This week we’ve asked our esteemed panel to share some tips on what’s helped get their business through the summer months.
Colin Payne, associate director, Chapelgate Private Finance, says as a predominantly ‘word of mouth’ business he has made a ‘concerted effort’ to ask existing clients to make recommendations to family and friends to help prevent a slowdown.
Dominik Lipnicki, director, Your Mortgage Decisions, explains that a quick phone call to customers can throw up new business leads, while offering a holistic service to customers will mean no missed opportunities.
John Phillips, group operations director, Spicer Haart and Just Mortgages, says that his firm has not had to employ any specific methods to keep business levels up over the summer, but instead focuses on traditional avenues of communication to forge and maintain relationships with clients.
Without a doubt the EU referendum result was a surprise too many ,and being on the doorstep of the holiday season there was a concern that business levels would reduce fairly significantly.
To some extent it has. Mortgage applications for purchases have fallen back, but the slack has been taken up by an increase in remortgages. The majority of our business is from word of mouth so we’ve made a concerted effort to ask for referrals from clients who are remortgaging so they can recommend new clients to us.
The reduction in Bank rate was an added bonus (ignoring whether it was required or not), as clearly there have been borrowers who have shown lethargy in not reviewing their mortgage over the past few years. Clients may have been happy sitting on a variable rate, but the reduction in Bank rate this month has led to an increase in enquiries and with more sub 2% five-year fixed rates, for example, being introduced, what better time to review a mortgage?
I won’t deny I had concerns for the immediate aftermath following the 24 June but at the time of writing, our remortgage business has increased 130% compared to the same period last year and despite a 50% fall in purchases we will end up with a very strong ‘holiday season’.
We all know that just like December, the summer months can be rather slow when it comes to client acquisition. Many of our clients are thinking about their holidays with the next house purchase or a remortgage being put firmly on a backburner.
We must therefore be more proactive to ensure that July and August are not ‘half months’. For me the key is existing clients where we already have a relationship. People’s circumstances change throughout the life of their mortgage and regular reviews of their lending as well as protection is a must. Even a quick phone call to see how everything is going can lead to a personal referral and more business. We have just had a BoE rate cut, hence a perfect reason for a conversation.
Ultimately clients are far more likely to recommend you to their friends and family if they feel cared for themselves. We also know that recommendations are more likely to recommend, meaning that just one referral can end up in three or four completions by the end of the summer.
We must also ensure that we are offering a holistic service. The mortgage might be the reason why we are there in the first place but other products such as protection or estate planning should be part of any conversation.
At Just Mortgages, we are continuing to communicate with our customers who are registering with us and viewing properties on the market about how saving rates are at rock bottom levels and how cheaper mortgages are on the way as the interest rate has been cut to a historic low. In other words, we are highlighting why it has never been a better and cheaper time to buy a property.
According to a recent English housing survey, the proportion of people who own their own home has fallen across every part of the country since the early 2000s. In light of this, we are continuing to instil confidence in our clients and, more specifically, the long-term benefits of homeownership. In terms of mortgage lenders, it is clear that the vast majority are now repricing their entire product ranges, with many at sub 2% which is by all accounts extremely low.
Therefore, in a period of national change, we are continuing to be optimistic and positive. Although we are not using any new techniques, processes or initiatives as such, we are focusing our efforts on good old-fashioned communication with clients. Although technology unlocks new ways of communicating, more often than not we find that more traditional avenues are much more effective as it helps to lay the groundwork for building a successful, long-term relationship between the client and the broker.