With an increasing number of brokers moving to increase the time they spend with a lead – a way of courting business in a slower sales environment – a high-volume broker is cautioning them to limit that time to no more than 10 minutes, and not the two or three hours even some veterans now allow for.
“It’s ridiculous and a waste of time to invest one hour to get to a client, an hour with the client and another hour to get back – that’s three hours without any guarantee of a sale,” Jim Tourloukis, owner of Advent Mortgage Services in Unionville, Ont., and Ontario’s No. 1 broker on last year’s CMP Top 50. “I have a set rule that I will only ever invest 8 to 10 minutes with a client unless I have already secured his business. I also have them come to my office. I don’t go to them.”
It’s a formula that works for the broker, who brought in more than $230 million in funded volume last year. Tourloukis isn’t alone, although many other mortgage professionals are actively extending their sales meetings with new leads, a way of mimicking the formula of bank mobile specialists.
“In the last year alone, I’ve seen a 20 per cent rise in the number of clients asking me to come out to their homes and businesses to arrange their mortgages instead of agreeing to come to my office,” said Kelvin Seepersad, a 12-year veteran broker with Mortgage Intelligence. “I think that growing demand is because of the growing number of bank road reps who are meeting clients where the client wants to meet. Brokers are having to adapt to be competitive.”
Seepersad and an increasing number of others bill that time commitment as a positive investment, pointing to a higher potential for referrals.
“The increase in client referrals to friends and families by conducting consultations in the home have increased significantly for me,” Seepersad said last fall, touching on drivers. “Meeting them at home personalizes the client’s commitment to the broker, who then becomes more than just a business person, but a friend to refer other friends and family to. Also, just being in the home, allows the broker to come directly into contact with potential clients – relatives and friends of the client.”
Tourloukis isn’t convinced, arguing house calls are a time waster and, say some, a threat to the perceived professionalism of the industry.
“I always ask a client to go shop around first and then come back to me with the best rate they’ve been offered, Tourloukis told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “That protects my time and is more productive.”