It really galls me to no end that I have to admit that someone had a good idea before me, but it happened. Okay, it happened. George Carlin, back in 1973 came up with his “Seven words you cannot say on television” routine as part of an album he recorded. This was a pretty original idea at the time, full of interesting social consequences and a direct foray into the world that has given us the likes of Howard Stern.
In my training, it has come to my attention that most of you cannot do anything other than what you have been taught. You do exactly what the person in the next office, cubicle or desk does. You do what you were taught by your boss and he taught you what he learned and nothing more. How much time did you ever spend on thinking of new ways to market yourself? Bet you can’t prove that you spent more than zero minutes in thinking of new ways to make an impact into your market.
Okay, you think, that’s my job, as in Ralph’s job. He’s supposed to think for me, because I am a lazy slob who thinks I know the mortgage business, but really all I want to do is take an application from someone who called me on the phone, charge them every last cent I can and collect my check. Do I really have to talk to anyone after I take an application? Do I have to participate in any way with the development of the client? Do I really have to help the client, or is it all about me? Do I have to think about anything?
Let’s try something, not quite as dramatic as Carlin’s routine, but almost, and infinitely more important to your business life. You must never say certain words again when attempting to form a relationship with a referral source. Never say them again … please promise me. Even before you read them, please? When a psychologist told me that by actually doing something over a long period of time, repeatedly, we could actually see how beneficial the actions are and how they impact those we interact with.
An actual true story
My nephew passed his real estate license test in New Jersey a couple of years ago. After he got his license, he was assigned to a cubicle in the real estate office that sponsored him. Then, the parade started. Day after day, the parade would stop at his desk and the band would play and they always played the same song. There was never once a deviation from the tune. It was repeated so often that he called to ask me if it was the right tune he was hearing or was it just his brain on overdrive.
The song went like this (pick your favorite song and just plug in the lyrics):
“Do you have any clients I can help you with? If you get someone who needs a mortgage, don’t forget me. I give the best service, I have the best rates, and my programs are better than my competition. Don’t waste your time with the other people who come in here, they don’t know what they are talking about, but my rates, points, programs and service are the best, much better than my competition.”
Oh God, please mute the sound, my brain is fried. Stop please!
For most of you, nay, the greater majority of you, probably 90 percent of you, as life goes on day-to-day and week-to-week and month-to-month, it seems apparent that you have a problem. Same-old, same-old, yada-yada-yada. You just won’t change what you do. You just won’t. I don’t mean that you can’t, because change is completely under your control. You can change what you think, how you act, what you say, where you go, whom you interact with, what relatives you will or will not spend time with, how you conduct your business. In almost every way possible, you can change. But you don’t want to, and if you don’t want to achieve success, you really are wasting your time reading any more of the ranting of an old soul like me. Why do you waste your time reading all this motivational, organizational crap. It isn’t even funny; no entertainment value, so why bother? For the life of me, if I didn’t really think this stuff was valuable to most of you I would just fold my own tent and slink away.
The five words
Let’s try this! Never say POINTS, PROGRAMS, RATES, SERVICE and COMPETITION. Never again will I say them. You must make this statement to yourself over again until you are sick of the routine.
In previous writings, I asked if you think you could ever have a conversation for more than an hour with a possible referral source and not use these five forbidden words. Since I haven’t heard from any of you, I assume you are all perfect and never use the five forbidden words.
If I’m an educated referral source, do you really think that I don’t already know that almost all mortgage companies have the same rates? Rates are universal, except in short bursts of time. Every mortgage company has to offer the same rates, within a small bandwidth, or they would be out of business in a week.
The secondary market is the secondary market. Loans are sold to the same end buyers. Points are a function of rates. Since most people want low closing costs most people want zero points. If you really can’t explain why points are important, your lack of knowledge might be costing your clients tens of thousands of dollars.
Sure, I know you have the most, the best, the most detailed list of unexplainable nonsensical crap that has ever been sent out over the airwaves. Nobody gives a crap. Nobody! Got it? And if you try to bore my busy life with your need to delve into programs that most of you don’t even know how to properly explain, I think I’ll throw up.
Oh! This is a good one. I’ve always loved how you all trash the competition. I can/will do it better than my competition. My competitors are all just making promises that they really can’t keep. My competition is not as good as me. I’m better than the competition. Here’s what you need to know: You have no competition. There is no one like you. You are unique. You are special. You do things that no-one else does quite like you. You need to absorb this concept, let it become part of your being. Understand it in ways that become so ingrained in your being that you’ll really stop trying to convince everyone you meet that you are better than your competition.
I’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve ever heard, ever, in your lack of business marketing life that you offer better service than the “competition” raise your hand. Oops, put your hand down. You look silly. Now maybe you want to raise both your hands if you can truly claim that you have never said, “I will give you the best service that you’ve ever seen.” Okay, maybe you said it this way: “My service is better than anyone else. Give it up, will you. Please? Can’t you now see that this is the most overused promise that any of you use? Can’t you see it? It is staring at you. There is a laser pointed at you. Can’t you see it? Alright, I’m done for now.
The words we live by
What is really wrong with these words? These are the words we live by, right? These are the words that define our very existence, our very soul, aren’t they? These are the words we were taught to sing whenever we have the chance to croon for our clients.
Well, you can look this one up … words have meaning. Words, when used in certain ways, have meanings far beyond the strict definition found in any dictionary. Words are important and should not be taken in a cavalier way to define what we are, how we think, what we do. Words need to be phrased in such a way that when people hear our words, they can define us. Please write this down: It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear you say. If you wrote it down, you’ll be able to absorb it into your very being in a short period of time and then be able to carefully choose what you say from now until the day you pass on. People might not hear you say what you said.
Why shouldn’t you say these five words? What’s wrong with them? What about them is so bad? The fact of the matter is: Everyone is saying them! If you want to separate yourself from those who try to do what you do for a living, be more professional and form long-term relations with referral sources, you need to say different words and play a different tune.
Say the following words. Say them like you mean them, just like this: “I am not like any loan officer you have ever met. I want to help you improve your business and make more money.” If you say these words and follow them up with the ideas that will follow in other articles or if you call me, then maybe, just maybe you’ll make it in this business … just maybe. But, I won’t be making any bets.
With more than 45 years in the mortgage industry, Ralph LoVuolo is president of Mortgage Motivator, a consulting firm on the cutting edge of the mortgage business. He may be reached by phone at (561) 509-8425 or e-mail email@example.com.