The other day I caught, almost by accident, the new Apprentice type programme on BBC which I found fascinating. Fascinating because the new SirAlan is none other than the French design genius Philippe Starck – brilliant, off the wall and tremendous fun to watch. Anyway, his way of looking at things I can really relate to and it could also apply to our own ethos at Coreco.

For those that don’t know, according to Wikipedia “Philippe Starck is a French product designer and probably the best known designer in the New Design style. His designs range from spectacular interior designs to mass produced consumer goods such as toothbrushes, chairs, and even houses.”

Anyway, he calls his staff “The Tribe” and implores everyone to look behind the story, ignore the obvious, engage, don’t just sell products nobody needs, think differently. As he himself says, “”You don’t make good design if you think about design. You make good design if you speak about life, sex, flesh, sweat. I shall open ze zip of myself and say ‘Now take what you want’.”

So what has this got to do with anything at all? Has Monty gone off on another of his surreal fantastical ravings? Possibly.

To me the point is that we can all learn from taking a step back and thinking about things differently, in fact I would say we owe it to ourselves to.

Whilst the mortgage industry is hardly rocket science, we all need to reinvent ourselves and stop just thinking “we have to sell”. No. We have to engage our clients, we have to show them things they have not thought about, give them an opportunity to discuss openly with us, feedback and enter into meaningful dialogue.

Just like the quote above about design, you don’t just sell a product by talking about the product. You talk about real life, real needs, and maybe a little touch of sex, flesh and sweat!

People are generally more sophisticated in my book, especially if you are aiming to be a leading mortgage broker in London, you specialise in the large mortgage arena or just want to offer people something different.

Too many companies nowadays still think they can take customers for fools, especially in the financial services arena. With the amount of information around at the moment, lenders spouting that their products are the best since time began, or misleading comparison websites confusing the hell out of people, or even brokers claiming to be the “Uk’s leading independent mortgage advisor” or largest mortgage broker ever, it can be very hard for people to really know not just when they are getting good advice or bad advice, but whether they are really getting any advice at all.

Many brokers say they are the best. They claim to have the best rates, provide the best service and do things no other broker can do. But, instead of saying “we will always get you the best deal on the market” when you can’t, perhaps what people really want is a little honesty, an “anti-claim” or in fact no claim at all.

I like to think that this is what we have done, and I know there are already other good companies out there who do the same thing. That is to try not to make outrageous claims, but just concentrate on the basics.

Professional and genuine independent advice, high levels of service, engaging clients and looking beyond the “sale”.

That way, I suspect that your clients will do the singing and dancing for you, and your own tribe will grow very nicely.

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