“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” – John Wooden
You must set limitations on your availability, limitations that the balance of people in your life agree with. Perhaps you are adopting the 80-hour workweek prescription to solve a problem in your life, so your availability is 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Perhaps you want to keep the business as contained as you can, so you are available from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and that is all.
In any event, the timing you opt to set for the opening telephone call, in the case of the initial exchange being by email, will set a tone for the balance of the processing of this cli- ent’s file.
Make an exception and take an application at 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, and you will now have a set of clients calling you at 9:00 p.m. all week long, seven days a week. Know this; it is a fact.
I now try to guide all opening calls into the space of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. And at the time of this publication with more than 50 active files, and more than 150 preapprovals percolating, I rarely get more than one or two phone calls on a weekend, and very few past 6:00 p.m. on weekdays.
The tone of availability has been set from the booking of that very first phone call.
In the event that your phone randomly rings with a brand-new caller, be aware that the client has made the time to call you; do what you can to make the most of this time. Why delay the process with an inconvenient, unnecessary in-person appoint- ment? Why put them off for an hour, a day, two days? Why not qualify them right then and there? I will tell you why most Brokers do not do this: they are afraid to.
They did not answer the incoming call because it came from a new number and they wanted to screen it—a self-defeat- ing move.
They are working from a single-screen laptop and are not equipped to key in an application live. They are lacking the second monitor (bigger is better).
They are lacking the confidence because they lack the experience and thus lack the skills. Skills breed confidence. Confidence comes from experience. Jump in and get building all three.
Answer the call, and embrace how badly you suck at it the first few dozen times. It will get better. You will get better.
At the end of a successful first call, you will be amazed. Your clients will be, too, as there really is not as much involved in completing an initial application as people expect.
Do you really think a client who has just spent 45 to 60 min- utes (the opening calls almost always hit 45 minutes) sharing information with you is not now firmly committed to you? There is no way that they want to have that conversation all over again; you have made them feel like they got some- thing done.
How can you doubt their commitment? They gave you their dob, their sin, all without even meeting you. Clients are human, and humans want one thing: instant gratification.
Make it easy, and make them smile.
The turning point after discussing variations in fixed vs. vari- able or prepayment penalty statistics is often completed with phrasing such as, “Y’know, with just another 15 minutes or so on the phone, I can fill in the last few blanks here and tell you exactly how much mortgage money you qualify for, what the payments
would be exactly and possibly even lock down rates for you today. Would you like to do this together right now?”
90% of clients will say yes, if you are asking this after provid- ing data they have not heard anywhere else. They are keen for the answers on qualification and once complete, a lot of my clients say, “This went so well we’re just going to cancel our appointment with the bank.”
Or: “The information you have provided has been so much more useful and practical than anything they gave us at the bank. Thank you so much.”
The gold standard remark you want to strive for:
“Nobody has ever told us any of this before. You really know your stuff. Thank you so much.”
More than once, clients have called me while they were wait- ing three to five days for their scheduled appointment with their bank or another Broker. During that time, they were referred to me, and once they have experienced how easy the pre-approval conversation is, they are left wondering why the other Broker ∕ banker complicated it.
“To test your commitment to the process,” I tell them.
To which they often respond, “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. We have an accepted offer, and we need a mortgage. How much more committed could we be?”
My reply: “No doubt. We both agree 100% on that point.”
chapter tip: Whenever possible, try to build a complete application on call number one. When you start pushing it off to another time, you break the momentum you have established with the client. Don’t give others the chance to influence and connect with your client. Carpe momentum! Carpe the client!
chapter tip: While the largest transaction of a client’s life may be the purchase of the home, the second biggest is arranging the mortgage, not their car. Too many clients and Brokers alike fail to treat the mortgage transaction with the analysis and respect it deserves. Often, the clients walk onto a car lot knowing more about the latest model specs than the salesperson. This will never be the case with a mortgage. Clients fail to prepare other than a Google search on “mortgage rate” and this is where you add value.
You are the expert. Act accordingly.
chapter tip: Procrastination leads to devastation. In this business, staying motivated to jump on things instantly is vital. Answer that incoming phone call, forward that client document, add the client to your database. Do it all as soon as you can. This mindset and behaviour come through loud and clear to clients as well. They quickly recognize they are working with a go-getter.