Best advice must lead everything

If brokers want to ensure a steady pool of new clients they must use the internet either by having their own interactive website through which clients can get in touch if they need advice, or through a lead generator sourcing leads from the internet for them.

Lead generators say it is better if the experts do the sourcing for brokers. And the lead generation market is getting more professional, putting the days of Mickey Mouse leads behind it and offering sure things instead – in terms of leads to consumers who have requested advice, anyway.

As our cover feature starting on page 58 explores, brokers have to decide how they want to play the lead generation game. Some say they would never pay upfront for leads while others believe that as long as there is an adequate refund policy, paying for leads is fair enough.

Of course, the real trick is how you follow up on a lead once you have it.

Leads are being treated almost like currency now, with packagers and networks waving them about as incentives. And they are certainly becoming a commodity to be bid for, bargained for, or priced according to the loyalty of the broker to the generator.

Most treasured of all these glittering prizes are sub-prime cases. As Thomas Reeh warns in his feature starting on page 67, the sub-prime sector is also facing competition. The inevitable result of this is that margins will be squeezed as larger players with money to throw at the market come to dominate.

Big is not always best and the industry risks losing its niche players. But as Reeh notes, the real beauty of sub-prime clients is the value that brokers must always ensure they provide in following their cases as they pass through the cleansing process. The objective must be to get these borrowers back out into the prime market as soon as possible.

Leads are one thing – best advice is everything.