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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   September 2016

Your Character Is Your Brand

Borrowers look for commercial mortgage brokers who exhibit excellence, empathy and integrity

Your Character Is Your Brand

As a commercial mortgage broker, your value to your client is much more than the ability to originate a loan package that’s a little better than what your competitors might generate.  Borrowers depend on you for your advice, dedication and sense of ethics, as well as your ability to deliver those qualities again and again. In short, your most important product is you, and the honesty you bring to the job.

There are certain professions where selling yourself isn’t that important — such as a cashier at a popular fast-food chain. Then there are professions where selling yourself is very important. A car salesman might fall into this category.

What category does the job of a commercial mortgage broker fall into? Arguably, it is the latter category. A key part of your job as a broker is selling yourself.

To put it another way, your No. 1 product is not the numerous commercial mortgage packages you can offer your client, or the amazing deal structure you can creatively conjure up, or even your amazing negotiating skills. First and foremost, people are buying into you.

They are trusting that you will get them the best rate and terms, or the maximum loan-to-value ratio, or find the right bank or nonbank lender, or something else that is important to them. Certainly every borrower is expecting you to close the deal. So if this is true — if your No. 1 product truly is you — what are people looking for in you?

Excellence

People expect more than acceptable functionality in life, and that’s true even when it comes to mundane consumer purchases such as toilet brushes. They are seeking excellence.

Consumers want toilet brushes to look stylish, sleek and “cool” next to their toilets. There is no doubt that if people expect excellence from their toilet brushes, they certainly expect it from mortgage brokers. Part of the excellence equation for a broker involves

finding the best lender for the particular loan — not necessarily finding the loan that will make you the most money.

You have to be honest and true – allowing your words
and your actions to be one and the same.

Does it also mean working hard for your client to make sure their “pain points” are lessened as much as possible? Does it mean you go the extra mile for your borrower, even if they will never know you’ve gone the extra mile? Ask yourself, “What does it mean to be an excellent commercial mortgage broker?” That is exactly what your clients are looking for from you.

Empathy

Empathy is not a word many people would naturally relate to the mortgage-broker world, which is exactly why an empathetic broker will be noticed by prospective borrowers. What exactly is empathy? A story can help to illustrate the concept.

A farmer had some puppies to sell. As he was nailing a sign on a post, he felt a tug on his overalls and looked down into the eyes of a little boy. “Mister,” the boy said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” the farmer replied, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.” The boy dropped his head for a moment, then reached deep into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. “I’ve got 39 cents,” the boy said. “Is that enough to take a look?” The farmer let out a whistle that brought a mamma dog with her four pups out of the barn.

The little boy’s face lit up as the puppies jumped up and down at his ankles. He then noticed a stirring behind the barn door, and slowly another little puppy appeared. This one was noticeably smaller than the others, more awkward, almost hobbling. “I want that one,” the boy said, as he pointed to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side. “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other pups.” The boy reached down and rolled up one leg of his jeans, revealing a steel brace on his leg. “You see, sir, I don’t run very well myself,” the boy said, “and that pup will need someone like me who understands him.”

In its simplest form, that is what empathy is all about — understanding. As a broker, empathizing with your clients means understanding what it must feel like to have a loan balloon as you struggle to find new financing. It means understanding the struggle to keep a business alive that has been built with blood, sweat and tears over the years. It means understanding what it feels like to be in a bad place financially and feel the weight and pressure of that reality from the moment you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night. It is that kind of understanding and empathy that will distinguish the very best brokers from the merely good brokers.

Integrity

The word integrity comes from the root word “integer,” and if you remember what an integer is from your elementary-school math classes, you will remember that it is a whole number — not a fraction or decimal. To be a person of integrity means to be a whole person in word and deed. In other words, what you say and what you do are one and the same.

What would integrity look like in your dealings with clients? If you say you are going to have their deal before a lender by the end of the day, then you have to assure the deal is before a lender by day’s end. If you say you’re going to call the borrowers with an update by the end of the week, you must call them by the end of the week — even if it’s only to tell them you have no updates to report.

If you say you’re going to do something, then you follow through and do it. That’s what people are looking for in you — integrity in word and deed.

Putting it all together

Being a better commercial mortgage broker means being a better you. Doing your job with excellence goes a long way toward gaining the confidence of prospective clients. 

To do your job with empathy, you must truly understand the situation that your client is facing. This is more than just understanding the deal. It requires understanding the clients — their needs, their wants, their pain points. Doing your job with empathy will certainly distinguish you from the pack.

Finally, to do your job with integrity, you can’t oversell or undersell. You have to be honest and true — allowing your words and your actions to be one and the same.

• • •

Imagine for a moment that you dedicate the next three months to being a broker committed to excellence, empathy and integrity. What changes would you have to make? What would your clients notice first about you? The truth is that you would want to hire a broker like this for yourself. Everyone wants a broker like this. Become this person, because, after all, it’s far easier to close the deal once a client is sold on you. 


 
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