By Vanessa Chris, Special to CMT
When David Larock left a 10-year lending career to start his own brokering business in 2010, he figured his familiarity with underwriting was just what he needed to separate himself from the pack. That, and a passion for writing.
“I can give clients a detailed explanation that helps them understand what a lender is looking for and see deals through the lender’s eyes,” says the TMG / The Mortgage Group agent.
“I worked in finance before lending and have been an investor since I was a kid. So I have an informed view of the global factors affecting mortgage rates. While I don’t claim to know where we’re headed, I can explain why we’re at where we’re at. And that dovetails nicely with my love of writing.”
An Early Mortgage Blogger
Larock writes the weekly Monday Morning Interest Rate Update—a blog he launched in 2011. His posts address everything from shifts in Fed policy to changes in the Chinese economy. Not only do these articles bring him warm client leads, they also strengthen his communications with existing customers.
“If you have a question you’ve been asked a million times—and all mortgage brokers do—you can answer it over and over and over again. Or you can write a blog post about it,” he explains. “If you choose to take some time when the phone isn’t ringing to write out a few clear, concise answers to those common questions—in your own voice—you’re immediately enhancing your credibility.”
Larock employs this tactic himself. When a client or potential client emails him with a commonly-asked question, he offers a quick, 30-second response and links to a blog post for a more in-depth answer. He finds this effective in all sorts of situations, like where he’s supposed to meet with a couple but one member can’t attend the meeting. In these cases, he’ll forward a post that can then be passed on without information getting lost in translation.
“Sometimes the wife will be meeting with me while the husband meets with another mortgage broker,” he says. “In these situations, because I’m answering questions in a clear and concise way, I have a leg up over someone who isn’t.”
Larock also uses writing as a differentiator when touching base with clients—whether he’s sending them important mortgage information to keep in touch or reaching out before their mortgage is up for renewal, he makes sure each email is personalized.
“I have a number of standard emails that I tweak a little bit for each client and, a lot of the time, they write me back. I don’t believe in generic CRM (Customer Relationship Management) emails.”
Setting himself apart
Larock takes differentiation seriously. Everything he does on the mortgage front is aimed at instilling the confidence in clients to choose him over competitors.
“Over the next five years, I think mortgage brokers will grow their market share—but I think there will be fewer brokers doing more work,” he explains. “The days of winning business based on rate are long gone. To make it in this industry, you need to have a really good answer to the question ‘why me?’”
Vanessa Chris has been a professional writer and B2B content specialist for 13 years. She began covering the Canadian mortgage market as a journalist in 2006. You can reach Vanessa at firstname.lastname@example.org.