One of the great pleasures of my job is working with brokers who are passionate about the positive impact they can make in peoples lives. Being a mortgage broker is about being objective and even-handed with your clients and in turn providing a service that’s incredibly unique. What many mortgage brokers don’t realize is that it’s an incredibly newsworthy profession.
So exactly what about being a mortgage broker is newsworthy and who would want to read what you have to say?
You don’t have to look far to find an avalanche of opinions on home finance and banking. Take the monthly barrage of opinion pieces in the mainstream media after every RBA meeting. There’s a tone in the majority of editorial that reflects consumers are helpless to combat the swinging pendulum of interest rates and that those in power haven’t a clue. You’ll find a variety of opinions where writers try and amalgamate the most sinister adjectives to those who make decisions regarding interest rates – all in the hopes of stirring up a debate fuelled with fear and anger.
Where a mortgage broker can add value and cut-through sensationalised or biased opinions is by taking a step back and really assessing the situation – creating a tangible and trustworthy message that a confused or upset consumer can act upon. Specifically, a mortgage broker can draw upon the knowledge they have to offer solutions to problems a reader would have, to say, a bank not passing a full RBA rate cut. Mortgage brokers know lenders are always competing for clients by shifting products and prices around, even when the RBA is in a neutral mode. If a consumer is upset about their interest rate, put their situation in perspective for them – maybe a better product exists? Maybe the full implications of switching home loans have not been considered?
The point here is to not join into the chorus of yay’s and nay’s but to find that middle ground where you can educate specific readers that are looking for answers. As an example, if you were to move to Canada and I told you had to pick a new favourite ice hockey team, who would you trust to help you with this decision? Some would rely on friends to steer them in the right direction and others would go off and do their own research by comparing team’s stats to one another, while others would rely on reading most up-to-date opinions and news. Now whose opinion would you trust more, the passionate and loyal fan who gloats about how good their team is and how another team only exist to lose to that team? Or would you trust a fan of the sport who offered the pro’s and con’s of each team? Someone who identified which teams would best fit certain personalities? I can certainly appreciate some good banter, but if I’m making an important decision such as picking a sports team, or choosing a home loan, I’m going to follow the advice of the most objective personality who offers me solutions.
My top three tips for Mortgage Brokers looking to establish publicity
1) Find news within your business and your community. What are you seeing that you could be telling the whole community?
2) Understand issues and solve problems. Comment sections and blogs are great places to listen to your consumers and understand the specific issues their having.
3) Utilise available resources within your aggregator. A good writer and publicity guru can help you communicate your messages in a way that journalists and readers appreciate. They can also help you establish contacts in the media.
A broker has the unique ability to offer unrivalled transparency when discussing home loans because the discussion isn’t limited to a single product or lender – you can discuss nearly the entire loan market. Personally, I would also recommend not mentioning specific lenders in the media. Firstly you don’t want to get confused as a representative of the lender, secondly is all about being objective and unbiased with your assessments of the market. Sure, it’s important to demonstrate your expertise in talking favourably about a topic or product you believe in but to build trust with readers, to influence them to the take action on your message, you need to be objective about what you’re telling them.
A specific but simple example of this would be explaining what Lenders Mortgage Insurance is. While it is an additional cost that consumers would rather avoid, it’s a huge consideration for anyone purchasing a property. Good editorial on LMI would explain that the cost of LMI varies not just on how much you borrow against the value of your property but also that different lenders apply LMI in different ways. If a customer is unhappy with either paying the insurance or interested in reducing the cost, you can offer solutions to set up a budget to maximise a borrower’s savings over time to avoid the cost all-together or to look at other lenders who have different LMI premiums.
There’s a common saying within newspapers that “if it bleeds, it leads,” with the general assumption being, the most controversial stories will always generate the most interest from readers. That’s fine for some; however brokers can be the band-aid that stops the bleeding.
Paul Smith is the Corporate Spokesperson for Loan Market and provides media services for over 450 mortgage brokers. He can also help you choose your favourite ice hockey team. Send him an email at Paul.Smith@loanmarket.com.au if you’re interested learning more.