It’s mid-winter, as announced by the snow-covered banks of the river, and the crisp scents. The sun just edged over the nearby mountain range to reveal the river’s territorial command. Much life awakens to begin the day’s labors … and lessons. Streaming across the screen of my mind is a view of that shy, alpine tail-water I earlier discovered. What I like to call my, “secret fishing hole.” Not because it’s unknown to other anglers … it is … but because its many opportunities are not known. These are its secrets.
Given the proximity of this majestic river to several major metropolitan cities, it’s worked really hard by many that enjoy casting a line. One would think it has long ago revealed all of its resources to its many demanding disciples. But it hasn’t ... and never will … because it changes. It evolves. Like so much in life. Yes, I love to fly-fish. Perhaps you share this passion with me … or will … or should?!
It has so many things to give and teach us. Like you, my personal- and business-world is challenging. At times, even daunting. Often exhausting. The whirlwind of running a fast-growing national mortgage fintech firm, and raising three ambitious kids, makes the peace generously offered by fishing an ever-welcomed friend. But a friend that asks before it gives.
Please join me for an adventure … let’s go fishing!
I’m going to share with you some of what I’ve learned about catching fish … and mortgages!
Our destination: the Provo river, about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City. Its blue-ribbon reputation reaches across the globe, especially for its dense population of powerful and ravenous hit-like-a-freight-train brown trout.
The fish here have PhDs in what is real food and what is not. So getting them to feed on an imitation-fly requires some formidable skills: what the river asks of us before it does its giving. We must know its entomology … the “bugs” that compose the smorgasbord of natural food-offerings. Then we need to craft (or purchase) something made of hooks, feathers and threads that look like these bugs. And finally, present them as if from-nature with a talented cast. If we do all of this, we should be given opportunities to catch fish! Maybe.
Getting a prospect to rise to our offering is but the first part of a very complicated process: the hook must be skillfully set; the battle waged between opposing forces; and then gently reeled in for a successful landing.
It goes without saying that to be consistently successful in any endeavor, one must invest considerable time in ongoing study and practice. For “weekend warrior” fishing-enthusiasts like me, this can be elusive … there are so many competing demands on everyone's time. And virtually everything in this day and age is complex and dynamic! Anyway, after our up-and-down hike from where we parked our car, we've arrived at my hole-of-secrets … with whatever skills and tools we have … and it’s time to fish!
We learned that the water-flow from the dam dropped slightly last week. This should be good for our “luck.” Knowledge often improves luck! We spot a large, girthy Brown rising to the conveyer belt of winter insects flowing into the tail-water. Its coloring suggests a male … and he’s hungry!
Given my current knowledge and experience, I think a Buffalo Midge is a good choice to “match the hatch.” I tie one on to a very light tippet, and gently cast it about 7 feet up from where he’s feeding. A near perfect presentation that floats right over his nose. But no rise … no interest. My techniques were good, even exceptional. What went wrong? I gently retrieve the line so as to not spook him. All trout are very wary! Waiting a minute or so, and observing his feeding rhythms, I cast again. This time with a strong reach-mend to insure there is no drag on the float of the fly. (“Drag” almost always results in rejection.) Nothing, again!
This happens five more times. Frustrating, to say the least! I seem to be doing everything right, but it’s not working. Have you ever had this experience?
We choose a new bug, and you tie it on. We review the checklist: stay hidden ... no shadows; don’t slap the line; the drift needs to be drag-free. You cast. It’s a good one! But nothing. Again. Nothing. And again, and again, and again.
And now our prospect has stopped feeding. Our opportunity gone. Disappointed … and unsure of our errors … we hike back to the car … reminded of the old Caribbean (and sales) wisdom, “ Every day is a fishing day. But not every day is a catching day!”
Like everyone, my life has been a collection of successes and failures. Something I've intimately learned from wading through it all is expert-advice greatly improves one's chances for success.
Given our fruitless experience on the river, it’s clear we would benefit from some guidance before investing in another outing.
I advise we hire a specialist … a professional guide skilled in the nuances and market of the Provo River. I’ve hired guides in the past, and they've almost always enhanced my success. And taught me something new and more effective! Yet, oddly … and I think for most of us … I have a deep reluctance to engaging others to show me how to do things I feel I'm fairly schooled about ... reasonably skilled at.
Why do we do this?
I believe that evolutionary “competition for scarce resources” has imbedded in all of us an instinct to keep available resources ... and the successful techniques and processes needed to harvest them … proprietary. Summarily, those that control access survive!
So what does all this have to do with marketing mortgages you might ask? Well, just about everything … but I’ll narrow it down to my top three:
#1 You can’t catch fish without your line in the water. This is universally true with any new skill you are trying to learn. We learn by doing … getting started is the first step.
#2 Avoid the big fishing holes that have been flogged by every other angler. There seems to be an over saturation of mortgage-marketing offers in the world, to a limited number of candidates. This problem is going to take some creativity. Trial-and-error is hardly ever the path of least resistance, but it can pay off in spades.
#3 If the fish aren’t rising, you’re not going to get them to take your midge off the top. The same is true with the population at large. If they’re not in the market for a home loan, don’t waste your valuable money sending them post cards and social media ads. Our studies have shown us that this will only alienate your brand. Focus your sales efforts to those who are listening … those that are “in market.”
Back to the fly-fishing story …
Once I hired a guide, I was getting strikes every fourth or fifth cast. It was a night-and-day difference. The next problem I had to solve, was to set the hook. I had gotten used to drifting flies down a run … not setting strikes. I was not in the mindset of what to do next, but this was a good problem to have. it took me a few minutes to get over the paralysis of a strike, but I figured it out.