Turn your mortgage broking business into Disneyland

Posted by Sep11, 2013 Comments Comments Off on Turn your mortgage broking business into Disneyland
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Disneyland (in Anaheim, USA) is an amazing business. Even if you are not interested in the entertainment value, it’s worth the visit to observe the way they do business. Perhaps the most significant thing is that they only care about the visitors that “get it” and they ignore the rest. Walt Disney was very clear in his vision when he established the first theme park in 1955. He wanted to “make people happy” and create the “happiest place on earth”. Some people buy into that vision and want to be taken away into a “magical land of fun” be it kids or the adult that wants to be a kid again! Disney designs and develops everything in its park(s) for that very exact person – their target market. Every ride, entertainment venue, restaurant, product, staff member is laser targeted to that same vision – the happiest place on earth. They don’t say to themselves “well some parents may visit that are very mature (read boring) and we should have a restaurant that is designed for them”. No. Everything in the park is on target.

I think lots of mortgage broking businesses can learn from this. There will be some clients that really “get what you do” and value it. There are other clients that are indifferent about the service/advice you provide. It’s erroneous for businesses to try and cater to every man and his dog and please everyone. Doing so tends to water down your core skills and culture. Instead, better to play to your strength (i.e. what you are good at and enjoy doing), design a service/advice business that only considered the needs of your target market. Deal with more target clients and less non-target clients. Give your target clients more of what they want and need.  Become more like Disneyland.

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Only a few refer regularly… find them!

Posted by Jul26, 2013 Comments Comments Off on Only a few refer regularly… find them!
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When was the last time you went through the referrals you received in the past 12 months to identify the clients or colleagues that referred you more than one prospect? Most businesses have a small group of advocates that go out of their way to promote the business because they love what they do (or make). Knowing who these “advocates” are is the first step in getting more referrals.

[Obviously, my opening paragraph implies that you track where each lead/prospect comes from. If you aren’t doing that, you must start today because you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is the most basic of business management and if you are not prepared to do it, what’s the point of running your own business?]

Once you have identified your business’ advocates (i.e. people that have referred more than one prospect in the past 12 months), it’s time to say thank you. Most people want recognition for the work they do. They want to know that they matter and that they are making a difference. Bottles of wine and hampers are good but a simple “thank you” and “you are making a difference” is typically more effective (and meaningful) – particularly for advocates because they already love what you do.

So here’s a challenge for next week: find out who your advocates are and ring them up. Acknowledge what they have done (i.e. referred 6 people), say thank you and tell them that they are helping you grow your business. Do this every 3 to 4 months and watch your business grow.

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Discovering high value needs

Posted by Jul10, 2013 Comments Comments Off on Discovering high value needs
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There is a methodical system for discovering a prospect’s high value needs and if you get it right, you’ll win that client for life!

It starts with a low self-orientation approach. That is, approach every prospect with the question “how can I help this person” – not with the motivation of “can I do business”. My aim is that all prospects should hopefully be better off for meeting me regardless if we do business or not. So I’m constantly on the lookout for way I can help them. I try and find an opportunity to “give first”.

Secondly, you need to ask better questions. Ask questions that challenge the prospect – get them thinking. Questions like how much income do they need in retirement? What is their biggest fear with borrowing money? You have to earn the right to ask deep questions so begin with some simple ones and then get deeper as they are more comfortable.

Lastly, keep an open mind. A high value need might not be something directly related to credit advice. Maybe they need help selecting the right investment property – so introduce them to a buyers’ agent. Maybe they need help managing their cash flow. 95% of people need help with something.

Find one to three high value needs, get agreement from the prospect that you have correctly understood those needs and then go about helping them satisfy those needs (and/or introduce them to other trusted advisors that can help). That will position you as a trusted advisor.

You’re far better to sell on high value needs rather than something commoditised such as a low rate, saving the prospect time or service. Good luck!

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Competing on interest rates to win new clients? Why? Here’s how not to…

Posted by Jul03, 2013 Comments Comments Off on Competing on interest rates to win new clients? Why? Here’s how not to…
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I think we can learn some very valuable lessons from the retail industry (particularly apparel retail). You would have noticed lately that everything is on sale – 50% (or more) off is not uncommon. What is the retail industry teaching its customers? To never pay full retail price again! It’s a lazy strategy – to compete on price.

Price (interest rate) is rarely the most important thing to the client. If it was, there would be only one mortgage lender in Australia – the one with the lowest rate. I believe that 99% of prospects have 1 to 3 high value needs – a problem or need that they need a solution to. These high value needs aren’t price related (i.e. rates and fees). Your goal, as a credit (trusted) advisor, is to find out what the prospect’s high value needs are. You need to discover them as the prospect probably doesn’t even know what they are if asked outright. The best way to discover your prospects high value needs is to simply “ask great questions and listen”. The person that asks the questions is in control. You never learn anything while you are talking. The best way to influence people is to ask better questions. The best questions challenge prospects – get them thinking.

Let me ask you this: when you are in an appointment with a new prospect, who does most of the talking? If you are talking more than 20% of the time, you’re missing opportunities! Talk less, listen more and find the high value needs.

More about high value needs in my next blog…

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Timing is everything (to winning more business)

Posted by Jun05, 2013 Comments Comments Off on Timing is everything (to winning more business)
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Momentum is everything when it comes to winning new business. The time it takes you to respond to a prospects requests is directly proportionate to the likelihood of you winning the business. That is, the longer you take, the less likely it is that you’ll win the deal. It’s the single biggest thing you can do to improve your effectiveness as a mortgage broker.

Q. How long does it take for you to respond to a new lead?
Q. When a client leave a message for you, how quickly do you call them back?
Q. How quickly do you respond to emails?

I think 2 hours is the magic number. Aim to respond to new leads, phone calls and emails within 2 hours (or quicker if possible) and you’ll see the difference. With smart phones, iPads and the like, these days there’s no excuse for not getting back to clients quickly.

However, remember that consistency is equally important as a sense of urgency so don’t make unrealistic promises and be consistent with your response times. Inconsistency equals unreliable (in the prospects eyes) and will work against you.

And respect your personal time too. You don’t necessarily have to respond outside of business hours (good if you can). You can communicate to clients that your 2 hour rule only applies during business hours.

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