Books. Forget brochures, websites and business cards – broker David Ham explains why writing a book made him an expert to his customers and drove sales
Like every broker, I want people to see me as not ‘just another mortgage salesperson’, but instead as their trusted expert for home loans.
As a broker, I am not selling home loans; I am selling myself to borrowers as the person they should trust to help them get that home loan. In the same way, a real estate agent doesn’t sell houses; rather, they sell themselves to the vendor as the best person to sell their house. Yes, the next part of choosing a loan or selling a house is very important and will determine whether you have a happy client or not, but you always need to get the client to choose you first.
We are all looking for a shortcut to being seen as an expert – for example through brochures, websites, business cards and logos. All of these are simply tools designed to present us as an expert worthy of trust. But there is one marketing tool that outperforms all others when it comes to personal sales.
I believe that marketing tool is writing your own book, because it positions you as an expert in the eyes of your potential clients. That’s why I wrote The 7 Easy Steps to Mortgage Freedom.
All else being equal, who wins the client? Is it the broker who hands them a business card and brochure or the broker who gives them a copy of their book on home loans with their face on the cover? People respect authors; being an author means you are an authority – it’s even part of the word! To the client it moves you from the category of salesperson to the category of expert.
Brochure vs book
Writing a book isn’t unique or revolutionary; it’s a well-trodden path to sales success. One clear example of how well it works was the reaction of one of my old school friends who is now a friend on Facebook. She knew I was a broker but had never discussed loans with me. However, when I showed The 7 Easy Steps to Mortgage Freedom on Facebook for the first time, she messaged me. The message started with “I always thought brokers were a bit dodgy”, but ended with “Can you do a loan for me and also for my son?”
Essentially she went from an unspoken opinion that “brokers are a bit dodgy”, to seeing my book, to trusting me with her loans. In fact, although she only ever saw the cover of the book, that was enough to move me in her mind from the category of ‘dodgy brokers’ to trusted broker.
Having a book is not a magic bullet, but it is the closest thing I have come to for building trust and credibility, opening doors and starting conversations. It starts the relationship in a much stronger way and advances the sales process dramatically.
There isn’t anything revolutionary in the book; it is basically a glorified brochure that sells the benefits of mortgage brokers. But a big benefit of a book over a brochure is that a brochure is clearly marketing material that sells your services, but a book is ‘marketing by stealth’. The client sees it as valuable to them and will hang on to it, but I know at the same time it is really promoting me.
I always have copies floating around in my car, and my 10-year-old daughter was flicking through one of them one day. I jokingly asked her if she was ever going to read it, and she replied, “I already know what it says – use a broker!” And she is exactly right.
I don’t care if people read it or not; all that matters is that it tells people I know enough to have written it in the first place. From their perspective, that elevates me above other brokers, which is all I really want.
Saving time and effort
So why doesn’t every broker write their own book? The big concern brokers have about writing a book is that it will be a big effort and take a lot of time.
And yes, that is true. But the effort it takes to create is also why it works – anyone can make a website and brochure, but consumers want to work with someone who they see goes the extra mile.
In practice, though, it is a huge time saver because of the sales conversations that I no longer need to have, trying to convince people to trust me. My book is my little salesperson that I put out into the world to do the selling for me, so I now do a lot less. Not to mention it is so much more pleasant to talk to people who see me as an expert from the outset – not with thoughts of ‘dodgy brokers’ in the back of the minds.
And even better, the real power of the book is getting other people to hand it out for me. I set up seven real estate agencies over a couple of months to hand out co-branded versions of the book to their buyers and sellers. They do it because it promotes them at the same time as promoting me. So not only do I now have the leverage of the book spouting my sales message, but I have other people distributing it for me to people in the market for a home loan!
All of this is why I call it my ‘ultimate personal sales and marketing tool’. For something that costs me about $6 per copy to produce, it’s a pretty good deal.
The next evolution of my book is that I’m creating versions customised to a limited number of other brokers. For a fraction of the effort and expense, this is the next best thing to writing your own book and making it your ultimate personal sales and marketing tool.
David Ham is managing director of Mortgage Australia and author of The 7 Easy Steps to Mortgage Freedom, on which this article is based. He is also the author of Mortgage Broking: Lead Generation and Sales Mastery, which includes further marketing advice. Go to www.mortgageaustralia.com.au/brokers for a customised version of The 7 Easy Steps