It was interesting to attend the Bank of England’s quarterly briefing at the end of last month.
These regional events are held simultaneously around the UK. As with any presentation, what was most interesting is what was not said and the impact this has on your ability to get new clients.
For the first time the subject of interest rates was glossed over and barely mentioned, whereas normally this is discussed more extensively, looking at the different indices and who predicts what. Clearly, the Bank doesn’t want to be seen to upset the applecart or disturb market confidence this close to the forthcoming election.
After the presentation, chat in the room was that the earliest the base rates will move would be August. But some felt that the economy was still too fragile, and the earliest rise would be next year.
So what has this got to do with you getting new customers? Well, any change in the base rate makes borrowers rush to get advice on their mortgage.
As a result we see a huge rise in the number of remortgage and purchase leads as consumers look for a better deal or want to know if they can still afford to move house.
The same thing happens each time there is a lot of national coverage about SVRs rising too. Within the group looking for advice in this situation, there is a mix – those who want to take instant action and those who want advice with a view to taking action maybe a few months down the line.
What they all have in common is a concern about one or more elements of their finances and the feeling that they need to seek advice from an expert.
You have the opportunity to speak to people and help them when their financial need is at its greatest
This presents advisers with an open door to carry out a financial review, whether or not the client ends up remortgaging or not.
There are other triggers for consumers to take action and seek advice. Once you are aware of them, you can gear your client acquisition strategy around it.
For example, we see a surge in individuals asking for advice on life assurance after a celebrity death has been in the news.
Another spur is unemployment. The current level is 7.8%, but it is expected to rise this year, especially in the public sector.
Any stories in the national press of a rise in unemployment figures will, unsurprisingly, lead to a rise in the number of people looking for advice on income protection or accident, sickness and unemployment cover.
It’s good to be aware of these surges. Whenever there is a rise in demand for a particular aspect of financial advice, there are often more people wanting such advice than advisers wanting to help them.
In a bidding system such as ours, the cost of acquiring several new clients in that area tends to drop.
It also means that you have the opportunity to speak to people when their need is greatest. Once you have helped them with their most pressing financial need, it is likely you will be able to help them with a raft of others too.