Eliminating Friction – Most Important Value Proposition?

The avoidance of “friction” is becoming one of the most important value propositions a business can offer. Uber, Amazon, PayPal, Venmo, iTunes, Instacart, TaskRabbit, and ZipRecruiter are great examples of businesses that exploded solely b/c they eliminated friction (they made shopping, securing services, and making payments vastly easier). Even more traditional companies have mastered eliminating […]Read More

JVM’s Hiring – The Most Talented People in The World :)

We are often asked how we so consistently foster such great client experiences. And while it is partly a result of our training, systems and culture, it is mostly b/c we hire extraordinarily talented people. And right now, b/c we are growing so quickly, we are aggressively looking for additional qualified candidates. Our current compensation […]Read More

Post Close Client Touches – Homebot Part II

“Hey Jay, Just wanted to let you know that I love this tool. Truth is I actually look forward to it. I like the perspective. Really good business idea. Keep it coming. Thanks! Nick” The above quote is one of many similar comments we get from our past clients in regard to Homebot. I blogged about […]Read More

Rethinking Yelp – Why We Hate Them and Love Them

Here is an irony – some of the worst reviews on Yelp are of Yelp. They average two stars, and you can see them here. Credit to Yelp for not filtering them. WHY WE HATE YELP We hate Yelp b/c they seem to randomly filter our best reviews, they charge a fortune for their advertising […]Read More

When “Pa” Didn’t Wear Underwear; Authenticity In Marketing

My daughter recently had me read a fascinating book called Prairie Fires. It was basically the “true story” about Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of all the “Little House” books. It turns out that the “Little House” books were almost entirely fictional and just carefully edited for mass read appeal; they were all about “a […]Read More

Digital Marketing Is NOT What You Think It Is

We work with an agent who closed 140 transactions over the last year, totaling over $100 million in sales. And when you google her, she literally dominates Page 1 of the search results, with everything popping up – Yelp, Google Reviews, Zillow, Reach 150, Realtor.com, Google Business Info, LinkedIn, her website, etc. Is this the […]Read More

Marketing Person or Someone in the Trenches On Your IT Team?

FINTECH COMPANY FORGETS TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS A close friend of ours was the Chief Product Officer at a prominent fintech mortgage lender in Silicon Valley. The firm was very impressive, consisting of about 70 people, 28 full-time engineers and a war-chest full of VC money (about $70 million). They used all that money and all […]Read More

Marketing With Videos – Easier and More Effective Than You Think

ARIZONA’S TALLEST TREE Amanda Lee from our office recently took a Facebook Marketing class, and the teacher, Bill Hillestad, highlighted a prodigy of his teaching named Chris Prickett. Chris is a Realtor in Anthem, AZ who quickly dominated his target market b/c of his effective video marketing via Facebook. His videos are not professionally produced […]Read More

American Girl Dolls; If Only Founder Had Listened to Market Research!

When I took my daughter to NYC a few years ago, the only thing more painful than sitting through Matilda and Annie was visiting the American Girl doll store :). American Girl is amazing b/c parents are willing to pay $200 for simple dolls and accessories. And, I might have missed that entire experience if the founder […]Read More

“Sticky Notes” Vs. CRMs; CRMs a MUST; CRMs for Realtors

Heejin met with a very successful loan officer last week whose Customer Relations Management (CRM) is sticky notes :). B/c he does not use CRM software (1) he loses leads; (2) he cannot track leads; (3) he cannot contact his database (costing him more business); and (4) his life is far busier and more stressful. […]Read More

Beware of Fake Reviews! Amazon Suing Fake Reviewers; We Like Yelp

When we first started requesting Yelp reviews, almost all of them (over 80 in all) were filtered and are still not shown. This is b/c of Yelp’s algorithms. We were very frustrated at the time, but are now happy with this b/c we think this helps to ensure that Yelp’s reviews are authentic. We love […]Read More

Everyone Needs to Differentiate Themselves; More Than Just “Service”

Business school professors constantly harp on the need for brands to differentiate themselves before they can grow. BMW, for example, differentiates by focusing on technology and performance. Other brands that differentiate themselves include Lush (makeup, pure ingredients, corporate responsibility); Airstream (trailers; cool, retro designs); and Whole Foods (groceries, “whole” foods, corporate responsibility; green). Differentiation of […]Read More

People Expect Responses Within 1 Hour; Simplest Advice: Call Back

One of the biggest boosters for our business was simply setting up systems to ensure that every email and phone call receives a concrete response within 60 minutes. We learned also that the responses need to be from somebody who is trained and seasoned as well; the responses cannot be “canned” or from an untrained […]Read More

High Pressure Sales Cultures – Counter Productive; Painful Too

I just listened to a great Planet Money Podcast about Wells Fargo’s brutal sales culture.  Planet Money – Wells Fargo Hustle The hosts interview a young woman who worked in the branch in the corporate headquarters building in San Francisco, right under the nose of the CEO (who recently played “dumb”). She was forced to […]Read More

Diamonds In Our Backyard; Sales Stats Important

“Diamonds in our own backyard” refers to the parable about a poor man who sells his home so he can go seek his fortune elsewhere, not realizing that there were actually diamonds already buried in his backyard. The parable illuminates how so many of us look outside our industry or area to find the next […]Read More

Established Brands Unnecessary; Upstarts Use Reviews; Yelp Obsession

Heejin and I spent most of the weekend watching “L2 Inc” videos on YouTube, and it wasn’t just b/c we are geeks (OK – that probably is the reason). BUT – the videos are excellent b/c they are short (3 minutes), and extremely informative and entertaining. They are also invaluable for every business in 2016. […]Read More

New Website Launches Today – Finally! And Frankly – It’s Awesome!

As the oldest guy in the office, I rightfully get made fun of for a lot of things. This included our very dated website that I helped create back in 2008. Fortunately, making fun of Jay’s website is now off the table, as we are launching our new website with much fanfare today. Creating a […]Read More

Tracking All Referrals and Leads; Necessity and Service

We often have Realtors reach out to us to inquire about referrals they sent our way. Years ago, we’d get back to them only after combing through our notebooks and piles of sticky notes :). Now days, however, we promptly send them full reports with the name, phone number and email address of every referral […]Read More

146 Five-Star Yelps – Responsiveness Is Recurring Theme

We recently notched our 146th Five-Star Yelp Review – unfiltered that is; we have at least another 80 or so that are filtered b/c the reviewers are not “frequent Yelpers.” In any case, one of the recurring themes throughout all of our reviews (on Yelp, Zillow, website, etc.) is our responsiveness. People want fast answers […]Read More

Customers Are Like Spouses; Way Easier to Keep The Ones You Have

Heejin often jokes that she only keeps me around b/c dating is way too much work :). I thought of this when I heard Joe Polish say that customers are like spouses; it is way less work to keep the ones you have. Many business owners don’t understand this at all, as they focus all […]Read More

“Dear Ms. Crabapple, We Will Miss You. Love, Herb;” 3 Lessons

Ms. Crabapple was a Southwest Airlines Customer who complained in a letter after every flight; she didn’t like the lack of meals, assigned seating, first class, etc. When Southwest’s founder, Herb Kelleher, saw all the letters, he penned this famous response: “Dear Ms. Crabapple, We will miss you, Love Herb.” We love this story b/c […]Read More

No Loan Officers; No “High Drive” Salespeople at JVM; Selling Has Changed

Years ago, Heejin employed a huge stable of loan officers who were mostly men with a lot of testosterone, attitude and drive. She reigned over them with an iron fist out of pure necessity to keep the company in line. Her managerial exploits were both legendary and comical, as she was frequently seen dressing down […]Read More

Patience; Non-Stop Marketing; Long Sales Cycles

In 2013, Heejin attended a competitor’s (friends of hers) office warming party and of course had her marketing hat on. She befriended a very dynamic title company rep who started to refer Realtors our way in 2014. We had great initial meetings with many of those Realtors in 2014, but they initially remained loyal to […]Read More

“Responsiveness;” Most Important, Simplest But Hardest

We used to have a business coach who told us to answer all emails and phone calls twice per day at designated times. That worked well in the 1990s but not anymore. A borrower just called me by accident (he was looking for Diandra), and raved for five minutes about how much he appreciated JVM’s […]Read More

Avg. Tech Wage: $240,000; Must Copy Realtors With Borrower Summaries

A friend emailed me a statistic that said the average wage at tech companies in San Mateo County is $240,000. This is amazing but not that surprising to us b/c so many of our borrowers work for tech companies. This is important to us as lenders and Realtors b/c these borrowers need to be treated […]Read More

Millennials Are Coming/Are Here; Will Dominate Market; Be Ready

I have written several times about the need to be ready for “Millennials,” (young adults who came of age around the year 2000). They are here, and if you are not ready, your business will die. To be ready, you need to be especially tech and social media (Yelp, Facebook, etc.) savvy, and you need […]Read More

Prompt Responses To All Emails And Phone Calls – Key to Success?

Last week, Heejin and I ran into a past client who is a CFO for a large equity fund. He is an extremely successful and sophisticated man and the first thing he raved about was how timely and professional our response times were. This delighted us b/c “timely responses” are a significant part of our […]Read More

Speed To Lead; 24/7 Availability; Cancun Too

Heejin and I were in Cancun last week chaperoning 30 high school seniors, and I learned three things: (1) I am a bad chaperone; (2) I will never chaperone again; and – this is the best thing – (3) there are saltwater crocodiles in the area that occasionally run out and grab unsuspecting golfers (they […]Read More

Importance of Post Close Survey To All Clients

We send “post-close surveys” to every borrower, and they are invaluable for two reasons: (1) they let us see what we do well, and what we need to fix; and (2) they allow the occasional (very occasional) disgruntled borrower to vent to just us, and NOT on social media. We highly recommend survey monkey. This […]Read More

Calling Listing Agents – We Do It Often; We Like To Do It; It Works

We got several borrowers into contract this week only after speaking with the listing agent at length. B/c we fully pre-underwrite and pre-approve every one of our borrowers, we know them well and we can tout them with the utmost confidence. We love calling listing agents b/c it helps everyone, and it is often the […]Read More

We Speak Spanish (Again), And Italian, And Korean, And Mandarin

Our newest team-member, Heidi Ameli, speaks both Spanish and Italian fluently. This is very handy b/c of the hordes of Italian speaking borrowers coming our way. OK, we’ve never had an Italian speaking borrower, but now we’re ready! More importantly, Heidi speaks Spanish to perfection and we actually do have a lot of Spanish speaking […]Read More

No Mas Grammar Police!! Yes To Email Etiquette Though

The WSJ had a great article on Sunday about the need to eliminate grammar snobbery from our communication. The article hit home b/c I used to be a grammar snob – until Sunday. The point of the article was this: a few split infinitives and dangling prepositions are OK as long people know what you […]Read More

Our 136th 5-Star YELP Review Says It All; Yelp Gets Business!

We received our 136th Yelp Review yesterday, and it pretty much says it all. We have 48 reviews “unfiltered” and 88 “filtered” (that don’t show). We love Yelp b/c it is authentic (we can’t write the reviews), and it clearly gets us business. How’s your Yelp? Yesterday’s Review from Melissa A.: Having the team at […]Read More

Corefact for Postcard Mailings; JVM’s Graphic Designer; We Help

We have an extraordinary in-house graphic designer (Lindsey Hansen) who designs beautiful postcards and who knows Corefact inside and out. Corefact is a printing and mailing company, specializing in real estate. If you are planning on doing any mass or repeat mailings, we think Corefact is the simplest, easiest, cheapest and most effective way to […]Read More

On-Line Lender Horror Story – Great Quote From Realtor

The below is a quote from a top Realtor whose borrower did NOT use JVM (b/c we told him the truth and not what he wanted to hear). “What a nightmare… The guy [the other lender] took over two weeks just to get the appraisal ordered. I think he was new and didn’t know what […]Read More

JVM’s Lead Incubation Center- We Call Leads, as “Your Team”; Success!

Our Lead Incubation Center is having extremely good luck contacting leads for our Realtor partners. Our Lead Incubators use a carefully planned script to contact Zillow, Trulia and Database Leads, and their success rate has been surprisingly high. Our Lead Incubators introduce themselves as part of the team of the Realtor who provided the data. […]Read More

We Are Open Today; Content For YOUR Database Touches

We get content and database touches from most of the Realtors we work with; we love getting it b/c it is often interesting and we like to see what everyone is up to. Last week, however, I received some particularly good content from a Realtor about current market conditions, lower rates, higher values, etc. I […]Read More

You MUST Have a Database – Email, Street Address, Phone Number

We met with a Realtor a few weeks back who ruefully mentioned numerous transactions that he lost out on because he was not in touch with his past buyers and sellers. It was painful to listen to b/c staying in touch requires so little effort once you have a database set up. We hear every […]Read More

Sell, Sell, Sell; More Sales Cures All; We Are All SalesPeople

The WSJ had a great article Monday about “Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make.” One woman talked about forgetting to sell; she discussed focusing so much on her current projects and operations that she forgot to prospect for future business. She learned from this, saying: “Sales is the lifeblood of the business. Always sell.” When Mark Cuban bought […]Read More

Zillow/Trulia; Digital Age; Social Media; Yelp: Are You Ready?

Last week alone, we had four borrowers say that they prefer to work via email alone (instead of face to face or via telephone). Yesterday, we had a borrower and a Realtor tell us they prefer to communicate via text. All of these borrowers vetted us (checked us out) via our website and/or YELP before […]Read More

Happy 4th Of July from JVM Lending

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY FROM EVERYONE AT JVM LENDING! Jay Voorhees, Alex Chan, Chingchi Yu, Jenna Armstrong, Neetu Machaiah, Sean Yates, Tiffany Nordgren, Diandra Prutton, Erin Piper, Denise Truono and Lindsey Hansen Jay Voorhees Founder/Broker | JVM Lending (855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646Read More

Another Raving Fan Testimonial? Our Website Is Plastered With Them

We think authentic testimonials are the best proof that a lender or any business can perform as promised. Our website is literally plastered with them. We get them every week in fact. I would be suspicious of any business that cannot readily provide an abundance of authentic and recent testimonials. Check us out at: https://www.jvmlending.com/meet-our-clients […]Read More

CRM Software Is an Absolute Must; Pays for Itself Very Quickly

In 2008, we spent $65,000 on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software program and it paid for itself within a year. The CRM program allows us to (1) organize ALL of our client contacts and data in one source; (2) contact ALL of our clients constantly with a single click; (3) track all of our […]Read More

Twilight Open Houses; Inviting Neighbors; Huge Turnout

Many people mistakenly believe Open Houses need to be held only on weekends. One of our Realtors, however, recently held open a home on a Friday evening and had a phenomenal turnout. She generated enormous interest in her listing, getting multiple offers far over list price. The other “trick” to getting a huge turnout is […]Read More

Lead Follow Up Via Database Management

This is a reminder that we log EVERY referral into our database tied to the source of the referral. We then update the referral continuously via both phone calls and emails. We categorize all Referrals as “Stage One” referrals in our database until they send us their documents for review. We categorize them as “Prequals” […]Read More

Best Testimonial Ever? Probably Not b/c We Get So Many

We get a lot of positive testimonials; we thought we’d share one that came over yesterday, as it says much about what we strive for at JVM. It is gratifying to be on a team dedicated to doing such excellent work. I have heard numerous times from the agents and escrow how capable and responsive […]Read More