By Vanessa Chris, Special to CMT
Mark Goode understands first-hand the impact an individual can have on a community. It’s a lesson he couldn’t help but learn, living and working in a small market like Orillia, Ontario (population: 31,000).
For the past 15 years, Goode has embraced the power-of-one to make his community stronger—both as the broker/owner of Mortgage Man DLC and through a variety of volunteer efforts.
An eight-time finalist on the CMP Top 50 Brokers list, and the number one broker in the CMP Small Market Top 20, Goode has come a long way since 2004. That’s when he launched his own brokering business, out of his basement.
A personal connection
Orillia Today, the local paper, has bestowed the title Orillia’s favourite mortgage broker on Mark multiple times. It’s a title that reflects years of long days and an unwavering dedication to his customers.
“Working in a smaller market, you want to get more deals through because the size of the average deal is smaller,” says Goode. “It’s also not as email- or phone-focused here. You have to get to know your customer. I’d say 95% of my customers I meet face-to-face.” That compares to near-0% for some online brokers.
While meeting people takes more time, personal interaction is an absolute necessity in a tight-knit community like Orillia. Without a doubt, word-of-mouth referrals are Goode’s bread-and-butter. “We get referrals from parents, friends, kids. A referral is the cheapest form of marketing—and it’s also the strongest,” he says.
Great communication isn’t optional
Client referrals don’t cost much but they require a lot of cultivation — i.e., personal attention. Goode and his team work diligently to fully understand every client’s financial circumstances, their plans and their past financial challenges. That’s the only way he can recommend a mortgage that matches their exact needs.
When hiccups occur—and they do—Goode takes great pride in clearly and quickly explaining the setback. He makes sure the client fully understands what’s happening throughout the process, even when things don’t go as planned.
“If there’s miscommunication or if we didn’t catch something, like a bankruptcy, we have to communicate it to the client and take strides to fix it,” he says. “In these situations, I’ll personally call them to explain the situation, let them know how we’re going to remedy it, and then usually give them something like a gift certificate for a dinner out, as well as pay for additional appraisals or lawyers’ fees.”
The last thing Goode will ever do is ignore a client’s calls. That may be easier to do in a larger market, he says, but it’s next to impossible in small-town Orillia.
“Here, reputation is foremost,” he says. “When I bump into past clients at church or in the hockey arena, I don’t want to have to duck my head. That’s why we treat them the way we’d like to be treated. And then they spread the word for us.”
When Goode isn’t helping members of his community get into new homes, he’s helping them in other ways—either by coaching local lacrosse and hockey teams, serving as President of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, or contributing through his foundation, Where Angels Play.
Following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, a hockey team Goode plays with started the foundation. Its goal was to build 26 playgrounds in memory of each child that was killed. In two years it’s grown dramatically, with Goode recently launching the Canadian chapter.
“We meet with the families to find out what their child was like. We collect pictures their child drew. Right now we’re building [a playground] for a boy named Jacob Noble who was in a wheelchair, so his playground will be completely wheelchair accessible,” he says.
“Just do what’s best for others every single day. Put the needs of others over your own,” says Goode. “Surround yourself with good people—particularly at work. Find people with the same mindset as you. People that make work fun, so it doesn’t feel like work. Do that, and you’ll be successful.”
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.