Try Before You Buy?

January 13th, 2011

online shopping

Have you ever found yourself sneaking a grape or a cherry tomato at the grocery store, before you buy? You just want to get a taste before you buy the whole bunch, right? Who doesn’t like to try before you buy? Maybe that is OK for fruit, but not for service providers. It’s a lesson some people need to learn. Some people need to learn to “shop” and then “decide”, instead of “decide” and then “shop”.

What’s the problem?

I have countless stories of people who decide to work with a mortgage or real estate professional, to get access to free advice. And then later after they are fully educated do they bother to shop price amongst several service providers, and then make a decision to commit to someone, usually based on the lowest price. This is backwards, and infuriating.

If I had only $100 for every client that suggested they were proceeding with me for my mortgage services, only to later tell me they “found a better price elsewhere,” I’d have long ago retired.

Why do people torture service providers with numerous questions and tasks, and only “then” shop price? It’s not fair. I can sense many of you saying, “that’s the price of doing business.” Wrong. Giving away free information time and time again is not a business practice that makes anyone money. It may be OK on a case by case basis to do for someone as a favor. But it’s not OK as a regular practice.

Some people are innocent

I think many people do it without knowing it. They call a Realtor friend, pump them for information for hours and hours over the course of a few weeks, and then report that they have a friend of a friend who will help sell their house at a discounted commission. Then why didn’t you call that friend of a friend to start with!? I truly think they simply take the easy path, which is to call someone who is fast and efficient first. Our need for data seems to trump all else, and only later do we decide to sharpen the pencil and check price.

What should I do?

Here is my point, if you are going to shop price, and look for discounts, then its only fair you suffer from the service and knowledge level you are going to get from the discounted service provider. So shop price UP FRONT, and then let the person you decide to commit to be the one that educates you on your needs.

I did this when I was young

And I should not be a hypocrite, I have done the same thing I am railing against. I did this when I was young, unthinking and ignorant. As a youth I’d always go into a local car stereo store and torture the salespeople for hours of their expertise, and get their suggestions for product, and their ideas for installation. And then I’d buy the suggested products at the cheapest place I could. Not fair.

Shopping by price alone

If you strictly shop price, then you should suffer the service you get with that price. And if its indicative of the service you’ll get, maybe you’ll decide not to shop solely by price.

I have had several clients whom I educated as to how to structure their loan, then ultimately went to a “friend” or an old lender who they had dealt with in years past. That is fine, but that decision needs to be made up front. Sometimes I get called because I respond fast, always have accurate knowledge, and can help structure complicated transactions. Don’t I deserve to get compensated?

If you work a salaried job, and your boss solicits you for ideas for a new project, and you find out he got a raise by using your idea as his own, are you upset you did not get compensated or acknowledged for your work?

If someone offers you $5,000 to plan a large party for a friend, and you start putting together plans, ordering party decorations, getting together the invite list, and making calls to invite people; and then you find out your friend found someone to do it for $3,000 after you already did hours and hours of work, how do you feel?


The bottom line is that we all need to do our homework on our own, figure out what we want, talk to service providers without having them actually execute the work, and then make a decision on who we would like to use, and then let that person execute all the work. This advice holds for car stereos, mortgage loans, real estate services, doctors, lawyers or anything else we do. But its still OK to sneak a grape in the grocery store.

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Brian Martucci is a loan officer for Capital Bank Home Loans, a division of Capital Bank, N.A. He has been in the mortgage industry since 1986 and has served in a number of roles, including loan processor, loan officer, mortgage broker, branch manager, and vice president. Brian Martucci – NMLS# 185421. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Capital Bank Home Loans or Capital Bank. Capital Bank, N.A.- NMLS# 401599. Click here for the Capital Bank, N.A. “Privacy Policy”.

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