“The worst advice?’Don’t listen to the critics.’ I think that you really ought to listen to the critics, because sometimes they’re telling you something is broken that you can fix.” – Stephen King

Worked with and known hundreds of Mortgage Brokers in my time, these are some of the more common mistakes that I see Brokers making. Identifying them is the first step to solving them.

  • Not creating an expectation that your clients should refer their friends to you – and giving clients a simple way to do so.

Never assume that your clients know that you want them to refer others to you. Performing a great service does not mean referrals will be coming your way, although a poor service will make it unlikely you get any. As well as a great service you need to have a system for encouraging referrals from your clients.

At Mortgage Australia, our process is to give our clients a few copies of our book, The 7 Easy Steps to Mortgage Freedom, when we have a loan approved for them. At the right time, when the client is happy with what we have done for them, we give them a few copies of the book with the Broker’s contact details throughout it, to pass onto their friends.

What we simply say is, ‘Congratulations on getting your loan approved. It’s been great working with you. If you don’t mind, I’ll leave you with a few copies of my book, feel free to give them to your friends, it’s how I get the word out about what I do.’

A more assertive method that some Brokers use is to ask for the names and contact details of some of their client’s friend’s. The Broker then, with the client’s permission, mails each person a copy – and is able to follow up later with a phone call or email to see how they liked it.

The end result is that the client has a few copies of our book sitting on their coffee table, reminding them to pass them to their next friend that drops in. We aren’t imposing on them, instead we are making them look good to their friends by allowing them to give this gift of a book. It only costs us about $6 per book to produce, so it’s not a big expense at all, but it is perceived as a lot more valuable by them, which is what you always want with any client- giveaway item.

What we have also done is to control the message of the referral that the recipient hears. When people read it they are hearing the full message that we want them to hear, not just what our client might quickly say about us. We are educating their friend about the value of our service through the book in a more comprehensive way than our client could, hopefully reinforced by their recommendation. In a way, we are almost forcing them to, at the very least, let their friends know they got a loan through us, giving us immediate social validation, as very few people ever like throwing out a book (unless of course we did a really bad job!).

More than anything, our book is a conversation starter, by getting our clients to give them to their friends we are getting them to have a conversation about us with them.

  • Not going out of your way to thank your clients who refer others to you

As I’ve said before, the purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers. When you have a customer who refers a friend to you, you should thank them in a big way to really reinforce what they have done for you so they do it again and make it crystal clear that is the behaviour you want from them.

I’d at the very least call them to say thanks and send out a gift basket or a restaurant voucher. The worst thing that can happen is they feel they have done you a favour and you’ve just taken it without being grateful, making them less likely to recommend you again.

A better outcome is that they mention to the friend that they passed onto you about the great thank you you sent, increasing the chance that your new client will in turn refer you on.