Gooo, brokers! A pep talk for 2013

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With 2013 just over the bend,  leading B.C. broker Dustan Woodhouse is offering battle-wary colleagues a pep talk of sorts.

The encouragement extends to industry professionals outside the province’s slowing market and to those struggling with fence-sitting clients across the country. The confusing climate is enough to weaken the optimism of any broker, but here’s why you shouldn’t let things get you down, writes Woodhouse:

It is often said that our own worst enemy is simply ourselves.  I know that in my own experience this is often been the case in many different facets of my life. Jumping to conclusions, judging situations with only half the facts or perhaps just a piece of one fact, and imagining entire stories about what’s going on in other people’s lives from the limited information and typically narrow perspective that we each have on such things.

For a broker an example of this would be that client who is not responding to your emails, not returning your calls, always letting you go to their voicemail doesn’t want your services anymore.  You know who I’m talking about: the one currently with RBC that has already been offered 2.99 per cent or some other competitive rate to stay there with no big stack of documents to worry about, the client you spent hours working through the advantages of working with an independent broker, the superior prepayment options of the lender you have set them up with, perhaps even at the same rate.

However, after all those hours invested, you just can’t seem to reach that client anymore and it must be because he or she has dumped you.  They are evading your calls because they just don’t know how to tell you they have gone and signed with their own bank.  You’ve heard the story before and you know exactly what is happening this time around.

You commiserate with a few of your co-workers, they share stories of clients that they have lost at the eleventh hour.

Despite the fact that the client really seemed to take to your pitch on an annual mortgage check in, inflation hedge strategy, you being their third party advocate, the superior prepayment privileges of the lender you offered, or maybe even the better rate you have access to, you’re pretty sure after two full weeks of no response that you have lost them.

Perhaps the messages you leave them or the e-mails you send them start to change in tone from that happy helpful broker who originally was working with them to the tone of a broker resigned to having lost another client or worse an air of frustration slips into your voice.  Or the worst thing of all an air of desperation and you start negotiating with an answering machine, suggesting to the clients that suddenly you’re able to cover their appraisal or perhaps even their legal fees.  You start getting the farm away to them without ever actually having had a conversation with them.

They are nowhere to be found and the clock is counting down to their renewal date, subject removal, or completion.  What has happened? Hey, you sent them the approval and they signed it, hopefully even met in person and had a great meeting, all you need is one last document perhaps just a void check  to wrap up the file and yet all has gone dark.

Here enters your false thoughts for the day:

I know that they went back to their own bank.

I annoyed them by not calling often enough through the process

I called them too often

I wrote too-abrupt emails (you are re-reading them now…)

I wrote too-long emails, giving them too many choices and too much data. I confused them

I trash talked their current lender

I should have delivered the docs in person

I was too pushy in person

I should’ve met them at their house, not made them drive to my office.

I should never have forced them to drive to my office, they live right on my way home anyways

I failed ‘insert text here’

Is any or all of that running through your mind? Well, let’s rethink this. Let’s get real.

The reality is that:   The client went away camping for a few days, came home to a hacked Hotmail account and folded it without thinking to notify you, then dropped their cell phone in the Ocean while boating.  Got busy with a few different things and finally called to say “Hey, everything all cool with my new mortgage.”

Or maybe the reality is this: the client was unaware that the lender had asked for that one last document.  Bang! The client sends it through instantly.

Here enters what for me what is my most meaningful thought for the day:   Do not build your own story in your own mind, wait for the real story and always give the client the benefit of the doubt.  Keep convincing yourself you have lost a deal and next thing you know you will have. Stick with that positive energy!

It’s funny how things go sometimes.

About the writer: Dustan Woodhouse is a CMP Top 75 broker based on B.C. Lower Mainland and head of Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts.


  • Ron Price/DLC on 2012-12-19 5:08:53 AM

    Thanks Dustin, you are so right.
    While we are at it and looking forward to a new year, I would like to address what I view as perhaps the two most pressing and important issues our industry faces. Commitments with no teeth, and the banks' new Collateral Mortgage product.
    I contend that if our lender partners were to put a cancellation/penalty clause in the commitments for example $1,500 lender, $1,500 broker/agent fee that the scenarios you cited would become a rarity. I have asked the question many times, not to be satisfied. Yes the 48 hour cooling period is what it is, but why are our clients allowed to walk away from the commitments they signed, and worse, take our paper to the bank.
    No one can do this once they sign a cell phone contract and if they cancel, they are on the hook for the balance of monthly payments. Yet for a mortgage, which of course involves so much more work, counselling etc., they can walk away without any consequence. Anyone I have addressed this subject with the past few years, plays it down usually saying that it is not a big deal. Well I suspect that most of us now think it is. And why shouldn't it be, also when it adversely affects our Efficiency Ratios through no fault of our own and otherwise costs us dearly.
    I would love to see our mono line lenders step up to the plate by including such a clause. Let's face it without the monos, our market and our industry would be much much different, and not unlike that of Australia. The monos keep the banks competitive and so we should all support them as much as possible.
    I believe that the monos would improve their/our market share if they were to do this.
    In the same token, in supporting the monos, our clients avoid getting into a collateral mortgage which is clearly not in the consumers' best interests.
    I am very passionately against this 'sinister' new product, especially knowing that the customer in general has no idea about the negatives involved,let alone what they are signing.
    Herein lies a huge opportunity, if addressed properly, to effectively gain market share from the banks.
    2013 would be a banner year for our industy if both of these issues where effectively dealt with.
    I would certainly be interested hearing what fellow colleagues have to say.
    Happy New Year all.

  • MP on 2012-12-19 6:15:56 AM

    Good advice!

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