Canada’s top mortgage broker shares a few of his trade secrets on turning those ‘tire kickers’ into loyal, life-long clients.
“The reality is if a client will not close with you, then do you really have this client?” asks Jim Tourloukis
, the president of Advent Mortgage Services and No. 1 on this year’s ranking of brokers by funded volume, the CMP Top 75. “The key in this business is to try to figure out who will be a client and who is just a ‘tire kicker,’ wasting your time. A successful business will build a process that will minimize wasted effort from these ‘tire kickers.’”
Tourloukis, whose repeated showings among the top 5 on the list are testament to his business formula, has developed his own definition for what constitutes “a client.”
“A client is only a client once they close,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Everyone else is just a prospect.”
For those brokers concerned about maintaining customer loyalty – and more importantly wasting valuable time on a client only to see them take their business elsewhere – this is how he builds long-lasting business relationships.
“We segment our clients into groups and build processes around each segment. The majority of our business comes from the contracts we have in place with organizations,” he says, “and these clients do close and do not leave in the 11th hour for 10 bps in rate. A small part of our business (which I call our retail business) is where this issue lies.”
The “issue” comes down to leads from rate sites.
“These are leads from rate sites where the lead can and does waste a broker’s time, and would leave for 1bp in rate,” says Tourloukis. “For these leads, we spend very little time upfront. We ask the lead to do all the work (such as ask for all the paperwork upfront) before we even take an application.”
He explains that if the potential client is hesitant to do this, the brokerage pushes them away.
“The other thing we do with these leads is tell them to shop around and call us last once they have done all their research,” says Tourloukis. “If we are one of the first that they call, we tell them to go away and to call us last.”
This makes the potential client more comfortable about the due-diligence process as well, he points out. The end result for Tourloukis and his brokers and agents is a much higher closure rate for those leads.
“I find that with these rate-site leads that, although they are less sticky than our core business, they tend to close if we follow this process,” he says.
The move by some brokerages to have clients sign exclusivity or loyal agreements may work for some, Tourloukis admits, but questions whether that client holds any true value for a broker.
“There are a few successful brokerages that do this, like True North and a brokerage that does a lot of advertising on the radio and TV, and in some cases I’m sure their fees will work,” he says. “But in other cases, they won’t. And as I asked earlier: if the client won’t close with you, then do you really have this client? I would argue ‘no.’”
For a full listing of the CMP Top 75 and the Small Market Top 20, pick up a copy of the July issue of the magazine.