The key ingredients to a healthy broker-client relationship include creating common ground, showing authenticity and, chiefly, being “present”, according to a clinical psychologist.
Speaking to The Adviser about how to build strong client relationships, clinical psychologist and author Sleiman Abou-Hamdan said brokers could identify common interests and leverage them to build a meaningful connection.
“They may be both interested in, let’s say, football or soccer, or they may have similar aged children,” he explains.
“So focusing on those common interests will foster the relationship between the broker and the client. Ideally, they want to develop themselves as a trusted adviser to the client, so this is one step in that objective, essentially.”
Another simple technique is to “show authenticity, express authenticity, be real”, the psychologist and author adds.
Conversing “at a human level” and telling stories about what’s happening in the industry, or within their business, can solidify bonds of trust with clients, he adds. “[Or] tell some personal anecdotes or some case studies about how people are thriving through these challenges, or... some good case studies in terms of those positive stories,” Mr Abou-Hamdan suggests.
The psychologist says that being personal, real and authentic is beneficial in the business of mortgage broking – or any business for that matter – as building meaningful relationships can be a remedy for overcoming stress and building resilience, leading to professional and personal success.
“If we are in the freeze reaction, we tend to protect ourselves and protect our deep thoughts and emotions, but that actually takes away from showing up as authentic and real to clients, and that diminishes the trust,” Mr Abou-Hamdan continues.
“It’s a case-by-case strategy obviously, but as much as possible, showing that vulnerability will actually help you connect with clients at a deeper level,” he says.
Lastly, Mr Abou-Hamdan explains that if a mortgage broker is in fight mode, they are likely to be working tirelessly for long hours, constantly behaving in a perfectionist manner and, essentially, overworking themselves. This “actually diminishes their ability to care [and] to empathise with their clients”.
“It’s essentially the law of energy conservation. The more you invest in work, if that is at the extreme, your ability to connect and care and empathise with others – and actually have balance and self-awareness – diminishes,” Mr Abou-Hamdan adds.
Underlying all of these processes is the ability to practice presence. Particularly in order to “exercise your active listening”, be healthily engaged in business and secure repeat clients, fueling profitability and growth for brokers worldwide.
Mr Abou-Hamdan outlines a simple exercise to clients.
“Every once in a while during the day, just check in. How present are you? Notice three things that you can see around you, notice three things that you can hear, notice three things that you can feel,” he says.
“Grounding yourself with the ground, noticing your feet on the floor, body on the chair, air on your skin, clothes on your skin, to really be present.
“That is the foundation of resilience and leadership: being present.”
[Related: Brokers reveal their government wish list]
Ezekiel is a journalist on the mortgages, property investment and wellness titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, he was a freelance journalist for Vice Australia, Pulse Radio and the Sydney-based travel publication Global Hobo, among others.
Ezekiel studies a double Bachelor of Communications and International Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.
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