Ask For a Great Rate

Guest Column by Gary Ford, Author, “Life is Sales”

Ask-for-a-better-dealIn 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
or request?

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.”

  1. Melanie & Rob,
    Good Morning and how are you both.
    I find these articles very interesting.
    Keep up the great work and have a great day.
    Kris Kooblall

  2. This is so true. And in many more ways than just mortgage. Most adults are afraid to ask for what they want.
    Phone, internet, TV, insurance, furniture, painting, cars, credit card interest rates, bank account fees are all things that I save money on; just by asking (and being prepared to walk away when someone says ‘no’). My savings on cable phone and internet alone let me do 2 extra mortgage payments per year!
    Ask and you shall receive.
    I’ve saved hundreds on my mortgage already just by asking for a .2% lower rate than I was offered (Offered prime -.7; took prime -.9).

  3. I was quoted 3.19% at my bank and asked them if they could do any better. The guy tells me that is the best he can do. Then I go on fiscal agents and find a rate at 3.09%. I show him and he says he’ll “take it to his manager”. Low and behold he matches the rate.
    My question is, do all banks operate like this? It’s the same salesman games I get when buying a TV at future shop.

  4. So I hope you told your Bank to take a walk and if they want to keep you they now have to beat that rate. Morally wouldn’t you use the other firm since they were straight up with you and did the work, quoted the rate etc. So why would you even consider going back?

  5. i got the same runaround at a u did donald….prehaps i was naive and think, its a bank, they will give me a great rate but no….and quite frankly i am tired of the bank and dilly dallying while they make millions and billions….and we get the ‘i need to talk to my manager’ comments….

  6. Yes, like most service retailers, Banks negotiate from the top down quoting posted rates/MSRP and negotiating down from there. Like the book review above says, if you want the best rate, you have to do your comparables, negotiate and ask for it. It sounds like that’s exactly what you did.

  7. So morally, your suggesting he “cut off his nose to spite his face?”
    There are probably thousands of people that do whatever it is that you do for a paycheque for half the money and twice the hard work. So morally, you should be fired tomorrow!

  8. Perhaps “morally” was an incorrect term for “Bob” to use.
    If I may “Bob”, you were most likely pointing out that perhaps “Donald” would not reward his current banking institution with his mortgage business if in fact his bank rep misled him by making false statement that the rate quoted was indeed “the best he could do” when in fact it wasn’t.
    Why would a supposedly valued customer of the bank keep their mortgage business with an institution that misled them into thinking that they had their best interests in mind when they were told “that is the best they can do”? The customer’s “loyalty” to that institution was perhaps misplaced when it became apparent that what he was being told at the branch was in fact not accurate, if miraculously they could in fact match another rate.
    And what of all the other customers that signed mortgage commitments with the same branch that week for a higher rate? I guess they were just the suckers the branch counts on to hit their lending quotas for the month…
    Banking institutions of course have their place for all Canadians, but perhaps over time the general public will educate themselves and become aware that when it comes to the largest debt and payment they most likely have, they should work with a licensed, professional mortgage specialist that can offer them meaningful value and product choice, to ensure them the best possible mortgage for their specific need – not just the advertised special in the full page ad in the Globe (then again I guess we know where the dollars came to pay for the ad don’t we…).
    A mortgage professional who won’t force the client to do all the work for them trying to understand a business they are not familiar with, mislead them with a false statement about the “best they can do” and then ultimately match an available market rate and make it seem that they are doing the client a favour to keep their business.
    Why force the client to do the work when that service is available everyday from qualified and licensed mortgage brokers around the country? I guess the branch and the car dealer aren’t so different after all?
    Did I get that right Bob?

  9. Never in past history has the consumer been as educated and informed about matters as they are today. Market share Banks vs. Brokers shows that the average Canadian is not buying your brokers are hollier than thou, Kool-Aid.
    Instead of preaching to your clients and trash talking the bank’s business model, might I suggest you start listening to what your clients have to say. There will always be room in the market for professional brokers that serve the clients needs.

  10. “banker”
    You may not like the language WPG used but truth is truth. I find it interesting that you don’t refute WPG’s facts, but rather take aim at him as a broker.

  11. Well put Wpg Mortgage Advisor,
    This sums up the difference between brokers and banks perfectly:
    “A mortgage professional who won’t force the client to do all the work for them trying to understand a business they are not familiar with, mislead them with a false statement about the “best they can do” and then ultimately match an available market rate and make it seem that they are doing the client a favour to keep their business.”
    What will banks do when everyone finally catches on to their sales tactics?

  12. Hey Tara, Wpg Mortgage Advisor, & Banker in an Ivory Tower
    These are interesting opinions going back and forth and seemed like a good time to provide some background and clarification for all:
    -Banks have strong brand recognition sponsored by wide product offerings, great rates on both deposits and lending, service, convenience (online,telephone,branch access).
    -Monolines in their very nature have different focus and lead with rate and then do their best to be competitive (Not market leading) on the rest.
    -How this applies is be-it groceries or clothing or other products branding affects price…enough said on that.
    Employer/employee vs self employed broker:
    In any sales environment putting all busines decisions into the hands of front line sales people who may or may not have the negotiation skills to price business appropriately is not a smart idea. As a broker can also price a deal below the ticket price by buying any mortgage down further with his or her commission this decision is in their hands alone since they are in business for themselves. Bank staff are employee’s and have certain pre-determined discounts for all products and this control framework is manditroy for anytype of business. Now one might say “Hire better employee’s who have more eduacation and thus more authority”… but then banks would have to pay them comparable to a broker which is triple to quadruple and then profits would drop and margins get tighter. So instead they have a manager with authority and pay them appropriately and the rest are fairly entry level staff.
    Brokers should not compare them selves to bankers, but rather the Mortgage specialist sales force which does have equal rate offering to any broker and level field of knowledge in a lot of cases.
    Brokers should compare Bankers to the back room staff at first national who send out the renewal letters and the staff of the monolines who take service calls over the phone.
    I love mortgage brokers and work closely with them, we have different tools and both belong in the market together… Comparing apples to oranges looks bad for all of us.
    Rate is only a portion of the cost of borrowing and is to heavily focused on. It is time we all start referring to mortgage shopping as finding the lowest cost of borrowing instaed of rate shopping!

  13. hey ivory tower…why in earth wld i ever trust a banker again when they tried to zing me with a first second and even a third mortgage on a house i wanted to buy…this was back in the day when banks seemed to rule the mortgage world…and i went to a broker and i got one mortgage and one great rate and prob wldnt have the house i have today if it werent for that broker..banks are great for chequing accounts and buying csbs and stuff like that so i still like banks, but for mortgages, well……

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