Getting more referrals is easy! Here’s how…

Posted by Apr15, 2013 Comments Comments Off
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I enjoyed presenting a webinar for the MFAA last month on how to get more referrals. I received lots of great feedback so thank you to all the people that emailed me. I did an interview with a (financial planning industry) magazine this morning about the impact of converting my business to being “by referral only” and discussed why advisors don’t necessarily get the amount of referrals they deserve.

US-based sales trainer, Jeffery Gitomer has always said that referrals aren’t asked for, they are earned. He advises that you should focus on becoming referrable, first, before you ever undertake any referral seeking actions.  Here’s what he suggests you need to do to become referrable:

1. Be likeable. This is the first prerequisite. Without a friendly relationship, there is no need to go further.
2. Be reliable. Consistently meet expectations – the same experience day in day out. MacDonald’s is referable because you know EXACTLY what you’re going to get. Trying to exceed expectations every time is dangerous because you keep lifting the bar – better to be consistent.
3. The client considers you an expert – either an expert mortgage broker generally (hard) or an expert mortgage broker for people in a certain industry, certain types of needs or some other niche (easier)
4. They trust you to give advice that solely in their (the client’s) best interest
5. You have a track record of performance. You have already written a loan and they’re comfortable that you can repeat the performance
6. They consider you a valuable resource, not a salesperson. Provide value to the customer beyond your product and service. Helping the client sort out their banking headaches, giving them tips when purchasing a property, referring them to other trusted advisors, sending them info unrelated to mortgages. Deliver value in the eyes of the client.

So how to you rate yourself on these 6 things? In my experience, it all comes down to systems. Good business/sales systems will automatically hit on these 6 things and deliver you lots of referrals. It’s exactly what I’ve done in my business and what I teach in my course.

In summary, if you want more referrals, become referrable first.

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One of my criticisms of the financial services industry is that too often we are too product focused. That is, we don’t describe what we do as offering a “service” but rather define our service in terms of the products we sell e.g. an insurance broker sells insurance, a mortgage broker sells mortgages. This approach is confusing for clients because it leave it to them do decide what professional they need and when. Doctors don’t let patients (clients) self-diagnose and neither should we.

I read with interest a blog by my favourite writer, Seth Godin titled “Choose your customers first” – click here. Seth suggests that you should select your customer first (i.e. the type of customer you want – the narrower the definition, the better) and then develop your service offering surrounding that target customers’ needs, fears, wants and desires. I think this is a wonderful idea as it allows you to develop an offering that fits perfectly with that customer. For example, I have always loosely defined my service offering as “helping clients borrow safely to make money out of owning property”. To offer this service I need to provide the client with one or all of the following (either now or in the future); a mortgage, personal risk insurances, cash flow and tax advice, referral to a reputable buyer’s agent, referral to conveyancers and so on. I also have a tight definition of who my target client is.

Perhaps we need to stop calling ourselves mortgage brokers as it suggests a very narrow service offering?


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What to do with unmotivated prospects?

Posted by Mar08, 2013 Comments Comments Off
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There’s a line from one of my favourite movies (Boiler Room) which goes like this: “Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made.” Whilst it’s a bit “American”, it’s a great line. But I think it’s more about energy than “selling”.

In the sales cycle, the person with the most energy wins. Recently, I have been dealing with a tenant representative (let’s call him Jack) that has been helping us negotiate a lease for our office. I will pay Jack a fixed fee when he gets the deal done – so his fee is dependent upon us signing a lease. Jack’s been driving the whole process and is in regular contact (mostly by phone rather than email) and trying to keep momentum (we are interested in a particular building). I’ve been busy and distracted with other things so I have given this whole process very little energy. As a result, Jack’s doubled the amount of energy (and time) he’s putting in and as a result, we’ll probably get a deal done.

Some prospects are motivated to make decisions in respect to their mortgages (e.g. if they have purchased a property, need money for renos, etc.). Other prospects have a lot less motivation. The lower the motivation from a prospect, the more energy required from you to win the business. Energy can be in the form of maintaining regular contact (by phone), thinking of ideas/strategies for the prospect, finding an interesting article or report to send the prospect or anything that will add value to the prospect’s life. These things aren’t necessarily “easy” to do and they do take energy. But don’t forget, the person with the most energy will win the sale so don’t let a prospects lack of motivation fool you into believing no sale can be made.

A word of warning; don’t turn into a pest and hound the prospect by calling them every few hours. That will just annoy them. You need more energy than just a simple call. Look for ways to deliver value with every contact… that takes true energy.



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Newsletters: print, email or another way?

Posted by Feb25, 2013 Comments Comments Off
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How do you deliver your newsletter? Do you send a hard copy by mail? Do you email it? Or do you simply post it online? The challenge for any business is to get your clients attention. Then, once you have their attention, you need to add value. If you fail to do that each and every time, you’ll find it harder and harder to get their attention next time. The first challenge of any newsletter is to “get read”.

Before email, all newsletters were sent by post. The adoption of email made newsletters cheap and easy to distribute – plus it allowed you to track who opens the email, who click on what links and so on. I know from my experience that 8 to 10 years ago, email newsletters worked a treat. However, over the past 5 years they have become less and less efficient. The problem is everyone’s email inbox fills so quickly that many emails are deleted without being read. It’s becoming harder and harder to cut through all the noise via email.

I believe the solution is to use various methods of distributing newsletters so this year I will trial a few things. I will continue to write a monthly newsletter and send it by email. At the same time, I will send an SMS to tell them to check their inbox for the latest newsletter (obviously sell them what they should open it). Each quarter I will publish a larger format newsletter and send it out by post. Therefore, my strategy will use email, SMS and post in order to get my communication “read”… which is the first challenge. If I keep the quality of the newsletters high, this strategy should translate into more repeat business and referrals.

So in my experience, don’t rely on just one method of distribution. Using many methods gives you a greater chance of being heard.

I would love to hear what you are doing. Share below.



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Sending newsletters to clients can be an effective way to stay in touch with them and ultimately generate leads (repeat and referred business). The interesting thing is that when I talk to many brokers I have learnt that brokers are doing lots of different things. Very few brokers are sending newsletters monthly, most are sending them bi-monthly or quarterly and too many brokers aren’t sending any newsletters at all! There is no excuse for not sending newsletters as you can outsource the production for a relatively small cost through providers like Your Client Matters and it should pay for itself many times over.

How often

How often should you send out a newsletter? That really depends on what other communication you are doing such as writing blogs, Facebook posts, webinars, sending text messages, direct mail and so on. You don’t want to over-communicate to your database as they will get sick of you (although most brokers aren’t risking doing that). I read some research many years ago (can’t recall where) that suggested there is a two-week window where a home buyer will actively search for the right home loan. After this two-week window, finance becomes an after-thought. If this research is true, sending a newsletter quarterly probably won’t cut it.


The second consideration is the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is part of the brain that sifts through all the subconscious observations we make to work out what is relevant and not relevant (as the brain can’t deal with them all). Of course not all content in a newsletter will appeal to everyone, all of the time. The RAS will scan the newsletter and your brain may not even “notice” the content if its deemed by the RAS as irrelevant. So what does this all mean? Well I think it’s important to address a few topics in the newsletter and those topics (if possible) should relate to a solution or service you provide.

What do I

For the past 8 to 9 years I have always written my own newsletter and published it monthly. Instead of having a whole bunch of articles, I opted for writing one quality article (typically 1,000to 2,000 words long). This has worked okay but I have decided to change it. Instead of one article I will now include 3 to 4 articles as my business now offers multiple services including planning, insurance and tax. I will have an article that relates to a few or all of these topics. If you don’t offer any other services other than mortgage broking, then perhaps your articles should relate to your various client categories (such as home owners, investments, up-graders, etc). The key is to make the content relevant.

I’d love to hear your newsletter stories – what works and doesn’t work. Let me know.

Next week I’ll talk about how to get your newsletter out there – email, print or something else?


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