Will Work For Free

Recently a previous client of mine felt pressured by a family relationship to work with another Broker, something I have no problem with. In our office we are lucky enough that each day we have a full plate as it is, and frankly I am A-OK with the odd client jumping ship now and again. Often they return with their next transaction, as they prefer the experience our office delivers.

In this instance the client returned quickly, after being told that the ‘only’ solution was a 4.99% rate product.

Knowing the client’s profile well I have little doubt that we can in fact get it done at closer to 2.40%.

This is about a $23,000 interest expense difference in this client’s case. Each year.

Understandably the client called for a second opinion.

Now, let’s back up for a second.

I was advised up front by the client that they were going another way, with nearly 1M$ in financing, despite my saving them from this same Broker and 4.99% rates the last time we worked together. And yet I was calm, suggesting that indeed they should give the Broker another shot if they felt they needed to. Although unable to deliver the goods last year, perhaps the Broker had learned a few new things and would be able to help the client this time around. “All cool sir, feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns with what the other Broker presents,” was my parting sentence.

The offer, 4.99%. Ouch.

Questions and concerns ensued. Understandably.

The other Broker’s reaction when told by the client that a second opinion would be sought?

  • “Do you know how hard I have worked?”
  • “We do not get paid by the hour!”
  • “I have done all I can for you, this is the best I can get you!”

All delivered in a very heated tone, in an effort to pile guilt onto the client.


As a fellow Broker ask yourself — is our job really that ‘hard’? Sure it has moments of pressure, some might say stress But is it actually hard work? No, it is not like we build cinder-block walls all day, or dig ditches by hand; it’s really a pretty good gig.

As for the hourly pay comment… seriously? Would you prefer to be paid by the hour? Would that be a good thing? Take your annual income and work out how many hours per week you actually work and do the math – odds are pretty strong that at nearly any production level you are earning $100.00 per hour or more overall. Soooo, give me a break.

As for the final comment, if all you can deliver is 4.99% – and another Broker can deliver 2.40% – well then you lose. End of story.

Can a Broker be so brazen as to guilt a client into paying $23,000 extra in interest so that they can earn a $4,500 commission? That is just embarrassing for our profession.

The irony in all of this is that the other Broker knows I am on the other side of this, and if they had just picked up the phone and called me I would have been happy to explain how I am going to get it done. Instead they are spending their time and energy making the client feel awful.

Why would anyone want their clients to feel awful?

Why would the client return to this Broker?

I want my clients to be walking on clouds when we hang up the phone, and if that includes my letting them go, that is fine too.

In fact I just had a client email me late last night that his own personal bank is willing to give him 3.3M at slightly better rates than the 2.85M approval we worked very ‘hard’ to secure for him. My reaction? “That’s cool man; I am glad you took my advice and went back to your bank to try again. I had a hunch they could blow me out of the water once they knew you had me in the game.

Did that hurt just a little bit? Yes of course, but it hurt less because I was the one that pushed him to go back to his own bank, a lender I do not have access to. I did so because it was the right thing to do, and ultimately I did expect the bank to return to the party late in the game anyway. All I did was accelerate the inevitable… and secure a referral source for life.

So yes, sometimes we work for free. Embrace it as the ‘marketing expense’ that it is. Stick to the high road, the helpful road, and never ever complain to a client about things that just do not matter to them. And in particular never, ever complain about not getting paid by the hour.

Or else one day you just might find yourself getting paid by the hour after all.

Thank you.