May 7, 2019

The Value of Free

Issues Facing Originators

My father used to say, “If it’s free, it’s for me!” And you’ve probably also heard the expression, “You get what you pay for.”

How do you reconcile these directly opposing views? On the one hand, we love getting something for nothing. It feels like winning. On the other hand, we might dismiss something as having little value if we don’t have to pay for it.

Personally, I don’t think the amount you pay for something always coincides with what it’s worth. Part of our Arch MI value proposition is to provide world-class training to our customers — helping lenders grow their businesses and avoid time-consuming processing errors. Whether the training is offered in-person or online, it’s almost always complimentary. Our intent is to give you something of value for free.

If the intention of an offer is to manipulate, free becomes a negative. If the intention is to be of service, free can amplify your offer and make you an appealing choice for your customers.

I belong to the National Speakers Association (NSA), and from its founding, the spirit of this group is to share what we know with other speakers, helping them in any way we can. And yet, the NSA’s members all compete with each other for paid-speaking opportunities. How is this attitude of generosity possible when dealing with your competition? In our experience, impactful speakers lead to more speaking slots at future events — increasing opportunities for all of us.

In many ways it’s like competing auto dealerships clustering together on a single busy street. It seems counterintuitive for these rivals to locate within sight of one another, but car sellers know it creates a synergy that results in more cars being sold, overall.

Pay Attention to Intention

I believe it’s important to pay attention to intention, yours and others. If the intention of an offer is to manipulate, free becomes a negative. If the intention is to be of service, free can amplify your offer and make you an appealing choice for your customers.

The intent behind Arch MI’s webinars and our other complimentary educational products is to grow originations for our lender partners. Our Training Resources page is filled with valuable content you can access at no charge:

  • On-demand videos on topics ranging from evaluating personal tax returns to Arch MI’s Buydown℠ tool for tailoring premium payments to meet each borrower’s needs.
  • Checklists for full-doc processing and calculators for analyzing tax returns or rental income.
  • Homebuyer education tools to show first-time borrowers what to expect from the mortgage process.
  • Monthly webinars to quickly refresh yourself on everything from boosting your market share to analyzing a self-employed borrower’s income statements.

We also offer on-site training and quarterly webinars with updates on economic and housing trends led by Ralph DeFranco, HaMMRSM author and Global Chief Economist for Arch Capital Services, Inc.

What About You?

What about you? What are some of the most valuable, no-added-cost offerings you provide to your customers? I encourage you to literally make a list of everything you provide borrowers as part of a package I’d call “doing business with you.” I’m willing to bet your list of freebies is extensive and impressive. And please don’t keep this to yourself. Even if your customers don’t ask you, “What’s included?” tell them anyway.

My intent in sharing these ideas was to provide some food for thought, not to tell you what to do or even to get you to agree with me. Diversity of thought is a wonderful thing and I’d love to know what you agree or disagree with. Ultimately, I’ve given you something for free. Was it valuable? You can reach me at [email protected].

About the Author


Blaine Rada

Senior National Trainer and Instructional Designer

Blaine Rada develops and conducts versatile Arch MI training sessions that teach key industry skills. Previously, he developed and managed a multi-format program of webinars and live training acclaimed throughout the industry at CMG Mortgage Insurance Company. He holds a Certificate in Distance Education from Indiana University and is a member of the National Speakers Association. He has earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, a recognition held by fewer than 15% of professional speakers worldwide.