In times of old, companies such as Allied Dunbar and Pearl took raw recruits, sent them away to insurance boot camp and out popped ready-made advisers, able to generate their own leads, cross-sell products and build a relationship with their clients.
Nowadays, that investment in sales expertise has gone, replaced by compliance training and product knowledge.
Anyone who’s tried opening a bank account will know exactly what I mean: an eager young bank employee sits you down and starts off with the scripted compliance speech and, if you dare to interrupt with a question, it results in them having to start the patter all over again.
A generation of order takers
There are very few sales-trained advisers coming into the industry. Those stalwarts who survived the 2008 crash, which saw the number of registered mortgage advisers drop by around 80%, have become order takers, simply signing up the mortgage and moving on to the next customer.
The cross-selling of protection and general insurance has become something that they’ll get around to sometime later… or, more often, sometime never, as they’re too busy.
I keep hearing about the threat from automated robo-advice, allegedly the beginning of the end for traditional face-to-face consultations. But, how many advisers can put hand to heart and genuinely say that they give their clients a full and valued service? To me, that also includes maintaining the relationship after the mortgage completes, not calling the customer 21 months later and hoping they remember you enough to use your services again.
Mortgage boot camp
I really want Zing to expand but I have a constant battle on my hands, trying to find quality advisers. It’s led me to believe my only way forward is to start my own Zing Mortgage Academy.
I want to take people in their late twenties/early thirties with a bit of life experience and an ability to follow structure and procedure. I’ll give them some intense training including: phone skills, self-generating leads, overcoming objections, cross-selling and relationship building. I’ll have three months to produce the ideal mortgage sales person who doesn’t expect £100k per year, 10 leads per day passed their way and no evening and weekend work.
But where does a ready supply of such candidates exist, I hear you ask. Well, that’s the easy part, the military, or rather people coming to the end of their service and looking for a new career path.
Think of it, they fulfill everything on my wish list. It may turn out to be a crazy and expensive experiment but, unless we start training people to give our clients someone they can trust and value, then roll on robo-advice as there will be no delineation between what you offer and what’s available on the internet. In fact, the internet choice will probably be a lot more efficient.