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Comment: Add mutuals to your New Year’s Resolutions

Furness Building Society

The Christmas wrapping paper is in the bin, you’ve used turkey for every imaginable recipe, and you never want to see another mince pie again (well, not until next Christmas). You’re now back at your desk planning out 2018 and have new clients to meet, criteria to learn, and a scarily empty CPD log to start to fill. It all sounds rather familiar doesn’t it?

So, what are you going to do differently this year as a broker? Have you made any new year resolutions specific to the way that you do business? Many of us do make new year resolutions, but more often than not they are quite predictable: lose weight; give something up; take something up, etc. In business we might have plans for increased sales or greater income levels. Do we also apply this ‘new year, new broom approach’ though to the actual way that we do business?

There is a well-known phrase ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got’. It has been attributed variously to Henry Ford, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain amongst others but regardless of who said it, it has an important truth within it. If you want to expand your knowledge, improve your options or change the way you operate, you need to do something different.

What could you do differently this year then? I have three suggestions.

Firstly, I would like to suggest that you try using a building society. The sector covers a broad spectrum of diverse organisations ranging from huge to tiny. The largest can compete with any mainstream bank for lending appetite and broad product appeal, and the rest compete well with the new specialist lenders.

Irrespective of size, all have a commitment to putting the needs of the borrower central to everything they do. Recent innovations include a sector-wide reappraisal of lending to older borrowers, which has led to the building society sector now being the first port of call for this large and growing sector of the population.

Secondly, I would like to suggest that you review your sales penetration rates for insurance protection products and, if they are lower than industry norms, seek to increase them in 2018. I realise that it can be difficult to cover this during an already pressurised mortgage sales process, but your clients will thank you if they later need a policy that you have put in place.

The lender that you have placed the client with will really thank you too; no lender wants to take enforcement action, and this is especially the case when the borrower is suffering ill health or has died. You may not have previously thought of it this way, but you are protecting the lender just as much as the borrower.

Thirdly, I would like to encourage you to identify one area of business that you are not an expert in, and do the research and become an expert. In our busy lives it is all too easy to deal with the caseload on the desk right now, and take the approach that you’ll learn about something new when a client asks. Wouldn’t it be great though to be able to say to your new client ‘I already know about that’, rather than ‘let me go and research it’.

Finally, one more inspirational thought attributed to Albert Einstein to help you start your new year successfully: ‘In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity’. Talk to the building society sector, and let us help you to turn your difficult-to-place client into a whole new opportunity.

Sue Heron is marketing and sales director of Furness Building Society



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