By Vanessa Chris, Special to CMT
“How likely would you be to recommend me to a friend?”
That’s the question Conrad Neufeldt asks every one of his clients after a mortgage transaction is complete. He asks them to rank their likelihood of a referral on a scale of one to ten, where ten is “very likely” to refer and one is “very unlikely.”
It’s a question not without risk. While attracting positive feedback, there are occasions when he’s caught off-guard by a less-than-stellar review. In these cases, he turns criticism into a learning opportunity.
“I ask the question because it’s academically proven to be accurate,” he says. “If they give me a seven or an eight, I did an adequate job—but my follow-up will be ‘What could I have done better?’ If they answer between one and six, I have to dig even deeper.”
A tough first year
The fact Neufeldt consistently asks “The Question”—even for files he knows could have gone better—reflecting his passion for continuous improvement. The mindset gave him the resilience to withstand a gruelling first year in the brokering business.
After abandoning a six-figure sales job at a construction supply company, Neufeldt planned for a dip in income when he launched his brokering business in 2013. But he never expected a dip down to $18,000.
“All my contacts that I thought would be heavy hitters, weren’t,” he explains. “Despite knowing a lot of big builders, it turned out no one wanted to try out a 25-year-old mortgage broker with zero experience.”
To add insult to injury, his friends and family didn’t use him for their mortgages either—something he learned when a friend, in passing, mentioned he’d gotten a mortgage through someone else.
“I asked him why he didn’t use me and he admitted he didn’t know what I did for a living,” he says. “It occurred to me that if he didn’t know, other people likely didn’t know either. It was at that point that I realized I wasn’t being vocal enough.”
Turning things around
Neufeldt decided to remedy his visibility challenge. He got the word out to his immediate circle, earned the AMP designation to boost credibility, and started surrounding himself with fellow professionals he could learn from.
Today, he is constantly searching for new ways to improve the mortgage customer experience. That’s led to his creation of the Kasper app.
“Basically, Kasper helps people get prequalified through their phone,” he says. “That way, 95% of the work is done before talking to the broker. When we finally do meet face-to-face with our clients, we’re able to have much richer conversations. We can talk strategy, rather than collect data.”
The technology earned Neufeldt the 2015 Mortgage Professionals Canada Innovator of the Year Award—despite being only partially complete, he admits.
Neufeldt is currently calling on members of the brokering industry to submit ideas for improving it. In return, he’s offering it to those brokers for use with their clients at no charge (if interested, check out www.getkasper.com).
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.