking questions. I mean, honestly, salespeople talk too much, and I'm not saying that as an insult. And I've been a victim of this myself. I recently actually sold our home and I did it without a realtor. And so I was the realtor, so to speak. And so, I'm actually negotiating and interacting with the buyer, and these buyers, you know, bless them, older folks who hadn't moved in 40 years. They had a thousand questions, they had not been through this process. So, they've got no realtor, I've got no realtor. I'm really driving this process. And before we actually got to the point where we had made the deal, right? So I'm still kind of in sales mode, I'm trying to hopefully establish that, yes indeed they want the property, and what can we agree on with a price. And I found myself talking so much. They would ask a simple question, and rather than just answering the question and maybe even then giving them a question, I'd just go on and on and down these rabbit holes and I would realize later I just need to shut up. I just need to stop talking and ask more questions. So even though it's like, we know this stuff, I'm not telling you anything you probably have never heard of before, but do we do it? Do we actually do these fundamentals? And that's why I came up with the list I came up with because I've noticed the really good salespeople do this stuff. So become very skilled at asking good questions. And that's a whole study in and of itself. There's different kinds of questions that elicit different kinds of responses. And being a good questioner actually allows you to kind of control the conversation. And I don't mean control as in, you know, in a negative way. I mean, you're kind of helping get the conversation to its natural conclusion and asking questions is a far better way of doing that than just talking, talking, talking. 

[00:12:35] Now hand in hand with that is the second communication skill that we often don't think about, which is listening. And again, I talk a lot about listening in various podcast episodes, but I'll just highlight for you today what I think are some keys to better listening. One of them is to simply focus on understanding as opposed to focusing on responding. I think that when we listen, our natural inclination is to try to anticipate where someone's going, to anticipate what we want to say about it and to be ready to say that before they've even finished talking. In other words, we're not even really truly listening. We're kind of half listening while we're anticipating where this is all going and how we're going to respond. So, rather than listening to respond. A good thing to train yourself to do is to simply listen to understand. To really try to understand what it is that that person is telling you before you even consider what your response is. Your mind works very quickly, you'll come up with what you need to say. We don't have to prepare for it while they're still talking. So that would be one key to better listening is just to simply focus on the act of understanding what the person has to say. 

[00:13:40] A second listening skill would be to ignore distraction. Now, this is really hard because I don't know that we've ever been as distracted as we are now. And honestly, I don't think that's getting any better. I don't think the world is suddenly going to become less distracting. So again, if you're not in their presence, I mean, if you're talking to someone on a telephone or they can't see you, they don't know that you might be checking your email or scrolling through your Facebook feed. But imagine if you were in person with somebody, it would be considered very rude if you were doing a bunch of other things while they're talking to you, right? You would need to show them some respect and at least fake that you're giving them some attention, right? But we kind of get away from that when we're dealing with people virtually, because they can't see what we're doing. So, if it's an important conversation and you really need to understand what someone's telling you, you need to push those distractions aside because they will distract you. Your smartphone or your devices will distract you. The environment that you're in and the things that are going on in your environment will distract you. So removing distractions when it matters is an important skill for better listening. 

[00:14:49] And then the third thing I would suggest with better listening is to offer no judgement. And I mean that in two ways, I mean, first of all, you don't want to say anything to the person that sounds as if you're judging them. So let's say somebody is expressing an idea to you that's about the craziest and, in your opinion, the dumbest thing you've ever heard. Well, obviously it would be kind of rude to tell them, you know, I think this is like the dumbest thing I've ever heard. But you still may be thinking it, right. And you've probably all had this happen, especially with a significant other in your life that knows you very well, where you've made a face, right. In other words your body language has actually expressed your judgment without you even having to say it. So, what I try to do is push those thoughts aside. If I start to have those feelings about what somebody is telling me, any kind of judgment that I might be having about it, I try to just push that aside and get back to focusing on understanding what they're saying. You can always pass judgment on it later, right? You can always mull over what somebody told you later and come up with what you think about it. But in the moment we have a tendency to have a reaction to what people say and often it's kind of a judgemental reaction. And if that seeps out in any way, either in your language or your body language, that immediately shuts down that person's desire to talk to you basically, because none of us want to feel judged, right? We want to feel understood. We want to feel valued. We want to feel that people are appreciative of what we're sharing with them. And the moment that we get a sense that they're not, it kind of shuts down the conversation. So, communicating effectively, asking good questions, talking less, listening more, I’ve given you some suggestions for how to do that.

[00:16:35] And the third thing I would offer to you under communicating effectively is to be concise and compelling. And I have to work on this myself. There's probably things that I'm even saying on the podcast that I could say in fewer words. I could find a better way to say it. Now, part of the reason that that doesn't happen is because it's unscripted and I'm kind of just having a conversation with you. But we all probably could say things in fewer words or say things in a more compelling way. The best communicators out there are people that can say things without rambling on, and they can say things in a way that gets us thinking, you know. Like I might be telling you or sharing ideas with you that are not things that you don't know, but if I can share it in a way that just gets you thinking about it a little differently, then I've done my job. I've gotten you to think about it for yourself, which is really what this is all about. I'm not here as the person that's reached the summit of the mountain top that has all this wisdom to share with you. I'm here to get you thinking about ideas that maybe you haven't thought about in a long time. And hopefully you'll come up with better ideas for how to do what you do. Maybe I could sum up this whole idea of communicating effectively in that you want to be not only an interesting person, you want to communicate in a way where people are interested in hearing what you have to share, but you also want to be an interested person. You want to show interest in other people, which is where the questioning and the listening skills come into play. You want people's reaction to be me too, when they're hearing you talk as opposed to, so what, right. You want people to lean in and want to know more about what you have to say, as opposed to, you know, leaning back and crossing their arms and obviously showing you that they're not interested. Okay. So we've covered two of the five must have skills on the 10 steps to sales success. Number one was modify your approach. Number two, communicate effectively. Number three is to manage expectations. Again, this should not be something that you're not already doing. I just want to highlight what I think might be a best practice. 

[00:18:35] You really don't have a prayer of meeting people's expectations if you aren't involved in setting them. That's my belief, anyway. That you have no chance of meeting people's expectations if you aren't actually involved in setting the expectation. And all of us would like to exceed people's expectations. I mean, that feels really good when you've actually been able to make someone think that this was better than they thought it would be, right? Whether better is cheaper or faster or easier, however they're going to define better. We all love that feeling when we've done that and when we're acknowledged for that. When somebody says, wow, this was amazing. This was just so much, again, faster, better, cheaper than I thought it was going to be. But we need a formula. Like what is the formula to consistently exceed people's expectations? Well, that's where the phrase that you've heard before, ‘under promise over deliver' comes in. That's the formula. And I know that doesn't sound very sexy and you probably think to yourself, well, you know, that's like a cliche, ‘under promise, over deliver’. Here's the challenge, we don't do it. We actually do the opposite. We're constantly over promising. Sometimes we over promise because we're trying to make the sale. And so we're competing against other people who are over promising to this person, right. And so we're trying to be like the other people they're talking to who have the same product or idea or service that we're selling. Another reason that we over promise is because you might be a people pleaser. You might be the kind of person that just wants to be liked and wants people to like you and wants people to do business with you. And so you tend to make promises and commitments that maybe aren't exactly what you can do. But we also know the feeling of painting ourselves into a corner and not being able to meet the expectations that we set. It was our fault. We set this higher expectation, we fall short and that never feels good either. So my suggestion to you is try to get into the habit of never promising more than you can perform. Let me say that again. Never promise more than you can perform. Now, I realize we can't be perfect at this. We don't control all the circumstances that affect how things ultimately come out. In fact, you may have a whole team of people that support you that are also responsible for how people feel this went, right? So you can only do what you can do, but the thing you can control is the commitments that you make. And the easiest way to ensure that you exceed people's expectations and that you always honor your commitments is to under promise. I'm telling you this is way harder to do than it is to say. But I've noticed successful salespeople are always hitting it out of the park, right. To use a sports analogy. It's always faster than they said, easier than they said, cheaper than they said. And it's so nice as a customer, as a buyer when you have that feeling that, oh my gosh, this was better than I thought it would be. Well, the salesperson is the one that really controlled that outcome by not painting this unrealistic picture of what it was going to be like to do business.

[00:21:34] All right. Number four, know your numbers. Now my observation is, a lot of people in sales they're not necessarily numbers people. I mean, they got into sales because they're people-people, they like to build relationships, they like to be out there and about, you know, shaking hands and interacting with their customers and this whole idea of, you know, data and numbers. And it's just not appealing to a lot of salespeople. But what I've noticed about the best of the best is that they know their numbers. So for instance, you've probably heard of the 80-20 rule, right. And I'll just give you a little background on the 80-20 rule because it's one of those things we've heard a lot about. We kind of understand what it means. It's also known as the Pareto Principle, it was named for an Italian economist back in the late 1800s by the name of Vilfredo Pareto. Vilfredo Pareto. That guy probably had his name made fun of in school. And what he did as an economist, one of the first kinds of things that he discovered was that 80% of the land ownership in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. So 20% of the people owned 80% of the land. And so, kind of anecdotally, this became this 80-20 principle. The way that we've come to understand it or use it is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activity. Or 80% of sales come from only 20% of the buyers. In other words, there's a mismatch between activity and results. And so one of the key things that you need to get a grip on is what are those handful of activities that lead to the most productivity and the most results. And it may not be 80-20, maybe it's 90-10, maybe it's 70-30. Don't get hung up on, you know, is it exactly 80-20? Although it does kind of miraculously turn out to be pretty close to that. But we all have a handful of activities, probably 20% of what we do that drives 80% of our results. So the goal would be to not only figure out what those 20% of our activities are, but how do we do more of that? Like how can we make sure that we're focusing on the high producing activities. Okay. So that's a pretty common sense idea, right. The 80-20 principle, that's part of knowing your numbers. But wait, there's more. Another part of knowing your numbers and sales is just to acknowledge that sales is a numbers game. Sales, in and of itself, is a numbers game. In other words, anybody who's in sales, if you talk to enough people, you'll find someone who at least has an interest in what it is that you're selling, right. So you have to talk to so many people to find someone who's at least interested in you. And then of the people that are interested in you, there'll be another percentage that actually might buy from you. In other words, it can all be tracked with numbers. So as a very new sales person, this is really encouraging because as a very new salesperson, you can still make sales. In fact, you can even compete in, say, your company's sales competition, you can even compete against people who are much more experienced than you and better salespeople than you by simply out working them. Here's what I mean. If you had to talk to 10 people to get one person to buy from you, talk to 10, get one to buy. And you're competing against somebody who's a much better salesperson that only has to talk to five people to get one to buy, right. So they only have to talk to half this number of people to get the same result. You can match their result by talking to twice as many people, right? In other words, if you just outwork, you just follow the numbers, just talk to the number of people that you need to get the sale. So if you need another sale, you know how many people you're supposed to talk to. But it gets better because we get better. So maybe initially you have to talk to 10 people and one person buys, well, eventually it's talk to nine people and talk to eight people, talk to seven people. And eventually you're that person that only has to talk to five people. Good salespeople know what these numbers are. So they not only know things like what are my high producing activities, the 80-20 rule, that get 80% of my results. But they also know what are the specific numbers, how many people do I need to talk to in order to get a prospect that's interested and have those numbers, you know, how many do I talk to, to get a sale? They keep track of all of that. And they also follow how that improves over time. And if you're a professional who's always looking to improve your skills, then these numbers get better over time. They don't stay stagnant. But if you did nothing to improve your skills, you would notice that the numbers actually repeat themselves. So it's pretty predictable. That's knowing your numbers. 

[00:26:17] All right. Finally, number five. I said dare to be yourself. Now you've probably heard the expression, you know, dare to be different. The reason I didn't say it that way is that I think that encourages us to be different just to be different. Like, you know, everybody else is turning right, I'm going to turn left just to be different. That's not really what I'm talking about. Now, don't get me wrong. I think what makes you different, what makes you unique is what makes you valuable. You know, I've heard that it’s said this way, you know, let your freak flag fly, right. Like just be outrageously yourself. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But I don't think different for different’s sake is what we should be after. So that's why I said dare to be yourself and being yourself includes what is unique and different about you. We've all heard the expression, I'm assuming, I shouldn't say that, because maybe some people haven't. But many of us have heard the expression, people do business with who they know, like, and trust. They do business with who they know, like and trust. Well, how is a person gonna know, like, or trust you unless you're authentically yourself, right? Because if you're out there trying to be somebody else or you're out there trying to please everybody and you're not really being authentically you, then people aren't really getting to know you and they're not necessarily trusting you because people can sense when a person is not themselves. And so they probably won't like you at that point because they have that discomfort. So, being yourself just means be authentic, be transparent, don't worry about people's opinions. Don't worry about what people think. Will you turn some people off? Are you not the best fit for some people? The answer is absolutely yes! And that I believe is why we don't do this fifth step. We often are not ourselves because we're trying to please everybody. We're trying to be something for everybody. You know, I can do business with everybody. I can work with anybody. The reality is there are people that you're not a good fit for, even just personally, even your personality or your appearance. You know, you've been around people where you just don't click. Like, there's just this awkwardness, like maybe over time, if we got to know each other more, we could get a little more comfortable. But as of this moment, like, I just don't want to spend any time with this person. There's nothing there that, in fact it's not even a lack of attraction. It's almost like a repel, right? Like you want to just get away from certain people. I think that's totally normal. We're not supposed to be the best fit for everybody out there. So by being yourself you accomplish a couple of things. First of all, you just enjoy doing business a whole lot more because you're doing business with people that you connect with. You get a lot more repeat and referral business because these are the folks that love working with you and they come back and they tell other people about you and you actually attract your ideal client and customer. You actually attract the people that you're best suited to serve. We're going to talk a little bit more about that in the next episode where I cover the other five steps. So, actually there will be some application between this episode and the next, where we kind of piggyback off of some of these ideas. So if you're only listening to one half of these, either episode one or two or part one or two of the 10 steps, then make sure you listen to the other one because there will be some crossover.

[00:29:46] So there you have it. This was part one of the 10 steps to sales success. Five must have skills. The things that you just can't really skip. You need to incorporate these to be among the best of the best. And just a quick review, modify your approach. Meaning when it comes to things like speed and temperature, you've got your own place on those spectrums. You want to make sure that you can pivot and move and adjust to meet the speed and temperature of other people that you're working with. Mirroring, in other words, is what that concept was about. Accommodating the differences in people. Communicating effectively, that's a huge topic in and of itself. So I decided to focus on things like asking good questions, being a good listener, and making sure that you're concise and compelling. In other words, be interesting and interested. Managing expectations, number three. The best thing you can do is to under promise and over deliver, that ensures that you will exceed people's expectations. Number four was to know your numbers. I talked about the 80-20 rule as well as sales being a numbers game. And then finally dare to be yourself. It's okay to be different, authentic, vulnerable, transparent. Sometimes in business, we feel like we can't be ourselves. We have to have a certain kind of identity. I don't necessarily know that that's where we're at. I mean, you may work at a company or live in a place where just culturally, there are some norms that are expected and you kind of have to fit into those norms in order for people to know, like, and trust you. But I think we're moving in the direction of people just want you to be you. People want to know who they're dealing with, what's your point of view, who are you? They want to know that stuff. So don't hold back. Let people know who you are. All right. So that's it for this episode. But you know, our work with these ideas is really just beginning. You know, we think clarity leads to action when in fact it's action that leads to clarity. Let me repeat that. We think that clarity leads to action when it's actually action that leads to clarity. Only when we put ideas into practice will we really understand what they mean. So I encourage you to get the maximum return on the investment of time today. Take action on something that you found valuable, put it into use and practice. That's when you're really going to discover what the value is for you. All right. I appreciate as always you taking some time to be with me. This is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. Thank you for listening. 

Outro

Arch Capital Group Limited’s US Mortgage Insurance operation, Arch MI, is a leading provider of private insurance covering mortgage credit risk. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Arch MI’s mission is to protect lenders against credit risk, while extending the possibility of responsible homeownership to qualified borrowers. Arch MI’s flagship mortgage insurer, Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, is licensed to write mortgage insurance in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit ArchMI.com.

Arch MI is a marketing term for Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company. All right reserved.

Season 3, Episode 2: Obstacles: In Our Way or On Our Way? (Hint - There is No Train)

Season 3, Episode 2: Obstacles: In Our Way or On Our Way? (Hint - There is No Train)

October 20, 2021

Intro

Welcome to the Arch MI Podcast, featuring our senior customer trainer, Blaine Rada. Arch Mortgage Insurance company, or Arch MI, is a leading provider of mortgage insurance or MI in the United States. Our competitive pricing tool, Arch MI Rate Star, is the leading risk-based pricing platform in the industry providing rates based on a thorough understanding of the underlying risk. Here's your host, Blaine Rada.

Blaine Rada: [00:00:33] Welcome to the podcast. My name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing my perspective and experiences from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I’m never quite sure what I'm going to say or how long it will take me to say it. However, I’d like season three to be a little different with shorter episodes and even easier to implement ideas. So let's get to today's episode. 

This is probably going to be the most unique episode I have recorded yet. And perhaps the shortest. I talk a lot about less is more, I need to sometimes practice that more myself. But I'd like to start with this idea that we frequently have obstacles in our lives and in our work, right. Personally and professionally, we have obstacles that you have to either overcome or perhaps ignore or find a way to get around. And sometimes these obstacles can really feel like a roadblock. Like they're in our way, right? These obstacles are in our way. And I just like you to consider for a moment that maybe obstacles are actually simply on your way— that obstacles are actually just a natural part of life. And rather than thinking about them as something that's in our way, it might be more helpful to think of them as just part of what's on the road. Obstacles are going to be on the road. Now I kind of came to this realization myself by having a fairly unique experience that I'd like to share with you. I don't know what part of the country you live in, and I don't know if you're familiar with trains. But in the Chicago area where I live, coming across trains is a frequent event. Being kind of centrally located in the United States, Chicago is probably a major transportation hub. And so there's not only Amtrak type trains that are transporting people to and from that come through Chicago, but there are freight trains, many, many freight trains that come through the Chicago area, as well as commuter or passenger trains that take people from the suburbs to the city itself. And you know, back out to the suburbs. A lot of people who work downtown, but live in the suburbs take commuter trains. And even downtown, there are what we call the L or the elevated trains that run through the downtown area up on these tracks well above ground. So lots of trains in the Chicago area. And so what comes with that is frequently having trains as an obstacle. Frequently, you're trying to get somewhere you're driving, and you come to a set of railroad tracks, and the gates are down, and the bells are ringing and the lights are flashing, and there's a train. And sometimes there's more than one. And sometimes they literally stop right there, you know, you're trying to cross the tracks, the train literally comes to a stop, you have no idea when it's going to move. And so you have to decide, do I sit here? Do I try to pull out of this line of traffic and find another crossing? Do I take another way? In other words, it can really be kind of frustrating. So I'm just trying to paint that picture for you in case you don't live in an area where you have to deal with trains. So I want to share with you about this time when I was standing, not driving, but standing at a railroad crossing. The gates were down, the lights were flashing and the bells were sounding, but there was no train. Now I'd been running; I was out on a morning run on this cold winter morning. I'd been running for a few miles. And while I was a little bit out of breath, my eyes were working just fine. I could literally see down this train track in either direction four miles there was no train. Four miles. What I did see was a sign right at the railroad crossing that read $500 fine for crossing the tracks when the gates are down. So I looked around, didn't see anybody. Saw the sign, didn't see a train. But what would you do? Would you stay where it's safe and wait for these broken gates to lift? Or would you cross the tracks? Now as a metaphor, I just want you to think about this train or lack of a train. And these railroad tracks with the gates down and the lights flashing and the bells sounding. I'd like you to think of that as a metaphor for obstacles, right? What tracks or obstacles have come into your life where you were afraid to take action. Only to realize later on, you had nothing to worry about. These tracks were an obstacle to my forward progress. Now, again, this is a cold winter morning. I've now been standing there for several minutes. Not only do I want to keep moving, but I'm getting cold. I need to keep moving. The gates were obviously broken. No one would know.

[00:06:25] So, I crossed the tracks and continued jogging. When I got a couple more blocks down the road, a squad car pulls up beside me. To this day, I'm the only person I know of who has been pulled over while jogging. I thought, am I running too fast? Certainly not. I'm not speeding. It can't be the reason why I'm being pulled over. I mean, obviously, I knew I was being pulled over. The police officer, let's call him officer kidding, as in, are you kidding me? He approached me and said, you can't cross a railroad crossing when the gates are down. I said, but officer, the gates are broken. There is no train. As he started to write a ticket, I said, “seriously!” He said, look, if it was up to me, I'd let you go. But my commanding officer is the one that saw you cross the tracks. And they radioed to me to write you a ticket. So I said, I'd like to speak to your commanding officer. So, I got a free ride in the back of a police car, which, hey, everybody should experience that at least once in their life. I mean, get arrested for something. I'm kidding about that last part. No one at Arch is encouraging you to get arrested for anything or for that matter for crossing railroad tracks. This is one of those, you know, don't do what I did kind of stories. So I ultimately had to appear in court because the commanding officer at the station would not see me. You know, I got this free ride in the police car to the police station. The commanding officer refused to talk to me. So I had this ticket, and I had to appear in court. And I was actually looking forward to my day in court because I wanted to make the case that the gates were broken. There was no train literally for miles. I could see in either direction, there was no train coming. 

[00:08:22] The judge was not interested in my explanation. He simply asked, “did you cross the railroad crossing when the gates were down?” And all he was looking for was a yes or no response. So I pleaded guilty. The judge glanced over to where the police officers sat, looking for officer kidding. And he hadn't come to court that day. Maybe he was out pulling over other joggers, I don't know. But because he hadn't come to court, apparently as the judge told me, case dismissed, you're free to go. Wow! Well, that was a close call. I mean, I almost became $500 poorer that day. But again, I learned this lesson that we think obstacles are in our way, when they're often really just on our way. You know, many of the gates and the lights and the bells that we face are only manufactured in our minds. And like leg irons they keep us from moving forward, keeping us afraid. You may have been scared of the dark as a child. You were certain there was a monster in your closet or under your bed. But eventually you learned there was nothing to be afraid of. There was no train. Again using the train metaphor. When you were nervous about your first day of school, no train. Your first date, no train. Your first marriage, okay, sometimes there is a train coming down that one. But in all seriousness, sometimes we face a challenge that seems too overwhelming to overcome. It's as if the freight train has come to a complete stop right in front of you. Well, even if that has happened, one of two things will happen. The train will eventually pass and you can get on with your life, or you'll find a way to get around it. One way or another, you will cross the tracks. Making forward progress is wired into our DNA. Pushing past fear, however, has to be practiced. So, the next time you face tracks in your life, when the gates are down, and the lights are flashing, and the bells are sounding, remember, we think obstacles are in our way, but they're really just on our way. There is no train. That's it for this episode, I'd ask you to consider what ideas you thought about as I was sharing that story with you and put those ideas into action. We really never know what an idea means until we start using it. I encourage you to do that in order to get the maximum investment from the time that you've invested with me today. I kept this really short and sweet, but I hope you found it valuable. This is Blaine Rader with Arch MI, thank you for listening.

Outro

Arch Capital Group Limited’s US mortgage insurance operation, Arch MI, is a leading provider of private insurance covering mortgage credit risk. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Arch MI’s mission is to protect lenders against credit risk, while extending the possibility of responsible homeownership to qualified borrowers. Arch MI’s flagship mortgage insurer, Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, is licensed to write mortgage insurance in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit ArchMI.com.

Arch MI is a marketing term for Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company. All right reserved.

 

Season 3, Episode 1: Content Marketing

Season 3, Episode 1: Content Marketing

September 27, 2021

[00:00:34] Welcome to the podcast, my name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing perspective and experience that I've gained over the last 30 years of doing this work. Like the other two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I'm never quite sure exactly what I'm going to say or how long it might take. However, I would like season three to be a little different with perhaps a little bit shorter episodes and some even easier to implement ideas. So with that said, let's get to it. 

[00:01:12] You may have heard of Seth Godin. Seth Godin is considered a marketing genius and one of his many books, he's a prolific author, that I particularly like is called Permission Marketing. And Permission Marketing is all about earning the right to ask for business. Another phrase that kind of compliments that idea is content marketing. And if you've been listening to my other podcasts, you've noticed that I mentioned content marketing in small ways in many of my podcasts. But I decided I would just focus specifically on content marketing for this episode. And I'm going to share what I consider to be fundamentals. So if you're a person that's already well-versed in marketing and content marketing, you know, you may find a lot of these ideas to be a gentle reminder of some of the basics. But again, there's, you know, a lot of very talented people out there who are legitimately content marketing experts, which I don't claim to be. So I would encourage you if this is a topic that you want to know more about and to dive in deeper than the level that I will take you, you know, seek out those people who, you know, speak on the topic, wright on the topic, and have content of their own that you can consume. 

[00:02:33] But I thought I'd start with just a basic definition of content marketing. And this is specifically from the Content Marketing Institute. Yes. There's actually a thing called The Content Market Institute, and this is their definition for content marketing. I'll just read it exactly as they have it. The creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts, engages, and inspires a clearly defined audience with the objective to ultimately drive profitable action. Okay. If I were just listening to that myself, my first reaction would be, what the heck is this guy talking about, right? I mean, I don't even quite understand it. Don't you love definitions that require that you actually go to a dictionary to like look up some of the words that you didn't know what they were? And then when you go to the dictionary, now you have to look up even more words because you didn't understand the definition of the first one you looked up. So, what I've done with that definition and this isn't a criticism of the content marketing Institute, I just think that they made the definition of content marketing so complex that I'd like to break it down for you. Break it down into basically nine words, you know, three different themes that are expressed in a total of nine words. So, here's kind of what I take from that definition that I really want to emphasize for your benefit. Content marketing needs to be valuable, relevant, and consistent. Those three words valuable, relevant, and consistent are key. In other words, the point of content marketing is to provide value. And it needs to be relevant to the audience that you're trying to seek, right? The audience that you're either trying to do business with, or build relationships with. If it's not valuable and relevant to them, it doesn't matter what you say, right? If it's not valuable and relevant, it has no meaning. And they're not going to pay attention. But the third word in that phrase, valuable, relevant, and consistent is also important. Because if you're going to put marketing and content out there to try to get business or build relationships, you can't just kind of do it, you know, haphazardly, whenever you feel like it Because people will actually come to rely on seeking you out for that information. And they will come to expect that, you know, however you're doing it in the form of, you know, social media posts or a blog or a podcast or whatever it might be, that it's something that, you know, will be ongoing. So valuable, relevant, and consistent were important parts of that definition. Next three words that I want to bring from that definition is a clearly defined audience. So, who is it specifically that you're speaking to? Who is it that you're trying to attract as a customer or who is it that you're trying to build a relationship with? Or who are you trying to simply get their attention, right? Without a clearly defined audience, it's hard to know what to say, right? It's hard to know what your content should be. And then the final three words that I want to pull from that definition is to drive profitable action. Because ultimately, it is about you getting more business. The reason that anyone would engage in taking the time and energy to produce and distribute content marketing is to get business, or to build their business or to deepen their relationships. In other words, there's a business reason. But, notice that's the last thing that I said about that definition. In other words, it wasn't the beginning of the definition, but it needs to be a component. It needs to be a part of the reason why you would do it. So let me just give you an example of something more specific. In the mortgage industry, people who get mortgages find that process to be confusing. And so I came across a recent survey that asked, you know, would people agree with the statement, ‘the loan process was extremely difficult for me’. ‘The loan process was extremely difficult for me’. And they asked this question based on the generation that the folks were in and basically anybody who is about 55 or younger. So that excludes the baby boomers, right? The baby boomers have, you know, they're over 55, they have owned homes before, probably several homes. They probably would not say that the loan process is extremely difficult for me. But anybody younger than that, so from your 20 somethings, all the way to mid-fifties, almost half of the people that were asked agree with the statement, ‘the loan process was extremely difficult for me.’ So wouldn't it make sense if you were trying to put some content out there that would be valuable and relevant, that you might specifically focus on how to make the loan process less difficult for people. Because they believe whether they actually know from experience or whether they just have a perception, they believe that the loan process is extremely difficult. So it makes sense to me, that would be the kind of content that you would want to create. Would be content that would make the loan process less difficult for people. That way it would be valuable and it would be relevant. And as long as your defined audience is not baby boomers or older, right, if your defined audience is people who are younger than baby boomers, then you've hit that target. You're hitting the appropriate target that you're trying to build a relationship with. 

[00:08:01] So let me step back for a moment and kind of talk about the differences between what's referred to as content marketing versus traditional marketing. Because I may have made an assumption that you would have already known that difference, and that probably isn't a fair assumption to make. So traditional marketing is what some people would call, push marketing, where a message is simply being pushed onto an audience. And content marketing in contrast is pull marketing, where you're actually pulling people toward you. You know, pulling people in, so to speak as opposed to just pushing on them. And if you think about it, if you were researching an organization to do business with, you want to buy a product or a service and you're thinking about, you know, various choices of companies or people that offer this product or service, wouldn't you rather get to know them, you know, before you make this business decision of who to work with? Wouldn't you rather get to know them because they're informing you and making you a smarter consumer or through their advertising. See, their advertising would be traditional push marketing. But them informing you about the things that you need to know to make this important decision would be pull or content marketing. In other words, traditional marketing is talking at people and content marketing is talking with people. Traditional marketings intend to simply sell, content marketing's intention is to inform or advise. Now again, in the background, yes, there is an intention to sell and do business, but that's not the primary focus. Traditional marketing's primary focus is to sell something, content marketing's primary focus is to advise or inform. And so what happens with traditional marketing is there's a lot of convincing that must be done. If you're using traditional marketing, you have to convince people to buy what you're selling, but with content marketing, it's more about expressing your conviction, right? And so what do I mean by that? Your content marketing should say, this is what I know, and this is who I help. This is what I know, which establishes you as an expert, and this is who I help, which makes it very clear to the person who's absorbing this marketing to know whether they're that person or not. Do you help people like me or do you not help people like me? Do you notice how with most traditional marketing, none of that is in there, right? There's no establishing about, you know, someone's expertise or what they do. And they're definitely, it's like a one shoe fits all approach with traditional marketing. It's like, let's just push something out randomly to, you know, millions of people and see who responds as opposed to this is specifically who I help. So that as people absorb that marketing, they can decide for themselves, are they one of those people or not.

[10:55] Now the goals of marketing, whether it be traditional marketing or content marketing, I could probably summarize, you know, are three things. And certainly, you know, folks that are true marketers, have marketing degrees, work as marketing executives in companies, they'd probably have a lot more to add to this than you know, me. I'm an amateur at this stuff. But I think you'll find this helpful. The goals of marketing are threefold. One is to get attention. So traditional marketing could certainly get attention, right? But content marketing is also very good at getting attention because it's relevant and valuable and useful, right. And people, if you think about it, just think about yourself for a second as a consumer, you're online and you're either looking at like, you know, search results, pages and pages of search results, or you're on someone's website and you're scrolling through a website. Or you're on your social media platform, whatever social media platform you might have. And you're kind of scrolling through the feed, so to speak, ask yourself what actually makes you stop as opposed to continuing to scroll, right? What is it that actually gets your attention that is compelling enough that you will stop and at least start to absorb that content before moving on. And again, it seems pretty obvious, it has to speak to you, right. It has to be something that is speaking specifically to you that is valuable and useful and relevant. So marketing needs to, number one, get attention, right. So something has gotten your attention, but that doesn't take it far enough because marketing also when done well should establish whether you're a good fit. Are you and this service provider or this product a good fit for each other? Well, that's where traditional marketing starts to not be so good anymore. So traditional marketing might get someone's attention, but it doesn't usually do much to establish if this is a good fit. Content marketing, on the other hand, does that very well. So marketing gets attention. Marketing establishes if it's a good fit and ideally marketing should try to reduce the risk associated with making the purchase. The marketing itself should be done in such a way that it makes people feel comfortable with moving forward and taking the next step. Again, traditional marketing doesn't tend to do that unless it might specifically say something about a guarantee or, you know, your satisfaction. We have a warranty, things like that make people feel comfortable. But notice that content marketing is more about building a relationship, establishing you as an authority and that you have an understanding of what, you know, this particular customer needs and that you have something that is probably a good fit for them. And just the act of doing that reduces their risk and makes them feel more comfortable. I wanted to make sure that you kind of understood overview-wise what is the difference between content versus traditional marketing and what are the goals of marketing in general.

[00:13:58] So, what I'd like to walk you through now is I hate to say a formula, so maybe we should just call it key considerations. I've got about a half a dozen key considerations that you should be thinking about as you're developing your own content marketing or your own content marketing strategy. Again, I hate to use the word formula. You'll find a lot of information out there that sounds like that. A lot of people who will say things like, oh your content marketing, you know, it should be this length and it should be this platform and it should be done at this time of day, and you should do it this often. I mean, those are all formulas that somebody has discovered works for them, but that may not work for you. So rather than, you know, push a formula on you, I thought maybe just gave you some key considerations. But again, you could look at it as a formula if you like that idea. So one consideration, number one, would be the topic and headline of your content marketing. The topic and the headline. Obviously the topic we need to go back to relevant subject matter, right? The topic should be things that are relative and useful and valuable to the audience that you're specifically targeting. The headline, just know that you're competing with a lot of other media for someone's attention. So, you know, headlines are important in terms of getting noticed and getting attention. Again, if you're not good at coming up with catchy things that get people's attention, then maybe that's something that you should seek some help on. But not only does the topic have to be relevant, the headline has to be interesting enough that it at least gets somebody's attention. So that's one consideration of about a half a dozen I'm going to give you is the topic and the headline. 

[00:15:42] Number two, the format and type. The format and type of your content marketing. And so what I'm referring to here are all the various ways that the content marketing can be put out there. So for instance, I'll just rattle off a bunch here: a video, a blog, an article, a quiz or an assessment, a social media post, a white paper, or an ebook, case study, an infographic. You're probably thinking of examples of these things that you've seen, a podcast is a form of content marketing. Again, I'll run through that list again quickly, cause I'm sure you weren't able to remember all of them, a quiz or assessment, a video, a blog, an article, a social media post, a white paper or an ebook, a case study, an infographic or a podcast. And I'm sure there's many more, those are just the ones that came to mind as I jotted it down. So you'll want to give some thought to, you know, what kind of format or type of content marketing do you want to use and will it be a combination of those things or will it just be one kind? That's part of this formula, so to speak. Ultimately, you want it to be something that is kind of easy to absorb. Something that's easy for people to take in. And so being kind of conversational in tone, you know, easy reading, basic reading level, you know, not using words and jargon that people don't understand. It needs to be something that you know, is probably written at a seventh or eighth grade level, honestly. And I'm not saying that to insult anybody's intelligence, but when you write things at a seventh or eighth grade level, it's very easy reading and that's kind of what gets people's attention. Nobody wants to read something that sounds really academic, where they have to have their dictionary nearby.

[00:17:30] All right. Third consideration would be the length. The length of this content marketing. And again, I've just given you lots of different ways that content marketing could be put out there. Basic suggestion with length is that less is more. Just know that people's attention spans are fairly short. You're competing for their attention with lots of other types of media that they're interacting with on a daily basis. So, when in doubt, you know, make it shorter.  Next consideration would be frequency. How often would you do this? Again, I'm going to go back to what I said earlier, consistency is important. There needs to be kind of something that people can count on in terms of a consistent thing that they can absorb. But quality over quantity. So don't get so hung up on this has to be perfect. It has to be exactly right. It has to be, you know, exactly what I wanted to say. It has to be professionally produced. It has to be, you know, on and on and on. The perfectionist comes out in us and we end up not doing anything because we're waiting for the right time or waiting for it to be perfect. It would be better that it was less frequent but high quality, than frequent and garbage, right. In other words, your frequency doesn't matter if it's not valuable and the quality isn't high. If the quality is high, people will kind of excuse you, so to speak for not being as frequent as they might like.

[00:18:44] All right. The next key consideration would be perspective. What perspective are you sharing in this content marketing? And again, I'm going to share a couple of ideas here. It can either be your perspective, or it could be the customer's perspective. If you're sharing your perspective, then obviously you need to talk or write about things that you care about, right? Because the things that you care about are probably things that you know a lot about, so you have expertise and you have some passion and enthusiasm for what you're sharing because these ideas are important to you. More often than not though, content marketing to be really effective needs to be from the customer's perspective. So that it's not really about you. So what are some of the things that you could ask to figure out? Well, if it's not about me, it's supposed to be about them. You know, how do I develop content that is about my audience? And so you want to give some consideration to things like, well, what would they want to know, right. So this is where you have to step aside from your perspective. This is what's so hard when you've been doing something for a really long time. You can't help but look at your business from your own perspective, as opposed to the perspective of the people that you're trying to serve. The perspective of the people that you're trying to do business with, they have a very different perspective of your work and how you do it and what it is than you do. So you kind of have to force yourself to ask questions like, well, what would they want to know? You know, if they weren't me, and they're just trying to make a buying decision about this business that I'm in, what would they want to know or what would they need to know? 

[00:20:32] Another question you could ask is, well, how might they be feeling? So, in other words, your content could be addressing not only things that they want or need to know, but even the feeling or emotional part of this decision about purchasing this product or purchasing this service. What would they type into Google? If somebody knew nothing about your product, what would literally be the kinds of things that they would type into Google to get information about your product? See, you would search with very different words because you already know what the jargon is. You already know what the language is, of your business and your industry. But your average person that you're trying to reach through content marketing probably doesn't have that expertise. And so they would use, you know, different language even. So when you ask yourself things like, well, what would they want to know and how might they be feeling and what would they type into Google or what keywords would they use if they were searching for information about what I offer, that gets you out of your perspective and your frame of mind and helps you create content that's from the customer's perspective.

[00:21:33] Okay. So just to recap, I've gone through five of these key considerations in creating content marketing. The first was topic and headline. The second was format and type. The third was length. The fourth was frequency. The fifth was perspective. The last point I'll make is transparency. I think the most effective content marketing is honest and authentic. You actually get to know a little bit, you actually get to feel like you're understanding and getting to know the company or the person that's creating the content marketing. So don't be hesitant to share a little bit of yourself, to be a little vulnerable, to risk being a little vulnerable, being honest and authentic. And I guess I'd add one more. I know I said there'd probably be six. I'm going to add what you could call number seven, or this is also potentially just an afterthought. I think content marketing needs to be not only consistent, but I think we need to think of it as an ongoing process. What do I mean by that? I came across this number the other day that really kind of surprised me. It was a recent study that basically highlighted that of the people who get a mortgage, as an example, and have a great experience. So this percentage of people who get a loan and say that they had a great experience, very few of them ever go back to that lender when they need another loan. It's under 20%. And that kind of made me think, why would people who had a great experience with a product or a service, why would such a small percentage of them go back to where they'd had that great experience the next time they need that product or service? Now, there could be a lot of reasons why that is and the survey didn't go into what are the reasons why they don't go back. But I would tend to think that one of the reasons is that you're no longer top of mind. You're no longer relevant. You're no longer useful. In other words, you might have used content marketing to get that business, to attract that customer and ultimately do business with them. But then once you kind of close the transaction, so to speak, the loan closed, then you're on to securing new business, new customers. And you're no longer really in contact with the people that said they had a great experience with you. So I think we need to re-think marketing as not just being an acquisition of new business, but the retention of existing relationships. And again, that's where content marketing, because you don't need to sell these people anymore. If somebody has already purchased your product or service, they're not going to want to get advertisements from you. They're no longer going to want you to be sending them things that sound like you're selling them, but to stay relevant, to stay useful and valuable and continue to send them things and push information out through content marketing that is engaging and useful, to me, that just sounds like a brilliant idea because they already liked doing business with you and you just need to stay top of mind, so that when they are ready to purchase again, they’ll at least consider you. And who's been helping them all along. Who's been there even years after they purchased the product or service. Who's still the one that keeps in contact with them? I think that would say alot. But so much marketing, especially traditional marketing, is always focused on just getting the customer. And so you have to just repeat that process over and over. And I think it's a lot harder to acquire new business than it is to keep existing business. I mean, even though existing customers may not purchase that often, especially something like a mortgage, right. They're not going to be getting a mortgage every year, but it's a whole lot easier to get them to come back and get another mortgage than it is to go find new people who need a mortgage. And I think content marketing is a way that you could do that as well. 

So there you have it. That is it for this episode. But as I always say at the end of these, these ideas are just the beginning not the end, right? Because we think that clarity leads to action, when in fact, it's action that leads to clarity. It's only when you put ideas into practice and use them will you really understand what they mean? So I encourage you, please take some of what you heard today to get the maximum return on your investment of time, put them into action, use them. That's where the real value for you is going to be. This is Blaine Rada with Arch MI, thank you for listening.

Outro

Arch Capital Group limited US mortgage insurance operation, Arch MI is a leading provider of private insurance covering mortgage credit risk. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Arch MI’s mission is to protect lenders against credit risk while extending the possibility of responsible homeownership to qualified borrowers. Arch MI’s flagship mortgage insurer, Arch mortgage insurance company is licensed to write mortgage insurance in all 50 states, the district of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit  ArchMI.com. Arch MI is a marketing term for Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance company, all rights reserved.

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