March is Fraud Prevention Month, and in recognition, we are reminding those that work in the mortgage industry about the crucial role they play in recognizing and preventing mortgage fraud.
Earlier this year, regulatory experts Ryan DeLuca and Adam Feldman joined AMBA members for a virtual session on fraud and the mortgage industry, in which they emphasized the duty mortgage brokers have to their clients, as well as the public at large.
“Mortgage brokers are not merely facilitators, moving documents from one party, the borrower, to another party, the lender,” says DeLuca. “Mortgage brokers are required to do their due diligence to protect their clients and the public from harm.”
By keeping red flags in mind while working with clients, mortgage brokers can help flag potentially fraudulent activity. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and RECA are both valuable resources for new suspicious activity to watch out for.
However, DeLuca recommends when brokers come across a red flag to look at the circumstances as a whole to determine if the red flag is an indication of potential fraud.
“You need to use your ‘Spidey’ senses and evaluate the red flag in relation to the rest of the transaction. Does something that is happening make the hairs on the back of your neck or your arms stand up? Does it feel wrong?” says Deluca.
According to RECA, there are five types of mortgage fraud that mortgage brokers should be aware of:
1. Fraud for Shelter
The most common type of mortgage fraud, borrowers falsify information on their application to obtain approval. A February 2023 survey for BNN and RATESDOTCA revealed that 18% of respondents believe it’s okay to distort employment information when applying for a mortgage.
2. Fraud for Profit
This fraud typically involves several parties, including a real buyer and a fake buyer (known as the “straw” buyer). Oftentimes this scheme will involve falsely raising the property value in order to secure a larger mortgage, with the real buyer stealing the money and leaving the “straw” buyer with a large debt.
3. Title Fraud
This type of fraud occurs when a person poses as the legitimate owner of a property and sells the title without the actual owner’s knowledge. DeLuca notes that title fraud is one of the less common schemes in Alberta due to the province’s title and regulatory system.
4. Foreclosure Fraud
While this fraud involves a variety of different schemes, the target is a homeowner on the brink of or in foreclosure. The homeowner is promised financial assistance, typically in exchange for transferring the title to the fraudster, wherein they will ask the homeowner to pay “rent” and take the money without making payments on the home, or even sell the home to someone else and take the proceeds, leaving the target with their debt and without a home.
5. Seller Financing Fraud
A home can be legitimately purchased through seller financing. However, fraud can occur through deceptive or scam agreements. Both the homeowner and the potential purchaser can be victims – the fraud could include the purchaser paying monthly installments to the homeowner without the lending institution’s knowledge of the transaction, or, similar to title fraud, a seller financing agreement could occur without the actual homeowners knowledge.
When it comes to recognizing mortgage fraud, DeLuca encourages brokers to trust their instincts. “You are experts in your field, as mortgage brokers, so you can tell when something feels off, even when the conduct in and of itself may not be indicative of a crime – sometimes it just doesn’t feel right.”
About Fraud Prevention Month
Fraud Prevention Month occurs in March every year. It is a month-long campaign with the aim of assisting consumers and businesses in identifying and reporting fraud. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost $531 million to fraud in 2022. Visit their website for information on common scams and other resources.
Q3 Committee Update
GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE Update - by Ryan Spence, Chair
Your AMBA Governance Committee exists to support the Board of Directors, striving to continually improve the policies and practices that govern our association and thereby ensure our membership can clearly understand how AMBA operates. The committee looks for multiple points of view in order that our recommendations to the Board are balanced and reflective of the many facets of AMBA membership.
Over the past months, the committee has focused primarily on the new AMBA Code of Conduct Practice. This policy and practice outline the practical metrics to evaluate a potential breach of AMBA’s Code of Conduct, and to provide clear and transparent steps to be taken if our Code of Conduct is breached. The Practice sets clear structure so any person involved will understand what to expect during the process, and that any potential breach is held to the same rigor. As always, once approved by the AMBA board, the Code of Conduct Policy & Practice will be available to all members.
At each meeting, AMBA’s Governance Committee reviews a portion of the various policies and practices that make up AMBA’s overall governance framework to ensure these remain modern, effective and representative of the high standards expected by AMBA membership. While the Code of Conduct Policy and Practice have been our focus, with the election of the new AMBA board this past April, the committee has also reviewed and recommended updates to several policies related to the composition of AMBA’s board and individual director responsibility.
I appreciate the efforts of all committee members: Crystal Mamchur, Dean Koeller, Faiz Khaku, Heather Wytinck and Jason Provencher, as they give their time and thought leadership. We look forward to continuing our work through Q4 and into the new year.
AUDIT, FINANCE, & RISK COMMITTEE Update - by Russ Mendonca, Chair
Your Audit, Finance and Risk Committee has been hard at work over the past few months! With the author of this article being the only new addition to the committee, the committee is full of wisdom and thoughtfulness as we’ve approached the many challenges we’ve seen so far this year! A few of the key items we’ve worked on includes Cyber Insurance for the organization (which included a Cyber Risk Assessment), Directors and Officers Liability Insurance, had discussion with our CEO on changing how our internal finances are handled through staffing and partnerships, approving a new audit firm and reviewing our Q2 Financial report and presenting it and other recommendations to the Board.
A few highlights from our financials:
Our new Education course has been created through countless hours from our incredible AMBA staff and member volunteers! The course has been approved and it is now up and running, and its far outperforming our anticipated revenue! This additional gross revenue offset conference gross revenue being lower than anticipated.
Through incredible expense management, AMBA was also able to come in below budgeted expenses as well, through thoughtful spending and a few quick pivots at the conference to keep costs down. We anticipated to be at a loss of $54k by the end of Q2 but instead wrapped up the quarter with a net income of $30k.
Your Audit, Finance and Risk committee and the AMBA Team is constructed of some incredible individuals that have a level of care, knowledge and passion. We are excited to help the organization continue responsibly towards our future!
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION ADVISORY COMMITTEE Update - by Pam Pikkert, Chair
The DEI Committee is a new advisory committee that reports to the Governance Committee.
The committee purpose is as follows:
Based on the Board goals for a governing year, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee will act as the main discussion and advisory body for AMBA in relation to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The intent of this work is to help AMBA develop and maintain an environment where we recognize the dignity and uniqueness of the individual, and where we meaningfully leverage equity and diversity in our staff, Board of Directors, membership, and community.
We're thrilled to have the following AMBA members as part of our Committee:
Pam Pikkert, The Place to Mortgage (Chair)
Danielle Pendleton, Lumos Mortgages
Anu Reddy, Community Trust
Bimbola Ayo, TMG Tim Hurlburt, TNT Mortgages
Hayley Cross, Flare Mortgage Group
Shay Robertson, AMBA Staff Liaison
To date we have had 2 meetings. At the first we finalized the terms of reference and the annual work plan which was then approved by the Board. We held a generative discussion about what DEI means to the members of the committee after taking the time to find out what called us each to sit on the committee. The second meeting was a review of some of AMBA's documentation, including the Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct, which generated a great discussion about ensuring we're using inclusive language and implementing policies that support our mission. I'm excited to report that we are collectively assembling a DEI resource library of resources within the committee, which we hope to provide to our membership in the coming months.
I'm excited to continue working with this amazing group of members who have a deep desire to ensure the highest level of DEI for AMBA!
EDUCATION COMMITTEE Update - by Charlotte Tran, Chair
The Education Committee has had a very busy year! With RECA divesting from offering pre-licensing education, AMBA began the process of working to become a recognized course provider for the new pre-licensing courses, based on new competencies as established by the Mortgage Broker Industry Council at RECA. Though AMBA already offered the second course (Practice of Mortgage Brokerage), new competencies provided us with an opportunity to create new content and make significant improvements on older content. Following the development of the Practice course, we got to work developing the Fundamentals course as well. The Committee and additional subject matter experts from our membership worked tirelessly to research and write content for both courses, and I’d like to thank all our committed members who participated in this process! I’d also like to thank the Alberta Real Estate Foundation for their support of our pre-licensing course development work – we were awarded a Legacy Grant which enabled us to work quickly and engage third-party content developers to assist us in our efforts.
AMBA received approval as a recognized course provider by RECA in June, and both the Fundamentals of Mortgage Brokerage and the Practice of Mortgage Brokerages courses were approved for delivery shortly afterwards. I’m thrilled to report on behalf of the committee that we started accepting students to the new MAP program mid-August, and there are over 100 candidates currently enrolled.
Our work isn’t done yet! Up next, we’ll be redeveloping the Mortgage Broker Owner course. As part of our strategic priority to achieve excellence in pre-licensing education, we’ve established a strong group of subject matter experts from within our membership to begin developing this course. Our goal is to submit this course for approval prior to the divestment deadline of December 1.
Once our courses are fully operational, I look forward to re-engaging with the Education committee and working closely with them to establish tutoring and mentoring programs for our MAP candidates, as well as developing our continuous improvement and course enhancement project plans for 2023.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION COMMITTEE Update - by Emily St.Pierre, Chair
AMBA's Awards & Recognition Committee was formed in May this year and has held two meetings. As our first order of business, we reviewed AMBA's historical awards program, and discussed at length what role AMBA's award program would have in the industry at large. From there, we evaluated which historical awards to keep, and we brainstormed potential new awards for introduction in 2023. In addition, we begin discussion the development of a Volunteer Recognition Program. Project Plans have been completed to outline the expected timeline and processes for the development of the awards program, volunteer recognition program and gala planning.
The Committee has identified the key components that should be included in the Gala events as well as determining the approximate number of awards that will be introduced. Next on the agenda, we’ll be working on establishing criteria for each award, as well as the point system for volunteer recognition.
In the coming months, we’ll be starting gala planning, and forming our sub-committee to assist with judging award entries. We’re looking forward to formally launching the awards and recognition programs in 2023!
Want to be a better broker? AMBA Education Specialist Charlotte Tran wants to help!
Charlotte is involved with furthering people’s careers even before they become officially licensed mortgage brokers. She provides newcomers to the industry with the information they need to become licensed professionals. She helps students register for practice courses and manages the current licensing exams. And for those already in the biz, she handles continuing education, sourcing speakers for webinars, and conferences.
Charlotte’s background was on the administrative side of education. She credits a mentor, Gemma Beirback formerly of the Calgary Real Estate Board, for singling her out for training in instructional design. She produced her first training course in 2016 and knew then it was what she was meant to be doing.
Since joining AMBA in September 2021, she has embarked on the task of rebuilding our licensing program training in its entirety. This includes developing course work covering upwards of 800 competencies the Real Estate Council of Alberta require from our learners. Once that approval process is complete, she plans to focus on developing continuing education courses for existing members to elevate their knowledge.
Charlotte is passionate about lifelong learning and is always enrolled in professional development courses herself. She thrives on problem-solving, helping out the team, and helping people achieve their maximum potential. The course development work she’s putting in now will set up our membership — and the association as a whole — for success for years to come.
In her off-hours, her two boys keep Charlotte and her husband plenty busy. She enjoys camping, reading, and travel. Her keen style comes, in part, from to her willingness to serve as a test subject for her hairstylist cousin’s experiments with the latest techniques. She doesn’t have as much time for nail art as she used to, but owns 215 bottle of nail polish. She’s a huge Harry Potter fan and can’t wait to share those magical stories with her kids (books before movies!).
“I’m really excited for the future of AMBA,” Charlotte says. “We have a really great team and I think we’re going to do our members proud over the next few years. Wait till you see what we’ve got coming!”
BrokerLink Insurance offers Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA) members exclusive discounts on your personal home and auto insurance.
Many Canadian homes are equipped with a gas or wood-burning fireplace. With the weather taking a dive into colder temperatures, people with wood-burning fireplaces are stocking up on wood or relighting the pilot light on their gas fireplaces to stay warm and cozy throughout the winter. With an increased use of fireplaces, there is also an increased chance of a fire, which can lead to devastating losses if you are not mindful of fire safety in your home.
Wood-burning Fireplace Safety Tips
Here are some basic safety tips for your wood-burning fireplace:
Gas Fireplace Safety Tips
Here are some basic safety tips for your gas fireplace:
Other precautions to reduce your risk:
Remember to notify your insurance advisor if you have installed or upgraded your gas or wood-burning fireplace, as this could have an impact on your insurance coverage. Always ensure that you keep your home insurance policy up to date.
Rest Assured, BrokerLink Has You Covered*
To learn more and for your free, no-obligation quote, contact us today:
Call 1.833.998.3798, email, or visit us <https://www.brokerlink.ca/amba>
* Subject to policy conditions and exclusions. ©2021 Brokerlink Inc. ™BrokerLink & Design is a trademark of Brokerlink Inc. All rights reserved.
October 28th, 2021
Why choose BrokerLink
BrokerLink Insurance offers Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA) members exclusive discounts on your personal home and auto insurance. Through this group insurance plan, AMBA members benefit from comprehensive coverage, superior customer service, and insurance that is customized to fit your needs.
So, who are we?
True to our community roots and growing
We live and work in the same communities as you. Our kids go to the same schools, and we drive on the same roads. We know what kind of insurance you need because your needs are just like ours. Since 1991, we have had a vision: to build a network of trusted insurance brokers across the country, working directly in the communities we serve. With over 200 branches and 3,000 employees – our brokers are proud to be active in our communities, getting involved in local causes they’re passionate about, spreading from the Atlantic to Alberta.
Living our values
When we live by our company values, they are the compass that guides everything we do. We are here to help people, businesses and our communities prosper in good times and be resilient in bad. This is our purpose and the foundation of our company – it drives everything we do and gives meaning to our work.
What makes us the insurance experts?
BrokerLink is one of Canada’s largest and most reliable insurance brokerages. In addition, we’re not tied down to just one provider, giving you access to the best rates from the most reputable insurance companies in the industry.
As a valued member of the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association, we are happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation insurance quote. Our experienced insurance advisors will take the time to answer your questions and make sure you’re prepared for any situation.
If you have a claim, we’ll be there when it happens
Whether it’s a fender bender, flooded basement, or anything else you weren’t expecting we’re here to support you no matter what life throws your way. Our dedicated group insurance advisors will assist you throughout a claim to ensure a fair claims settlement.
Bundle and Save More
Combine your home and auto policies for additional savings on your premium.*
Rest Assured, BrokerLink Has You Covered*
To learn more and for your free, no-obligation quote, contact us today:
Call 1.833.998.3798 or visit us <https://www.brokerlink.ca/amba>
* Subject to policy conditions and exclusions. ©2021 Brokerlink Inc. ™BrokerLink & Design is a trademark of Brokerlink Inc. All rights reserved.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already in Q4 – the last 9 months have truly flown by, and yet, at times it has felt as though each day was an eternity (thanks, COVID). While we have all be busy adapting to “the new normal”, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes here at AMBA.
AMBA continues to be an important and vocal participant in both the steering committee and project teams that have been charged with implementing the transition plan that has resulted from the Real Estate Amendment Act and the subsequent changes in RECA’s mandate, scope, and governance structure. Our members are being represented on each of the three project teams, as well as on the Steering Committee, and this work is ongoing. In the coming weeks, I urge you to look to our newsletter for regular updates, specifically regarding the upcoming election for the Mortgage Broker Industry Council.
As with most organizations, our events calendar has been disrupted by COVID; however, the AMBA team has continued to deliver consistent and regular professional development and opportunities for connection through our webinar series. We’ve also been able to hold a few small capacity events, including our very successful Golf Tournament this past August. Our team remains ready to pivot in response to the changing guidelines and infection levels, and as such, we encourage members to check the website frequently for upcoming virtual and in-person events. I’d like to send my deepest gratitude to our sponsors, who have been extremely supportive of AMBA and the changes we’ve had to make in response to COVID this year – we truly could not do what we do without your ongoing support!
Last week, your Board of Directors and the AMBA team had the pleasure of getting together in Canmore for 2 days of intense strategic planning. Together with our governance consultant, tng, we took a deep dive into the results of the most recent member survey, completely an extensive environmental scan, and identified the strategic priorities that AMBA will focus on for the next 3 years. Our priority is always on providing value to our members; and ensuring that we’re focused on the things that YOU care about. We’ll be unveiling the new strategic plan at a Special General Meeting scheduled for December 10th – so save the date and be sure to sign up once registration is open.
Our Committees have been hard at work this quarter, and we’re seeing tremendous results. The Governance Committee is nearing completion of the development of a new Governance Manual, and has completed an extensive review of our Bylaws; our Audit, Finance and Risk committee has been busy developing a framework for financial oversight and risk mitigation, and will be focused on approving our 2021 operating budget and preparing for our 2020 audit; the Education Committee has just completed a comprehensive review of the Practice of Mortgage Brokering course and will embark upon the not-insignificant task of cross-referencing the program with MBRCC competencies. This truly is but a snapshot of the incredible commitment and work that your fellow members are putting into ensuring that AMBA continues its legacy and shaping the future of your association. We’ll be adding more committees to our roster in the coming months, so if you’re ready to step up and be a volunteer leader, be sure to submit an application when openings are announced.
We’re also nearing the completion of our first full year offering a dual membership with MPC – and we’re proud to announce that this initiative has been a resounding success to date! Both associations are now working collaboratively to provide the best possible membership experience to our shared members. From streamlined dues invoicing and reduced costs to ensuring we have a strong, collective voice in advocacy, we’re excited to continue this partnership in 2021 and beyond.
Speaking of 2021: Alberta-based companies with a Jan 1 membership renewal date can expect to hear from our membership team in the coming weeks as we begin membership renewals. Renewal invoices will be going out in early November which will allow for sufficient time to members to renew without having their membership lapse (memberships expire on December 31). National companies will continue to use their MPC renewal date and as such, those renewals will take place on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
Membership matters – our ability to advocate on behalf of the mortgage industry is stronger when we represent the majority of industry members. This year, AMBA was pleased to represent over 1345 mortgage brokers and 185 industry partners in our advocacy efforts. This represents 63% of ALL licensed brokers in Alberta – a figure which has had significant positive impact on our ability to be seen as thought-leaders and influencers with government and regulators. Our goal, of course, is to increase that percentage year over year – so I encourage you to continue to be terrific #AMBAsaddors and spread the word to any industry colleagues who may be considering becoming a member.
Finally, I’d like to take a quick moment to thank the AMBA staff for their relentless hard work and dedication to our members. As a small-but-mighty team, together we have accomplished a tremendous amount in 2020, with many great things still to come before we wrap up 2020! The phrase that I hear most often in the office is “how will that make members’ lives better” – a sign that our team is constantly working to raise the bar and listen to what you, the members, need from us. Be sure to send a virtual high-five to Sophie, Wendy, Leigh and Nicole, and if you’re ever near our office, don’t hesitate to drop in for a socially-distanced coffee!
I look forward to connecting with you (if only virtually) as we embark upon the final quarter of 2020.
Mary Swaffield, CSEP
Early Payout Penalties
We interviewed Jay Meakin of Archimedes Mortgage Ltd. to find out more about early payout penalties: When you would suggest this option to your client and how to effectively communicate the benefits of an early payout penalty.
What are early payout penalties?
Should a mortgage contract be broken prior to maturity by the borrower, the contract stipulates that penalties may apply. Usually the higher of interest rate differential (IRD) or 3 months interest cost will be the penalty.
When would you suggest this route?
Only if a borrower can recover the penalty cost within the term of the new mortgage would I suggest breaking a mortgage and paying the penalty.
How do you prepare a client for the possibility of early payout penalties?
Before a customer decides what type of rate and term, I will ask them how long they plan on staying in the home and what the likelihood of having to sell and move is.
How would you prepare your client to ask for a payout statement from their lender?
Sometimes I’ll ask the client to sign a consent to disclose form which I can present to the lender on the borrower’s behalf. Depending on the circumstances, it may be easier for the customer to ask lender directly. There is always a risk the lender will try to bring the borrower back in house by renegotiating. Establishing rapport with the customer and providing an appropriate and competitive product based on their needs is usually enough to earn their loyalty.
Staying in contact with your customers throughout the term of the mortgage is the best way to earn repeat business.
Example email to client
"Hi (Insert client name),
Thank you for your message.
Mortgage rates are at all-time lows as you’ve no doubt seen in the media. When your mortgage closed in 2017 you chose a variable rate with RMG which was Prime -0.70%. A very sweet discount which is better than any discount off prime right now. RMG prime is at 2.45% Which means your effective rate should be 1.75% !!
I’m not aware of any changes since then.
If you did lock-in, both you and your partner Please sign and return the attached broker consent form and I’ll check on what is left owing, rate etc… ** Check off the first option box **
Since we’re on the topic, do you happen to know anyone else who is looking to buy, refinance or switch to a lower mortgage rate? If so, I’d love to help save them some $$.
Rewarding Referral Sources
Written by Dustan Woodhouse, President Mortgage Architects
“You have to build the machine that will build the machine.” – pete koomen
Rewarding a referral source is all about rewarding the behavior, not the result.
We all “buy business” in one way or another; however, in this case I am saying that I did not pay any kind of significant kickback to a referral source—not ever.
Investing dollars directly in the client experience; paying for appraisals or a portion of legal fees for example, allows for increased control over the mortgage process for both you and your clients. In turn, those clients will have rewarding experiences that typically result in their becoming a referral source themselves. Some Brokers pay out kickbacks for referrals, but I don’t follow the logic. Brokers earn a living doing what they do, and others earn their living doing what they do (ie. Realtors, Lawyers, Appraisers). If I think you are pretty good at what you do and I get the chance, I will refer you, and all I could ask is that you would do the same.
Reward the Behavior, Not the Results
If somebody refers five clients in a row to you and none of them pans out, it’s not the referral source’s fault or problem. In fact, he or she is a rock star for sending you five potential clients. The referral source is doing you the favor of putting your name and number out there. He or she is getting people to call you and introducing you to clients. That’s huge. The referral source did his or her job, exceptionally. You had best do yours, exceptionally.
It is incredibly inconsistent of you to send nothing at all if those first five don’t materialize, and then send a thank-you three months later upon completion of the sixth referral that person gave you. This sort of behavior is disconnected from the process on the part of the referral source. Also, it is a bit like you are saying a few things to them that you really do not want to say, such as this:
“You’re sending me losers. Your friends are losers; your family are losers—except for that one in particular, though. Thanks for that one. He was great. The rest, though—you get nothing for that crop of deadbeats.”
You would never speak those words to a referral source, so why would you communicate this with your actions? Be respectful of your referral sources’ role in the process. It is to refer clients to you. That is it.
What if the phone rings, the client was referred, but the conversation ends in three minutes because you cannot help him or her for whatever reason? The referral source still played his or her part. Reward the referral source accordingly. Do not be a cheapskate!
Inconsistency and time lags created by clunky “thanks for the business that I finally closed” programs like this are confusing and borderline rude. Rewarding sources intermittently on the basis of outcomes they can’t control is the fast track to halting their referring behavior.
Perhaps it’s your own fault the file didn’t complete. Perhaps it’s the clients. Perhaps there was just nothing that could be done at all. The one person who is not to blame for anything in this equation is your referral source. That person did his or her part. So, reward the referral source for that—instantly.
The same day the phone rings, you are sending a thank-you: a thank-you email, a quick thank-you call and/or a thank-you card with a gift of some sort.
Remain appreciative and consistent. There is value in this process.
This said, a small, simple, fast, and consistent expression of gratitude for a referral is mandatory. Dash off an email or place a quick thank-you call for starters.
And then go a step further, immediately.
If your thank-you is a handwritten card with half a dozen home-baked cookies, scaling that up as you get busier is going to be a tall order. Never mind the time it would take to bake the cookies or even pick them up from a bakery, package and courier or deliver them. You soon will not have time to be even writing the cards.
You need something that can be done in less than 60 seconds and still has some punch. If your attitude is that you are not that busy yet so you can go the extra mile for now, then you are never going to get as busy as you could be. It is too easy to devote far too much time and mental energy to a task that should be handled by someone else in your business. In fact, this is a coping mechanism for many who are simply afraid of achieving a certain level of success.
Simple things, like a thank-you card, should be as streamlined as possible. Recalling that willpower is like a muscle: focus it on the work that needs to be done by you and you alone.
Write mortgages, not thank-you cards.
Send Out Cards is a service that allows you to create custom thank-you cards. Sending a card is as easy as typing an email. Log in; build templates from scratch using your own custom images and personalized text; enclose either a gift card or another gift from a range of options including cookies, brownies or tea; and click send.
No trip to the store(s), no handwriting, no visit to the post office is needed.
In our market, a Starbucks gift card is a pretty safe bet, and I sent out $25 per referral. This is in the middle of the range of what I have heard of Brokers doing. Some Brokers give $5 gift cards, others give $50. Recently, I heard mention of a Broker giving out $100.00 per referral— we all have to do what works for us.
I consider gift cards a marketing expense. It never fails to amaze me how many Brokers are reluctant to send a thank-you worth as little as $5, let alone a gift card worth $25 or $50, until they know the file has completed and they’re actually going to get paid on that referral. This is incredibly short-sighted. Such a self-limiting mind-set will restrict the growth of that person’s business, because that mind-set is restricting their own growth as a person.
’Tis the Season
Come the holiday season, you can use this system not just for referral sources and clients, but also for family and friends.
The ability to do a year-end holiday card mail-out to your entire database within a few minutes is frankly pretty amazing—especially to anyone who has spent literally days handwriting hundreds of cards and addressing envelopes.
If you are a certain age, you may recall the fate that befell Susan, the fiancé of George Costanza, from licking one too many envelopes in a single sitting. Hey, all I am saying is, why take the chance?
Send Out Cards is a lifesaver!
I think reflecting on ‘Hindsight’ is one of the most useful lessons we can gift ourselves with. I believe in the value so much that I host a podcast called “Hindsight’s 20/20”! [visit on Spotify or Youtube]
This year has given us a shake down that has got many running through the alphabet when it comes to pivoting from Plan ‘A’ to B, C, D etc!! Those who are finding that their share of the market is actually increasing during the crisis have learned valuable lessons that are supporting their foundation and making other potential clients feel secure in their services.
How can you take their insights and apply it to your own business? Here are three valuable points to give you some ideas.
1.KEEP PLAN B, C, OR D IN YOUR BACK POCKET AT ALL TIMES.
There is a saying, “If plan ‘A’ fails, remember, there are 25 more letters.” I have always appreciated that simple quote as a solopreneur myself for the past ten years and business coach to others. Lots of failed attempts at lead generating, marketing and time blocking have revealed the necessity of being able to bounce back from failure with continued optimism!
When your good ideas don’t yield the results you need then try again in a different way. If you have tried an S.E.O. Marketing service that only delivered low quality leads, don’t give up lead generating, just try a different method! Phone calls, invitations for coffee, emails, texts, social media give-aways, joining a community group etc…. There are a hundred ways to market – keep up the good intentions and pivot your method by trying a different angle.
2.POSITION YOUR BUSINESS FOR UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES!
A friend of mine, Tina Varughese is a professional speaker on the subject of ‘Unconscious Bias’, and during the pandemic found herself with all kinds of opportunities to share the message and teach companies and staff about sensitivity in this area.
Her message is polished, and she has research to back it up. Her jokes and humor have been tested and her technical skills were up to date. So, what happened when a big client reached out to hire her? She was prepared and professional! She has seen unprecedented growth because of the political climate around diversity, and she could handle it.
This summer, while I sat on an expert panel of a virtual conference, I heard statistics that in the real estate industry there has been increase across the country and that the top producers have been gaining market share. When the market heats up, are you positioned by your reputation and professional ability to throw out your net and bring in a catch?
Ask yourself and business partners this question and get prepared! Which brings me to my third point.
3.ALWAYS PREPARE FOR GROWTH.
If I gave you five new potential clients today, could your business handle it? Would you be able to cycle them through an excellent intake process, would your checklists and systems keep all the paperwork and stages in order, would your CRM take care of the details so you don’t ever forget their children’s names?
Don’t wait until you are busy to prepare for growth! Prepare while you wait.
Investigate how you could handle more business! Get serious with your time management, find reliable people you can trust to work with, ensure that your client’s journey will yield satisfaction, referrals and repeat business!
Ask yourself what that would look like - and if you need some hints, email me for a short Quiz that you can take to rate your business. Then you will see where you excel and what areas could use some attention!
Free Quiz – email Sue@SueStyles.com
Perhaps during the last six months you have learned some business lessons of your own that you would like to share, if you have anything to add, send a note to me, I would love to hear what you have found on your own journey to maximized results!
Written by Sue Styles
Canada’s bossy business coach and one mother of a motivator!
Sue helps entrepreneurs organize their efforts, focus on what matters, and put proper basic foundations into place so that businesses can grow. She teaches practical business tactics from lead generating to client loyalty so that you can close more deals in style!
Sue has been interviewed in FORBES Magazine, is a guest contributor for R.E.M. Online and Host of Youtube’s Hindsight’s 20/20.
October 2020 Content Calendar
To help you plan your content to keep your followers engaged, we’ve created a content calendar for the month of October.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Canadian Cancer Society
Occupational Therapy Month
Fire Prevention Week (October 4th – October 10th)
Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 4th – October 10th)
National Seniors Day
World Vegetarian Day
International Day of Non-Violence
World Smile Day
National Taco Day
World Animal Day
World Teacher’s Day
World Mental Health Day
International Day of the Girl
International Day of Rural Women
World Food Day
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
National Pasta Day
World Statistics Day
World Development Information Day
National Pumpkin Day
Take Me Outside Day
National Coffee Day
News & Articles
Industry updates, news, and content to help you elevate your mortgage broker business.