Celebrating her 25th year in industry, broker Katrina Rowlands from Mortgage Success reveals the top questions she’s found to help cement her value to clients.
On Wednesday (27 July), Pepper Money held its Pepper Insights Live event in Sydney (and online), with more than 1,000 brokers and finance introducers engaging with the speakers and content.
During the course of the day, Katrina Rowlands, from Wollongong-based brokerage Mortgage Success, was asked by Pepper Money’s head of mortgages, Barry Saoud, how she has “consistently demonstrated value to customers” over her 25-year broking career.
In response, she said: “I never assume I know it all. So, in each client situation, I make sure I ask more questions than I give statements.
“The value I give is [as a broker] is that I’m actually truly interested in their journey... I try to place myself in the position of a trusted confidant; someone that you ring before you make decisions.”
Ms Rowlands said that she had always viewed being a broker as akin to “working in a lolly shop; I’m there help make people’s dreams come true”.
“I help to solve things when they’re in a position where they just want someone to help them. I want to be the person they ring when they say: ‘I don’t know what to do next. Can you help me talk through the choices?’. I want to be the one that they want to chat to [and ask] ‘What are my options? What can I consider?’ And then, together, we come to a great educated decision,” Ms Rowlands said.
Ms Rowlands revealed that she had several questions she asked clients that have helped her succeed over the years.
Ms Rowlands said: “I have questions that [I ask] to my clients that take the pressure out of the interview process. Some of my favorite questions are:
- What is your wish list? If you could have everything you wanted out of your mortgage needs, if this was to satisfy you now and your husband, your children, your future... What actually do you want your mortgage to allow your life to become?
- What keeps you up at night? Rather than asking them if they are scared by the rates, my question is: ‘If you have something in your head that bothers you about your financial situation that’s going to prevent you from achieving something, then tell me about that’.
“By asking those questions, I find that I become part of the lifetime of the mortgage decision-making. I’m not just their broker. I’m actually someone they trust, someone they regard, someone who they view has experience.”
Ms Rowlands said that another aspect that had helped her get closer to her clients’ wishes – and their future plans – was to ensure she speaks to all parties associated [with the loan].
She explained: “If there’s more than one party involved in the loan decision making, then talk to both and make sure you get the answers of both. Because that’s so important. [Otherwise you risk] those clients leaving you because you haven’t captured the entire family situation or the entire family wish.”
In conclusion, the Wollongong broker said she ensures that clients know that they can talk to someone whenever they call.
Ms Rowlands said this was important because it helped to ease anxieties early on, and ensure the client knows that they have their best interest at heart.
Ms Rowlands said: “If clients ring they will either get me or, if not, on my [answering] message is: ‘Ring my office, you will get a live person every time’. The key thing with that is if they want to talk to somebody, if there’s a fear factor in their head, they sometimes just want some confidence that someone’s going to help them work through it mentally. [A mortgage is] a huge issue – not just with regard to the mortgages and choices and life changes and fears – but also on mental health.
“So, they just want to know someone cares and actually will help them with educating and understanding their situation.”
In conclusion, Ms Rowlands said that every time her or her team talks to a client, they ensure to state in the first conversation that they are “focused on your best outcome”.
“We use those words in every conversation,” she said. “That immediately calms them and let’s them know that I’m there for their best outcome and I will get back to them or I will offer a solution to start the process then.
“We can start either getting client forms out to [them] or start helping [them] immediately, so they feel like relief of pressure straightaway.”