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Building good working relationships with clients

Posted by Feb09, 2016 Comments Comments Off on Building good working relationships with clients

By Scott Matthews, the founder and Managing Director of Finance Life

I have been a broker for 13 years. In that time I have settled some $500m in loans, worked with thousands of clients and had a great time doing it. I believe the key to being successful is enjoying yourself and what you do. Being a finance broker should be something you are rather than something you do.

I always tell my team “Don’t sell the loan. Build trust with the client, sell yourself. If you have a 0% home loan and they don’t like you, they won’t buy it.” The fact is, if a client is unable to build a personal connection with you and cannot build trust or belief in you, it is unlikely they take the loan you are offering. They will defer on their decision, call another half dozen brokers and pick the person who they like the most – selling the same product.

You do not need to be a slick sales person and stitch the client up on any old loan. You need to be honest, genuine, educated, aware and nice. Dress nicely, dress professionally, smell nice and speak articulately. And a smile always helps too. Offer the client the best loan you have, educate them on why it is in your opinion the best loan, and then have conviction. Stand by your word. Stand by your decision, be proud, be open to criticism from the client, and again be informed. You should always know your products more than your clients. You should know your products more than your competition. Be educated, be aware. Have your finger on the pulse.

The client has come to you seeking advice. They have sought you out. In my case, 99% of the time my clients are referred by an existing client. They have been told to see you by someone they trust. Don’t let your referrer down.

Be personable. Tell stories, have fun, laugh. Remember to smile. But be serious, be factual and try and always be right.

At the end of the day 14,000 brokers and tens of thousands of bankers are seeing clients to do loans each year. You need to exceed expectations if you want to be the best.

I once did a sales course where we were told we should ask our clients at the end of the consultation for the names and numbers of three friends that we could contact to offer our services. It is my opinion that you SHOULD NOT DO THIS. It is awkward and in my opinion it is rude. Focus on doing your job well, deliver on what you promise and your client will speak about you. They will refer friends and family – but only if you look after them, you are nice to do business with and they like you. They will not ever refer you clients if they don’t like you.

Deliver on what you promise. Exceed the customers’ expectations.

When was the last time you were out and the topic of conversation was tax and accounting? Your friend turns to you and says, “Hey, my accountant is really crap. I get a crap tax return each year and I have to teach him about what to claim”. It doesn’t happen, or rarely at best. What does happen is the people with the crap accountants keep quiet. No one wants to boast about a dud! What does happen is your friend says, “Hey, I used this great broker the other day. She was really lovely to deal with, she gave me exactly what she said she would and we were both really happy with her”. People love to boast about what is good. People always love to talk about “their” person, or “why” their person is so great.

Be the person your clients are boasting about – because they are not clients. They are ambassadors.

 

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The wrong clients show you who they are… are you taking notice?

Posted by Jan25, 2016 Comments Comments Off on The wrong clients show you who they are… are you taking notice?

I believe that your success as a broker depends a lot on picking which are the right prospects to work with and not wasting time on the wrong prospects. The right prospects/clients in my opinion are ones that value what you do, respect your advice and want to build a long term relationship.

Let’s assume that the average broker that reads this blog settles $40 million per year. If the average loan size is say $400k, the broker needs to convert approximately 8-9 clients per month. How many leads does the broker need to do this? If they have a 50% conversation rate, they will need approximately 20 leads per month.

How long does it take to convert a prospect? Let’s assume you spend (on average) 1 hour talking to the prospect prior to meeting them, 2 hours meeting and travel time, another 2-3 hours researching and presenting a solution, 1 hour signing them up, 4 or so hours on processing and following the application through to settlement. Let’s say you spend, on average, 11 hours per converted prospect – so a total of 100 hours per month. There are 160 working hours in each month – so what are you doing with the other 60 hours in the month?

Are you wasting it on the wrong prospects? I believe it should take (on average) no more than 30 minutes to work out if the prospect is the “right” one for you. This is your challenge: stop wasting time on prospects that are unlikely to turn into clients. Successful brokers do not waste time on the wrong prospects.

The “wrong” prospects/clients leave hints. Typically these hints come in the form of small “behaviours” that can be easily ignored or explained away – except that, in my experience, in almost every instance, these behaviours are never present in the “right” clients. Here are a few recent examples I’ve seen:

  • Wanting me to come and visit them at their home after I have explained that we see clients in the office. This shows that they value our service so little that it’s not even worth them getting off the couch. If you agree to the visit, all you do it validate their value assessment.
  • Excessive focus on interest rates – even after you have educated them that it’s not all about rates. If the conversation always leads back to rates, take the hint.
  • Reluctance to commit to the next step or provide information in advance. By the way, this is a good approach if you are unsure of the prospect. Get them to commit to a step before you provide your solution e.g. recently, before looking at restructuring a new prospects loans and providing advice (it was a large portfolio and messy = time consuming), we had them agree to us reviewing the performance of their investment properties to work out which ones to keep and which to sell. This step “tested” them to see if they were serious about valuing and acting upon our advice (and it was the best next step for them anyway). If they hadn’t have agreed then we would have a clear indication that they were not the “right” clients for us.

You should have a system for qualifying prospects. I’ll share mine in my next blog.

By the way, Andrew Krauksts has opened up his Facebook training last week. The MFAA & FBAA have approved 2 hours of CPD for this training and it won’t be available for at least another 6 months. Click here to access this training today at no cost.

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The art of developing a highly effective newsletter: part 2

Posted by Jan11, 2016 Comments Comments Off on The art of developing a highly effective newsletter: part 2

In part 1 of this article (published in December) I discussed why immediate lead generation shouldn’t be the main ain of your newsletter – and if it is, why that might be bad for business. In this blog I’m going to share my experiences for the best way to ensure that your clients read your newsletter and not bin it.

A successful newsletter must achieve two things. Firstly, your client must read it. This can be a challenge as people are bombarded with so much content these days – over 350 blog posts a published online every minute of every day! Secondly, it must leave them with a positive impression of your brand (you) by, for example, adding value, giving them an idea, making them think about their own situation and so on.

Relevance to client trumps relevance to business

The best way to get read is to be relevant to your reader. For example, if a lender wanted to send us a bit of communication that we are more likely to read, they could send us an email with the subject “use this marketing tactic to generate 10 new leads in the next 2 weeks”. Most of us would open and read this email wouldn’t we? That’s because it is relevant to us and appears to contain valuable information. However, this email has nothing to do with getting brokers to sell more of the bank’s home loans. But that’s okay because if they sent us an email with the subject “attached is our product flyer”, a lot less of use would read it.

Some brokers are obsessed with only sending information related to mortgage to their clients. Don’t be. Send them information that is relevant to them. For example, I have a list of dentists (prospective clients) that I email and I send them tips on how to improve their dental practice. They read these emails because they are relevant to them. A valuable non-mortgage-related article will work better than a useless mortgage-related article.

Segment your clients and send them content that is relevant to them. Better still, send out an internet survey to your clients and ask them what interests them. For example, last week I started sending a series of videos via email to all my clients that are in their 40’s (subject of the series is “strategies to build wealth in your 40’s”) – so that’s a pretty relevant topic to them.

Learn what drives human behaviour

Risk aversion is a very powerful motivator i.e. most people have a strong desire to avoid something bad. It has been proven that “making more money” is more powerful then “saving money”. The study of neuromarketing is becoming more prevalent and I suggest that you learn more about it. There is a great book called Buyology that I read a few years ago and I subscribe to a blog by Roger Dooley which I recommend. Finally, watch this 17-minute TED talk by Dan Ariely.

My challenge to you

Set aside two hours this week and plan out your newsletter strategy and topics for 2016. It will be time worth investing as a successful newsletter will make you a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Test different topics and approaches. Good luck.

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The art of developing a highly effective newsletter: Part 1

Posted by Dec15, 2015 Comments Comments Off on The art of developing a highly effective newsletter: Part 1

How much revenue did your newsletter generate in 2015? If you are doing it right, this will be a difficult question to answer. I have written a newsletter each and every month for the past 13 years. Sometimes they generate immediate new leads. But sometimes prospects contact us citing a newsletter they read 2 years ago. So then what is the aim of a newsletter? Is it to generate immediate leads or something else? If you cannot answer this question, stop sending a newsletter out because you could be wasting your time. In my opinion, before you do anything, you have to start with the end in mind first, you must have a purpose. i.e. what do you want to achieve, what is your goal.

In my opinion, the aim of a newsletter is to “create positive brand recall”. That is, to remind the client you exist and that you are a valuable resource of information. If you achieve this, when the client needs help, they will think of you first. And when the client speaks to their friends and family, they will refer them to you. Because they know, like, follow and trust you.

I think it’s wrong for “lead generation” to be the primary goal of your newsletter. Why? Firstly, if all you do is chase the next transaction, the value of the content you send out will be limited in terms of topic and value. Your newsletters will start to become very salesy. Secondly, by trying to chase the next transaction, you will educate your clients how to think and alienate most of your list. Let me explain by using an example. A common newsletter topic that brokers write about is reviewing their loan to hopefully generate some refinance business. The article will talk about lower interest rates and potential savings. What impact does that have? It trains your clients that interest rates and savings are very important – you’ll turn your clients into rate shoppers (rates are important but there are many other factors that cleints take into consideration also that are equaly important to them.). Secondly, for those clients that have no interest in refinancing, the article will not be relevant to them and will not add any value.

Furthermore, each time you send a salesy newsletter you have to shout louder to get the same attention. This means your articles become more and more about helping your business and less about helping your clients. Eventually, everyone will stop listening/reading (actually, all the good clients will stop engaging , the disloyal and unprofitable clients will love you even more).

However, if the goal of your newsletter is to, for example, “create positive brand recall” then what you will need to do is send your clients information that is both 1) relevant to them and 2) useful and valuable. It might not result in immediate business. But, in the long run, it will result in significantly more business. My advice is to stop aiming for the quick sale and instead view your newsletter as an important and highly valuable investment into your client base.

The more value you invest in your newsletter, the more expondential your return will be . So the better question to ask is: how much revenue did the past 13 years of newsletters generate in 2015 – not how much revenue did only the newsletters published in 2015 generate – the distinction is very important. Take 10 minutes now to think about and plan your newsletter strategy for 2016. What can you do differently?

 

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The transfer of trust. You have to amplify it.

Posted by Oct21, 2015 Comments Comments Off on The transfer of trust. You have to amplify it.

Yesterday I spoke with a potential client that was referred to me by his brother. His brother is an existing client of mine. This potential client is a recently qualified ophthalmologist (surgeon) with an earning capacity in excess of $1 million p.a. He has lots of surplus income to invest and could really benefit from some good, independent advice.

When a client makes a referral they are transferring some of the trust that they have for you onto the referee (i.e. potential client). For example, this potential client trusts his brother, his brother trusts me, so in turn the potential client (to a degree) trusts me because of his brother’s trust in me (I hope I haven’t lost you).

However, you cannot leave this transfer of trust to chance. You need to subtly amplify the trust. For example, during my conversation with the potential client yesterday I made sure that I reminded the potential client that his brother trusts me, talked about the length of the relationship I have had with his brother, talked about how the brother followed my advice to upgrade his home at a perfect time and how it has worked out very well for him and so on. I didn’t do it in a way that looked like I was blowing my own trumpet but merely pointed out the facts of the situation. The truth is that I have worked hard over the years to build my reputation with his brother. I have helped him build wealth and so it’s important that the potential client understands this – as I can help him in the same way.

Then I spoke to my existing client and explained how difficult it is for potential clients to trust someone and take their advice. “If you would like to help your brother, please share your experiences with him, what you feared at the beginning and how it has turned out for you” I said to my client. This approach is very powerful.

Do you have a systemised process in your business to amplify the trust that most referrals bring with them? Do you educate potential clients about how you have helped people in the past? Do you ask your existing clients for help to reinforce the value you bring? Making a successful referral is much more than just passing on a name and number. And clients need to be trained and given some direction. This will only happen if you have the right referral systems.

Would you like to know more? Click here to find out more about Stuart’s new online training: “The Ultimate Mortgage Broker Referral System”.

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