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.


  1. Much of this makes no sense. 1600 words about being yourself. That is about a 4 sentence essay in the real world. Here is what I object to the most. Individuals who own networks or super brokerages visit and speak at industry functions do so to raise the profile of themselves and their networks within the industry. That is just logical and sensible; so anyone who asks “why do you share trade secrets with your competition” has not thought too hard about why network bosses speak at industry events. The reason is to enhance visibility in order to recruit brokers and brokerages to join their networks. Pretty simple really. While I recognise that most network and broker bosses are featured speakers and presenters at industry events and they all make a real contribution to our channel I don’t think it makes any sense to say that this prominence has nothing to do with promoting their businesses in conjunction with the value they deliver.

    I also think it is important now more than ever before to point out to every active agent and broker that as individual producers your agenda and the network bosses agenda are never perfectly aligned. All of our income derives from mortgage origination but at the pinnacle of the food chain there is much less direct effect from things like the recent rule changes. Let’s face it, if volume is down mortgage brokers feel it instantly but for a network boss it may just open up an opportunity to buy up another super broker at a discount.

  2. Authentic self is true when a company does not have hardcore trainers/coaches that can replicate a result.

    I was a perfect example of this.

    When I was 19 years old, I was introduced to the financial services world. A world that a 19 year old should not be allowed in.

    By age 20 I was life licensed and mutual fund licensed.

    From age 20 to 23, I was trained with you “you can do it” motivation sessions.

    Over those 3 years I closed 1 segregated fund deal for $5000 and was paid $125 dollars.

    At age 23, through a combination of absolute flukes, I and 2 of my buddies were transferred and trained by the top producer/trainer in Canada.

    He took 3 guys, all under age 25, all single, all live at home with mom and dad and spent $50,000 to set up an office for us.

    He then spent the next 2 years training us on 4 – 3000 word scripts, memorize it word per word, say the scripts in front of him and 40 other people every week, handle all objections and close him.

    If we were off by 1 word in that 3000 word script, he would be knock us out with objections.

    How did I do not being my authentic self?

    My record was 53 Universal life Insurance contracts in a row. My largest life contract was $7000/month.

    I also ended up training 20 other agents under the same formula. 7 to 8 of them are still in the industry today (10 -12 years later).

    When I came over to the mortgage industry, I was shocked how easy it was compared to financial services.

    The great thing about the mortgage industry is you are giving away money. You have a product/solution people go after. No one goes after RRSP’s and Life Insurance.

    Top Producer Vs Top Trainer

    This is the number 1 mistake I see is most sales organizations. They think the top producer will make a top trainer. A top producer will say “this is how I do it”, then expect people to do it. A top trainer will say this is how I do it, here are the exact scripts I use, memorize them and I will spend the next year with you drilling on them to make you a pro.

    If you say the exact words as a top producers and you say it the same way, you will get the same exact result.

    How to Tell If you are Dealing With A Top Trainer

    Go into his office and see his/her agents. Ask them, when a potential clients asks “What’s your best rate”, what do you say?

    If they get 10 different answers, the only training going on in that brokerage is product training (BDM’s talking about product).
    If you get the exact same answer, you are dealing with a top of the line trainer. Join that brokerage now. You just found a unicorn.

    Up to this date, at least in the mortgage industry, I’ve never seen anyone come close to how I was trained in financial services.

    A Real Life Case Study

    My sister was a mortgage under writer for a broker from 2008 to 2012. In 2012 she wanted to become a mortgage broker herself.

    She has never done sales before.

    I knew she had 2 core problems to solve.

    1. Getting clients/prospects
    2. Closing them

    1. Getting clients/prospects was solved by starting up a newsletter to get in contact with everyone she already knows. It took about 6 months to start to get traction with this.
    2. I asked her in early 2013 how she was doing with her closing ratio. She responded 30%. I said that was bad. It should be 95% or 99%. So, what did I do, I went out with her and closed 3 to 4 deals for her. She saw what I did and copied it. Today in 2017 she closes 95%.

    Did I have to train her on scripts, like how I was trained in financial services? No, this is the power of selling mortgages. People want and need them. I just had to make sure she had the proper angles and showed her how to use them to close everyone.

    On top of that she was a pro underwriter. She knew more about mortgages than I did :).

    My sister’s newsletters:
    *Her most recent newsletter does not have personal content, which is incorrect.

    What happened to my sister database when she stayed in touch with everyone via newsletter:


    Top trainer vs a top producer are 2 entirely different things. If you are new to mortgages, then finding a top trainer should be high on your to do list.

    If you are running a brokerage and are responsible for broker success, read this: Chapter 2 or 3 explains how he would change entire company sales training processes with above. Also feel free to contact me if you like.

  3. Excellent article Mike.

    I have 19+ years full time experience in the mortgage profession and still learn every day.

    Sharing your personal & professional success stories like this, is a wonderful way to teach others. Great job!

    I look forward to reading more of what you have to say in the future.


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