The downturn has provided a chance for advisers to focus on long-term client relationships and charge fees
Whether the mortgage market is contracting or expanding the recruitment of high quality business-writing brokers should remain a constant.
The reduction in the broker population may have been painful but at least many firms and networks now find themselves in the position of being lean and in possession of fresh talent.
The other benefit of this unusual period is that firms have the opportunity to instil new philosophical approaches among their staff so they can grow from a stronger platform.
A good attitude is important from the outset.
Before the boom you could expect induction training for brokers to last at least two weeks and involve not only compliance and regulation but also training on attitude, customer service and confidence when it comes to charging fees.
In those days clients stayed with their brokers for multiple transactions throughout their lives, not just because there were no comparison websites and dual pricing to tempt them away but also because they trusted brokers to advise them on an ongoing basis on what was right for them.
Advisers won’t succeed unless they believe the relationship they have with clients is worth paying for
Only short-term gain can result from selling predominantly to new mortgage clients for a quick buck, neglecting associated products and failing to maintain client relationships.
Brokers may be compliant but let’s face it, some lack customer skills – a fact-find can only go so far.
For example, we need to be better at advising clients of the time it takes to understand their financial situation thoroughly.
Now we have the chance to reassess the value of the client life cycle and move away from the single transaction philosophy.
If they have a strong focus on client relationships, one month a broker might arrange a client’s mortgage and then, when the same adviser calls the next month about reviewing their protection or will situation, they are likely to get a warmer reception.
Consider that every one of your clients is a new relationship and that their financial product requirements will follow them naturally through their lives.
I think charging an upfront fee is important not only to guarantee the return of customers looking for properties or those who have been declined loans but also so you can offer them further services, with or without fees. They will feel they are getting even better value for money.
Arguably, directly authorised brokers have the hardest task when it comes to change.
It is hard to tell them how to run their business once they are trading so training in the correct philosophy from the outset is vital.
The difference between a fair-weather broker and one who is exceptional is a matter of confidence.
Advisers won’t succeed in the longer term unless they believe the relationship they have with their clients is worth paying for.