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Clients don’t want to make decisions so stop giving them choices!

Posted by May07, 2015 Comments Comments Off on Clients don’t want to make decisions so stop giving them choices!

In Denmark only 4% of the population have registered as organ donors. However, in Sweden, 86% of the population have registered as donors. Why is there such a large difference between two countries that are arguably culturally similar? It turns out that the difference is simply because of how the car registration form is designed. In Denmark you have to opt-in to be an organ donor i.e. tick the box to become a donor. However, in Sweden you have opt-out i.e. tick the box if you do not want to be a donor. This is one of the examples that Dan Ariely cites in his TED talk called “Are we in control of our own decisions?”.

This and other studies demonstrate that when people are faced with complex decisions that they care about, they will often pick the easiest solution. That is, if there is a default choice – a choice that is made for them, most people will pick that.

There are many reasons that drive people to use mortgage brokers and assistance with selecting the mortgage product and lender is one of them. This research suggests that giving your clients choices might actually make them feel more uncomfortable. This is not a new idea. It is generally accepted that people want leadership from their advisors. They want confidence. They want authority. They want genuine care. They want you to make a complex and important decision easy.

Therefore, if your sales process involves presenting multiple choices to a client and asking them to choose the one they feel most comfortable with, you might consider changing this. It is your job, as the mortgage broker, to make the decision. You need to get to know your client, their needs, their requirements and whatever else is important so that you are ultimately in the position where you can look the client in the eye and say “this is the best solution for you”.

But it’s not just about the decision

But it’s not only about making the decision for your client is it? In fact, if that is your value proposition, be concerned. IMB’s artificially intelligent supercomputer, Watson (in 2011 Watson competed on the US quiz show Jeopardy! against former winners and won the first place prize of $1 million – ask it any question in the world and it will find the answer) is now being used by oncologists to develop treatment plans. It can do work that would take teams of doctors many decades to complete (reviewing studies and other patient cases) in a matter of hours. IBM has announced that Watson will generate $10bn in revenue in 10 years. In the near future, a computer will be making loan recommendations.

That said, I don’t believe that computers will totally replace humans. Most humans will want to look another human in the eye and ask “is this right for me”? Humans are reluctant to trust computers. They are reluctant to trust brands. Humans are hard-wired to trust other humans. This is your core job as a mortgage broker i.e. to develop trust and a relationship with your client. I believe that asking a client to make a choice actually hinders the process of building trust with a client. When you provide choices, you are really just positioning yourself as an information provider, not a trusted advisor.

How do you do it?

Of course, “choice” is still an important feature of the mortgage broker industry. That a client can come to you and you can select from 30 plus lenders gives your client comfort that you will have product that suits their circumstances. So advertising that we provide choice is still important. However, when it comes to providing advice and making recommendations there are a few things you can do – pick the one that you think suits the client the best:

  • Present up to 3 options (lenders/product), compare them and then make your recommendation. When making the recommendation be very sure you do it confidently and give only one to three reasons as to why that is the best solution (research suggests you should not give more than three reasons).
  • Present only one solution but describe the process you undertook to arrive at that recommendation e.g. you took time to understand their needs and you compared 1,000 plus products that fitted it. The top 3 lenders were X, Y and Z and for these reasons, X is the best. One warning with this approach – people assess value by comparison. So if you tell someone that they have a 1% interest rate discount – if they have nothing to compare it to, how will they know if it’s a good deal or not? Presenting only one option might make it difficult for them to compare value. But this approach probably best suits clients you have a good, trusted relationship with.
  • Present up to 3 options but make the decision for them. That is, you might say that for these reasons “X” lender is the best for their circumstances and “unless they have any concerns with this recommendation, you will assume that they are comfortable with it and go ahead and prepare the application”.

There is a big difference between offering your clients choice and making (or letting) them choose. You must offer your clients a wide choice of lenders – virtually all brokers do. But this does not mean you should leave the client to make their own choice or ask them to. This is your job as a trusted advisor. And there’s plenty of research that suggests clients want you to do this too.


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Mining for Gold

Posted by May07, 2015 Comments Comments Off on Mining for Gold

At a seminar, we bumped into an associate, another mortgage broker. As usual our conversation led to the usual complaints about lender service levels, policy changes, and lack of leads. On that last one, we asked him what he meant.

He had been paying for a newsletter service and made the comment that it wasn’t working for him. We asked him why not? And he said that it was because he felt it was all too hit and miss. It was like using a shotgun approach to generating leads. And it wasn’t working for his business.

We asked him if he had a marketing program, and how did the newsletters fit into that program. That was when we got that glassy look.

So one of us explained: Lead generation is a lot like mining for gold!

What we meant was: let us assume that we had set up a mining company (instead of a mortgage broking business) and we were going to prospect for gold.

If we were going to dig for gold, we would require some equipment. And perhaps we should buy an excavator. And having an excavator does not a mining enterprise make. The key is to know where to dig, and where we could employ our excavator. To do this effectively, we would need to set up an Exploration Program – to find where the most likely location where we can dig for gold is!

And a good exploration program would need some knowledge of geology (where does Gold hang out?), extraction methods, costs to produce, etc., etc.

In our analogy, the excavator is like the newsletter. Just because you have a newsletter system will not necessarily get you to the gold. You need to know where to employ the excavator (or newsletter) to make it effective. And the key to that is to set up a Marketing Plan (aka an Exploration Program).

And like in the analogy, you need to decide what your target is (i.e. We are looking for Gold – not Uranium). This is because the tools needed to locate gold is different from those used to locate another mineral ore. And if you know what you are looking for, it is easier to use the right tools to find it.

Likewise, a newsletter system is like the excavator. It is only a tool – but needs to be employed in the right area, with the right strategy in conjunction with other methods, to maximise our chances of finding gold. To do this in a predictable way, you need to set up an exploration program, or a Marketing Plan for your mortgage broking business.

The moral of the story is this – don’t confuse the tool from the strategy. Employ your tools correctly, with the right strategy.

Define your target market – know what you are looking for, and set up your marketing/exploration strategy to find those customers. This is the most logical way of reaching your business goals.

Try this, and let us know if this works for you.

Masters Broker Group is run by two very successful Mortgage Brokers (Mario Borg and Andrew Tan) who have a passion and a track record in helping Mortgage Brokers succeed in the industry.  To find out more go to



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How to stop wasting time on frustrating prospects

Posted by May04, 2015 Comments Comments Off on How to stop wasting time on frustrating prospects

If I stand in front of the ferry terminals at circular quay in Sydney and hand out $50 notes, it is likely that most people will be reluctant to take the notes from me because we all tell ourselves a story. That story might go something like this; “no one would hand out $50 for no reason at all. They probably want something in return and I don’t know what it is. I’m scared. I’m not taking the money. I’m better off without the $50 than taking the risk of getting hassled or stooged or something like that”.

There is very little we can do to change the stories that people tell themselves. For example, I could put up signs saying that the “money is free and without obligation”… but people probably still won’t believe it. Stories are shaped by our upbringing, our personality, our experiences, our belief and value systems and so on.

Would you take a $50 note from a stranger?

People tell themselves stories about investing, property and mortgage brokers too. Things like:

  • I don’t need any help. I am just as smart as they are. I can work it all out myself.
  • Brokers are just in it for themselves. You don’t care about me. You only care about yourself.
  • Property is too expensive. The market is going to crash.


  • I’m hopeless with money and really need help.
  • I’m not an expert and don’t have time – I need to find someone to work with.
  • I have procrastinated for too long – I’m ready to take action.

I had an experience with a new prospect recently. He was a retired Professor with plenty of wealth and wanted to understand if he should borrow to invest in another property. He booked a meeting with me via a staff member in my office. He then called me the day after and asked if he really had to come into the city because it’s a pain and secondly, is it worth meeting or is it going to be a waste of his time? I didn’t promise I could add value (how do I know until I meet him) but said it would be worthwhile and yes, he’s got to come into the city. He emailed through his financial information after the phone discussion. He emailed me at 6pm the night before our meeting to cancel and requested a phone call instead. I told him a face-to-face is better and to contact me after he returns from his 6 week holiday when he has more time. He called me after he received my email response to complain – saying that I was rude and didn’t value his potential business (he told me he used to be the Dean of his university, that he knows everything, that I probably could think of any ways to help but he was open to listening in case I did, etc., etc.).

It was clear to me that this prospect was telling himself a story. His story goes something like:

  • He is smart. He is wealthy. He is a Professor.
  • No advisor is smarter or knows more than he does.
  • His time is more important than mine and it’s not worth traveling into the city.
  • He doesn’t really think anyone can help i.e. he doesn’t really have a “need” – something we can help him with.

There were plenty of signs of the “story” he was telling himself. Little hints, the way he spoke, the words he used, the questions he asked, what he did, the statements he made and so forth. He’s probably been telling himself the same story for many years. It’s almost certain that there was nothing I could do or say to change this story.

The point is, you need to look for the signs or hints that indicate what story a prospect is telling themselves. And you must understand that there is nothing you can to change their story.

Instead, find the prospects that are already telling themselves a story that is congruent with the service and advice you offer and provide a narrative for them to use (and to attract them). For example, a prospect might be telling themselves that “they are hopeless with money, need help and want to find someone they can trust”. Your narrative (marketing story) then should be something like (for example) “X% of Australians are poor at managing their money. You help your clients grow their wealth by doing X, Y and Z. You have literally 100’s of testimonials from happy clients you have worked with for the last 8 years”. This narrative will appeal perfectly to this prospect.

Mortgage brokers waste too much time trying to convert poor quality prospects and get frustrated in the process – the prospects get frustrated too because you are trying to sell something they don’t want to buy. I believe that it is the prospects that you choose NOT to deal with that determine how much profit you make – not the other way around. Not every prospect is going to want to buy what you are selling. Spend most of your time with the prospects that are telling themselves the right story. And help the other prospects to move onto another broker or bank that suits them better.



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Are you sick of having your emails ignored by clients and prospects?

Posted by Apr21, 2015 Comments Comments Off on Are you sick of having your emails ignored by clients and prospects?

Having your emails ignored is a common frustration. A few months ago I came across this template and I have been using it ever since. It works nearly every time! Clients and prospects now respond to my emails. It is simple. Here it is:

“Dear [name], I hope this email finds you well. Forgive me for emailing you again, but I just wanted to follow up on the email below and see if you might have any thoughts. Consider this no more than a friendly nudge.”

In the subject line I put “Consider this no more than a friendly nudge…”.

I invite you to try it out… you’ll be impressed with how well it works.

This is one of the 14 strategies included in my free report: “14 insights to transform your broker business”. Click here to download the report for free. You are welcome to share this report with any brokers you think might benefit from it.


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6 key principles of influence

Posted by Mar30, 2015 Comments Comments Off on 6 key principles of influence

Dr Robert Cialdini is the author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. A short explanation of his work is that he says that we need to look for the six principals of persuasion when we work with a client. If one exists (i.e. it needs to exist naturally – it shouldn’t be manufactured), we should communicate it to the client and use it to our advantage. Last week I watched Dr Cialdini present webinar which reminded me of his excellent work. Below I summarise the six principals, some examples of what to look for and how to use them when dealing with clients.

  1. Reciprocity – People tend to return a favour, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. For example, a fast food restaurant provided visitors a free gift when they walked into the store: they gave people either a key ring or small tub of yogurt. The key ring saw people spend on average 12% more. The Yogurt resulted in a 24% increase in sales… why? Giving people something they want is more powerful. Obviously they were at the fast food restaurant because they were hungry – so a free gift of feed was more relevant/valuable.

Look for ways to add value and solve a client’s problems. Maybe offering a free RP Data report, offer to seek an interest rate discount at their existing bank, give them a book on property investing. Find a way to give first to enact the law of reciprocity.

  1. Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honour that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honour the agreement. An example is if you ask someone to sign a petition in support of a cause and then a week later you are that person to donate to support that cause, there’s a high likelihood of them donating.

Maybe asking the client upfront if they want to work with someone they trust to help them build wealth – is that something that they are looking for or appeals to them? Then, once you have demonstrated value you can revert back to their previous agreement as if to say “hey, you said you were looking for this… here it is”.

  1. Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in a restaurant they marked some items on the menu as “popular dishes”. As a result, sales of these dishes increased 18% to 20%.

Ask satisfied clients to write you a short testimonial and then send these to prospects. Date the testimonial because research shows that the more recent the testimonial is, the more powerful it is. A very successful accountant I know always answers the same way when a client asks him “how’s business”. He says “wonderful, we have never received so many referrals from our clients”. This shows good social proof.

  1. Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures. For example, Bose has some products that weren’t selling very well. They decided to advertise the opinions of some high-profile audio experts about how great these products were. Sales increased by over 60%.

Talk about how many clients you have helped. How many years’ experience you have. Your qualifications. That you are licensed (ACL). Try and establish authority in the early stages of contact with the prospect.

  1. Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them.

Be likeable, friendly, personal, caring, funny, find common ground, etc.

  1. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, a supermarket advertised that customers were limited to “a quantity of only 3 items per person” resulted in a doubling of sales.

If you get an interest rate discount approved and the approval expiries within a certain time, tell the client. If a bank valuation is only relevant for a certain period of time, tell the client. If you expect fixed rates to change, tell the client.

Remember, the goal in not to manufacture or “invent” these factors to persuade the client to act i.e. if the interest rate discount doesn’t have an expiry – don’t make one up. That would be dishonest. However, the goal is to keep your eye out for these factors that do influence clients and when one exists, use it to your (and ultimately the clients) advantage.

For more, go here.


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