Anonymous Distributor

We’ve all seen the ads for Quicken Loans on television. It is the nation’s #1 online retail mortgage lender, growing from a startup to a 4,000-employee market leader over the past 25 years. “We are consistently ranked in Fortune magazine’s Best 100 Places to Work, and we even won the JD Power award for the highest-ranked customer service in an industry that is notoriously unfriendly.” If you ask Dan Gilbert, the chairman and founder of the company, about the key to the company’s success, he’ll quickly tell you it’s all about the Quicken Loans’ “ISMs.”

An “ISM” is a suffix that refers to a strong principle or belief. It is a set of values so powerful it drives the behavior of Quicken Loans’ employees, resulting in the company’s “endless innovation, soaring profits, and market dominance.”

One ISM that I particularly like goes like this: “Every Client. Every Time. No Exceptions. No Excuses.” Description: “Clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Could it be any clearer? A great company is built one client at a time. If you ‘wow’ every client every chance you get, then they win and so do you. It’s as simple as that.”

Another ISM is “Ignore the noise.” Explanation: “Will you allow noise to keep you from winning? Noise could be from naysayers, something going wrong, sun in your eyes, ball took a bad bounce, dog ate your homework, someone cut you off on the way to work, etc. A lot of things that seem serious at first glance turn out to be noise. The noise may fluctuate in volume, but your determination to press on in spite of it (ignore it!) will make all the difference to you and our family of companies.”

Another ISM that I like is “We are the ‘they.’” Description: “There is no ‘they’ here. ‘They’ does not exist here. We are the ‘they.’ One team. United.”

If you would like to read all 19 of Quicken Loans’ ISMs, use the following link:

You’ll be glad you did.


In a service business like yours or mine, we all get to offer three kinds of service: good, cheap or fast. Here’s how we should present those options to our customers: 1) Good service cheap won’t be fast; 2) Good service fast won’t be cheap; and 3) Fast service cheap won’t be good. You really can’t say it much better than that!


Harvey Mackay believes persistence is a key to success and shares a few examples of persistence paying off.

“Few people had as difficult a time getting their invention accepted as Alexander Graham Bell. Even U.S. President Rutherford Hayes said of the telephone in 1876, ‘Who would ever want to use them?’

“Chester Carlson, another young inventor, took his idea to 20 big corporations in the 1940s. After seven years of rejections, he was able to persuade Haloid, a small Rochester, N.Y., company, to purchase the rights to his electrostatic paper-copying process. Haloid has since become Xerox Corporation.

“Bette Nesmith Graham, in the 1950s, began using white, water-based tempera paint and a thin paintbrush to cover her typing errors. She sold her first bottle, originally called Mistake Out, in 1956. Graham later patented the office product. After starting out with just 100 bottles a month in sales, Liquid Paper was selling 25 million bottles a year when Graham sold it for a reported $47.5 million in 1979.

“In 1927, the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, instructed student Lucille Ball, to ‘Try any other profession. Any other.’ I wonder what would have made him say, ‘I love Lucy’.

“Buddy Holly was fired from the Decca record label in 1956 by Paul Cohen, who was known as Nashville’s ‘artists and repertoire man.’ Cohen called Holly ‘the biggest no-talent I ever worked with.’

“Chuck Yeager, the famous test pilot, threw up all over the back seat on his first flight as a passenger. He vowed never to go back up again, but eventually he reconsidered. Then, he became the first man to break the sound barrier.

“These are all examples of ordinary people with extraordinary persistence. None of these folks was famous or rich or even particularly successful before their big breaks.

“We’ve all heard it before, but there really is no substitute for persistence. In fact, persistence is sometimes as important as talent. It must come from within. You either want it or you don’t. Giving up is not an option. Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”

My favorite Mackay example of persistence is as follows: “When I was first starting out, I asked a colleague I respected how many sales calls he would make on a prospect before giving up. He told me, ‘It depends on which one of us dies first.’”


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