Providing a fantastic customer-service experience is an important basis for producing repeat and referral business, but it’s unlikely to draw new clients to you when every other Broker — rightly or wrongly – is telling prospective clients that their service is the best.
What can help is actually defining ‘better service’ in specific terms that provide a clear and relevant promise to your customers that you then deliver on.
But even then, fundamental to our differentiation problem is that if you can’t get borrowers in the front door in the first place they will never know what they are missing out on.
Do you have cheaper loans?
“Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas.” – Kevin O’Leary
Whilst we all have access to the same general range of lenders, perhaps you can hunt down some unique, super-cheap lender that no-one else knows about.
That may be great for a while, but the moment other Mortgage Brokers hear about your special rate that is undercutting everyone else they will be running to that same lender and offering the same loans before you know it.
The problem is that, except in rare circumstances, there is nothing you can do that another Broker, with similar motivation and effort cannot do. Innovation in the products and services a business provides is unlikely to produce long-term success, particularly in a small business where we ourselves don’t create those products.
In rare cases innovation in the products you offer can get you to the top, but you will eventually inspire your competition to copy you and the gap will eventually close. And constantly innovating is almost impossible. Over the years I have regularly seen lenders produce a niche loan product or special offer. In a competitive marketplace, it is only a matter of time before their once unique offer becomes commonplace.
“Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can” – Seth Godin
For example, Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world and spends billions on research and development They have invented iPods, iPhones and iPads. These products were unique at the time, but now many companies sell popular MP3 players, smartphones and tablets that compete strongly with Apple’s.
Even when a company does innovate, they still have the same problem of getting that new product into the market. If it is genuinely ground-breaking it will require educating clients and changing their inertia towards the products and lenders they already know well. When it comes to making money, a good idea is just the beginning, great execution of an average idea will make a greater profit than average execution of a great idea.
For these reasons I don’t think trying to have the best and cheapest loan in the market that no-one else has is worth the effort in the long run.