No sane mortgage professional would suggest that the mortgage market has been what they would have hoped in the past couple of years.
Those firms that had nothing to offer but mortgage advice have found business incredibly tough, which is why distributors have been working hard to present members with a variety of other income-generating opportunities.
These include cross-sales opportunities, for example, general insurance, conveyancing or initiatives such as equity release or will-writing.
n making available a wide array of product propositions and offerings, we are not suggesting that all will be suitable for every firm in every circumstance. But our approach is to work with partners that are experts in their field and can help clients where individual firms are unable to offer the service direct.
In this regard, firms need to find what works for them. We have always advised that they should not try to become all things to all men.
If they do, they risk losing the focus on what their core services are, thereby potentially harming both the business and its clients.
The aim should be for firms to have several sectors and product areas where advisers can deliver first-class advice while at the same time feeling confident to broach other sectors knowing they have relationships with firms that can meet their client’s needs.
I am often dismayed at the number of firms that are not willing to refer clients on to experts in their field, while at the same time picking up the referral fee.
Client are more likely to appreciate a referral than being told to go elsewhere to sort out their needs
They often argue that there is the potential to lose control of clients in the referral.
This focuses on the negative and does not take into account the agreements regarding client ownership and no cross-selling that should be in place anyway.
Understanding that the expertise lies elsewhere and that the firm can continue to help clients through the referral, helps breed customer confidence in advisers’ ability.
It shows that the firm can help in a variety of financial needs – if not directly themselves then through the use of another company.
Clients are more likely to appreciate this than being told to go elsewhere to sort it out.
By ignoring clients’ holistic needs and concentrating on only one or two areas, firms risk losing control of clients completely and saying goodbye to valuable income generation.
Not every client will have a variety of product needs to be satisfied. But good advisers will cover all eventualities. They will recognise they can stick to what they know in their core areas, but also deliver value by referring clients on when their needs are outside the firm’s norm.
This approach results in win-win for both advisers and clients. Those who are loath to refer clients may end up regretting missing the opportunity to do so.