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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   February 2012

What You Say and What Clients Hear

Lay down a few ground rules to improve your business and yourself

Mortgage brokers and originators, like salespeople everywhere, often rely on the same words and phrases when marketing their products. Try this: When forming a relationship with a referral source, stay away from the usual jargon.

In fact, you should try to never say five certain words when talking with clients and potential referral sources. Never. Tell yourself that these five words are forbidden in your business conversations: 

  1. Rates 
  2. Points
  3. Programs
  4. Competition
  5. Service

What's the problem with these words? Aren't they the words that we live by? Well, yes, but these words shouldn't define what we are, how we think, what we do or how we're perceived by others — and, all too often, these words do just that. It’s not only a question of what you say, but also what people hear you say. If you want to separate yourself from the competition and form long-term relationships with your referral sources, you need to use different words and take a different approach.

Let's break down these five words a little more:

  1. Rates: Are educated referral sources really unaware that almost all mortgage companies have the same rates? Rates are universal, except for short periods of time. Mortgage companies invariably offer more or less the same rates, and any savvy referral source already knows this.
  2. Points: The secondary market is just that: the secondary market. The same end-buyers purchase loans and, because most people want low closing costs, almost everyone wants zero points. Yet if you can’t explain why points are important — and if you can't do so in a way that goes beyond the basics — that lack of knowledge could cost your clients dearly. 
  3. Programs: Sure, you can tell your sources that you have better programs than anyone else. But if you find yourself delving into the details of programs that are so complex that even you don't completely understand them, all you're going to do is bore or confuse potential clients.
  4. Competition: Let's face it: A lot of people love to trash the competition. We say that we can do better than our competition. We say that our competitors are just making promises that they can’t keep. We say that our competition isn't as good as we are. But here’s the only thing that you need to know: You have no competition. There's no one else quite like you. You do things that no one else can do in exactly the same way. Stop trying to convince people that you're better than your competition. There's no need for that.
  5. Service: Most likely, you've told potential clients that you offer better service than your competition. This may be the most overused promise in the industry today — at least that's what your referral sources may think. Remember, it’s not what you say but what people hear you say. And if what they're hearing is empty promises, you may have a serious problem.

So, instead of using these five words, just say the following, and say it like you mean it: "I am not like any mortgage professional you have ever met. I want to help you improve your business and make more money." Isn't that all that your sources really want to hear?


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