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How to win clients and influence people ‒ broker analysis

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  • 24/01/2024
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How to win clients and influence people ‒ broker analysis
Building trust in potential clients is crucial in overcoming any wariness they have about advice, brokers have argued, but it’s equally important to spot the ‘sceptics’ who are only going to waste adviser’s time.

Research this week from AKG found that around one in four people would turn down financial advice, even if it was free, with respondents pointing to a lack of trust or the belief they will be subject to ‘pushy’ sales tactics. Brokers told Mortgage Solutions that wariness is often the result of misunderstandings or poor previous experiences among potential clients, and can be overcome. However, there were also warnings that some clients will end up simply being timewasters, with no real interest in getting independent advice.

Building trust

Rita Kohli, managing director of The Mortgage Stop, said that her business had to work out how to do this from scratch as a start-up, and argued that time has to be invested into the client themselves in order to build trust as they see the value you bring to them.

She added: “When you build this trust you will find that these clients will become your advocates – they will leave positive reviews, they will tell other people about you and crucially they will come back.”

Building trust in the financial advice industry “can be a struggle” explained Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage expert at The Mortgage Expert, who suggested that it was important to listen to borrower’s doubts and “acknowledge the scars left by other brokers”.

He added that offering “bite-sized advice” will help brokers chip away at cynicism with every success, while it’s important to disclose fees up front. “Let integrity be your armour,” he continued, adding: “Let’s remember, trust is like a bank account – hard-earned, easily depleted.” 

Robert Timm, managing director of Sunland Mortgages, said most brokers have likely faced someone who has questioned their financial advice, and explained he tries to “reason with their judgement” but highlight the significant improvements to regulation that have been introduced over the last decade or so.

He continued: “Overcoming those hurdles is much easier by speaking to people, as you can get your point across along with the empathy, and I’ve always turned the doubters around.”

Some clients cannot be helped

Lewis Shaw, owner of Shaw Financial Services, said he no longer tries to overcome client scepticism, suggesting: “Those types of customers want to second-guess you at every stage despite not knowing what they’re talking about and end up costing you far too much time when you could be helping people who value what you do.”

Shaw said that if someone does not trust him, the worst thing he could do would be to try to convince them otherwise as that would feel “desperate and cringeworthy”, as it is ultimately the borrower that loses out, not the broker.

Kohli added that it’s important to have thick skin, as some clients don’t want the advice of a broker, “they just want to prove to themselves they are right, even if they aren’t”.

Scepticism towards advice often springs from misunderstandings or negative past experiences, suggested David Sharpstone, director of CIS Mortgage Advice. 

He agreed that spending too much time on clients who cannot shake their mistrust “is like chasing your tail”, highlighting the need to spot early whether someone is genuinely open to advice or not.

“The savvy pros in our field – the seasoned mortgage brokers and financial advisors – they’ve got a knack for turning sceptics into loyal customers by educating them. I’ve seen first-hand how sticking to a path of professional integrity and clear communication can ease people’s worries.”

Not all brokers are created equal

Jake Stott, founder of Mondo Mortgages, said he recently worked with a wary client, who had had a poor experience with another broker in the past.

He said: “I think the issue is not all brokers are created equal. Especially when the big corporate firm’s business model is to churn through clients as fast as possible, it’s hard to give proper advice, and clients can feel like they have just been sold to rather than been advised.”

Understanding the value of advice

The level of poor credit scores among the British public reflects that many people mistakenly believe they “have the skills to properly manoeuvre their finances on their own”, argued Gary Bush, financial adviser at MortgageShop.com.

Rhys Schofield, brand director of Peak Mortgages and Protection, argued that the only measure that would make a big difference to the perceptions of advice would be a public education campaign from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

He continued: “They spent £20m sticking Arnie’s head on a robot to talk about PPI, how about investing in financial education? It’s a ringing indictment that Martin Lewis has done more for our industry saying ‘talk to a broker’ than the regulator we all pay for.”

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