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Great brokers don’t ask for business

Posted by Jan15, 2014 Comments Comments Off on Great brokers don’t ask for business
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Mark Muller is the key character in a series that airs on Foxtel called Gods, Guns & Automobiles. He runs a used car business and if you can get past all his Americanisms, he has a lot to teach when it comes to marketing and sales. I have included a video below.

In this video Mark explains to his sales staff that no potential customer wants to receive a phone call asking them if they want to buy a car. Watch this short 37 second the video to see what he suggests.

Video is copyright to the History Channel.

Calling past clients and contacts each and every day is the single most effective sales and marketing activity any broker can do. Many brokers view annual reviews telephone calls (i.e. calling a past client to check on their mortgage) as sales calls. Sometime they even see them as cold calls. They aren’t at all. They are relationship calls that may or may not result in a sale. If the client isn’t friendly or doesn’t want to be friendly with you, then they probably aren’t the clients for you. When it comes down to it, people do business with people they trust. People trust people they like. Build a relationship with clients based on genuine interest and care and you will have their business for life. Annual review calls aren’t scary or “hard work”. It’s simply the process of finding the clients that you like and that like you in return.

January is a great month to catch up on your annual review calls… don’t procrastinate.

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What will happen to your business when Coles starts selling home loans to its millions of customers?

Posted by Dec04, 2013 Comments Comments Off on What will happen to your business when Coles starts selling home loans to its millions of customers?
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Coles is aggressively expanding into financial services. It began with Coles insurance and now with Coles credit card. It has a huge marketing budget and an even bigger customer database (via the data it gets from their rewards program). I’m positive its next move will be into home loans… are you worried???

(This blog is a little longer than usual but please take 3 minutes to read it. It’s important)

I reckon the supermarkets have picked up their game massively in their core business over the last 5 years. They are very smart at business. They have improved the quality of produce, they are getting us to do all the work at the checkout (self-checkout), they have improved margins via selling more home branded product and are collecting lots a data about us from their reward programs (which they’ll use against us). Coles expansion into insurance is really smart too. They have targeted a more profitable segment of the market – I.e. they don’t want to win every Australian as a customer – just the profitable ones. When will Coles start selling home loans? I don’t know but I’d guess that its next move after the recent Coles credit card push is done.

Coles sells commodities and they are experts at doing so (selling commodities). It’s Coles’ biggest strength but may also be its biggest weakness when it comes to competing with you in the home loans market. Do you sell a commodity? I hope your answer is no. However, if your client value position centred around saving time, finding the lowest rate, doing all the paperwork, visiting clients at home (to save them travelling), taking the hassle out of the process and so on… If that sounds like your marketing spiel, then start looking for a new job/business because you’re selling a commodity and Coles is going to kick your arse! But on a more positive note, I believe brokers have an opportunity to position themselves as trusted advisors that add value well beyond the lender selection/application process. And if you do it well, Coles will never be able to compete with you.

Can you list 5 things you can do for your clients that Coles won’t (likely) be able to do (or do well consistently)?

  • Number one in my opinion is they can’t develop a personal relationship between client and the owner of the business. People trust people well before people trust brands. So if you have a trusted relationship with your clients, it’s likely 99% of your clients won’t defect to Coles – even if it offers a very cheap rate
  • Other things might be your post settlement care system
  • your position as a source of quality and valuable information (via blogs, newsletters, webinars, etc.)
  • other services you provide (such as risk insurance)
  • your ability to work with your clients by understanding their longer term goals beyond the transaction and genuinely CARING ABOUT THEM
  • the fact that your clients can call on you anytime (not via an overseas call centre) they need help and be relatively sure that you’ll still be there in 5 years’ time (because it’s your business).
  • I’m sure you catch my drift.

You’d better have a clear client value proposition that cannot be commoditised. If not, your business has a finite life and you should be worried. Document your client value proposition and communicate it to every client as often as possible (i.e. turn it into a story and tell your story to everyone you meet – just how Apple tells its story about why the iPad is different to the 100’s of other tables on the market. its story is more about design than it is about features – but that’s another blog for another day).

I promise you something. If all the brokers that read this blog sit down, document and communicate their client value proposition (read story) to every client and potential client they meet, we’ll become a mighty strong industry that even the supermarkets and banks can’t complete with. Do this and everybody wins – well, everybody that matters – our clients and us! We only need the top 10% of brokers in Australia to do this and our industry changes for good.

Please do me a favour. Please forward this blog to other great brokers you know to help fuel The Broker Revolution. Thanks.

 

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How to avoid cold calling past clients

Posted by Nov21, 2013 Comments Comments Off on How to avoid cold calling past clients
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I don’t think I have ever met anyone that likes cold calling. Sometimes calling past clients that you haven’t dealt with for some years seems like cold calling (to you and them!). So what can you do about that?

Cold calling might work in some industries but it’s a low conversion (high) contact sport. I don’t enjoy making cold calls and I don’t enjoy (or take) cold calls. You should never make a cold call… ever. With past clients that you haven’t dealt with for some time you almost need to start the sales/marketing process all over again. The sales process can be simply summarised into 3 steps being know, like and trust. The good thing with past clients is that they might already “know” you exist. If not, you might have to remind them (I.e. “My name is Joe. I brokered your loan 5 years ago…”). The next step is then for you to get them to like you. You can do this by respectfully adding value with every communication. Send them a articles that might interest them, write an article, share client success stories (stories are very powerful), invite them to a webinar, a seminar, tell them what’s happening in their local property market (comparable sales), offer to spend 30 minutes with them brainstorming what financial strategies they should consider… Anything that adds value and is tailored to their situation – I’m not talking about mass untargeted email blasts about an uninteresting topic. That’s not respectful of their time.

Once they like you, they will read what you send them. If you provide value in your communications, they will trust you and answer/return your annual review calls.

So, getting back to what to do with all those past clients that you haven’t been in contact with for a few years, you need to develop a communications campaign where you build on “know” and “like” for a few months (for example, 4 communications over the next 6 months – maybe a combination of email, mail and text). After the campaign is done, you should spend 30 minutes per day calling these clients to search for new opportunities for you (and them). Best of all, it’s now no longer a cold call because they know and like you (and your calling about the articles and ideas you’ve given them over the past 6 months).

Spending time and money marketing back to your database will yield the highest return on your marketing dollars by a factor of 10 in my experience and opinion. Optimise this before you do any other marketing. Go get ’em!

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Successful brokers focus 80% of their energy on one thing

Posted by Oct29, 2013 Comments Comments Off on Successful brokers focus 80% of their energy on one thing
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Today I want to talk about energy and where your energy is directed and where successful brokers direct their energy. It’s a simple concept but a very powerful one and something that all success business people do.

We all have a limited amount of energy. Let’s assume that we all have 100 units of energy per day (depending on your health and lifestyle maybe you have more and less on some days). We have to decide where we want to spend our 100 units. For example, the 3 key areas in life are business, personal and family – a balanced life means we need to share our 100 units amongst all 3 areas in life (I.e. if we spend 99 units at work then by the time we get home we have nothing left for our family and guess what? Our family life suffers. Do it long enough and your family life and relationship dies!). But back to broking…

Let’s assume that you want to spend 50 units of energy at work. Where does that energy go? There are probably 4 key areas you can spend that energy being prospecting for new clients, dealing with existing leads/prospects, managing existing applications (I.e. Dealing with lenders) and business administration (I.e. Bookkeeping, admin, blah, blah, blah!). Where is your energy going?

Successful brokers (and business people) spend 80% of their energy in the first area – I.e. Prospecting for new clients because they know that if they do this, it takes very little energy to convert the business when they get it (as the hard work of building trust and credibility has already been done). I’d argue that you spend zero energy on dealing with existing applications and business admin – it’s a complete waste of time and energy – simply delegate that work to someone else.

Prospecting for new clients might include writing a blog, updating your linked in connections and profile, calling existing clients and finding ways to add value, hosting a webinar with a local buyers agent or accountant, building your and your business’ profile in your niche (you have a niche by now don’t you??? Tell me your target customer isn’t just anyone that wants to borrow money. Every broker needs a niche), sending a text message to your database about what you expect the RBA to do to rates, writing a free report that people can download when they visit your website (in return for providing their email so you can start building a relationship with them), calling a client with an idea about how they can growth or protect their wealth and the list goes on.

Business is easy. It’s the hard work that you need to do at the front end (that subsequently makes business easy) that is the thing that most brokers aren’t willing to do. So if you want to achieve better results, start focusing your energy on the things that matter the most (in business and in life). Energy is scarce and limited so be careful where you direct it and who (or what) you let take it from you.

The person that brings the most energy, wins! Energy is typically reflective. If I put energy in, I’ll get energy back.

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How long does it take you to spot a deal?

Posted by Sep30, 2013 Comments Comments Off on How long does it take you to spot a deal?
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Your ability to spot a deal is probably one of the single most important factors that will determine how much profit you’ll make in the next 12 months. Become awesome at spotting profitable and non-profitable deals and you’ll make heaps of money. But the reverse is also true.

So what do I mean “spotting a deal”? I don’t simply mean “getting the loan approved and settled” –most experienced brokers can do that. A deal is a transaction that makes you money with a client that will give you more business in the long run (either referrals or additional lending or both). I believe that most brokers only need about 200 to 300 good quality clients. The quicker you can acquire 200 to 300 good quality clients, the easier business will be (as 200+ quality clients will generate enough repeat and referred business to keep the average broker busy and very profitable).

Some questions you need to ask yourself to determine if the client is a “deal” or not may include:

–        Does the clients profile and needs closely match your experience (e.g. if you have dealt with hundreds of self-employed builders in the past and the client is a builder then the answer is yes)?

–        How likely is it you’ll get the current deal approved and how long will it take? Do you already have an idea of the lender(s) you’ll consider?

–        Is it reasonable to expect the client to have surplus borrowing capacity in the future?

–        Do you like the client? Do they seem reasonable and fair? Do they like you?

–        Is the client open to receiving credit advice or do they seem fixated on interest rates and fees?

So what do you do if the client doesn’t look like a “deal” to you. Simple. Immediately refer the client to another broker and take a comms split if they write the deal (simply tell the prospect that you are too busy to take on the extra work but you can introduce them to a broker that a specific in helping people like them).

Do you have a system for quickly identifying a “deal” versus an unprofitable prospect? If not, get one!

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