About Skip Willcox
Skip has been in the mortgage business since graduating from the University of Georgia almost 20
Years ago. Skip continues to enjoy success as an Account Executive for Crescent Mortgage, Founder and Host of The Big Skip Energy Podcast and Owner of Kairos Sales Group, a sales and business development coaching/training company. When not working, Skip enjoys sports and spending time with his family.
Our focus is primarily around leadership and how growing and developing your team supports the bottom line and growth of your company. Within this framework, what lessons have you learned over the course of your career?: Always invest in yourself, when you find people you trust then make your circle around them, never let fear dictate your actions.
In this episode, Steve Scanlon and Skip Willcox discuss
- What it takes to be in the mortgage industry, especially in today's changing economy.
- What is the importance of adaptability?
- How to create meaningful relationships.
- Self-development is the driving force behind every business and industry.
- Be adaptable, not stagnant.
- Establishing a relationship is a two-way street.
“A life that's not examined isn't worth living.” – Skip Willcox
Connect with Skip Willcox
- Big Skip Energy Podcast - https://www.buzzsprout.com/1942663
- LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/skip-willcox-amp-a6a80a50/
- Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/skipwillcox/?hl=en
Connect with Steve Scanlon
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-scanlon-lizard/
- Website Rewire, Inc.: Transformed Thinking
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to the podcast here
Skip Willcox - A Willingness To Examine
Welcome to the Insight Interviews. As with all other days that I think I come in, I get pretty excited about my guests. I feel like I have a little bit of a doppelganger if I could use a German word. A gentleman is with me and I've been looking forward to this for a while. I'm not sure how this is going to go. Just a kindred spirit, someone that I can't wait to share with you. Also, without further ado, Skip Willcox, say hi to the Insight Interview world.
It is so good to be on your show, Steve. I was very excited when you reached out. We had a chance to talk for a few minutes and you invited me to your show. I'm looking forward to this. This is going to be fun.
I'm going to do a thing that they teach you in journalism school, which by the way, I took no classes in journalism. In journalism, they teach you not to bury the lead. When you're writing a thing, don't bury the lead. Don't tell people what it's about, like way into the article. I think I'll do that now. At the end of this, Skip, we want people.
I'm going to ask him some questions and that you have some insights that you're not hearing advice. You're not hearing us tell you what to do. We're not going to come up with five easy ways to make $1 million. Rather as we engage that you would hear a guy of this quality, this caliber and this level of passion for what he does and it would draw out insights in you, that's what I'm hoping happens in the show. What do you think about that, Skip?
I got excited about the five ways to make $1 million. If you do come up with that, then I'm interested now. Seriously, I am very much looking forward to this. I hope that whoever reads this will be able to have at least a couple of takeaways that will help improve upon whatever their endeavors happen to be.
That's great. I do have the five ways. Do you want to cover that quickly and we can be done?
Let's go through these steps. Step one, work hard for 30 years. After that, I don't know what the other steps are. Maybe invest wisely and think smart, but I laugh because most of the time when people are looking for those steps, they want it quick, easy and painless. That's not usually how that works.
It's weird, isn't it? It's not how that works, is it?
We still buy it. If I had the five ways to make $1 million, I bet I could get a lot of people to read that episode.
Steve, it's the eight-minute abs. People want what they want as quickly as possible, but things are worth having and are typically not achieved quickly.
There's a whole neuroscience to the eight-minute abs thing. 1) you'll note that most of the time when that's on, it's late at night when your prefrontal cortex doesn't work very well. 2) the main sponsors of that were, what's his name and Christie Brinkley or someone like that. We all want to look like and sound like these people. Of course, we do, so anyway. That's why I never did that because I don't think people looked at me like, “What does he know about eight-minute abs?”
Sorry, we tried to stay in our areas of expertise as much as possible.
Before we even kick off, I hope this isn't ubiquitous for our readers, but Skip, mostly, what I want to know from you before we even get going is your life of gratitude. Specifically now, what are you grateful for in your life?
Steve, that's a long list of things. Let me start off, though, by saying for those of you that don't know me and aren't familiar with me, I am chiefly in the mortgage business. Mortgage businesses are coming off of a two-year boon and we are experiencing a little bit of an industrial shrinkage.
That was the kindest way anyone ever described 2022 in the mortgage business.
We're looking at consolidations, some workforce, decline, that thing and I am thankful for not only my customers but also the people I work with that try and help them out every day. Steve, as you know, I'm also a fellow podcast host. I'm very thankful for my listeners. When I started my show, I had no idea that it would be as well received as it has been. I'm very grateful for that. Those are two front-of-mind things that I am very grateful for.
Before we even get going, we get to hear more about you and some of what you bring to the table. Where do we find your podcast?
I was going to save my shameless plug for later, but I will go ahead and do that now. My podcast is called The Big Skip Energy Podcast. It is available wherever you listen to your podcast, specifically on Apple and Spotify. Type in Big Skip Energy, it will pop up. I am done with season one and starting to roll out season two. In fact, new episode drops.
I remember talking to you about that like there must be something about you. We're on an audio thing. Nobody gets to see you, apparently.
I'm 6’3”. I'm a large man and I have to say, I did not come up with the name myself. I was talking to a friend of mine from college and he saw me speak one time and saw the energy that I brought to it. He's like, “You got some big skip energy going over there,” and so I loved it. I decided to roll with that and it's been very well received so far.
I'm only 4’20”, so people can do the math there. I say this about most men, which might have to do with our ego, Skip.
Most things do with men.
I get it, but any guy that's taller than 6 feet never uses a fraction to talk about his height. Those of us that are under 6 feet, “I'm 5’8 and a quarter.” I got to have a fraction in there. Do you ever hear a guy say 6’5 and three eights? No. See what I see?
That's a good observation. I think I'm going to start referring to myself as that.
Give yourself a fraction.
A fraction or decimal. I'll say yes, “I'm 6’3.125 inches.
When I speak live to groups, I tell people, “Anytime you hear a guy speaking live, use a decimal.” Rest assured, he has no idea what he's talking about. We all do that, 43.62% of people who read our show are like, “What?” We're making that up, but the decimal makes us sound like we studied.
It's got to be legitimate, right?
A decimal. Are you kidding? That's good. Skip, thank you. I love your gratitude. We can talk about gratitude and what that does. Would you do us a favor and again, you introduced yourself? You said you were in the mortgage business. I always think it's cool if you could give us a little bigger thumbnail sketch. Who are you? Where'd you come from? How'd you get there? From there, we'll dive off because I brought some questions for you. Don't know that we'll get to them, but if you wouldn't mind again, we can't spend the entire time but give us the thumbnail of the Skip Willcox.
I will be glad to. I have been in the mortgage industry for many years. Ever since I graduated from the University of Georgia, I fell into the mortgage business. I decided to disappoint my parents and not go to law school as I had planned to and went ahead and decided, “Enough school for me.” I needed a job. This was the beginning of the ReFi boom. The first ReFi boom, I should say, in the early 2000s. I was lucky enough to get a job in the mortgage business and I fell into it and I've stuck with it ever since.
It's been a great industry for me. I've met a lot of good people. Most folks in this industry typically share that same characteristic in that they did not intend to go into the mortgage business. No one grows up saying, “I hope I can be a loan originator one day.” Suffice it to say that I've enjoyed it. I've stuck with it. I've served in several different capacities. I am a Wholesale and Correspondent Account Executive with Crescent Mortgage Company out of Atlanta, Georgia, and I cover parts of the Southeast for them.
No one really intends to go into the mortgage business. No one grows up saying, “I really hope I can be a loan originator one day.”
As I mentioned a minute ago, I am a podcast host for Big Skip Energy Podcast. That show is specifically geared toward sales and business development. It does throw a little bit of mortgage in there, but no matter what industry you're in, 90% of the guests are going to talk about things that can cross those boundaries easily. You can take it and plug it into whatever industry you happen to be in and there's good information there. Please give it a listen.
The third thing is I'm also the Owner of Kairos Sales Group, which is a sales and business training development company. I started that this year. I didn't realize when I started it what was going to be happening with some of my coworkers and industry partners in the mortgage business with the consolidation that I mentioned before.
Apparently, I started off at the right time because people have been looking to sharpen the saw at an incredible rate for the last 6 or 8 months. That's been going very well. Needless to say, I stayed busy. I'm also a family man. I got a wife and three children. I am in Dublin, Georgia. For those of you that do not know where that is, I am the bathroom stop on I-16 from Macon to Savannah. I am glad to be out here. I grew up in Metro Atlanta. I prefer the more rural area in Georgia. That is my life in a nutshell.
It sounds like you have figured out a way to serve a lot of people. You do it through the mortgage business, obviously through another podcast. You're doing it through your training and leadership development and sales stuff. I got so many questions about all that. One of the things I wanted to ask you is, what do you think it is in your world that you still need to learn about you?
That is the key question that people should ask themselves every single day.
I figured you'd think so, but rather than us deflecting it out to the world, maybe we get to practice it with other people. You have a training company. The way you speak, you sound like you have a command to it. I suspect that you're the guy also, that is, I hope you're a part of self-development yourself.
That's part of the reason that I started all this. The podcast, in particular, was as much for my personal development and learning from others as it was bringing that information to other people. Let's face it, Steve. The same thing can be said for my core business as an account executive. If I'm not making what I do day in and day out about other people, then I'm not going to be as successful as I could be.
People want to work with me because of what I can do for them and the things I can help them achieve. Not stuff that they can do for me to help me succeed. That is the driving force behind everything and this business and let's face it, in every other industry, if you're not always learning and adapting. That includes learning new things about yourself and growing as an individual, then you're probably moving backward.
Self Reflection: If you're not learning, adapting, and growing as an individual, then you're probably moving backward. Self-development is the driving force behind every business and industry.
I'm in my 40s and the older I get, the less things I know are correct and the more things I know that aren't right. By process of elimination, I'm trying to refine everything day in and day out. That includes the way that I approach my customers, my guests at my podcast and my clients that I help coach and train with Kairos. That's what I try to do. Everything that I do to help others helps me, but that's not the core reason for doing it. Does that make sense?
Maybe I'll ask this in a different way. What are you learning about you now? Not what are you learning? We can all learn math and you could learn stuff. Skip, I want to know what you're learning about you.
The timing of this is interesting because I gave a talk about asking for referrals in a referral business at a conference. As I mentioned, asking for referrals and building a referral-based business is all about the other person. It's all about them. In order for you to be able to do that effectively, you have to have some self-reflection. That changes throughout time.
Building a referral-based business is all about the other person. But in order to do that, you have to have some self-reflection.
Now, for example, what I'm going to do at the end of the day is I'm going to sit down and I do write down two or three things that I am gracious for. I wrote down two or three things that surprised me and a couple of things that were learning opportunities for me. I find that that is a good way to do it. Now, so far now, I've only got a couple of those written down, but I know that my day's only half over. Once my soon-to-be two-and-a-half-year-old comes home from daycare, I got a feeling he's going to teach me a thing or two.
That's the long-winded answer to your question. I'm not sure if I hit it, but now I am learning to adapt to changing times more than I did. That's a big part of people being able to succeed during times like this for us is learning how to adapt in different ways in different capacities and day in and day out throughout my interactions with different people. That's one of the things I continually try and focus on is, “If I stay still and stagnant while things are happening around me, that's not going to cut it.” I've got to be able to learn how to change with the times and be proactive.
Self Reflection: Learning how to adapt to changing times is a big part of how you can succeed in the mortgage industry. If you stay still and stagnant while things are happening around you, that's just not going to cut it.
Skip, if you and I quickly made a scale here from 0 to 10 and I'm making this up, there's zero science to this, so don't feel like you have to have the perfect answer or anything like that. If zero, Skip, where you're the most inflexible, rigid, never change a freaking thing in your life, that's zero. Ten is you are the most adept. I'm talking about you personally. Not you, Skip. You're the most adaptable, like whatever ten is. I'm trying to be extreme. How would you rate yourself?
I would say I feel like people, a lot of times as they get older, they become more rigid and flexible. I honestly feel like I've gotten more flexible as I've gotten older. Hopefully, that'll keep over the next 10 or 20 years. I would say on that scale now, I'm probably a 6 or a 7.
I like your answer and I'm glad you gave me a number because I was going to come back and beat you up for a number. By the way, there's no science to that. It makes this user brand in different way. What does a nine look like? If you're a 6 or a 7, what does it look like for you tangibly to work on being a nine?
What I'm hearing from you is take the next step and becoming more adaptable. It takes a lot of self-reflection and saying, “Here's what's going on. Here's what I'm doing about it,” because we can only control what we can control. Here are some things that I haven't changed as far as my day-in, day-out activities. Maybe I should look at tweaking some of those. It all goes back to whatever you are trying to achieve. If you're not there yet and there are things going on around you, you've got to pick some other things out that you can try and tweak and perfect and sharpen the blade a little bit.
I work with some people. As an example, they get into some marketing strategies. I'm sending out this communication and that communication and they do it for a long period of time. It becomes habitual and they do it. Every once in a while, I'll go, “Does that work for you?” I hear them defend it, “We love that thing.” I'm like, “I know.” Does it work? Is it effective? That's a small little example. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth.
The willingness to examine even stuff like that, which we love because we did it but would we be willing to examine that and go, just because I did it and I love it, I think that could I still examine that and the willingness to examine? It doesn't mean you have to kill everything, but the willingness to examine is what I'm hearing.
I'm glad that you pointed that out. That wasn't exactly what I was saying about everything having to change. No, you hit the nail on the head there. You got to look at it. The life that's not examined isn't worth living. You've got to look at all the aspects of it and see what's out there. Is it something I need to change? Is it something I need to keep or reinforce or do I need to leave it alone?
A life that's not examined isn't worth living.
I'm going to make you the coach. I didn't know why I got into this role-play. I hope you're okay with that.
I'm down for whatever.
I didn't know we were going to do this, but I'm going to play the client. I've heard this self-reflection thing, “I don't have time for that. I'm so busy.” What are you talking about, self-reflection? I hear it. I get it. I'm too busy.
My answer to that or my response to that is usually, “If growing is a priority, these are the steps you have to take and self-reflection is one of them.” If you are serious about it, then you've got to make time to do it. I'm not talking about you having to sit there and meditate for an hour every day, but at least take a few minutes and think about what happened now and what you want to do tomorrow. Start small. Write down a couple of things. That's all you have to do. As long as you're not in cruise control and you feel like you've got your hands on the steering wheel and your foot on the pedal, then that's where you start.
You're a lot nicer than me. I make my client start with an hour of meditation. No, I'm kidding. I don't. I think that's great. You’ve got so many good ways to go. I want to hear about Kairos. I certainly want to hear about anything else. I'm mostly interested because you seem to have such a great spirit about you and this idea about helping other people.
I think this idea of this learning to self-reflect and knowing that you're a six or seven and examining stuff in your own life is great. I'd also like to know, as a result of working with people for as long as you have and making a living out of this, Skip. What are some of the key things you've learned about, whether leadership or people in general? What are some of the key things you've observed about humanity or would you think would be worthy of our show?
I can take one of two routes with this. One is I can hammer off some bullet points or for one or the other is, I can give you a good general answer to that. Which one would you prefer?
We poked fun at the five ways to make a million dollars. I'm not a big fan of steps and bullet points. Take us down the road.
This couples with what I mentioned a second ago and about making your interactions with people about them instead of about you. People confuse that with them not getting anything out of it. That's not what it is. When you talk about establishing a relationship with people and starting conversations, it's a two-way street. In order to be able to do that effectively, you've got to do three things. I know you hate the list.
Self Reflection: Establishing a relationship is a two-way street. You have to have the act of listening, you have to find out their why, and you need to frame what you're going to do for them.
Give them to me. I don’t hate it. Your story has lists in it. That's cool. You can do that.
I've got active listening and I'm sure that everyone who's reading this is familiar with what that is. In other words, don't just hear them. Listen to them. The second is to find out the other person's why. Why are they doing or asking of you or doing what they're doing on a day-in and day-out basis? The third is to frame what you're going to going to do for them, with them, etc., based off of the previous two answers. Let's take it personally here with a mortgage.
If I'm sitting down with somebody and this is as a former originator. They say they want to buy a house, but it's not that simple. I want to sit down with them. I want to find out why they want to buy that house. What is purchasing a home doing for them? That knowledge is going to better help me, help them. I could be like everybody else, be an order taker, and quote off my rates and terms. This is what I've got now. I'll do a great job, guide you through it or whatever.
To have a real, lasting impact on somebody, you've got to find out their motivation and their reason for doing what they want to do. The same thing goes with coaching or even being a guest on a show. What are they trying to do? Usually, it's because they want to try and get their message out to other people. The answer to that question.
Burst my bubble a little bit. I thought people liked me and wanted to be on my show.
No, that's why I am on here because I like you.
Others, I see what you're saying. Practice a little active listening.
There you go.
Here are the three things that I heard you say, number one, that we would be active listeners. Number two, we would find dedicate energy to finding their why. Not just articulating our own but what's theirs, then frame how we can be with them in the world based on what their why is and how well you've listened to them. Did I hear that correctly?
You did 100%.
Skip, you made the assumption that all my readers know what active listening is.
That's true. I did make that assumption.
I do probably think many do. That's one of those topics that, whether I do or I don't, I could stand to be reminded of. Remind me again what active listening is.
Active listening has a couple of different definitions, but probably the most common one is it's not only listening to what someone says, but it's also observing them not only what they say but how they say it, their body language, the tone of voice. Think of it like this. If you receive a text message, you're going to assume the tone of that. Oftentimes, we'll assign our own tone to it. When someone's speaking to you, you want to try and get that whole picture.
Active listening is not only listening to what someone says, but how they say it.
If I were to walk up to you, Steven and I were to look at you one way and say, “I'm mad,” or if I were to look at you a different way or not look at you at all and say, “I'm mad.” It's going to drive whether you think that I'm making that statement about being mad at you or in general. You're going to base your response off of what you see me doing. That's what active listening is. You're being more than attentive to the words but also the meaning and drive behind those words. That's a long definition of it.
No, that's good. You're making me think that the reason people, by the way, I'm making this up as I go. I'm not getting to any of my questions. I'm making this all up. You always hear that, right?
I like a conversation. That way, I don't have prepared answers.
You can't. I didn't have any prepared questions or at least I'm not asking them. What I like about this and again, I want to reflect this back not to declare it as a truth but rather to make sure I heard you correctly. You've said in a couple of instances we're going to title this episode, It's All About Them. How about that? Do you like that title?
That works for me.
If it is all about them, then it gives you the ability to actively listen. If it's not, I'm not sure the way you described active listening, you could practice active listening.
You can't because you're so anxious to get out what you want to say out of your own mouth. That you're subconsciously or even consciously, you're like, “Shut up. Are you done yet? Here's what I want to say.” They could say something important at the very beginning and you miss the rest or they could start off by saying stuff that doesn't have a lot of substance to it at the beginning then you miss the important stuff at the end. Either way, you're screwed.
“Shut up. I got to get something out right here. Hold on a second.” I have to claim that I suffer from that from time to time.
We all do. I am a very loud person.
You're Big Skip Willcox.
Yes, that's right. I'm a very loud person and I am a talker, as you can tell. A lot of times, if something pops into my mind, I want to get it out, A) It’s because I want to share it, but B) I'll forget it if I don't. We all suffer from that syndrome.
My own coach says he's a recovering know-it-all and from time to time, he still has relapses.
I can relate to that completely.
If you can imagine and I know you can because of your work in the world. This is it. I want to say, “Goodbye. We've done so many cool things.” Before we do and there's no real rule to this, my last question for you is was there something and maybe I get to go be on your show and maybe we get to do this again?
The invitation's coming. Don't you worry.
I even see a time where like, “Let's go create a third podcast together. This is going to be a lot of fun.” Was there anything I should ask that I didn't ask you that you hoped I would?
Steve, not really, because the biggest thing that I was hoping to do when I came on was share who I am, but I wanted to reach a broader audience with some of the messages that I try and convey day in and day out. You’ve given me that opportunity. As long as I'm giving somebody something that maybe they can take away and help improve their lives, business, whatever the case may be, I consider that a win.
I'm certainly looking forward to listening to your podcasts. I want to learn more about Kairos. Maybe we can do that another time again. I wrote down a whole bunch of stuff here, Skip. I wrote down the driving force; others. I think that was a big part of what you talked about. It's all about them and what it means to ask for referrals. It isn't about something for you. It's about them. I liked that you said don't be still stagnant.
Being stagnant is not good. If you're not moving forward, then you're moving backward, in my opinion.
How do we adapt and the honesty that you have, you and I can speak articulately. We've probably got quotes, sayings, and books that we've read, yet you're a 6 or a 7, giving space for improvement. If you didn't have that, then I don't know what we were doing here.
I tell my coaching clients like, “I don't have all the answers. If you're coming to someone to give you all the answers, you got the wrong guy. What I can do is we can come to a good conclusion that's beneficial to you together.” That's the long and the short of it.
My clients, I barely have all the answers. I'm barely scratching the surface. I'm trying to come up with some questions. I love the idea of starting small. Your whole talk around self-reflection and examination, I think it’s brilliant. Asking, “Are we making and taking the time to do that?” I did like your two-way street and us taking the one road of active listening, find out their why and framing the rest of your time on what you learned. That is cool because that's no step at all because you got to learn stuff. We couldn't create. Step three was what are you listening to.
I tell you what, Steve, I did think of one thing if I'm fortunate enough to be invited back as a guest sometime, I would love to talk about some of the neuroscience behind the sales strategies and techniques. That's a fascinating topic for me and I'd love to talk about that too. I know that neuroscience and human psychology are all topics that you're fond of. I'd love to have the opportunity to talk about that.
I've dedicated the last ten years of my life to that topic. We will have you back. I want to thank you for being on the show again. It feels like we started two minutes ago and I'm thanking you.
That's all right.
It went quickly but thank you for all that you bring to the table, for helping us today be better people. I love that people like you are in the world serving others and making others better. I’m grateful.
It's my absolute pleasure.
As we say every time here and I told you at the beginning, didn't bury the lead. Our hope isn't what Skip said and all his three steps and all that. It isn't that. It isn't anything that I reflected back. It's what you thought. It's always our hope that you walked away with a nugget or two, that you walked away with insight because that's what the Insight Interviews is about. We'll see you next episode. Skip, again, great being with you.
Thank you so much, Steve.
Thanks for reading. If you got any value at all from our show, a little nugget all the way up to some big, huge insight, please do us a solid by subscribing, recommending, rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google or wherever it is that you receive your episode. That stuff matters to us and it allows us to continue interviewing more awesome people. Thanks for reading and we'll see you next episode.
- Skip Willcox – LinkedIn
- The Big Skip Energy Podcast
- Spotify - The Big Skip Energy Podcast
- Crescent Mortgage Company
- Kairos Sales Group
- Apple Podcast - The Insight Interviews
- Spotify - The Insight Interviews
- Google - The Insight Interviews