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Badass Brokering: Proven Keys to Sales Success

By Mike Cameron, Special to CMT

This article is the first of a four-part series adapted from Mike Cameron’s presentation “Badass Brokering: Proven Keys to Sales Success.” Mike has delivered these talks across the country, including at the Mortgage Professionals Canada regional symposiums. His goal is to introduce you to a framework for creating a sales process specific to your practice and to your unique self.

When I kick off my presentations, I talk about the fact that no matter the profession, no matter the product, as salespeople we all sell the same thing.

I start by asking the audience what they believe is the number one thing we sell. Can you guess the most common answer?

In almost every case, the majority of mortgage brokers consistently believe that the number one thing they sell is themselves. While I don’t totally disagree, it’s never the entire answer I’m looking for.

The very passion of brokers’ response to this question has made me realize how universally this belief is held across our industry, so let’s break it down a bit right here.

“Selling yourself” is somewhat of a catchall phrase. If you believe that the number one thing we sell is ourselves, then how exactly do you do that? It seems to me that if you want to ‘sell’ yourself then a logical place to start would be to promote your expertise.

For instance, we could talk about our education, we could talk about our experience, we could talk about our vast array of knowledge, or even our degree of access to the variety of differing mortgage products. While all of this may be valuable from a consumer’s perspective, the more I’ve looked at it, the more I’ve realized that we need to dig a little deeper to find the heart of what consumers want.

Ask yourself this:  “What is it specifically about yourself that you are trying to sell to your customer, keeping in mind that the mortgage transaction is one of the largest purchases they’ll ever make?”

Yes, that’s right; a mortgage is a product that is purchased. The price tag on that product is the interest rate. If our consumer takes 25 years to pay off that mortgage, it will likely be the second most expensive purchase they’ll ever make, apart from the actual home price.

Given all of this, what is it we really need to ‘sell’ to our consumer? What is it that we are trying to convince them of when we promote all of our credentials, our skills, our experience?

The answer I’m always hoping to hear in my presentation is trust.

Trust is the number one thing we all sell regardless of product, service or industry.

We are all trying to convince consumers that we are worthy of their trust. In fact, the number one thing that every salesperson sells is exactly the same.

Not surprisingly, trust is also the primary determinant of whether we:

  • earn their business
  • complete a transaction
  • garner subsequent referrals.

Yes, rate also comes into play to some extent. I mean, let’s face it, regardless of how much we ‘trust’ our grocer, we’re probably not going to fork out three times the going price for a loaf of bread (even if it’s gluten friendly).

That said—all things relatively equal—we’ll usually pay a premium to someone we trust versus someone we don’t, especially on more complex purchases.

By the way, please hold your rate site arguments for another day. We can have that discussion in a later article. I understand that there are some individuals who do not give a rip about trust and are singularly focused on price. Unless price is your game, however, move on and get over it. Find the next prospect who does value the trust bond you work hard to create.

Crank up sales FBWhen it comes to the sales process, there are no neutral interactions with your potential customer. Everything you do with a prospect will either build up trust or deplete it.

This is why it’s so critical to be mindful of every step in our sales process. For every client interaction you make, picture your client carrying a large bucket with the label ‘Trust’ on it. At all times, you are either filling or emptying that bucket. By the end of the transaction we want that Trust bucket to be filled or overflowing.

As salespeople we have a choice. We can either sell by design or we can sell by default. When we sell by design we ensure that every interaction is intentional and cultivates seeds of trust between ourselves and our prospective client. When we sell by default, we end up winging it. Sloppiness sets in and it gets easier to knock over the bucket and spill that precious Trust.

The business of sales is equal parts science and art. Successful salespeople rely on a perfect blend of the two. A structured sales process leverages the psychology (science) of sales to deliver the customer experience that people best respond to. There are reams of research on this. 

Then there’s the art form. Through repetition and practice, we hone our techniques to ensure flawless delivery of that experience.

Now please understand, I am not talking about manipulation, trickery or deceit. As my sales coach would say, “Selling is simply helping people with their buying decisions.” The foregoing assumes that you can deliver the best product for your customer at a reasonable price—not necessarily the lowest price, but certainly a reasonable price. 

In closing, if Trust is the number one thing we sell, then we better know how to build it. To do that I have created a framework to build your sales process on. The mortgage brokering business is not rocket science, nor is the framework. So I hope you’re not disappointed by its simplicity.

Here are my three simple building blocks for creating trust:

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Tell Stories
  3. Be Authentic

That’s it. No magic. No smoke. No mirrors. Just simplicity.

Keep that Trust bucket in mind and stay tuned for the next article in this series, “Badass Brokering Part II: Questions Are The Answer.”


Michael Cameron is CEO of AXIOM Mortgage Partners, a national network of independent mortgage brokerage firms. Mike has been in the mortgage brokerage industry since 1994 and is a graduate of the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.