Knowing that your competition may be your strongest ally is one of the best-kept secrets of successful brokers. That’s right — other brokers can be your biggest referral source. But how do you get your competition to see you as their ally? How do you convince them to work alongside you rather than against you?
According to research, the best way to get someone to see you as an asset rather than a hindrance is to apply some basic human psychology to the situation. The human brain is influenced by many factors, and you want to leverage all of them to your advantage. In order to build great relationships in the brokerage community, you just need to master a few basic steps:
1) Make It a Win – Win Proposition
The heart of successful collaboration is first and foremost serving the other broker’s best interest. How? By helping them to close more deals and to get paid more often.
If you’ve built your lending network like ours, you have relationships with hundreds of funders who can handle any type of loan, from SBA, to CRE deals, to startup equity, to factoring. If the other broker doesn’t have access to these options, then they are going to be declining a huge number of applicants. The industry averages between 80%-90% average decline rate with 90% for traditional lenders – which means on 9 out of 10 deals the other broker will never get paid!
This is where you can offer a huge win – win proposition. Keep them focused on the fact that if they have applications they are going to decline, you can make sure they will still get paid by making a referral with a guaranteed fee share! And of course, this benefits you as well: if you are closing three times as many loans, who cares that you are sharing some of the profit?
This means that by working with you, they can still serve all of their A-List clients just as they were before. But by connecting their B, C, or D List clients with you, they can grow their revenue without doing any additional work. Staying focused on this win – win collaboration is the most important part of building strong relationships and turning a competitor into an ally.
2) Be Personable
Phone conversations are never as effective as meeting in person. Schedule a lunch or meet for coffee to channel any negative reaction away from you personally and discuss how a positive relationship could benefit you both. Be sure to express your desire to provide excellent service to clients as this will likely be something you have in common. Give them a chance to get to know you on a personal level rather than just seeing you as their competition. As you start to build a more personal relationship, you will be able to move on to the next steps.
3) Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Focus on always providing them with value. Offer support, assistance or advice whenever they need it. Your network may be larger than theirs, or maybe you have some stronger connections than they do. Offer to include them and be transparent about what you can bring to the table. This builds relationships through reciprocity. Don’t expect a return immediately, and certainly don’t ask for anything from them. At this stage, you want them to see that you can be trusted and that you don’t have an ulterior motive.
4) Be Honest About Your Intentions
Let them know that the reason for this meeting is to build stronger relationships and deeper trust in order to combine experiences and resources. Direct the conversation away from you and funnel it in the direction of the unit as a whole. In other words, keep focusing them on the benefits of partnership. This collaboration ensures that everyone wins and it begins to look as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Success relies on turning competing loan brokers into strong referral partners. Combining experiences, networks, support and knowledge will strengthen both of your positions and bring a greater sense of opportunity to everyone. The blending of tried and true habits and systems along with fresh thinking and new ideas broadens horizons and develops lasting relationships.
Even though turning your competing brokers into allies might seem like a daunting task, it can be easy and highly effective when you keep human psychology in mind. Dissolve the idea that you are a threat and kindle strong connections with those that could be considered your competition. Collaborations with competition will garner successful relationships and transactions with your clients as well.