The Value of the F Word
Rest assured, this article isn’t going to devolve into something reserved for late night or cable television. The “F” word of which I speak is “free”. In many instances, free is not necessarily a good thing. I’m reminded of the saying, “You get what you pay for,” and that often means the thing you get out of a free transaction is absolutely worthless. Along those lines, I present you the term “gluten free”, which usually means it’s free of taste. But I digress.
Recently, I was following up with a couple who was referred to me by an agent, and the wife said she and her husband wanted to put off applying for a mortgage until they’ve worked on their credit. And then she went on to say that they were scheduled to meet with a credit counselor to start that process.
I smiled and asked if this counseling service was going to charge them for this meeting, and she confirmed that they would be. Sensing that there was a reason for my asking such a question, she felt the need to justify this by explaining that this counseling service was going to help them pay off some debts to clean up and improve their credit. Well, yeah.
At this point, I described to her the process the counseling service would go through and what the couple would need to do, and then I dropped the “F” bomb: I told them that I would do all of those things for the couple for free. While she was letting this new piece of information sink in, I told her that whatever the counseling service or I directed them to do, it would be up to the couple to do it. Meaning: neither the service nor I can pay off their debt or physically do anything else that is going to help them repair their credit – they alone would have to do it. And then I gave her this analogy.
Many people who need credit repair can be compared to someone who needs to lose weight. In both cases, they hear about this person who helped their friends, and the cost of the service wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t outrageously expensive either. So, they sign up and sort of breathe a sigh of relief feeling that their situation would soon be a thing of the past. They plunk down their money and have their first meeting with the expert. She tells them what they need to do, pats them on the head, and shoos them away so she can work with the next client – she got her money up front. Whether it’s credit improvement or weight loss, it’s the client who has to do all the work. In the case of weight loss, the expert can’t lift the weights for them or eat the right foods for them – she can only advise them. And the same goes for credit repair. It would be a whole other thing if the payment arrangement were such that the expert didn’t get paid UNTIL the client reaches their goal.
With me, on the other hand, there’s no up-front payment because my incentive is to get them qualified for a mortgage – I get paid when the client reaches their goal of not only repairing their credit but realizing their dream of buying a house.
As a real estate agent, if you have a lender who works directly with folks in need of credit repair instead of referring it out to a service, you could do very well with a marketing campaign that tells people they can get FREE counseling services to repair their credit to help them get into a home. This campaign can take many forms ranging, of course, from social media to directly reaching out to past clients asking them if they know of anyone who needs this kind of help. So, go ahead and start dropping the “F” bomb in mixed company – you’ll turn heads, in a good way.