Ask better questions… the quickest way to making a sale

Posted by Mar06, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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Liz Wiseman (Book: Multipliers) says that the best way to influence someone is to ask better questions. Questions that don’t lead to a “no” answer. Questions that get your prospect thinking. Questions that start a conversations. Questions that draw out the emotions attached to the clients impending decision. I’m a big fan of starting every meeting off by just spending 30 minutes of asking great questions. You have so much to learn from a prospect and the more time you spend helping them discover their real needs, the more they will know you care. How much will it cost per year to live the lifestyle you desire in retirement? Have you considered how you’ll pay for your children’s education? What is the one thing that worries you financially? What do you think you have done well and not so well (financially) in the past? If you could imagine the perfect mortgage advisor, what would they do for you? How would they help best? There are lots of questions to ask. Just start by asking better more thought provoking questions. Better questions result in better advisors (mortgage brokers).

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Focus on trust and the rest takes care of itself

Posted by Feb27, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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I read Seth Godin’s blog with enthusiasm this week (click here to read it). It’s all about trust. Developing trust with prospects is the ONLY thing a mortgage broker needs to focus on. Without trust, you can’t have a profitable, loyal, long-term client. In my opinion, by far the best thing you can do to demonstrate trustworthiness is to “focus on helping the client and forget about making a sale”. Ironically, when you do this wholeheartedly, you’ll become a magnet for new loans/business. Lots of new business will flow to you. You’ll feel more successful and you’ll genuinely help more people.

The more clients that trust us, the great the influence we have over our clients and the better we’ll be able to help them. And the stronger our industry will become.

Green and Maister’s trusted advisor equation has been the most valuable tool that I have used in my business. Click on the above link and develop all your sales systems around the four trust components. I have been travelling around the country talking to Aussie Home Loan brokers and encouraging them to do the same. It works!

What tools or strategies do you use in your business to develop trust with prospects? Share your ideas here and the stronger we all become.

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Great brokers don’t ask for business

Posted by Jan15, 2014 Comments Comments Off
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Mark Muller is the key character in a series that airs on Foxtel called Gods, Guns & Automobiles. He runs a used car business and if you can get past all his Americanisms, he has a lot to teach when it comes to marketing and sales. I have included a video below.

In this video Mark explains to his sales staff that no potential customer wants to receive a phone call asking them if they want to buy a car. Watch this short 37 second the video to see what he suggests.

Video is copyright to the History Channel.

Calling past clients and contacts each and every day is the single most effective sales and marketing activity any broker can do. Many brokers view annual reviews telephone calls (i.e. calling a past client to check on their mortgage) as sales calls. Sometime they even see them as cold calls. They aren’t at all. They are relationship calls that may or may not result in a sale. If the client isn’t friendly or doesn’t want to be friendly with you, then they probably aren’t the clients for you. When it comes down to it, people do business with people they trust. People trust people they like. Build a relationship with clients based on genuine interest and care and you will have their business for life. Annual review calls aren’t scary or “hard work”. It’s simply the process of finding the clients that you like and that like you in return.

January is a great month to catch up on your annual review calls… don’t procrastinate.

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Coles is aggressively expanding into financial services. It began with Coles insurance and now with Coles credit card. It has a huge marketing budget and an even bigger customer database (via the data it gets from their rewards program). I’m positive its next move will be into home loans… are you worried???

(This blog is a little longer than usual but please take 3 minutes to read it. It’s important)

I reckon the supermarkets have picked up their game massively in their core business over the last 5 years. They are very smart at business. They have improved the quality of produce, they are getting us to do all the work at the checkout (self-checkout), they have improved margins via selling more home branded product and are collecting lots a data about us from their reward programs (which they’ll use against us). Coles expansion into insurance is really smart too. They have targeted a more profitable segment of the market – I.e. they don’t want to win every Australian as a customer – just the profitable ones. When will Coles start selling home loans? I don’t know but I’d guess that its next move after the recent Coles credit card push is done.

Coles sells commodities and they are experts at doing so (selling commodities). It’s Coles’ biggest strength but may also be its biggest weakness when it comes to competing with you in the home loans market. Do you sell a commodity? I hope your answer is no. However, if your client value position centred around saving time, finding the lowest rate, doing all the paperwork, visiting clients at home (to save them travelling), taking the hassle out of the process and so on… If that sounds like your marketing spiel, then start looking for a new job/business because you’re selling a commodity and Coles is going to kick your arse! But on a more positive note, I believe brokers have an opportunity to position themselves as trusted advisors that add value well beyond the lender selection/application process. And if you do it well, Coles will never be able to compete with you.

Can you list 5 things you can do for your clients that Coles won’t (likely) be able to do (or do well consistently)?

  • Number one in my opinion is they can’t develop a personal relationship between client and the owner of the business. People trust people well before people trust brands. So if you have a trusted relationship with your clients, it’s likely 99% of your clients won’t defect to Coles – even if it offers a very cheap rate
  • Other things might be your post settlement care system
  • your position as a source of quality and valuable information (via blogs, newsletters, webinars, etc.)
  • other services you provide (such as risk insurance)
  • your ability to work with your clients by understanding their longer term goals beyond the transaction and genuinely CARING ABOUT THEM
  • the fact that your clients can call on you anytime (not via an overseas call centre) they need help and be relatively sure that you’ll still be there in 5 years’ time (because it’s your business).
  • I’m sure you catch my drift.

You’d better have a clear client value proposition that cannot be commoditised. If not, your business has a finite life and you should be worried. Document your client value proposition and communicate it to every client as often as possible (i.e. turn it into a story and tell your story to everyone you meet – just how Apple tells its story about why the iPad is different to the 100’s of other tables on the market. its story is more about design than it is about features – but that’s another blog for another day).

I promise you something. If all the brokers that read this blog sit down, document and communicate their client value proposition (read story) to every client and potential client they meet, we’ll become a mighty strong industry that even the supermarkets and banks can’t complete with. Do this and everybody wins – well, everybody that matters – our clients and us! We only need the top 10% of brokers in Australia to do this and our industry changes for good.

Please do me a favour. Please forward this blog to other great brokers you know to help fuel The Broker Revolution. Thanks.

 

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How to avoid cold calling past clients

Posted by Nov21, 2013 Comments Comments Off
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I don’t think I have ever met anyone that likes cold calling. Sometimes calling past clients that you haven’t dealt with for some years seems like cold calling (to you and them!). So what can you do about that?

Cold calling might work in some industries but it’s a low conversion (high) contact sport. I don’t enjoy making cold calls and I don’t enjoy (or take) cold calls. You should never make a cold call… ever. With past clients that you haven’t dealt with for some time you almost need to start the sales/marketing process all over again. The sales process can be simply summarised into 3 steps being know, like and trust. The good thing with past clients is that they might already “know” you exist. If not, you might have to remind them (I.e. “My name is Joe. I brokered your loan 5 years ago…”). The next step is then for you to get them to like you. You can do this by respectfully adding value with every communication. Send them a articles that might interest them, write an article, share client success stories (stories are very powerful), invite them to a webinar, a seminar, tell them what’s happening in their local property market (comparable sales), offer to spend 30 minutes with them brainstorming what financial strategies they should consider… Anything that adds value and is tailored to their situation – I’m not talking about mass untargeted email blasts about an uninteresting topic. That’s not respectful of their time.

Once they like you, they will read what you send them. If you provide value in your communications, they will trust you and answer/return your annual review calls.

So, getting back to what to do with all those past clients that you haven’t been in contact with for a few years, you need to develop a communications campaign where you build on “know” and “like” for a few months (for example, 4 communications over the next 6 months – maybe a combination of email, mail and text). After the campaign is done, you should spend 30 minutes per day calling these clients to search for new opportunities for you (and them). Best of all, it’s now no longer a cold call because they know and like you (and your calling about the articles and ideas you’ve given them over the past 6 months).

Spending time and money marketing back to your database will yield the highest return on your marketing dollars by a factor of 10 in my experience and opinion. Optimise this before you do any other marketing. Go get ‘em!

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