How to deal with a bad day as a broker

Posted by Nov22, 2016 Comments Comments Off on How to deal with a bad day as a broker
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I recently read this blog by Seth Godin and it was a good description of what it feels like to build a broking business. It can be a hard slog at times and some days you just need to hang in there. For example, yesterday a lender clawed back commission on a $2.5 million loan we settled 355 days ago. Ouch! That hurts. The deal took a bit of time win. The client asked heaps of questions. It wasn’t a straight forward deal. And now I’ve lost money. Looking back, the client wasn’t right for us but I’m not sure that there was anything we could have done to avoid this satiation (they were referred by a good client). That’s just the way business rolls sometimes. Life isn’t always fair.

What’s important is that we, as brokers that are trying to build a business that we are proud of, just focus on those daily activities that are necessary and, over time, that generate a tremendous amount of long-term value. We will have some bad days. Some clients will take advantage of us. Sometimes we’ll do a lot of work for very little reward. That’s just how it is. But we must stay focused on what we are trying to achieve – that is, doing work that we are proud of. Don’t let the “wrong” people or the random “unfairness” of life demotivate or deter you from doing the good work that the vast majority of your clients value.

In my business, these activities include:

  • Proactively telephoning existing clients to ensure they are happy and to explore if there’s anything we can do to help them achieve their financial goals. Not to try and sell them something but to really help them
  • Random acts of kindness e.g. sending a hand-written thank you card to a client thanking them for their business and ongoing loyalty
  • Helping a client resolve a banking issue, complete a switch or negotiate a better interest rate discount
  • Writing a blog that shares ideas with clients about how to build wealth, save money, feel more financial secure and so on.

All these activities do not generate any immediate revenue. However, all of them do, over time, help to build a very successful broking business.

Our long-term success depends on our discipline to do these simple activities on a daily basis. As author Jim Collins says, “the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” Completing the above activities occasionally (not consistently) creates virtually zero value.

From a practical perspective, I understand that it’s really hard to do these things because it’s so easy to get distracted by more urgent activities and issues. We all rush to the urgent at the expense of the important. The solution is about creating habits. What you need to do is try really hard to do something every day for 4 weeks and its likely you’ll get close to creating a new habit. Once you have created a habit, it should be a lot easier.

When business is slow, do your daily activities. When you are flat-out, do your daily activities. When a mean client refinances within the first 12 months, do your daily activities. And when everything going perfectly, do your daily activities.

Keep up the hard work. Out industry needs people like you.

 

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Getting more clients to say yes to your emails

Posted by Aug23, 2016 Comments Comments Off on Getting more clients to say yes to your emails
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I believe that you should spend almost as much time on an email’s subject line as you do on writing the actual email itself. The strength of an email’s subject line will determine if it gets read and opened. It’s the first thing the client will read and sets the tone for the rest of the communication.

Imagine receiving positive responses to all emails you send out. A good subject line can dramatically increase your effectiveness i.e. less/no questions and more clients saying yes.

Subject lines are just as important for emails that you reply to as new emails. Most people simply reply to emails and don’t consider changing the subject line.

Some ideas for good subject lines include:

  • Ask a question e.g. Are you confident that you have the right loan structure?
  • Describe what action you want them to take e.g. Can you please confirm that you are happy to proceed as I have recommended?
  • Tell them that they need to do something e.g. Please sign the attached page and email back to me – shouldn’t take more than one minute
  • If you only need one minute, tell them – Please confirm: it won’t take you more than 1 minute to deal with this email
  • Don’t be worried about long subject lines – nothing says they have to be short – both short and long subject lines work
  • Make it stand out e.g. Here is a summary of the 5 important items we discussed today’s meeting

Boring email subject lines just don’t work anymore. Especially when people get 100’s of emails per day.

Have a go at changing your email subject lines and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result. They make a big difference.

 

 

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How much advice should you give for free?

Posted by Jul15, 2016 Comments Comments Off on How much advice should you give for free?
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One of the challenges with being remunerated entirely by commission is the risk that clients do not value and respect your time and advice – because they aren’t directly paying you a fee. This can be one of the frustrating things with being a mortgage broker. How much free information and work should you give before asking the client to make a commitment?

Don’t punish everyone just because of a few bad apples

Most people don’t expect anything for free. Most people will be very appreciative of you putting aside your own interests to help them. However, of course there are a few bad eggs that will take everything they can get without any concern for “fairness”. So what do we do? Do we design our business processes and approach to guard against us getting hurt by the small percentage of people that are in fact looking for “something for nothing” and punish the genuine people in the process? That doesn’t sound like the right approach to me.

Also, we must realise that ideas are scalable. An idea retains its value irrespective of how many people you share it with. Therefore, what do you have to lose by sharing some advice except for a bit of time? You might think “we’ll if I only gave advice on the condition that they do a loan with me it will make me more money”. My response would be “aren’t you better off finding out what kind of person that are at the outset?” My view is if a prospect isn’t interested in establish a fair relationship based on trust and appreciation… then I’m not interested.

The law of reciprocity is very powerful

The law of reciprocity states that If I give someone something with no expectation of getting something back in return, that the person will feel indebted to me. They will feel like they have to give something back. They owe me something.

One of the biggest components required to build trust is for you to demonstrate that you have an absence of self-interest. That is, if you can act and behave in a fashion that demonstrates to the client that you are only putting their best interest first (and not your own), you will build massive trust. Giving first (i.e. giving your time, your attention, your care, your advice, your empathy) is a great way to build trust. Not being generous with your advice won’t help you attract the clients you want.

Be very focus on who your target client is

Investing time into developing a relationship with a new prospect is something I’ve always been willing to do. However, it’s got to be a relationship that will eventually be mutually beneficial – otherwise it just won’t work. So be prepared to give as much advice and information as you can when you first meet a prospect – whilst at the same time asking yourself is this the right client for me (for me two things have to be present; 1. I have to be able to add value to their situation and 2. enjoy working with the person). If, at any time, you feel the client is not for you, help them find another person or business that can solve their problem. Doing so will help them and free you up to spend time on a target client.

Beware of teaching your clients to expect everything for free

At some point, a prospect needs to give you a commitment to do business or pay you a fee in the interest of fairness. Don’t ever be afraid to ask the prospect for a commitment e.g. “I’m happy to come back to you with this extra information but can I take it that you are happy to appoint me as your mortgage broker when the time comes to sourcing a loan?” If they have any concerns with saying ‘yes’ then you can address it there and then.

Some people will teach you that they aren’t the “right” client for you

Some people are just in it for themselves without any regard for whether you get fairly remunerated for your time and advice. They will teach you this through their actions and sometimes even words. Be open to the fact that not everyone can be converted into a client. So when you come across a person that isn’t interested in developing a fair relationship, the best thing you can do is gently help them find someone else to deal with.

Build your own and the industry’s brand

My aim is that a prospect should always be better off as a result of meeting with me. To achieve this aim I try and find ways to help the prospect – even if I might not want to deal with them in the future. Help could consist of providing some advice, pointing them in the right direction or introducing them to another professional. If we all take a similar approach, not only do we build our own brand (because you never know who the prospect knows), but you will build the brand equity in the mortgage broking industry.

Mortgage brokers offer a tremendously valuable service and the more people that know about it (and experience it), the better off we will all be.

 

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Lazy brokers fail because they fail to…

Posted by Jun15, 2016 Comments Comments Off on Lazy brokers fail because they fail to…
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How many hours per year do you spend on trying to win new business and generate more leads? It is not unusual for a broker to spend over 2,000 hours per year on these activities.

How many hours per year do you spend on training? Most brokers would spend less than 10 hours per year – that a measly 0.5%!

Imagine what would happen if you did 10 times more training… i.e. increased your training time to 100 hours per year (that is only 2 hours per week or 5%)! You can learn a hell of a lot in 100 hours.

How much more productive and effective do you think you’ll be? I think you’ll easily increase your settlements by $2 million per month – easily. That makes you an extra $140k in upfront’s which is a tremendous return on the investment. But that’s not where the true value of training lies because you have taught yourself to fish. If you can train yourself well enough to maintain this increase in settlements for the next 10 years, the value of the extra trail and upfront commission is over $2 million!

So you have spent 1,000 hours on training over 10 years and you have generated $2 million in revenue – that’s an hourly return of $2,000 per hour. Pretty good hey?

There’s no other investment that I know of that provides a higher return than training.

Do more. If you want to become a great broker you have to put in the work.

Take 10 minutes now and write out a training calendar for the next 12 months. Book a training course. Download an audio.

{Andrew Krauksts has just released some free training and this is a good place to start. This training specifically covers brand new Facebook features, strategies and marketing funnels he has been using that allow him to generate 20+ Home Loan enquiries every month. Within this four-part online video training series, he’ll teach a 3 Step System to generating an abundance of leads. The training is MFAA and FBAA approved for 2 Hours CPD as well… brokers that register, on completion of this training, get sent the specific codes for this training.

Please sign up for this valuable training if you’re interested in learning more.}

 

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The art of doubling your settlements with less work

Posted by May23, 2016 Comments Comments Off on The art of doubling your settlements with less work
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I believe that almost every broker in Australia could double their settlements without working anymore hours. I know. It sounds like a big statement doesn’t it? But read on because I’m going to give you some practical examples.

Before I get to the practical examples, it’s important that you understand that there are three steps to changing any belief about what’s possible. Firstly, you have to hear about it. Then you have to see it. Then you have to do it yourself. Let me try and change your belief by sharing a story…

In 2006, I settled $74,507,446. I had a super-busy year and I thought that I had reached my limit/capacity. However, I continued to focus on refining my systems and in 2007 I settled $108,137,551 – a whopping 45% increase! The only reason this happened is because I left room for the possibility that it was doable and I asked myself every day “what does the perfect day of a broker that settles more than $100 million per year look like?” I didn’t want to work harder. I focused on working smarter. The top broker in Australia settled over $300 million last year. Ask yourself: “what does he do differently from minute to minute compared to you?” Ask yourself that every day before you start work. That is exactly what I’d be doing if I as still writing loans today… and given I settled $108m p.a. about 9 years ago, I’d like to think I could write over $200m+ today!

There are 168 hours in every week

A 50 hour working week equates to 3,000 minutes. The trick is to make every one of these minutes’ count. The trick is not to work more. The trick is to get more done in the same amount of time. To do this you need to each of the following three things:

  • Systemise everything in your business using technology, videos (instead of written procedure manuals – videos are far easier to make) and checklists. Aim to get things so systemised that anyone could walk into your business and run it.
  • Automate as much as possible but not everything. Technology can help greatly with automation. Always ask yourself “how can I never have to do this task again”. However, clients typically like some personalised contact so don’t automate everything.
  • Delegate every single task that you do that does not make money. Value your time. If you want to settle over $100 million p.a., your time is worth $250 per hour. So each and every hour you need to be doing something that has the capacity to generate more than $250 per hour. If you are not there yet, set yourself a goal e.g. by Dec 2016 I will not be doing anything that I can outsource for less than $250 p/hr.

Don’t try and change everything all at once. The trick is to aim for consistent and regular (daily) improvements. It’s better to improve one thing each day by 1% than only improving one thing by 100%. I’m still working on our systems and processes.

There are two systems that you must nail

There are two systems that will make you the most amount of money; your sales system and your marketing system. The role of your sales system is to convert a prospect into a client with as little of your time as possible – aim for 2 hours or less. The role of your marketing system is to ensure you have an endless supply of good quality leads. Again, this should work with as little of your time/input as possible.

Less doing, more living by Ari Meisel

I recently read a book by Ari Meisel called “Less doing, more living” and I highly recommend it. It will only take a few hours to read and you’ll get some very practical tips that you can start implementing today. These things might seem really basic but that is my point – you need to find 100 basic tips and strategies that will make you 1,000% more efficient.

Here are just a few simple examples:

  • I have started using Evernote for almost everything. In fact, the idea for this article was saved in Evernote. If I go to a conference, my notes go into Evernote. If I have a marketing idea, newsletter idea, etc. I completely download all the “noise” that is inside my head into this app.
  • What system do you have to set reminders for yourself? Do you use a to-do list or put remainders in your electronic diary? These are clunky solutions. I now use FollowUp.cc. It is so simple. If a client or business associate emails me and I reply straight away but want to follow them up next week, I simply BCC may31@followup.cc and on May 31 I’ll receive a reminder email. It’s awesome. You no longer have to rely on your memory.
  • Set up a rule in Outlook so that any new email that has the term “Unsubscribe” in it (but doesn’t have the term “FW” or “RE”) is automatically moved into a folder called “optional”. You can read all those newsletters when you are traveling.
  • If you don’t have time to get to the gym download an excellent free app called Sworkit. It’s the best fitness app for exercise at home.

There are other blogs and books that you can read that will help you – this is only one example. Spend a few hours a week educating yourself about what tools you can use to save time.

Don’t know where your time is going?

Simple. Use this free time tracking tool to record what you do during the day. You can install it on your desktop and smartphone. Create a few different categories like admin, client meetings, research, marketing, training, etc. At the end of the week it will tell you where your time is going and more importantly what “wastage” you need to eliminate.

You can settle more than $100 million working 40 or less hours per week

I know because I have done it. It is as simple as making every minute count. Good luck.

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