I get to meet a lot of mortgage advisers and when we get chatting I’ll often ask them what they do for a living. Some think I’m being a little slow on the uptake and will look at me suspiciously for a second and say that they ‘advise and sell mortgages’.
It’s an answer that’s not inaccurate. But it’s not the response I would expect from a professional adviser. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
Any adviser who just ‘sells mortgages’ isn’t doing their job as well as they could and, more importantly, isn’t offering the best service possible to their clients. It is critical that the needs of the customer are met and the review and advice process should look at the customer’s overall needs and not just their mortgage. Additionally, you could be missing out on thousands of pounds of income and a lifetime of recurring business.
I’m not suggesting that advisers try and sell customers things they don’t want or need, but there’s a clear benefit, in the conversation being broadened out to look at all other relevant areas of the client’s finances.
Providing a broader service is beneficial for all sorts of reasons. Naturally, the more you sell the more income you’ll receive. But there’s much more to it than that. Provided that the extra services a client buys are beneficial and good value they’ll be pleased you’ve taken the trouble to give them that extra level of service.
They may well recommend you to their friends and family, which ultimately leads to even more business. Referrals are an important source of income, with some advisers reporting that they are their best provenance of new customers.
Finding out more about clients’ financial affairs also gives you a reason to stay in touch, either as a courtesy call every so often or when one of their products is due for renewal.
You provide a client with a good level of service for one product and you’ll make a sale. You provide a client with a regular review of their finances and you’ll make many sales.
And there are always new products coming on to the market and new trends to take advantage of. General insurance, conveyancing and secured loans are just a few areas that spring to mind.
To provide a broad level of service clearly requires detailed product knowledge and that all important personal touch, but it also requires something more – market knowledge and time. Knowledge of the prevailing provider service levels, what clients enquired about last time you saw them, awareness of their financial situation, and if you know them well, where they went on holiday or what their children are up to.
With the best will in the world, you’re not going to be able to keep all that information in your head so if you’re going to make it work, you’ll need to make sure your front and back and office technology is up to the job. The technology is there, it’s available and it works well – so there’s no excuse.
Advising on more than just mortgages might take you out of your comfort zone, but the rewards to you and your clients are well worth it. With the right information and the right tools at your fingertips, it needn’t be a complicated or time consuming process. Clients who you have previously helped are your best clients, and you should do everything you can to meet their current and future needs as it will repay you many times over.