This is an excerpt from the Nov 2013 Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine.
Broker vs. Broker
Will this be a Battle Royale? Will massive disagreement ensure? Will it degenerate into name calling?
Um, nope this article won’t – and that is the precise point being made
Take One – Dustan Woodhouse
Often we Brokers find ourselves competing with a Bank or a Credit union representative, rarely do we find ourselves competing with another independent Mortgage Broker. When this does happen there are a few things worth considering. All of which involve Tact. Think of ‘tact’ as spelled with a T for good reason, T stands for Think. the ‘T’ precedes the ‘act’ for good reason.
One of the first things to look at when first reviewing a clients Credit Bureau is always ‘recent inquiries’. Have they been shopping around (which in itself is not an issue), more importantly have they told you about it? Either to let you know that you are part of a Battle Royale, or simply to let you know that things did not work out with the previous lender. You want to know why things did not work out, you want to know if the client has misunderstood the purpose of a Broker.
Misunderstood at least as far as my own definition of ‘Broker’ is concerned. I like to explain to clients that they should really be giving their application to one Broker, we all generally speaking have access to the same lenders and rates. Prior to casting their personal data around they want to satisfy themselves that they are working with a professional that will respond to all the clients questions and concerns in a timely and appropriately detailed fashion.
Is there a strong rapport being built from the get-go?
Picking two brokers to pit against each other to ‘compete’ for and ‘win’ the business based on rate alone is a zero sum game for the Brokers. It is not one I wish to play. As such I always defer to the Broker that came before me, encouraging the client to stick with them if they already have an application in the works. There is no point in expending energy on a race to the bottom. We (Brokers) are all on the same side of the equation, admittedly a bit more so when from the same network, although those winds of change are always blowing as well, so in general assume that all Brokers are your co-workers, teammates, and ideally friends in the industry and life will be smoother.
If the client decides that Broker #2 is their preferred path, this can create challenges for the client themselves, as most people are non-confrontational by nature and hate to deliver bad news. It can put the client in an awkward position. Your job is to shepherd them through this process and keep the client calm. On occasion a well placed phone call to the lender rep or the other Broker is not a bad idea. I try to pick the phone up whenever possible in these instances, only ever with the clients permission though.
You would never call a competing Broker? You are missing out. The hard phone calls to make are often rewarded with the most useful and enlightening dialogues.
A few months back I had a situation like this with a Mortgage Centre Broker that I handled as professionally as possible, picked up the phone, called the broker, even offered a split and to buy lunch and talk the file through. At that time I was unaware that DLC was making a move to acquire The Mortgage Centre and indeed the specific broker is now somebody I will be bumping into at DLC events as it turns out. Those aforementioned winds of change at work.
At the end of the day it is a Small World and playing nice with people, even people you think you may never see again, is simply a good habit to form.
You will sleep better at night for it.
Take two – Sabeena Bubber
When I started as a broker, 19 short years ago, I took a Code of Ethics and Responsibility Course. The course title explains it all.
There was a lot of relevant and important information for Mortgage Brokers to live by. The specific code of ethic that I have always lived by is how we dialogue about other Brokers, whether it be to our clients, to other Brokers, or on the internet or social media platforms. Essentially, the rule is quite simple (something I learned in Kindergarten), if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
How we speak about each other speaks volumes about our industry. If we congratulate our clients for dealing with a Broker instead of a bank, that means that our message as an industry is getting through. As an industry if we are going to elevate ourselves to obtain market share away from the banks, (the other 3 out of 4 mortgage deals) then how we talk to our clients about each other is critical. However the tone should not be.
Whether I agree with how a certain Broker is handling the client is not something that I have control over. I only have control over how good a job I do with my clients so that my referral sources do an excellent job of recommending me. I have seen in some public forums where Brokers may say defamatory things about another who seems to have gotten an impossible rate, or some other such miracle that I personally couldn’t perform. I have asked clients to provide me as many details as possible so that I can understand how they could do what I didn’t think could be done.
However, I don’t speak poorly of my colleagues. It’s a small business and I want to be here for a long time. Gossip can be a hurtful thing for all parties involved.
Publically calling out a Broker, especially with only limited knowledge of what is really happening (perhaps the client is simply faking a rate to make the breakup easier) is a risky move at the best of times. More now than ever before, we all live in glass houses.
Conclusion; treat competing Brokers as you would wish to be treated yourself.
Communication is often the cure.