Guest Column by Gary Ford, Author, “Life is Sales”
In sales and in life, people want more. They want more business,
they want a better deal on their mortgage, they want a raise…
In my book “Life is Sales,” I discovered that most
adults rarely ask for what they want. They much prefer to hint at their desires
Children are the complete opposite. Observe any child and you’ll quickly notice that they
have no problem asking for what they want. In fact, they have an arsenal of
ways to ask and rarely ask just once.
It seems that as we get older we lose this ability to make direct requests. We become afraid to ask pointed questions because we fear rejection. Our worry is that someone will say “no,” at which point we may take this rejection
To avoid the pain of personal rejection, we often prefer to hint
at what we want. This way, when someone says “no”, we still feel okay because
we didn’t really ask for anything in the first place.
So how does all of this relate to mortgages? Well, marketing and sales
professionals have learned the psychology of influence and persuasion, and as a
consumer you should understand these concepts as well.
Most consumers make rate the top priority when seeking a mortgage,
which is why many companies advertise they can get you the best rate. (As a
side note, rate alone never determines your overall borrowing costs.
Other factors, like mortgage privileges, restrictions and penalties are
just as important and should be reviewed carefully with your lender or
Despite those other factors, a great rate can still
save you thousands. So the question becomes, do you ask for a lower rate or do
you hint at it?
My experience says most of us hint, and when we don’t receive what
we were looking for, we accept this rejection because we didn’t come right out
and ask for the objective.
Consider these sentences:
“I would like a better rate.” – A hint or a request?
“One of your competitors is offering a better rate…” – Hint or
“I’m looking for your best rate.” – Hint or a request?
“I’d prefer a 0.10% reduction on the rate.” – Hint
All of these are hints. They are statements and not powerful
requests for a specific outcome.
A statement is not a question and it doesn’t require a response.
By making a statement you often end up with a discussion rather than an answer.
Just two magic words can change every statement above into a
Those words are: “Will you.”
“Will you give me a better rate?”
“Will you give me a 0.10% discount on your best advertised rate?”
Positioning your question in a direct manner, albeit politely,
ensures that your concern cannot be evaded. The response you receive will
immediately indicate how willing or able that mortgage adviser is to go that
extra mile on pricing. Sometimes your adviser will genuinely not have access
to a better rate, but at least you’ll have done your duty to find out.
This simple rule applies to all aspects of your life. It also
goes for mortgage agents seeking referrals. How many mortgage professionals
actually ask for a referral as opposed to hinting with something like, “If you know anyone else who may be interested in a mortgage,
I’d love to be of assistance.”
Do your research, know exactly what it is that you want, and then
simply and straightforwardly ask for it.
About the Author: Gary Ford has held a series of executive positions in retail
banking with Canada Trust and most recently as VP Sales and Marketing for First
Canadian Title. Ford now spends his time as a speaker and president of Life is
Sales Inc., a company focused on sales and service training for
the financial services industry. Ford is a University of Waterloo psychology graduate,
as well as author of the Canadian best seller “Life is Sales.”