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The quickest way to make a bad first (page) impression is to have have old, irrelevant or poorly written content on your website.

These days potential clients will likely suss you out online long before they ever shake your hand. And just like the grip of your handshake, the strength of your website can make a lasting impression in seconds.

The good news is that creating fresh, engaging content often requires just a few tweaks to your current writing style, which we’ll outline below.

1. A strong hook

You need a strong headline and introductory paragraph to really hook your readers. Strong hooks often do the following: shock, intrigue, surprise, create a sense of urgency or offer a solution.

Don’t stress if the introduction doesn’t come to you straight away – often the ‘Eureka moment’ will only come after you’ve written the bulk of the article.

2. Get to the point

Don’t spend six paragraphs subtly building your case before you get to the meat of the article. Use a maximum of three or four paragraphs setting the scene before giving your readers what they came to your post for.

3. Use subheadings, avoid slabs of text

Subheadings help break up your article and give readers resting points. They also allow readers to skip straight to the nuts and bolts of your article if they’re short on time.

Large slabs of text are hard to read on a screen, so break up your paragraphs and vary your sentence length. The rule of thumb is: stick to one idea and no more than three sentences per paragraph.

4: Keep it simple, stupid

You’re smart. Your clients already know you’re smart. Chances are that’s why they’re coming to you in the first place – you don’t need to knock them over the head with a thesaurus.

Write plainly, conversationally and avoid jargon. Consider injecting some personality or humour.

5: Don’t over-deliver, have a strong call to action

The purpose of your article is not just to generate value for your reader, but to generate value for your business.

There should be enough meat in your article to satisfy your readers’ curiosity, but you don’t want to give away all your secrets in a blog post.

Ideally you want your client to book another appointment – so make sure your call to action (CTA) clearly identifies what they should do so you can help them further.

6: Don’t be precious

Writing can be extremely difficult if you’re trying to get it perfect the first time.

Instead, begin a rough draft by identifying the key points you want to make. Use them as subheadings and then fill in the details under each point. Don’t put pressure on yourself – just putting your thought-stream on paper is better than a blank page.

Now, put the draft aside. Come back to it with fresh eyes or get a second opinion. When you re-read it you want to be ruthless. Cut out any passages that don’t meet your key objectives. Repeat until you’re happy.

Generally, client content should be no longer than 600 words. This blog post started out as a scruffy 1100 words before my colleague got out the red pen.

CTA time

If all of the above seems just a little too much effort, then worry not.

We provide a syndicated content solution for mortgage brokers that will keep your website’s blog up-to-date for just $23 a week.

Basically, we do 99% of the work, then you publish it. Check out 99content.co

 

 

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Whoever creates the transaction is in control

Posted by Apr04, 2017 Comments Comments Off
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Are you an order taker or order maker? Put differently, do you spend most of your day taking instructions from clients or giving them to your clients?

The latter is more enjoyable. When you are an order maker you can spend all your time and energy on making sure you deliver the best advice and maximum value to your client. However, as an order taker your primary focus is typically on winning (or retaining) the client so you get paid.

Also, order makers have more control over their destiny. They can choose which clients they deal with, what type of business they do, set the standard for the quality of advice they give, etc.

The best way to become an order maker is to be in control of the transaction. And the best way to be in control is to create the transaction. Consider two very different client scenarios:

(A)  An existing client approaches you after been offered a lower rate by a lender that’s not on your panel and wants you to match it; versus
(B)  You approach an existing client to better understand their wealth accumulation plans and discover that investing in a property is a very suitable strategy for them to consider.

In situation A, the client is in control. Therefore, you (the broker) are nothing more than a sales person, that is easily dispensable. However, in situation B, you are well on the way of becoming a trusted advisor. Someone of value. Someone that is respected and appreciated. Someone that is quickly becoming indispensable.

A variation to situation A is you proactively calling an existing client and offering them a lower rate. This is exactly what order makers do.

Question for you…

Review a list of last month’s loan lodgements and ask yourself how many of the transactions did you create/initiate?

I propose that you should spend at least 5 hours per week (one hour per day) creating transactions for existing clients. Some activates you can undertake include:

  • Write a blog that shares an idea about how to build wealth, a case study of a successful client or a question they should be pondering
  • Arrange a phone call or meeting with a client and ask them what their wealth accumulation strategy is. Team up with a commission-free, independent financial planner that you can call upon if/when the client needs more advice. Virtually all clients want to be told/shown what to do and not have to work it out themselves.
  • Proactively review your clients’ mortgages and submit for an additional pricing discretion with their existing lender, if necessary.
  • In everything you do, position yourself as a valuable resource of knowledge and contacts – so clients will call on you if they have a problem, question or issue.

 

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Keep doing the hard work of raising the bar

Posted by Dec15, 2016 Comments Comments Off
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There are three categories of brokers:

  1. Order takers – these brokers are selling a commoditised product. That is, their service offering is mostly based around the promise of saving time and getting the lowest interest rate. They spend all their time chasing transactions, not relationships.
  2. Commoditisation fighters – these brokers understand that competing on interest rates is a race to the bottom. They realise that they must offer their clients more value. Spend time and effort building trust and a personal relationship with their clients. And help them get closer to achieving their goals.
  3. The Top – these brokers are true champions – offering something so unique that they will almost never by commoditised. One such broker (in my opinion) is Chris Bates. I follow him on LinkedIn (see his posts here). He’s doing the hard work of trying to find way to help his clients daily. Endeavouring to ask his clients better questions. thought provoking questions.

FinTech is likely to dramatically change the financial services industry including the mortgage broking industry. If you are an Order Taker, your job will be replaced by a computer soon enough (although the good news is that I doubt many Order Takers would read a blog like this). Once the Order Takers are gone it will make it harder for the Commoditisation Fighters to earn a living. However, The Top will almost never lose their power.

That is why brokers like us do the hard work to raise the bar each and every day. Putting our clients best interest first. Focusing on solving their problems and adding as much value as we cane. Becoming a valuable resource. Keep up the difficult work on your ascent to The Top. It worth the investment.

This post was inspired by a recent blog by Seth Godin.

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How to deal with a bad day as a broker

Posted by Nov22, 2016 Comments Comments Off
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I recently read this blog by Seth Godin and it was a good description of what it feels like to build a broking business. It can be a hard slog at times and some days you just need to hang in there. For example, yesterday a lender clawed back commission on a $2.5 million loan we settled 355 days ago. Ouch! That hurts. The deal took a bit of time win. The client asked heaps of questions. It wasn’t a straight forward deal. And now I’ve lost money. Looking back, the client wasn’t right for us but I’m not sure that there was anything we could have done to avoid this satiation (they were referred by a good client). That’s just the way business rolls sometimes. Life isn’t always fair.

What’s important is that we, as brokers that are trying to build a business that we are proud of, just focus on those daily activities that are necessary and, over time, that generate a tremendous amount of long-term value. We will have some bad days. Some clients will take advantage of us. Sometimes we’ll do a lot of work for very little reward. That’s just how it is. But we must stay focused on what we are trying to achieve – that is, doing work that we are proud of. Don’t let the “wrong” people or the random “unfairness” of life demotivate or deter you from doing the good work that the vast majority of your clients value.

In my business, these activities include:

  • Proactively telephoning existing clients to ensure they are happy and to explore if there’s anything we can do to help them achieve their financial goals. Not to try and sell them something but to really help them
  • Random acts of kindness e.g. sending a hand-written thank you card to a client thanking them for their business and ongoing loyalty
  • Helping a client resolve a banking issue, complete a switch or negotiate a better interest rate discount
  • Writing a blog that shares ideas with clients about how to build wealth, save money, feel more financial secure and so on.

All these activities do not generate any immediate revenue. However, all of them do, over time, help to build a very successful broking business.

Our long-term success depends on our discipline to do these simple activities on a daily basis. As author Jim Collins says, “the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” Completing the above activities occasionally (not consistently) creates virtually zero value.

From a practical perspective, I understand that it’s really hard to do these things because it’s so easy to get distracted by more urgent activities and issues. We all rush to the urgent at the expense of the important. The solution is about creating habits. What you need to do is try really hard to do something every day for 4 weeks and its likely you’ll get close to creating a new habit. Once you have created a habit, it should be a lot easier.

When business is slow, do your daily activities. When you are flat-out, do your daily activities. When a mean client refinances within the first 12 months, do your daily activities. And when everything going perfectly, do your daily activities.

Keep up the hard work. Out industry needs people like you.

 

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Getting more clients to say yes to your emails

Posted by Aug23, 2016 Comments Comments Off
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I believe that you should spend almost as much time on an email’s subject line as you do on writing the actual email itself. The strength of an email’s subject line will determine if it gets read and opened. It’s the first thing the client will read and sets the tone for the rest of the communication.

Imagine receiving positive responses to all emails you send out. A good subject line can dramatically increase your effectiveness i.e. less/no questions and more clients saying yes.

Subject lines are just as important for emails that you reply to as new emails. Most people simply reply to emails and don’t consider changing the subject line.

Some ideas for good subject lines include:

  • Ask a question e.g. Are you confident that you have the right loan structure?
  • Describe what action you want them to take e.g. Can you please confirm that you are happy to proceed as I have recommended?
  • Tell them that they need to do something e.g. Please sign the attached page and email back to me – shouldn’t take more than one minute
  • If you only need one minute, tell them – Please confirm: it won’t take you more than 1 minute to deal with this email
  • Don’t be worried about long subject lines – nothing says they have to be short – both short and long subject lines work
  • Make it stand out e.g. Here is a summary of the 5 important items we discussed today’s meeting

Boring email subject lines just don’t work anymore. Especially when people get 100’s of emails per day.

Have a go at changing your email subject lines and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result. They make a big difference.

 

 

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