Slam dunk?Ralph LoVuolo Sr., CMCreferral, satisfied client, mortgage business When faced with the choice of obtaining a new business referral or receiving a thank you card from a satisfied client, it seems like a slam dunk to choose the referral. Is this really the case? Are you really convinced? When I was a teenager, my father had just started his mortgage business. I was amazed to learn how poorly he treated his clients. He was gruff, direct and surly, and he seemed to be downright rude at times. We often argued over his business approach. He said that all the clients only wanted their money and that they didn't care how he treated them. In fact, he argued that they appreciate him more for acting aloof and being direct. He would tell me, "That's the way people in the money business act."—and he really believed it. There were times that we actually raised our voices to each other to try and make our respective points heard. The arguments went on for years. I eventually entered the field of sales in the mortgage business. I flourished, but I could have done better if I had understood the mistake that I was making. My father was wrong, so was I. My mistake was that I sought the clients' favor, rather than their trust. I sought to have the clients say 'thank you,' rather than to have the clients say 'you did your job, now here is the name of someone who could use your service.' What's the difference? There is a big difference! Your clients should always be treated with special care. They should be treated like family. After all, jobs in the mortgage business are service professions, and it takes practice to perform a service, just like any other career. As you practice, remember that if you only seek the approval of your client, you will not be completing the requirements of your job description. In addition to helping people get the money they need to buy or refinance their own homes, you must do it in a way that would encourage them to refer their relatives and friends to you. That's the way to stay in business. When a client finds you trustworthy, they will refer other clients to you when you ask them. Early in my career, I even asked clients to send me 'thank you' notes. The lesson that I had to learn was that I didn't ask enough people to refer new clients to me. I found myself working hard for both my referral sources and my clients, and was only asking my referral sources for new clients. Why wasn't I asking my clients for referrals instead of 'thank you' notes? Good business or emotions? Seeking a 'thank you' note seems like much more of an emotional act than seeking a referral, which is a clear business practice. Since we are not in the business of being psychologists, even though it may seem like we are at times, we should be less emotional about our clients and keep good business practices in mind. Good business practices bring success. Recommended reading "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life," by Alan Lakein Ralph LoVuolo Sr., CMC is president of Mortgage Motivator, a mortgage industry training and coaching firm. He is a founder and past president of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers, a teacher accredited by the New York and New Jersey Real Estate Commission, a former associate professor at Atlantic College and New York University and a published author. He can be reached at (609) 652-6901, e-mail [email protected] or visit his blog at www.mortgagemotivator.blogspot.com.
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