Who controls the conversion?

Posted by Jun26, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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When a client asks about interest rate, how do you respond? Do you allow yourself to get dragged into the conversation or do you subtly educate the client about the important factors to consider when setting up a loan – with the interest rate being an important factor – but often not the most important factor?

The trap that many mortgage brokers fall into is that they let the client dictate the conversational agenda. The person that asks the questions is in control of the conversation. I have written about this advice before i.e. shut up, ask better questions and listen.

This is how I would respond to questions about interest rates: “I can’t promise you that I will always be able to get the absolute lowest rate in every instance over the life of our relationship. Anyone that promises you that is probably lying. But I can certainly add significantly more value beyond any tiny interest rate differential that may or may not exist form time to time.” Then you need to launch into a well-crafted conversation about the ways you add value. My tips for this are:

  • Practise – preparing is the key to confidence. Practise talking about how you help clients. It won’t (shouldn’t) appeal to everyone. But it should appeal to your target client. And you must be confident about the value you provide.
  • Use stories – selling is not tell. Selling is showing. Tell stories (give examples) about how you have helped your existing clients to demonstrate the value. Real stories add credibility.
  • Focus on high value – think about your target market’s high value needs. Some of these things might not be directly related to the mortgage (like guiding them towards buying an investment grade property). But they are high value needs and if you can satisfy them, the business is yours.

If you spend a material portion of your time talking about interest rates your client will think it’s important. It rarely is. Instead, spend most of your time talking about the important things that will ultimately add value to your client. At the end of the day, if the client is super-focused on the lowest interest rate (and that’s truly all they need), you have to ask yourself, do you want them as a client? I don’t. These people are best suited to online lenders and that’s where you should direct them as they won’t be profitable, long term clients.

The key: ask questions, find and demonstrate value and “interest rate” will disappear off the agenda.

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You’re not a magician… tell your clients

Posted by Jun11, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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Why do people use mortgage brokers? One of the reasons is probably because they feel like they might get a better level of personalised service compared to what they’d get going directly to the bank. But clients are only partially correct if they think this and you need to tell them this.

A good financial planner will tell clients that he can’t guarantee that they’ll make money. They will tell clients that they can’t control the market – that’s not what they do. Similarly, we need to tell clients that we can’t control the banks. We can’t guarantee that the service will be perfect and there will be no mistakes, hiccups and so forth. And if you get a client that has (and keeps) this expectation, run the other way because your relationship is almost destined to fail. Instead, I suggest you tell clients that mistakes can happen and that there are only two things we (as brokers) can do about that. Firstly, we pick/recommend a lender that, in our experience, has a history of making fewer mistakes. Secondly, if a mistake happens, we’ll do our best to fix it, quickly.

Mortgage brokers can offer fantastic, personalised service which is highly valued by many people. Mortgage brokers however cannot guarantee a perfect experience with every lender. So beware of this incorrect client expectation and don’t be shy to educate the client. Better they expect mistakes and don’t get them than the reverse.

 

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Does email help or hinder your sales process?

Posted by Apr15, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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Some brokers prefer to communicate to clients by phone rather than wasting time typing out an email. Other brokers prefer email as it’s more convenient and less intrusive. But what method is the best to make the sale?

Speaking to people over the phone or in person is far more powerful than writing an email from a sales perspective. Research shows that only 7% of communication is conveyed through words. 38% is how you say it (verbal tones) and 55% is nonverbal expressions. Therefore, if you rely a lot on email to build trust and win a new client, you are missing out on 93% of your ability to persuade your prospective client and build trust. That’s working harder, not smarter!

However, you need to compliment this with your prospective clients’ preferences. Some clients’ prefer email communication so telephoning them every time you need to communicate something will only annoy them. I know that when I am dealing with someone (as the purchaser of a product or service) that I prefer email. I tell people this and when they do not listen and call me anyway, I get annoyed.

Then there are the four personality types to consider. You need to understand what personality type your prospect is and tailor your approach appropriately. Analytical and Driver’s will typically prefer email. Amiable and Expressive’s will prefer the phone.

The answer often lies in selecting the communication medium (i.e. email, phone and in-person) that best suits the following three priorities (in order of priority):

  1. The stage of the sales cycle you are at (e.g. qualifying, building trust, pitching your solution, closing, etc.). E.g. you need more phone and face-to-face contact while you are building trust.
  2. The preferences of the client (based on what they tell you and their personality type)
  3. Your preferences (this is a distant third priority and arguably unimportant).

If you are going to use email, below are three email etiquette tips from best-selling author and presenter, Verne Harnish:

  1. the “Subject:” line of emails should match the substance of the email, period!! For instance, if there is a request for an 15th April phone call, put “15th April call” in the Subject line. And if the reply email switches it to 17th April, don’t keep using the old 15th April Subject line. Take 3 seconds and change the Subject line to 17th April. As back and forth emails morph into different topics, the Subject line needs to change so it aligns with the modified or new topic. Take Subject lines seriously and communication will flow better.
  2. Avoid making too many requests in one email, especially if they involve different people. I would rather receive three separate emails with one topic/request per email (with matching Subject lines!!) than one long email and a generic Subject line.
  3. my third pet peeve are long emails. The above quote from Guy Kawasaki is his testimonial for Joseph McCormack’s book Brief: Make a Bigger Impact Saying Less. When we invite big names to keynote our Summits, like Ben Horowitz for the Growth Summit, we take Kawasaki’s advice and put the request both in the Subject line and as the first sentence of the email. It works rather than drone on about the details.

Email is great but make sure it’s working for you, not against you.

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If I could teach you one lesson and guaranteed that it would increase your settlements each and every year by 10% for the rest of your broking career, how much would that be worth to you? You would need to consider the value of the upfront commission, compounding trail commission and also the fact that any incremental revenue is pure profit (because overheads are already covered). I think you would agree that the value of this one lesson is probably worth at least a few thousand dollars wouldn’t you?

So why is it then that mortgage brokers are so reluctant to spend money on self-education? My past business coach once taught me to work harder on yourself than you do on your business. That is, educate yourself because you will benefit from that for the rest of your life. Running an ad in a local newspaper will only last a few weeks, if that! Learning something new lasts a lifetime.

I just bought Andrew Krauksts’ Mortgage Facebook Success program (click here for my proof of purchase if you don’t believe me). My investment was only $2k. I paid $2k to learn all the secrets to developing an effective Facebook strategy that results in generating new leads. Tell me why I would spend my own time, money, energy and frustration to learn all the lessons that Andrew has already learned? I know from experience that paying $2k for all the solution is easily 10 to 100 times cheaper. Never reinvent the wheel. Instead, find someone that has already achieved success and copy them. Easy!

Andrew is not just a teacher, he’s a doer. He’s not showing us theory, he’s showing us actual strategies that work. If it’s worked for him, it will work for me and you too. Social networking isn’t a fad or phase. It is here to stay. If you have any interest in Facebook whatsoever, you’d be silly not to pay for Andrew’s course – click here. Imagine how much more money you’d make if you paid for the course, implemented the ideas and wrote 10 extra loans in the next 6 months. What’s that worth?

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The one secret to mortgage broking success

Posted by Mar25, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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When high profile and successful business people are interviewed by journalists they are often asked what the one secret to their success is. What is the one thing they should do in their industry that will guarantee success? I have found the one that thing guarantees success in the mortgage broking industry…

The secret to creating an awesome mortgage broking business is to do the little things well. That is, you will be far more successful if you improve 100 things by 1% than one thing by 100%. Most brokers don’t understand that it’s all about doing the small things well. Continual and incremental improvement is the key. The interesting thing is that because the simplicity of this lesson, most brokers will overlook this as “the one magical solution”. But don’t let that be you. Are you friendly when you answer the phone, do you get back to people quickly, do your emails look professional, are you on time for appointments, do you care about your clients and so on. There are hundreds of tasks we do each day and if you focus on improving one of them each and every day by 1% you’ll become a master.

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