Every relationship has a beginning. The best of friends and the closest partners all were strangers to one another at sometime. When you engage people/prospects as potential clients, they have little or no reason to commit to you; “they don’t know you from a hill of beans.” How do they become a committed client of yours?
A person will slowly become more committed and loyal to you as you guide them through the process of originating a mortgage or finding a house. As the time you spend with a person increases, and as the options become fewer, and as your knowledge of their goals is honed, the commitment to you is stronger. This is called “creeping commitment.”
You can chart creeping commitment just like any other process. ‘Time’ is the horizontal axis and ‘Commitment’ is the vertical axis. As time increases, commitment increases…or that is how it should be. Perhaps the reason we lose clients before sitting at the closing table is because they lack commitment and we do not promote commitment.
You mean I can market ‘commitment’ to a client? Yes!
The process should be simple: the more time you spend with a client, the more committed he or she will be to you to the point of total dedication. Well, in my mind the customer will worship the ground I walk on and will sell candles at the airport to cover the closing fees…that is dedication. Not so much in reality, huh?
A customer’s commitment to you is proportional to the amount of obstacles that bar the way to a committed relationship. The more obstacles, the less commitment; the less obstacles, the more commitment. On our chart, obstacles would be the random points the annoying trigonometry teacher would plot on the chart to connect with mind-blowing equations. Without obstacles on the chart, the line is straight and true; simple yet elegant.
What are these obstacles? Examples would be:
- Other lenders/real estate brokers
- Choices – interest rates, loan programs
- Distractions – family, work, the football game
- Misunderstandings – friend’s advice, poor communication
- False expectations – time line, cost, loan amount
- Bad experiences in past – lies, lies, untruths, hollow promises, and lies
Establish a goal early on in the trusted advisor/client relationship development process. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to guide the client to this goal, avoid the obstacles, and perform this feat in the least amount of time and with the most direct process. Figuratively, you will hold their hand and lead them through the obstacles. As the client is guided closer to the final goal, the more focused the goal becomes and the stronger the commitment will be to you, the trusted advisor.
This sounds easy, but as we know, it can be a grand challenge with many potential clients. Everything changes. Beginning expectations are altered as you communicate knowledge of the industry, provide expert assistance, and systematically eliminate possibilities that equate to obstacles. But, once the goal is obtained, benefit is high and perceived value is then high as well (reference back to “The Formula”).
So, marketing commitment means you will communicate how you will lead the client to their dream home in a prompt and painless manner. This will capture the attention of the prospective client, and with skill, active listening abilities, and the persona of the trusted advisor, creeping commitment will soon turn into dedication.
Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, personal empowerment, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for marketing consulting, personal coaching and training sessions. If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or firstname.lastname@example.org