Customers want to be lied to?

Written by Michael A. Foote, CMB on . Posted in Uncategorized

Back in my early days, one of my superiors shared this bit of advice about clients (business to business and business to customer. He was of the opinion that when all is said and done, that people want to be lied to. Not that they know they want to be lied to specifically, but that they don’t know they want to be lied to.

I’ll give you an example. Say a client calls me to shop a rate. The prospective client heard on the radio “fixed rates at 2.75%” and they call me and ask about a 30 year fixed rate which let’s say at the time is at 3.5% and immediately, they are put on the defensive. Even if they don’t tell me they’ve heard that rates are lower on the radio. The assumption is that the sales guy is selling me a higher rate. Now to be fair, that can happen. But I always quote lowest possible rates. And I am always very competitive.

Now back to the point. If the client tells me about the commercial he/she heard. I will of course, tell them that the commercial they heard was most likely offering a 10 or 15 year  fixed rate and the “fixed” portion of the commercial is the teaser. It’s gets them to call the advertiser, or at least someone. Most of the time, the client gets that and can be convinced that what they heard was a commercial and I was being honest when quoting rates. However, there is a portion that doesn’t believe me and will undoubtedly call the advertiser to check my story. Sometimes they call back and sometimes they don’t.

That is the simplest explanation of the title of this blog article. But once we drill into real specifics it gets tougher to sway a customer away from a lie. A more specific instance would be a guideline variation.

A few weeks back, I received a call from a Realtor (my favorite we all need em’ but few are worth dealing with). He noted that his client completed a short sale OVER two years ago and was looking at homes to buy and wanted to make an offer that weekend.

My first response, great let’s go. Second response, Are you sure the short sale AND transfer of title of the previous property went through OVER two years ago. Of course, he said yes. Ok let’s get the deal put together and I’ll double check the transfer of the previous property.

By the end of the day I had established that the previous property was transferred just shy of two years prior. In fact, it was three weeks short. However, the guidelines state that credit can’t be run until the two year window has elapsed. I of course, immediately called the Realtor and told him we’d need to wait another couple weeks….and of course he didn’t like that answer.

So the Realtor calls another lender who tells him what he wants to hear…” Oh I can do that now” Send me the deal. One week later, he of course comes clean. But you know what? I didn’t get the deal. The other lender who lied did?! What a slap in the face.

Here is a perfect example of a case where the client (Realtor) wanted to hear what he wanted to hear. Do I need to work with clients like this, no. But you’d think that being honest and forthright would win the deal every time. But people I am here to tell you that….Customers want to be lied to.

The worse scenario is when a client think you kept vital information from them when making a decision. Client closes a purchase loan with me and calls a few months later to talk about removing the mortgage insurance on the loan. Sure I say, values have risen, let’s take a look. I start with …”on the refinance… “Wait”, he says. I need to do a refinance to remove the mortgage insurance. I say, yes on a FHA loan mortgage insurance stays on the loan for 5 years.

While the loan was in process we talk about every program available, every down payment option, and all mortgage insurance options. Now after everything is done forgetful memory makes me look like I was keeping valuable information from the buyer before closing. Do I expect a client to remember everything we spoke about, no. But don’t assume that it is the sales persons fault or neglect when you can’t get remember what conversation went down.

Was I better off saying, sure let’s do it, and then stating the request was turned down, or do I simply state I am sorry you don’t remember. Frankly, I think the telling them want they want to hear is better. But I went with option two and now can’t a call back from the client.

Gotta’ love it, but I think that the client does want to be lied to – they don’t know it – but they do.

So if you want someone to tell you what you want to hear. Please do not call me.


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