Chapter 36 — What’s Your Best Rate? The Opening

Cover of Be the Better Broker by Dustan Woodhouse, Mortgage Broker

An excerpt from Volume 2 of Be the Better Broker.

Client: “Hi there, I was told by my Realtor to call you about mortgages. What’s your best rate?”

Broker: “Um… X.XX percent.”

Client: “My bank quoted me X.XX$ -0.01 percent. I thought Brokers had better rates, guess not — bye.”


Broker: “Um… ahhh, hello…?”

Here’s a better example…

Client: “Hi there, I was told by my Realtor to call you about mortgages. What’s your best rate?”

Broker: “Well, rates today range from A.AA percent to Z.ZZ percent, but as much as a rate is number one on your list, it actually ought to be number ten on your list as well. There are at least eight other important considerations worth discussing, such as collateral charge registration, prepayment privileges, fixed vs. variable, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year fixed, prepayment penalties, etc.”

Client: “Why are you talking about penalties to break a mortgage I don’t even have yet?”

And away we go…

Note, the client’s rate question was answered with a range of rates. Beware of anchoring yourself to a number. This is the worst plan. If you said 2.69 percent, and then tomorrow while at their bank the client is told 2.59 percent, you just shot yourself in the foot. What actually happened is rates dropped at midnight, but the client will be unaware that the 0.10 percent rate difference is due to a happenstance rate change, and you may well never hear from the client again.

There are 1,000 ways for a file to die in this business; this is but one simple example.

Never mind that you actually have access to the same rate, or maybe even better. You anchored a number in the client’s mind. Avoid doing this whenever possible.

Another comment I often make to clients: “Rate is the easy part; we all have access to the same rates. What you want are maximum options along with that best rate, as all mortgages are most certainly not created equal.”

Control the Conversation

The objective: Take control of the direction of the conversation. Steer it away from rate for a detour into more meaningful topics that inform and educate a client. You will know you have done this properly when your client utters the magic words, “Nobody has ever told me any of this before.” That is your client now.

The method: Answer the question, but do not end the rate piece of the sentence with a period. Instead, insert a comma and talk about related topics. Learn which lender the client is currently dealing with. Does that lender have restrictions in their product that might be relevant?

The means: Scripts. Practice your topic transitions, and practice your explanations of various related topics. Strive to be focused and brief. (This is something I struggle with as there is so much data worth sharing.)

Introductory questions

Off the top, thank the caller for getting in touch. Then ask questions that dictate short answers so you can quickly start building the application.

  1. Are you a first-time buyer?
  2. Have you spoken (or worked) with a Broker before?
  3. Who referred you? (Chat about the source.)
  4. What is your target purchase price?
  5. Are you working with a specific Realtor?
  6. How much are we working with for down payment?
  7. Will the down payment be gifted, RRSP, sale of another property?
  8. What do you do for a living? (Google data)
  9. Which bank or credit union do you deal with?
  10. Have you already had a conversation with that lender about your financing?

The answers all lead to your converting this “what’s your best mortgage rate” call into a complete application in the system.

The client is still going to get the best rate (as applies to their file), because rate really is the simplest part. More importantly, from the start you want the client to understand the value and knowledge that you bring to the process. Not every client will, and that is fine. If you are struggling to convey your value proposition, clients will struggle to buy into it. Master your scripts, and let the folks who simply do not want to buy what you are selling move along. You need not lock down every single caller.

Next week: Part 2Scripts that transform that initial “What’s your best mortgage rate” inquiry into an almost-complete application.