Marketing the Contrarian Way

I don't view competition as competition but only as the opportunity to become an ambassador.

I don’t view competition as competition but only as the opportunity to become an ambassador.

It is funny that it took a visit to a 3rd world country where I witness something that forever changed the way I viewed competition. It made me question my perception of what competition was and what it really is. Did you know your competitor is a great source of fully qualified referrals? Read my story and you will know why.

It was a very brisk morning when I visited a nearby coffee shop in my homeland, Vietnam. Having been here and drinking the same local coffee for several weeks, I missed my coffee in Canada. I thought it would be really great to get the special coffee that I used to purchase each morning in Canada. I wondered if they could make it here. Doesn’t hurt to ask so I made a request to the server and she went to ask the barista. The next thing that I witnessed was the barista leaving the coffee shop, jumped on his motorbike and drove away. I didn’t expect that to happen.

I was rather confused at this turn of event. Did I offend the barista with my order? I thought to myself, perhaps he went to buy an ingredient. Was I ever surprised when he comes riding back on his scooter with a cup in his hand. He hands my mocha that I had ordered. Apparently he saw the puzzled look on my face and told me that he didn’t know how to make it but knew a place nearby that did. I was wowed by this act and thinking to myself… Guess I am coming back here for coffee from now on. Why do you think I felt that way?

When was the last time that someone went above and beyond their role to get the client something that they need and you know you weren’t the best person to do it. Did you amateurishly “tried” to do it or find someone else who could it better and refer it to that person? This barista did just that in his own way. He knew he wasn’t the best person to do it and instead of turning a potential client away, he went above his role to get it done. Not attempting to do it but outsourcing that part to someone who is an expert at it. By doing so, he may not have profited much if any from my purchase that day but he has won me as a long term client. Chances are, whenever I go back to that part of the world again I will definitely visit his establishment.

So what does this story have anything to do with marketing or gaining referrals from a competitor? After reviewing my barista’s action, it made me question my view on competition and how we can all win in business. By applying the basic idea of what the barista had done to our business model, we can all come out as winners. His competitor made a sale, he earned a long term client and I am a happy coffee connoisseur. How you ask? Ask yourself, what am I great at and what am I not good at? Focus on being great and sell yourself to everyone that you meet how your “great skills or expertise” can help them gain clients. How you can help them with their weakness and have a long term client instead of turning away business.

I understood the inherent weakness in the banking world and have acquired expertise in helping my colleagues (other mortgage brokers call them competitors) with their shortfalls. I am great at what I do and I champion for them, even praise them for having the courage to refer their clients to me. I protect them by educating the clients about the entire situation so that they are fully aware of the risks involved in this relationship. Why? The bank managers whom refer clients to me are my ambassadors and I treat them with utmost respect that they deserve.  In return I become their ambassador.

I don’t need to believe in their corporate mantra or agree with their political views. The only thing that we need to agree to is that we will have complete integrity, respect and everyone must come out as winners (win-win-win). Win-win-lose is not acceptable. They know where I stand and it is my best interest to help the client temporarily with the client’s challenge and refer the client back to them after my job is done. I have done so in the past and continue to do so.

To this date, I have helped out many bank managers with their clients from virtually every major bank (BMO, CIBC, RBC, TD Canada Trust) and several credit unions (Coast Capital, Envision, Westminster, Prospera, Vancity etc). I am truly grateful that these bank managers have gone far above and beyond their role by doing so. They do it even at the risk of losing their job. These are the true heroes to me. They understand that referring clients to me may be against their corporate guidelines but deep down inside they know what they are doing is the right thing to do. It is a risk and I don’t take their gestures lightly. They earn my respect and I take great care with their clients.

In the end, I take care of the client’s short term challenges and coach them back to the original bank manager. The bank ends up with a brand new qualified business. We can all come out as winners!

I no longer view competition as competition but only as an opportunity to become an ambassador. This is part of the secret sauce that has made me become the #1 mortgage broker in my community in such a short time. I feel blessed being a son of a Vietnamese refugee and achieving great success. Want to learn more about Marketing the Contrarian Way or interested in learning about commercial financing? Its my favourite topic and I enjoy teaching it. Connect with me and lets have coffee. I am a pretty cheap date. 🙂

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