Generating business can be enjoyable

Last week we looked at why intermediaries should get involved in the commercial mortgage market. But once you have made the decision to get involved, how do you generate the business?

The first thing is to make sure your clients know you provide commercial mortgage facilities. Are commercial mortgages mentioned on all your promotional materials? Even an additional bullet point in your adverts or Yellow Pages entry will generate the odd phone call.

You must be aware that although most commercial mortgages are unregulated, financial promotions for them are covered by regulation. But you can get help with this. Some lenders – Commercial First springs to mind – produce leaflets, posters and adverts which can be used by intermediaries. And some specialist commercial brokers can provide examples for you.

Next, tackle your existing customer base. Why not do a simple mailshot to let them know they can speak to you about commercial mortgages? Then make sure whenever you speak to clients who have their own businesses you ask whether they own their own premises. If they do, find out about their financing arrangements as these may not be competitive and you might be able to improve on them. If they are leasing, provided they can come up with the deposit, the monthly payments on a mortgage may be as cheap or cheaper than rent. Indeed, tenants can often get a discount on the true value when buying their own premises which can mean only a small deposit, if any, is required. And don’t forget the option of buying through a pension fund – more about that next week.

These are the easy things to do. But if you feel really motivated why not consider direct marketing? I mentioned last week that the rewards on non-status commercial mortgages are high so a good sector to target is cash based businesses without strong accounts. This will include local takeaways and restaurants, corner shops, guest houses and pubs, so your efforts might even be enjoyable. Can you think of a better excuse for a beer and a bite? “Sorry dear, I’ve got to go out and do some marketing tonight.”

Next week I will look at the issue of buying property through pension funds and where the changes in regulation provide a marketing opportunity for commercial mortgages prior to next April.