Civil War & Unrest

While we anxiously watch the civil unrest that engulfs our nation’s largest cities, another civil war wages on. Not on the streets of America, but in the hearts and minds of reverse mortgage originators. It is the tension created by conflicting desires that’s found in the very fiber of the human condition.

Today many reverse mortgage originators battle to balance bouts of frustration and pessimism with their deeply-held commitment to serve older homeowners. If you find yourself pulled between these two opposing forces read on.

Turn fear into an advantage

Nearly twenty years ago I found myself confronting one of my worst fears; being unable to provide for my family. I had taken the leap of faith in leaving a comfortable and salaried job to enter the world of commissioned sales. Even worse, I had chosen one of the most challenging occupations that promise constant rejection and uncertainty- the financial services industry. As our savings dwindled and our financial ‘D-Day’ approached I made the conscious decision to embrace my fears. What did I do?

First, I embarked on a focused professional reading campaign to improve my sales skills. Then I began to set benchmarks for my daily sales activities and schedule meetings with other successful agents to get their honest feedback and advice. The result? My career took off six weeks later. I learned you can harness fear to your advantage to push you to improve your skillset, broaden your network of influence

Know your limitations

Knowing where we are lacking is the key to self-improvement. Are you well-versed in the various ways you can structure a reverse mortgage and when it is best used? How comfortable are you in meeting with financial professionals and explaining how the HECM works and its potential application in retirement income planning? Are you struggling to be a confident and skilled public speaker?

Our shortcomings provide us an opportunity to expand our professional value and personal confidence or to team up. Find the resources necessary to overcome these limitations and diligently work to address each of them. Some limitations can be outsourced. If you work with a sales team learn to leverage each member’s unique skills to compensate where others may not excel. Years ago when I was doing seminar presentations I would divide our appointments based on the personality type of the homeowner. My colleague excelled with some types of borrowers that I wasn’t quite as effective with.

Surround yourself with believers

What you read, watch and listen to will affect you and more importantly your outlook. Add to that list, those you talk shop with. Focus on seeking out reasoned, realistic, yet sanguine perspectives. Think of your mental input as a diet; the more balanced it is the better the result.

The civil war in our mind has no end, but each of us can be better equipped to win more battles. What strategies will you put into practice?


Angel Booth June 23, 2020 at 9:54 am

I love this perspective Shannon! So many of my colleagues are interested in the HECM product, but are hesitant to get out of their comfort zone to embrace this “tool” that has helped thousands of elderly homeowners in need.

Shannon Hicks June 23, 2020 at 10:57 am

Thank you kindly, Angel!

jim carley June 23, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Excellent message about embracing your fears.
I appreciate your positive writing and encouragement.

jim carley June 23, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Keep it up!

Jim Davidson June 24, 2020 at 12:24 pm

As a “newbie” to mortgage origination (of any kind), I’ve found the (almost) instinctive dislike for reverse mortgages to be shocking. I’m surprised our industry veterans have not gone “frontal” with national voices like Dave Ramsey, who … for whatever reason, chooses to berate the product every time it’s discussed on his national broadcast. Thankfully, this blog and the video’s have been one of my go-to sources for inspiration. Selling these things (and then getting them closed) is not easy. I appreciate your work Shannon. Keep it up … we’re listening.

Shannon Hicks June 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm

Thank you for that Jim. I agree…a full one offense is needed. I appreciate your kind words.


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