Stay in contact while staying legal

Database management is one of the most important elements of maintaining a successful business. By having a fully functioning electronic database, you can ensure your clients are contacted regularly. This is important for your sales and marketing activities.

I recently had a meeting with Trigold and asked what, in the company’s opinion, is the most successful database system for brokers.

Trigold says the most popular database used by intermediaries is the Microsoft Outlook system which comes as standard with the Windows package. Trigold has devised a clever synchronisation add-on kit to fit between its Prospector system and Microsoft Outlook.

By adding your client bank to the system you can organise your appointments as well as adding in reminders for tasks. This can be useful when you are planning business and client interaction. It is also integral if you have aspirations to set up any sort of direct marketing campaign.

We all know that the brokerage business is becoming highly competitive and anything you can do to keep in touch with your clients will help your referral scheme.

Trigold is running a series of roadshows where intermediaries can receive training on how to use its system and it might be worth attending these if you are a broker looking for ways to improve communications with your clients.

Another piece of software popular with intermediaries is the Microsoft Access database system.

Access is a one of the largest and most commonly used database programs on the market. It is far more versatile than Outlook but is also more complicated to use and therefore requires more training before it can be employed proficiently.

Once you have your database system in place it is important to be aware of the rules that govern contacting your client bank. You must build in the appropriate reminders to enable you to keep in contact whilst ensuring you adhere to the rules laid out in MCOB.

In order to comply with the regulations you will have to show you have maintained a relationship with your client.

If, say, you do not contact a customer for a year it would most likely be considered by the regulator that you do not have a continuing relationship and any contact you make will be considered cold-calling. But if you contact the client even a few times a year, this should be enough to satisfy the Financial Services Authority.

It is also important to remember that, with any written contact, you must include an opt-out facility. If a client decides they no longer wish to receive information via your mailing list you must amend it accordingly to ensure you are operating correctly.

Payam Adazi is head of marketing, The Mortgage Times Group