Arch MI
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.

Season 2, Episode 6: Become An Influencer

Season 2, Episode 6: Become An Influencer

June 22, 2020

03:24 - Blaine introduces today's theme, becoming an influencer. He talks about today's episode going a bit differently, there are paradigms involved with becoming an influencer. Blaine defines the word ‘paradigm’ and explains why it's significant.

 

06:21 - Blaine shares a bit of his bio in regards to influence. He talks about being a member of Mansa and being named America's Greatest Thinker from the annual event the Great American Think-Off. He talks about needing to be able to communicate and influence. Paradigm is brought up again, Blaine wants to share a few lessons learned leading up to and during his time in the event.

 

09:33 - Blaine talks about the Great American Think-Off and the question he wrote an essay to, ‘Competition or cooperation, what benefits society more?’

He found that there were three parts to influential communication, expertise, eloquence, and engagement. He briefly describes these words.

 

14:48 - Blaine walks through suggestions in all three categories and goes into the words in more detail. He hopes you find the advice he gives is considered uncommon and that you find value in it.

 

22:09 - Eloquence is broken down in this section. Eloquence is how to say something well. Blaine finds there to be another set of three words that help to do this. The three C’s are to be concise, confident and conversational.

 

25:30 - When talking about the last E, engagement, Blaine talks about how he needed to engage with the audience in order to do well in the Great American Think-Off.

 

30:01 - Blaine ends today's podcast by telling the story of when he was on Toast Masters, how moving the audience emotionally can instantly connect you to them. He shares another story on the word, ‘think’.

 

Thank you for listening.

Season 2, Episode 5: Lessons from the Courtroom

Season 2, Episode 5: Lessons from the Courtroom

June 8, 2020

03:28 - Blaine starts today's conversation with a disclaimer. He hopes to show how courtroom verdicts are like making loan decisions and shares the similarities between the two.

 

05:57 - A retired lawyer by the name of Gerry Spence is mentioned and Blaine gives some background information on Spence so he can bring him back into the conversation later.

 

07:28 - Blaine talks about an event called the Great American Think-Off and points out the traits and qualities the candidates represented in the event have are similar as those in the loan industry.

 

10:43 - Blaine mentions the essay portion of the event in which candidates are chosen in the first place for the Great American Think-Off. He wants to get across that there are three mental muscles at work here, and he would like for you to work them out as well. Work on being able to pick a lane, back it up and appreciate the other side.

 

18:26 - Gerry is brought back into the discussion along with the idea of winning exceptions. In these cases of winning exceptions, Blaine noticed Gerry has two traits that translate into his line of business, reasoning and documentation. He further ties in the idea of courtroom verdicts being like making loan decisions.

 

20:23 - Blaine wraps up today's podcast with key takeaways, plus the thought-provoking story of Baby M. This story highlights the processes in trying to make the best possible decisions. Blaine finishes with a quote by French Essayist, Joseph Joubert, “The aim of an argument or of discussion should not be victory but progress.”

 

Thank you for listening.

Season 2, Episode 4: The 9 Ps of Professionalism

Season 2, Episode 4: The 9 Ps of Professionalism

May 18, 2020

03:10 - Our host, Blaine Rada, introduces today’s theme: The Nine P’s of Professionalism.

After much research, Blaine has devised a way to define what it means to be a professional in a sense of a salesperson and shares it with the audience.

 

06:13 - Blaine covers his first category along with the first three P’s, Positive, Passionate, and a People Person. He directs these words beyond what's already obvious.

 

09:24 - Category number two is explored along with the next three P’s, Persistent, Polite and Patient. Blaine gives more context to these words as well to show the importance before you're tempted to dismiss them altogether.

 

14:12 - Blaine shares some insight on what happens when compassion and kindness are expressed, leading to category number three along with our last three P’s, Keep Promises, Anticipate Problems and having a Flexible Personality. He explains that these last three are not difficult but easy to not do.

 

19:31 - Blaine talks about our final ‘P’ and breaks it down by using the words speed and temperature to simplify how to have a flexible personality.

 

23:05 - Key takeaways on professionalism and a recap of our three categories, Blaine asks to consider these nine P’s and as always to take a step, tell a friend and talk with Arch.

 

Thank you for listening.

Season 2, Episode 3: Growing Realtor Relationships

Season 2, Episode 3: Growing Realtor Relationships

May 4, 2020

04:28 - Blaine introduces today's topic, growing Realtor relationships. He explains why relationships with Realtors are important in today's world and how to grow or enhance these relationships with new or existing Realtors.

08:02 - Blaine goes into the three things Realtors would say they need from a mortgage lender, and what the relationship between Realtor and lenders should look like.

12:37 - Blaine gets into the nitty gritty of the ten specific things Realtors want from a lender. He wants to emphasize not having one of these qualities is in no way a dealbreaker, this is just what Realtors would love to see in a lender to comfortably do business with them, plus one additional outcome of these types of healthy Realtor/lender relationships.

23:14 - Blaine goes through a five-part framework for selecting and building relationships he likes to call The Five A's. Aim, Analyze, Approach, Appointment and Assess.

30:09 - Blaine talks the audience through an exercise in imagining your ideal Realtor. He asks to have three questions in mind, this goes hand in hand with figuring out how to build the five-part framework.

33:43 - Blaine reminds us of the importance of keeping a relationship with listing agents and also a few ideas on sealing the bond with a lender.

Thank you for listening.

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Season 2, Episode 2: 12 Qualities of Top Loan Officers

Season 2, Episode 2: 12 Qualities of Top Loan Officers

April 20, 2020

03:59 - Blaine introduces you to today's topic, The 12 qualities of top loan officers. After much speculation and research, Blaine has discovered twelve traits every top officer has in common. This episode is going to explore them all.

08:44 - The first quality is that they love a challenge and two, they attend closings. Blaine explains how this displays professionalism and how a closing should be viewed as a celebration. He also gives advice on the stops you should take if you're not able to attend a closing.

12:12 - The third trait is that a top loan officer is a good communicator. This sounds very basic so Blaine shares some examples to put it into context.

15:16 - Trait numbers four and five are explained and that is that they are competitive and use a database. Blaine explains the use of healthy competition and a great analogy to expand on number 5, as well as what they don't use their databases which work in their favor.

19:25 - Number six, they are disciplined and seven, they are experts in not only the role of being a loan officer, but they have an extended understanding of other related roles.  Number eight, a top loan officer is a life-long learner. They are interested in learning no matter how good they are. Nine, self-motivation, and ten, they are conscious of their professional posture. Blaine explains that this is not in the physical sense, but they perceived posture others have regarding them.

26:04 - The eleventh trait Blaine has noticed in these officers is that they are relationship builders, not because of the obviousness of the skill but the urgency of the bond. And lastly, number twelve. A top loan officer is that they enjoy serving. He explains a few specific examples in these loan officers.

28:13 - Closing thoughts and a quick rundown of all twelve of the qualities of top loan officers. As always, remember to take a step, tell a friend and talk with Arch.

Thank you for listening.

Season 2, Episode 1: The 3 Ms of Marketing

Season 2, Episode 1: The 3 Ms of Marketing

April 6, 2020

Podcast Shownotes

S2E1

 

03:24 - Blaine introduces today's theme, becoming an influencer. He talks about today's episode going a bit differently, there are paradigms involved with becoming an influencer. Blaine defines the word ‘paradigm’ and explains why it's significant.

 

06:21 - Blaine shares a bit of his bio in regards to influence. He talks about being a member of Mansa and being named America's Greatest Thinker from the annual event the Great American Think-Off. He talks about needing to be able to communicate and influence. Paradigm is brought up again, Blaine wants to share a few lessons learned leading up to and during his time in the event.

 

09:33 - Blaine talks about the Great American Think-Off and the question he wrote an essay to, ‘Competition or cooperation, what benefits society more?’

He found that there were three parts to influential communication, expertise, eloquence, and engagement. He briefly describes these words.

 

14:48 - Blaine walks through suggestions in all three categories and goes into the words in more detail. He hopes you find the advice he gives is considered uncommon and that you find value in it.

 

22:09 - Eloquence is broken down in this section. Eloquence is how to say something well. Blaine finds there to be another set of three words that help to do this. The three C’s are to be concise, confident and conversational.

 

25:30 - When talking about the last E, engagement, Blaine talks about how he needed to engage with the audience in order to do well in the Great American Think-Off.

 

30:01 - Blaine ends today's podcast by telling the story of when he was on Toast Masters, how moving the audience emotionally can instantly connect you to them. He shares another story on the word, ‘think’.

 

Thank you for listening.

Episode 6: Transform Your Business (and your life)

Episode 6: Transform Your Business (and your life)

January 13, 2020

Podcast Shownotes

Episode 6

 

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 (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.

 

---------------------

 

00:30 - Welcome to the Arch MI Podcast! Blaine Rada is back to share some insight and ideas about sales and the mortgage industry, in which he has spent over 30 years. These episodes all have a sales theme to them, and these sales tactics can be applied anywhere to help you stand out as a unique provider in an oversaturated market.

 

2:40 - Blaine likes to start by giving the foundation of his view on sales, which is: selling is not just about getting the sale. It’s actually about finding if you are the best fit for the customer. Blaine truly believes that if you seek to be of service and value to your clients, you will find that you have plenty of business.

 

3:25 - Today’s topic is a bit of a departure from Blaine’s norm. The conversation today is grounded in the concept of transformation and how it affects or is applied to our personal and professional lives. Transformation can seem intimidating but it can actually be empowering.

 

5:18 - Blaine recalls a quote by a motivational speaker: “You don’t ever have to be the same after today except by choice.” 

 

5:50 - Blaine shares a significant experience - taking the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago - that he found transformational. A lot of research, heart, and risk went into this journey, and this is just Blaine’s way of pushing his boundaries, finding out who he is, and realizing his spiritual intention. This really made Blaine think about his why.

 

11:40 - So, what does this mean and how does it relate to you? Blaine asks you to think about what your intention is, what is your why? How are you pursuing your own transformation in life, personally and professionally? 

 

12:05 - Blaine is going to highlight some moments in his journey that carry some significant teachings that actually tie into doing good business, because these are universal life lessons. 

13:00 - Blaine dives into Day 1 of Camino de Santiago, the difficulties he faced on this physically challenging day, and the lessons he had to learn as he started his journey. 

 

19:23 - When Blaine found himself alone and worn down, his strength to keep going was renewed by fellow walkers that he encountered before. From this, he learned that you never know how a comment or random encounter may change a person, but can also change you. It showed how much we as humans really need and depend on each other. Blaine uses this example to ask us: How do you act when you reach the end of your limit? How are you acting as the lifeboat for others when they have hit their end?

 

23:43 - Blaine skips ahead to Day 12, which he remembers as Sometimes People Are Jerks. Before a 10-mile stretch of nothing (no towns, stores, food, water, etc.), Blaine restocked on all his essentials and had a bad sense from the store owner. On the stretch, he managed to find an “oasis” for travellers to buy supplies and rest, but received an unfriendly welcome there. Blaine’s ugly thoughts of retaliation caught him off guard and made him evaluate his experience. 

 

28:24 - Fast forward to Day 20, the day that it was Blaine’s turn to be a jerk. After 12 hours of walking and trouble finding a place to stop for the day, Blaine was faced with some family issues that he couldn’t address that night. After finally connecting with his wife, they decided that he should continue on his pilgrimage, even though he later discovered that it hurt his partner. The lesson he took away from this was how we handle adversity can define us or destroy us. How do we react and handle life when it hits us?

 

33:35 - Blaine recounts a day walking through a mountain storm to get to the Cruz de Ferro. It was a decision he made in order to give himself the space to create a meaningful and encouraging experience that was deeply personal.

 

35:51 - The last day, Day 25, the end of his journey. The reality of what Blaine had done hit him, but he also realized that the recipe for completing the Camino de Santiago was easy: he just had to do it. This was a huge commitment that made Blaine realize that if you want to accomplish something amazing, you have to subtract some other things from your life. 

 

37:50 - What did this change in Blaine? First, he actually enjoys walking now. Second, he gained some perspective that only a personal journey can bring. Third, Blaine wrote a book about this experience, which he never imagined would be something he would do. All proceeds from his book, From Sore Soles to a Soaring Soul: Changing My Life One Step at a Time on the Camino De Santiago, go back to taking care of the Camino!

 

40:18 - This is the point where Blaine usually recaps the takeaways and makes a call to action for listeners. But today, he’s leaving that up to you - you are the one who decides how transformation happens in your life. 

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