Guy:  We are at your house and installing your DirctTV.  And there is only 1 phone line in the living room.

Me:  Ok.  So

Guy:  Well the install form says you want a TIVO.

Me:  Yeah, and?

Guy:  Well, we need 2 phone lines for a TIVO

Me:  Look buddy, I sell mortgages for a living.   How the Fu^k am I supposed to know that?

Guy:  Oh I’m sorry, the person who booked the appointment was supposed to tell you that

Me:  Ok, well they didn’t.  So what do we do?

That was a real life conversation I had with a DirecTv installer about 14 years ago.   I have had a calmer version of it several times after.   I was reminded of that conversation when I saw this article recently:   Not sure where I saw it.  Probably Tim Ferriss, so I will give him credit.   Mostly because (a) he talks of Feynman a lot and (b) I secretly want him to be the future me.

Anyways, back to the article that is inspired by the teachings of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.  Who, in addition to being a brilliant scientist, was also called “The Great Explainer” for his ability to relay complex ideas to others in simple, intuitive ways.   Which I feel is a lost skill and it’s only over effort.  Which is dumb and lazy.

As the article starts:  “If you can’t explain it clearly, you don’t understand it well enough.”    Which is a powerful way to think about things.   However, I think there is 1 reason – more insidious- that pops up for why people don’t explain things simply.  And that is Ego.  We want to sounds smart by using big terms.   Or as my college finance teacher used to explain things:  That’s just a fancy word to keep outsiders out that means…….

Both sides of this was something that I saw a lot in the mortgage business and tried to combat.   We would talk about PEOPLE as stats.   He’s a 580 FICO at 95% LTV and 3 yrs out of a BK with a 43 DTI.    Yeah, well, he’s also a father of 2 trying to find a place to live.  Ok, if we aren’t going to stop talking about him as a stat.  But how about we speak to him as a person???

One of the rules I used to train to was:  If you find yourself saying a term or acronym that you didn’t know a week before getting into the mortgage business, stop and explain it.    If you catch yourself saying:  We can lend you up to 95% LTV based on your FICO – Immediately catch yourself and follow up with “What that means is that I can give you a loan up to 95% of what your home is worth based on how your credit looks.   All loans are priced based on risk, so the higher your credit score the less risky the lower the rate.  Makes sense right?  Well it’s also the same with how much we lend.  If you put more money down, it’s less risky because you would sell instead of letting it go.”

This has multiple greater effects:

1. You are having more good quality conversation with your client.  You are spending more time delivering information that their brain finds useful.  The unconscious brain says “that’s what a smart expert does, we should listen to them”
2. You establish yourself as a valuable resource of information that they go to for help.   And someone they will trust.
3. The socratic method says that once you tell them 3 useful and truthful things they are more likely to believe your explanation on the next conversation where “The reason your rate is higher than that advertisement is ……
4. They will like you.

The other concept this reminded me of is the “old school” concept of Features > Advantage > Benefits.    Because most people spend too much time selling Features and Advantages.   People want benefits!!   Want an example:

When you are starving, you DON’T want a big ass Porterhouse steak.    You don’t.   A big bloody chunk of fatty meat is a feature.  Kind of gross one, at that.   The advantage of it is that, while cooking, the fat will cook with the rest of the meat and make it more tender and tasty.   The Benefit is that it’s a F-ing tasty piece of steared and seasoned meat that tastes great, fills you up for hours, and gives you muscle building protein.

Which of those things do you actually want.

This was beat into our head when I was selling furniture years ago:
1. Features=  high quality leather, full frame bases, higher quality metal on the recliner arms.
2. Advantage:  Soft leather that lasts longer, won’t fall apart when your kids jump on your, and won’t go haywire in 6 months
3. Benefits:  When you buy a LaZBoy recliner you are going to the most comfortable and durable chair that you and your family can live in for decades and maybe even hand down.

What are you selling?    If I was a realtor, I would sell a house that the family can live in and enjoy with their friends and family for years and years.  One that makes life easier, is closer to work so spend more time together, and maybe even hand down to the kids.    Someone might even pay extra for that.

If I’m a loan officer, I might try to sell the idea of paying an extra point to buy down a rate that is so low that they won’t reasonably have the opportunity to refinance.  At this rate, you are going to be set for a long time.  The rate is so low that it’s only been available like 5 of the last 30 years.   So you don’t have to worry about refinancing anytime soon.

The nice part is, if they say NO, they are still selecting your 0 point option.    I’m OK with someone selective one of the multiple offers I present.  If I only EXPLAIN 1 then it’s just yes or no.   I prefer yes, yes, or yes.

Or maybe you are telling them that the 3% down FHA loan lets them buy NOW with less money out of their pocket instead of waiting for prices to go up more and they have more money to go to IKEA.

If I was selling credit repair [hint: I am] I would sell someone on the opportunity to put the bad times of the past behind them.   To not have the bankruptcy/foreclosure/sick time/divorce keep haunting them.  This is the last reminder that will follow you for a decade or more.  Unless we fix it.”

Hopefully the features of this post give you some benefit.   Now get after it.