Getting the Right Headshot Photo for RE Agents and Loan Officers

We’ve all seen and often chuckled at them. They’re everywhere. A poorly chosen headshot photo often leaves a first impression that’s simply too strong to overcome. (Insert mental image of a ‘busy professional’ on cell phone. Yikes.)

One of the trickiest aspects of getting the image is that the guidelines for a good headshot vary from one industry to another. A yoga instructor might be sending the right message with a well-done action shot, but how about a school administrator? For him or her, a traditional headshot featuring formal work attire likely is the safest, most effective choice.

Loan Officers and RE Agents have their own unique factors to consider when seeking a high-impact headshot photo.

Why is a Headshot So important?

There was a time, many years ago, when a RE Agent or Loan Officer might only see his or her headshot in a few different places: a flyer, a newspaper ad, and perhaps the Yellow Pages. That was about it.

Today, with the advent of Social Media, internet marketing, E-mail Campaigns, and other media, your headshot photo can be found in dozens of places. Here are just a few of the landing spots:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Zillow and other Real Estate platforms
  • Personal or Work Blog
  • Website
  • Online ads
  • Business cards
  • Billboards
  • Drip Emails
  • Co-Branded Flyers

The reach of these tools far exceeds anything that mortgage and Real Estate professionals have had at their disposal in the past. This is a wonderful benefit, but it also intensifies the importance of your headshot. A poor choice will be seen over and over again across a wide variety of media.

Recent studies have shown that face perception affect humans’ judgments about the people around them. A person’s face greatly affects how we see that person’s character, trustworthiness, aggressiveness, competence, strengths, weaknesses and ability to lead.

Are Low Payoff Activities Holding You Back

In the fast-paced Mortgage and Real Estate industries, it’s one thing to know what you should be doing to grow your business. It’s another thing to actually make it happen.

Many of the High-Payoff Activities that allow Loan Officers and RE Agents to thrive are based on simple, well-known principles and strategies. However, if you don’t work to build those best practices into HABITS, they will simply be the first tasks avoided when your day goes awry.

The very first step to adding more High Payoff Activities into your day is to address your current Low-Payoff Activities. Low Payoff Activities are tasks and actions that waste your time and decrease productivity. These are bad habits that need to be minimized, delegated, or completely avoided. How many of these Low-Payoff Activities are holding you and your Production back?  

Why Habit Formation Builds Changes that Last

Recently I wrote about the benefits of building and constantly replenishing our willpower. While boosting willpower helps improve performance, it (ideally) takes a back-seat to something even more significant: habit creation.

For a Realtor or Loan Originator, the habit formation process is one that drives lasting change, but is often misunderstood and underappreciated. Yet to close more transactions than you are today, you need to build and execute on better habits than those you currently have in place. It really is that simple.

Forming Habits Takes Commitment and Patience

Decades of research has helped us gain a much better understanding of how habits are born.  We can now define habits by saying, “They are actions triggered automatically in response to contextual cues that have been associated with their performance.” Wait, what does that mean?  Let’s keep going.

Initially, with habits, conscious repetition is vital, and this requires the use of willpower However, habits don’t begin with JUST repetition and an act of the will. Habit formation requires repetition combined with “contextual cues.” In other words, if you want to build the habit to go for a run early each morning, a contextual cue (i.e. visual reminder) might be to put your running shoes next to your bed. When you wake the next day and see the shoes, they provide a cue that helps begin the routine. As the routine is built, it becomes a habit, i.e. an automatic, nearly unthinking action.

Increasing Willpower to Improve Mortgage/RE Performance

Having a hard time picking up the phone to make another proactive Sales Call, and you’d rather check your Twitter feed instead? Is your willpower to make these important calls waning? Situations like this help us to see that willpower exists, and that more personal willpower is desirable. As we will see, the cultivation of willpower plus the removal of barriers that prevent success, equates to more productivity, profit and well-being for any Mortgage or Real Estate professional.

The first step to unlocking more willpower is making sure you have a firm grasp of what it is – and – why willpower seemingly abandons us when we need it most.

Defining Willpower

In the field of psychology, willpower often is thought of as “the ability to exert self-control.” However, the opposite of willpower might be a better frame of reference for today’s discussion. Merriam-Webster provides a lengthy list of antonyms, including two words that might strike a chord with you: indulgence and overindulgence.

For many, these familiar words manifest themselves over and over again in our lives, from mealtime, social media and exercise, to gossip and even sleep. Anything — even activities that normally are very beneficial — can become a drain on your life when overindulgence begins to outweigh willpower.

How Willpower Becomes Depleted

Much like when your car runs low on fuel, you can run low on willpower as you continuously strive to do what’s prudent. When you grow weary of the struggle, that’s when you’re most susceptible to slip-ups.

3 Keys to Maximizing Your Client Database

“Who do you know?” In sales, it’s a simple, powerful and often overlooked question. Knowing the right people can often provide a shortcut to increased production. But before you run out looking to meet new referral partners, perhaps you should consider how much business you are currently losing from the people you already know. An illustration:

Imagine bringing water from a river back to your campsite. After a strenuous half-mile walk, you realize there is a hole in your bucket, and you’ve lost much of that precious H20. How frustrating! Your once simple task has become much more difficult than it needed to be.

Most Loan Originators and RE Agents have a hole in their bucket as well. Out of the hole drains Lost Transactions from People We Know.

We’ve all been there. You’re in the grocery store and a good friend excitedly begins telling you about the house she recently bought. You feel flush. You’re flabbergasted and ask, “Why didn’t you call me?” The answers range from “I didn’t know that’s what you did for a living” to “I didn’t want to bother you.” Huge potential commission… gone. Issue? A hole in your bucket.

And if you know a lot of people, this hole in your bucket can mean you’re losing a lot of money. Let’s consider how expansive your existing database really is.

Back to Basics with the Handwritten Note

3 Steps to Make your Next Note More Personal

It’s easy to be blinded by bright shiny objects as we try and keep up with the constantly changing landscape of social media and online marketing.

Some “guru” is always touting the next big thing and it’s up to you to decide if it’s actually worth your time and attention.

One marketing strategy that has never lost its effectiveness is sending out handwritten note cards to past clients, referral partners, influencers, and potential mortgage/RE clients.

Old Is New Again 

Not too long ago, we all had empty email inboxes, while our mailboxes at home were overflowing.

Nowadays, the reverse is true. According to a study by, the average American worker sends and receives 121 emails per day and that number is expected to grow to 140 by 2018.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do email marketing, but focusing ONLY on email means you’ll be executing just like your competitors.

Jay Interviews Theresa Springer of Eagle Home Mortgage

This week I had the privilege of speaking with Theresa Springer of Eagle Home Mortgage.  Theresa is an experienced Originator and Sales Manager who brings us a wealth of knowledge in the areas of marketing, sales, efficiency, and relationships.

Jay’s Interview with Theresa Springer

In the interview, I asked Theresa to share a few of her habits and best practices that have helped her become a top producer in the mortgage industry.  We covered a range of topics, including Social Media strategies, building relationships with RE Agents, as well as how she overcomes objections.

Jay Interviews Michael Hanson of New York Life

I just finished my interview with Michael Hanson of New York Life, and I’m excited to share it with you. Michael was recently named the Pacific Agencies Partner of the Year for 2015, and in this interview, he shares exactly how he and his team achieved this honor.

In my discussion with Mike, we covered a variety of topics:  Sales, Networking, Time Management, Leadership, and more.  My favorite part of the interview was Mike telling his story of moving to Boise, knowing only five people in the whole city, and trying to figure out how in the world he was going to build a sustainable living in the Life Insurance Business.

Well… he did it, big time.

The Definitive Guide to Goal Setting for 2016

Use these tips to help set and achieve your goals this year

This time each year Loan Officers and RE Agents get really excited about their goals. Businesses have entire days dedicated to goal setting and planning out the perfect year. Entrepreneurs will take a trip or book a beautiful hotel room to get out of the normal day-to-day activities and focus solely on creating their goals and writing their dreams for the next 12 months.

The year begins to crawl by and the next thing you know, it’s March or May and not much has changed. The normal routine is comfortable and it’s easy to slide back into that old pattern.

You deserve more.  

Jay Interviews Nick Carpenter, Mortgage Marketing Master, Sales Clubhouse

Nick Carpenter is the owner of Sales Clubhouse, a full-service mortgage and real estate marketing company that offers done-for-you marketing solutions for LO’s and RE Agents.  Nick wrote a Guest Blog Post for PressOn this week providing 4 Simple Ways for LO’s to Use Paid Facebook Ads, and his article received some outstanding feedback.  I then met with Nick later in the week to interview him about how he helps Loan Officers with their marketing, and to talk about the steps required to build a successful online presence.

I spent about 20 minutes with Nick picking his brain and asking him questions about the best ways for Loan Officers and RE Agents to leverage the power of Social Media in their branding efforts.  In the interview, you’ll hear Nick and I discuss:

  • Why You Need an Online Presence, Especially if You Are Already Successful Offline
  • The #1 Mistake Loan Officer’s Make in Their Online Efforts