To be more specific, there are two kinds of trust you are trying to create that I call ‘Ability Trust’ and ‘Personal Trust’.
- Ability Trust
The first question your client has when trying to find a Broker is ‘Can this person deliver a good result for me?’, ‘Does this Broker know what they are doing?’
Earning ‘ability trust’ is getting your clients to believe that you are able to deliver them what they want, that you have the skills, tools, resources and experience to get them a good loan and deal with any problems that may arise. Mortgage Brokers typically dedicate a lot of space on their web sites and marketing brochures to describing their years of industry experience, education and credentials and how they have access to a lot of lenders to provide a good solution for their clients.
Ability trust is the easiest one to earn because people generally assume that if you are in a business you know what you are doing. When you call an electrician you assume they are properly qualified and I’m sure you probably don’t do any background checks or ask to see their credentials, although you may check online for reviews about them.
- Personal Trust
The next question your client has is ‘Does this person have my best interests at heart or do they have incentives that conflict with them getting me the best outcome.’
This is a trickier one because most people are sceptical and assume you have mixed motives. People are highly unlikely to say it to you, but in the back of their mind they are wondering what’s in it for you and whether you are recommending this loan because it pays you more or just to try and get you to complete the sale.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
Whilst we may know that our interests are not aligned with one-off sales, I doubt that clients start with this view. As much as I want to believe the sales assistant who tells me ‘you look great in that shirt’, I am aware that she is probably going to earn more if she gets me to buy more clothes. As such I am more inclined to believe my wife when she tells me I should buy that particular shirt as it suits me because I see her motives as wanting me to look my best (or at least as good as I can) whilst also not wanting me to spend too much.
Implicitly you know this. Almost all Mortgage Broking websites you’ll see (and every real estate agent’s website) is screaming ‘ Trust me! Trust me! Here is my professional looking website with everything you want to know about me and what I do and I promise to do the right thing by you’. Unfortunately, really building ability trust and personal trust requires a lot more than just telling people you are worthy of it.
When people start out as Mortgage Brokers, in most cases they already have personal trust with their friends and family (hopefully!), but may not yet have ability trust as people see them as new to the role.
Similarly, a lot of accountants who add in Mortgage Broking as an additional service sometimes struggle to move their clients towards accepting this new service from them. This is because their clients often have a high level of personal trust in them, but currently only trust their ability related to doing their taxes, not home loans.
When someone researches their own home loan options, and organises it themselves directly with a lender, what they are saying is that they have little personal trust in their own bank or Broker so they prefer to rely on their own ability. They may be overestimating their own ability, or underestimating a Broker’s, but their concern over the conflict of interests of a Broker are ultimately what stops them from seeking help.
Or people just go directly to their own bank because they have little personal trust in any Broker or Brokers in general but trust in the ability of the bank to get them an acceptable result.
“It takes 20years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” – Warren Buffett
Overall, whatever decision a client makes, you can be sure it is based on their assessment of the personal and ability trustworthiness of the options they are aware of.
The benefit for you, is that if you can genuinely achieve and maintain both of these types of trust. You can become your client’s Trusted Advisor. You are not seen by them as a salesperson or Mortgage Broker, but as an authority in your field that is truly looking out for them and that they are happy to cede control of their borrowing to.
People implicitly trust their doctor and believe they are willing and able to correctly diagnose any illness they might have. So when their doctor says ‘here are your test results, you need surgery, people readily book themselves into to go under the knife.
Why then, is it so hard for us to get someone to just fill in a few forms and save thousands of dollars?
The answer is that a person starts a conversation with their doctor with a huge level of ability trust and personal trust. We all know how difficult it is to get into and pass medical school and we know our doctor isn’t invested in having patients dying from his mistakes.
It takes at least six years of tertiary study to obtain a Medical Degree (MBBS or MD) followed by a two-year internship or residency and years more to become a specialist. People know this and they know that a doctor’s role is to improve people’s health.
You understand the system that he operates within that makes him qualified and on your side.
Will we ever be as trusted as doctors? Unlikely, but what we can do is to create a business system – encompassing initial marketing, sales, operations and post sales marketing – that educates our clients to believe that we know what we are doing and that we are personally invested in a good result.