Always Do What You Say You Will Do
Do not make excuses, and do not go out of your way to paint a picture of yourself as the hero fixing a problem that a client simply will not understand the nature of. An example is a mortgage commitment document from a lender that had an incorrect rate on it. I did not catch the missing 0.25% rate premium that was meant to be charged by the lender due to the unique program the file was approved under. The lender caught it after the client had already reviewed and signed the (incorrect) documents. The lender then wanted to issue a new commitment at the higher rate to be resigned. I suggested to the lender that they do the math on their loss over the term of the mortgage and deduct the proceeds from my own compensation.
Going back to a client and saying “it’s not my fault” was not an option I would accept. I had already committed to that client at the previous rate. Typo or not, the client would be less than impressed. Never worry about winning a specific commission, win the client.
Even more challenging for some Brokers than taking the hit for an external mistake is the next step you must take in that scenario. Silence. All too many of us want to receive credit for our suffering. It might even feel like you are passing up an opportunity to “look good,” but silence is the best plan. I would prefer that a client think that no mistakes were made at all, rather than a mistake has been made for which I am paying the price. To try and explain the entire thing runs the risk of raising all too many other questions and creating greater concerns in the client’s mind. What other errors has this lender made? How much is the Broker being paid that they can afford
to absorb this cost? Etc.
To paraphrase John Wooden: the true test of a person’s character is what they do when no one is watching.
When Things Go Really Wrong
When (not if) clients “break up” with you partway through a transaction, opting to return to their current lender, as often occurs with renewal and sometimes refinance transactions in the early days as you get your footing and master the business, it is important to never let on to the clients how truly soul-crushing this experience is. Do not react. Absorb the news and respond professionally. Never suggest to the clients that they “owe you” for a prepaid appraisal or for your planning expertise. It is vital to stay on the high road, always smiling, always helpful, always polite and letting the clients know that should things not work out with the other lender that you will be there for them, that you will keep the approval alive in the system, just in case. Thank them for being upfront with you; in fact, commend them for this.
You appreciate them, you appreciate the communication.
When travelling this difficult (but correct) path, you will be surprised at just how many clients return when the other lender fails to deliver. However, clients will only return if the initial rejection was handled with maturity, with understanding (even when you do not understand at all), and with
good-humoured disposition. That client must be left with a clear view that your office door remains wide open to them. If you react negatively they will not return no matter what happens; in fact, they may seek out another Broker right across the street from you just to avoid the discomfort.
A client’s desire to avoid being seen as “wrong” is equally as powerful as yours may be to be seen as “right.” Resist the urge to be “right” and simply be awesome!
Nobody wins in a world defined as “one is right and the other is wrong.” Little in Brokering, as with life, is black and white instead, it is mostly shades of grey tinted by varying degrees of clear communication.
The overriding goal with every file, with every opportunity, is to create raving fans. Even when it hurts badly, when you are feeling betrayed by a client with whom dozens of hours have been spent, with your own personal payments looming.
Always opt for what is right for the client, be it asking a lender to reduce the compensation to make a fi le work, or advising a client on a product that pays you one third of the compensation of another, or suggesting a client delay their completion date by 45 or even 180 days because this works out better for them. Always side with the client’s best interests. This never
ceases to pay off exponentially.
Our services are not the answer for 100% of clients 100% of the time. Understanding this and being able to advise clients of an alternative solution, even a solution that puts not one thin dime into your pocket, is what will allow you to build a base of raving fans.
Sound advice delivered with integrity and honesty is the only path to creating raving fans. And a base of raving fans is a wonderful way to build a business. It is perhaps the only way.