- From Self Interest to Their Interest
“To succeed in business you need to be original, but you also need to understand what your customers want.” – Richard Branson
The definition of a transactional relationship is one of each party trying to get what they want for themselves. In the above example of buying a magazine it’s clear I want a magazine and they want my money. We each only care about our own self-interest, not the other person’s interest.
A Trusted Advisor is someone they believe is focussed on an outcome that is to their benefit. Yes, they understand that you benefit from the relationship, but they know you are looking out for their best interests first and foremost. If that means sending them to someone else who is better suited to helping them, that is what they expect.
Genuinely having only your clients’ interests at heart is probably the simplest definition of a Trusted Advisor. The path to achieving this in the eyes of your clients is to take the time to fully understand their situation. If you focus on ‘the sale’, even where you feel it is the best for them, if the client doesn’t feel you really get where they are at and where they want to get to, they will still see it as you prioritising your own interests.
Every client is different, but something I realised when doing sales appointments is that people are really not that interested in talking about their home loan. The home loan itself is a pretty boring thing the client has to get through to get what it is they want the loan for, which may be a new home, renovations, being debt free faster or maybe more money for the trip they want to go on.
As I spoke about earlier, they are more concerned with whether they trust you to get them their next loan, and less so about the details of it.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t fully inform your client about their loan, just that in reality, most of the financial details you tell them will be forgotten anyway. Very few people even know what interest rate they are on to begin with let alone how it compares to others.
So I would spend time discussing the desired outcomes of the loan and also beginning a conversation about my own experiences in wealth building and investing in property. I wasn’t trying to sell them anything, just talk about things that people seemed genuinely more interested in finding out about, and getting to understand their own goals in this area.
This made it clear to them that I wasn’t just interested in making a sale today, but that I was interested in their long term plans and that I could help them with that when we got to that stage.
- From Winning Conflict to Resolving Conflict
“Stop chasing and pursuing, so you and the people you deal with no longer feel you have to play the old ‘cat and mouse’game.” – Ari Galper
A transactional relationship is one of inherent conflict – I want to get as much as possible whilst giving up as little as possible, but the other party wants the same. The traditional view of a salesperson is that they are trying to sell to me at the highest price they can, whilst at the same time I am trying to buy at the lowest price I can. This is the issue at the heart of low levels of trust with salespeople, we know their incentives conflict with ours. So our approach as consumers is to try and win by avoiding salespeople, shopping around for lower prices or haggling.
To become your client’sTrusted Advisor, you need to be on their side, working to see the bigger picture of their issues and help them resolve the conflicts they have.
As Mortgage Brokers we have a great advantage in this area compared to traditional salespeople. We are genuinely on the side of our clients to obtain a loan that meets their needs, and we do not control the loan such that we can make more money by making the loan more expensive. Our role is to help them get the best outcome from our lenders.
I think though that you should not assume that your client has a good understanding of this difference and the majority still lump us into the traditional ‘win-lose’ salesperson category. So the onus is on you to educate them.