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For some reason humans tend to overcomplicate things and then end up not seeing the wood from the trees. Often the simplest solution – the one right in front of our eyes – tends to be the best solution. And this could not be truer in mortgage broking.

One of the simplest and most powerful strategies that I know of is to; break the sale up into small steps and focus on just selling the next step. Let me explain using a real-life example of a client interaction I had last couple of weeks. I met with a new client and learnt that he only just recently refinanced his home loan a few months ago. After learning about the client’s situation, it was obviously that he needed to restructure for tax reasons but this would also involve a refinance (as his existing lender didn’t have the products to accommodate the correct structure). My concern was that the client probably wouldn’t want to go through a refinance again in such a short space of time. To address this we firstly educated the client in respect to the merits of the better structure i.e. helped him understand how much tax it would save him (and we didn’t talk about lenders or anything like that). Then, once he had agreed with the recommended structure, we demonstrated why he needed to refinance and pitched our lender. The client agreed and we are currently undertaking a refinance. If we had have pitched both items at one time (i.e. the structure and the refinance), it would have been a lot harder for the client to understand (i.e. more questions, more time) and possibly we wouldn’t have won the deal.

The crux of this strategy is simple. Break up the sale into as many small steps and focus only on selling the next step. Don’t move on until the client has agreed to each of the steps you have presented. This approach is very effective and will make both you and the client feel very comfortable. Complexity is the enemy of the sale.

 

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The best time and method to make annual review calls?

Posted by Jul16, 2015 Comments Comments Off
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Calling past clients’ is the most powerful thing you can do to build and maintain goodwill in your business. And the businesses with the most goodwill and client connection are typically the strongest, most profitable businesses. But what is the best way to complete them and when it’s the best time to do them?

Australian entrepreneur, Harold Mitchell (73) founded Mitchell Communication Group back in 1976 and is worth over $375 million (according to BRW). He still calls two clients each and every day and acknowledges it’s one of the most important tasks he does. If Harold can find the time to do it, you can too.

So what is the best method to complete annual reviews? Should you send a letter, email, call or book a meeting? And what’s the best timing? Do you complete all reviews annually (say during the Christmas/New Year period), monthly, at a certain time each week or daily?

I can tell you that over the past 13 years of broking we have tried many, many different strategies. If you can think of it, chances are we have tried it! In the end, the most effective method – like it or not – is to telephone the client and do it daily. The fact is, there is no magic bullet. Each and every client will prefer different methods of contact at different days/times – and for the same client it might change from month to month.

It is “consistent regularity” that is the magic bullet for both client and the business.

As best-selling author, Jim Collins puts it; “the signature of mediocrity is chronic incontinency” (awesome quote… stick it up in your office). Doing annual review calls for a couple of weeks, then getting busy and not doing them for several months and then starting again (sound familiar?) is almost just as bad as not doing them at all. Doing them all in one month is ineffective too – because not everyone will be ready and willing that month (when you are). Instead, get in the same habit as Harold Mitchell (he’s 73 – give him credit for his experience) and make a few calls every single day – it one takes a few minutes.

I promise it works. And it will be your most effective marketing/business building activity you do by a long margin (but only if you do it daily).

 

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There are typically two approaches you can take to win a new prospect or lead.

You can try and sell them on why you are the broker they should trust and use, why CBA or ING or another lender best suits their needs and why they need to get a pre-approval… which you can get started on organising right now… Or

Alternatively, you can tell the prospect exactly what you do for your clients, how you work, the types of clients that best fit what you have to offer and share some successful results (case studies) – then let the prospect decide if it suits them or not.

The first approach requires you to put most of your effort and energy in becoming the best salesperson you can be… to develop an awesome sales system… to master the sale.

The second approach requires you to put all your effort in designing a service that delivers incredible value to your target clients – so much so, that when your target clients hear about what you do, they are instantaneously attracted to your offer.

The value of a broker’s service and advice is inversely related to the amount of effort it takes to sell their service. That is, it takes a lot of energy to convince a prospect to more forward if the prospect sees little value in what you do. So perhaps this week you should focus on developing your client value proposition rather than honing your sales skills. The find as many target clients as you can and share what you do. The “right” clients will be attracted.

P.S. I am using this exact approach for the broker referrals course I am currently writing. The course is written specifically for brokers and contains over 24 proven referral strategies that will help them double the amount of referrals they receive. It’s not for everyone. But serious brokers will clearly see the value in joining the course.

 

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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
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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 http://www.mastersbrokergroup.com.au/category/news/

 


 

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