Retaining clients is not a done deal

The evolution of the mortgage market, the rise of comparison websites and demand for more products are adding to the pressures brokers face when trying to keep clients, says Sally Laker

Retaining business is a constant struggle for brokers so they are understandably upset when others try to pinch their clients.

The evolution of the mortgage market and the growth in popularity of online comparison websites has given rise to consumers who are prepared to seek out the best product and price and aren’t so reliant on brokers as in the past.

But for those borrowers who still want the personal touch, good service from brokers is key. When it is not delivered they vote with their feet.

The challenge for brokers is to prioritise client retention, but this is tricky because many customers don’t want to be retained – there’s always another broker or online solution waiting to meet their needs.

As if this wasn’t enough of a problem, there is also pressure on brokers to diversify their business and offer more products to clients.

More brokers are having to look at providing mortgages from across the spectrum and deal in areas such as buy-to-let. And besides the expanding variety of mortgages, brokers must also develop fresh revenue for the future, so ancillary sales are becoming increasingly important too.

Life and protection insurance have long been associated with mortgage sales, although there are other protection products that brokers could consider offering. Buildings and contents cover should be on the list, as well as other general insurance requirements.

If brokers do not feel they have the time to do deal with such services, there is no reason why they cannot offer products to clients through third parties.

More brokers are adopting this model, although the key is to work with trusted partners that do not overstep the mark in terms of what they offer the clients referred to them.

Even if brokers cannot meet all their clients’ needs they still don’t want others to steal them. To avoid losing out they have to work with firms that they can trust and should consider offering a wide-ranging product line through a network of partners that work on a complimentary basis.

Those looking at such arrangements should check whether the club or network with which they have a relationship offers the skill and infrastructure to handle some of these ancillary sales.

Brokers should choose firms that operate within strict boundaries so that they can sleep well at night knowing their clients will still be there in the morning.