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Badass Brokering IV: When you are your authentic self, you have no competition

By Mike Cameron, Special to CMT

We’re back with Part IV of the Badass Brokering series. The last ingredient in the formula is the simplest, but also the most overlooked: Authenticity.

Simply put, be you. Stay true to who you are.

Authenticity is now a buzz word in many marketing circles, but let’s dig deeper to understand what it really means.


Authenticity: [aw-then-tis-i-tee] The quality of being authentic. Real or genuine. Not copied or false.
When we look at authenticity in the context of brokering, it means: be exactly who you are. True success in this business doesn’t come from emulating someone else’s style or content verbatim. You have to adapt it to your personality.
In order to be effective we must always be congruent with our own styles, values and beliefs. Too often I have seen brokers try to imitate other leading brokers and fail simply because the person they are imitating has a different underlying style.
It’s not that the tactics, tricks or strategies of the successful broker are ineffective. It’s that they’re not delivered in a way that’s consistent with your personality.
I have watched brokers mimic the words of top pros and have them fall flat. Sure, you can pick up an immense amount of information by watching the best of the best, but you have to find a way to make it your own. Customers have a radar for inauthenticity. They sense it in a heartbeat.
I have travelled the country sharing many of my “Best Practices” as a broker. Invariably I get asked the same question: “Why do you go around sharing all of your trade secrets with your competition?”
Well, first off, we as a broker channel have somewhere around 30% market share. It’s pretty clear that brokers are not their own primary competition. 
Secondly, and this is both sad and funny, 90% of you will not do a damn thing with the information I provide you (if you are in the 10%, shoot me a note and prove it). 
The main reason why I have no problem sharing “trade secrets” is that no matter how much of my knowledge you have, no matter what information I give you, you can never be me. The same holds true vice-versa.
Even if I had all of your knowledge, there is no way I could deliver it the same way that you do. Your uniqueness is your competitive advantage. Why would you ever want to give that up and try to be someone you’re not?
“If you are your authentic self you have no competition.” This is one of my favourite concepts. There is no other you. You are 100% unique. The way you approach customers is unique. YOU do not have competition, because no matter how many “secrets” you share, no one can re-create your approach.
Let me tell you about an experience I had a number of years ago. It shows exactly what I’m talking about.
I took my family down to United Cycle, a family-run, Edmonton-based cycle shop for the Kids of Steel triathlon. It turned out that Paula Findlay, the #1 ranked women’s triathlete, was going to be signing autographs and greet the kids after she did a short talk.
In the meantime, my eight-year-old daughter Mikaela decided to go and browse the swim shorts. In the women’s clothing section we were greeted by an enthusiastic young lady who asked if she could help. I explained why we were in the store and she put on a huge smile, kneeled down and asked my daughter in the most engaging voice possible, “Are you running the triathlon this weekend?” Mikaela answered, “Why yes, yes I am!” with a proud smile.
The young sales agent gushed all over her about how great that was. My daughter felt like a million bucks!
I then told the sales rep that we were thinking about heading back to the meeting room for Paula Findlay’s autograph. She stopped dead, looked me in the eye and said, “Paula Findlay is here? Shut UP!”
I smiled and said, “Yeah, she’s up in the briefing room right now.”
“Shut UP!” she said again, so I did.
She then asked, “Can you show me where the briefing room is? I would love to meet Paula.” She was so enthusiastic and passionate about the sport that it was contagious, and my daughter caught all of her spirit. This salesperson’s positivity was so infectious, in fact, that I spent $500+ in her store that day, despite having no intention of dropping a dime.
Now, I ask you. Does United Cycle have competition with a salesperson like that?
No way. I don’t care if there was a shop next door with the same products at 25% off. I’m buying from her because of who she is. Simple as that.
Of all the techniques and strategies I have shared in my writing and speaking, authenticity is the most vital. I have watched BDMs come and go over the years, following in the footsteps of their predecessors. Some try to mimic the unique style of the one that came before them, only to fall short of the mark.
It’s only when you can deliver your message, your product or service, in a manner congruent to your own disposition, that people deem you genuine and want to do business with you.
I received a wonderful testimonial after one of my presentations this year. I’ll paraphrase it here:
“In 25 years of sales I have heard many a speaker talk about the importance of scripting responses. For years I have tried to deliver scripts that others had written for general consumption, only to fail. I was told bluntly by one honest prospect that I ‘sounded phony.’ When I confessed that I was using a line from a sales manual, when I went on to honestly and professionally answer his concern in my own words, it was then that he decided to trust me.”
For this individual, the gold in my presentation was the part that gave him permission to simply be himself. He had all the scripts and tools at his disposal. What he was lacking was the motivation to deliver those scripts and tools in Tom’s authentic voice.
So if you need reassurance to do the same, trust in what I say. Let this article be your resounding permission to take the tools and techniques we’ve discussed and confidently deliver them to clients as only you can.
We’ve covered numerous tips in the four segments of this series. To recap the big ones:
  1. Understand that the greatest thing we sell is trust.
  2. List the objections you run into regularly and develop questions to lead your prospects to the answers.
  3. Create a list of points you need to make and objections you encounter and build a repertoire of stories around them.
  4. Simply be you.
You’ll be astounded by the results.
Now go out there, find your talent, be badass and make beautiful $#!% happen!

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. 

You can download Mike’s Badass Brokering workbook here.