Understanding digital marketing is a must for broker success – Just Mortgages
The potential to build your digital presence when you have a strong reputation is high.
A unique insight
Within my role at Just Mortgages, I am afforded a unique insight into the varied needs of brokers. As a result of this, we have been working on the production of a new digital marketing package.
Understanding that not everybody requires the same level of support, the package offers bespoke levels of assistance based on the needs of the broker.
For brokers who are able to make use of a digital marketing package, it is most helpful to seek one that includes access to an internal marketing database which is customisable to include the broker’s name and contact details.
Support should also be geared towards social media content, local business partnerships and advertising. But what’s also important is to have two-way channels of communication between marketing team and brokers.
It is important to streamline processes in order to produce quality marketing online.
Digital marketing shows its value because it presents a broker with the ability to see what is popular, what is gaining traction online, what content is getting the most clicks.
They can then track their activity by using analytics tools to really make sure they are giving their clients what they want.
I love my job because it’s forever evolving, and every day is unique. You always need to have your ear to the ground and to be up to date with what is going on in the world so that your activity within the business is always relevant.
Because of this, it is essential that brokers sign up to regular updates filled with rich content and articles to read or share online so they can stay informed and offer the best advice possible to clients.
Marketing for all
Marketing should be an important part of any broker’s business. If you don’t have the support of a brokerage, network or club, there are still things you can do.
Keep up to date with what is going on in the industry by reading the mortgage trade press. There are many informative articles on all areas of mortgage lending.
Don’t ignore social media as it is a great platform to showcase your business and your skills.
If you can get people to give you good feedback on social media, you will gain more business as people tend to trust recommendations. Social media offers a unique opportunity to connect and build relationships with your clients.
Although it is important to post content to showcase your knowledge, it is just as important to post engaging content which encourages clients to continue to stay connected with you even after they have completed.
Not everything has to be a call to action – client retention is important in the long run.
Video is also a great form of interactive content. There is so much you can do to bring informative and engaging content to your clients and prospective clients.
Discussing trending themes and staying relevant to clients often means that you maintain a connection with them.
Opportunity for growth
When I take a moment to reflect on my time at Just Mortgages, I think of the opportunity for growth. All broker businesses have the potential to grow as people’s needs have changed, due to Covid.
As a marketer, I’m excited to see where the industry will be in a year from now.
Just Mortgages builds on Wales coverage with director appointments
Barry Forrester, previously worked at Embrace Financial Services and Countrywide, and Peter Sadler was running his own self-employed firm. Sadler also formerly worked at Countrywide.
Their responsibilities will be split geographically, with Forrester overseeing North Wales and Sadler covering the south.
Sadler said: “The Welsh mortgage market has been electric for four or five years now. In the south, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport are all attracting a lot of interest.
“With the Welsh market so busy, we’re looking to bring in driven brokers to join our growing team. Whether coming from an employed background, or if they have self-employed experience already, we’ll consider all candidates as long as they have the motivation and determination to succeed.”
He added: “For those that do join, we will give them all the support they need, from setting up a business plan, to advice on generating leads. While they are technically self-employed, they are certainly not on their own.”
Forrester said: “The north of Wales has also become exceptionally busy recently. People are moving from Liverpool and Manchester over to Wales where they can get much more for their money.
“Interest in buy-to-let properties is also driving the market in Wales. In the north there are plenty of opportunities for holiday homes and the rental yield is attractive to investors.”
Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 13/08/2021
Other topics of interest to brokers this week was an analysis of the impact of individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) on mortgage availability, HMRC stamp duty investigation predictions and a discussion as to when pandemic-based criteria should be lifted by lenders.
Government considering ‘Polluter Pays’ Bill for cladding remediation
HMRC stamp duty investigations expected to rise after easing last year
HSBC launches 0.89 per cent mortgage deal
NatWest cuts BTL rates by up to 146 basis points and removes cashback
Halifax slashes rate to 0.83 per cent on two-year fixed mortgage
Equity release deal numbers reach close to 700 – Moneyfacts
FCA must regulate rising number of IVAs to help borrowers overcome mortgage hurdles
Just Group looks to cut exposure to UK property with sale of mortgages portfolio
Majority of brokers want lenders to remove pandemic-based criteria – poll result
Banks offering low rates to energy efficient homes “is little more than greenwashing” – Boyd
Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 06/08/2021
Meanwhile our piece on protection by guest columnist Rodney Sloan of Just Mortgages was just the ticket for brokers whose business has eased off in line with the stamp duty holiday taper.
Buyout potential is riding high for broker bosses with an exit strategy
RIO affordability barriers solved with life cover, says LiveMore
With the stamp duty rush over it’s time to look afresh at clients’ protection priorities – Sloan
FCA asks financial firms to review staff pay in inclusivity bid
Charles Cameron sold to Socium as group plots nationwide expansion under new brand
Halifax brings in sub-one per cent remortgage deals
Cladding policy needs coherent, science-based data before real change happens – Baguley
Falling mortgage interest rates offer remortgaging borrowers bumper savings
JLM AR firm launches campaign to give deaf community access to advice
Government scraps EWS1 forms for buildings under 18 metres
With the stamp duty rush over it’s time to look afresh at clients’ protection priorities – Sloan
It is absolutely integral to the mortgage and to the importance of a person’s home.
The pandemic has highlighted the fact that none of us are indestructible.
It doesn’t matter who you are, your age or occupation, the past 18 months has shown that, unfortunately, no-one can predict what might be lurking around the corner.
Protection priorities differ
With the rush of the stamp duty holiday over, now is the perfect time to revisit customers.
It is evident that over the past six months, advisers have had their foot to the floor dealing with enquiries and the challenges of tight timescales.
Now is the ideal time to go back and review the business generated this year and to look afresh at cases, and engage in conversation with clients to see how we can help.
The best piece of advice I can give someone advising on protection in the current market is to treat your client as if he or she is a member of your family. If they were a member of your family, what would you recommend they do?
Never forget that each solution must be bespoke.
Each client will have different needs and priorities. It is never a one-size fits all case when it comes to protection. On paper, two clients may present with exactly the same needs, however, those two clients may have polar opposite priorities.
ASK for training
At Just Mortgages, we pride ourselves on supporting our brokers with comprehensive training and management tools so that they have all the knowledge they need to give market-leading advice to clients.
This is why we have just launched our ASK programme.
Standing for Attitude, Skills and Knowledge, it is a four-month programme based on protection, designed for our self-employed advisers.
Our programme also contributes towards brokers’ continuing professional development (CPD) training. The take-up so far has been fantastic and feedback from our brokers has been incredibly positive.
We work closely with our sales managers when it comes to developing new training programmes and management tools.
They have the same access that our advisers have to our remote learning platform, so that they are involved in formulating new modules and have a voice in shaping training programmes tailored to the needs of our advisers and their clients.
The need for protection has never resonated with customers as much as it does in the current landscape. People have seen how devastating it can be when you don’t have the protection you need.
This is precisely why it is important to be able to understand your client’s motivation so you can provide the best advice possible.
Lenders race to reach remortgage customers first – Marketwatch
Lisa Martin, development director at TMA Club suggested preparing as early as July to maximise on the potential business.
So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Have you started preparing for the large number of mortgage maturities set to happen this year?
Jonathan Clark, mortgage and protection planner at Chadney Bulgin
We make diary notes five months before the expiry of a mortgage product for all our clients, we’ll send an email, write and phone them – we’re quite diligent when making contact.
We wait a couple of weeks after writing, then we’ll email and phone if we haven’t heard back. We don’t hear back from everyone, but we have a high success rate. Some of our advisers have a success rate of over 90 per cent.
Otherwise, it’s no issue because the client wants to renew the rate and we want to secure the business. For us, a good old fashioned diary system has worked best.
However, some lenders are getting a bit more aggressive at targeting those customers themselves. Lenders view them as their customers and of course, we view them as our customers.
So, with some lenders there’s a bit of a race to get to them first.
We don’t categorise our clients in terms of who needs contacting first, but we did do a project last year where we got in touch with all our equity release customers who were on rates of around six or seven per cent.
Even though there was a substantial penalty, we found it made financial sense to remortgage them onto a cheaper rate.
Brokers should also be focusing on remortgaging clients who aren’t already on their books but due to the sheer weight of business at the moment, I understand that it’s not easy.
John Phillips, managing director Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart
We have developed an industry leading approach to remortgages, and the recent increase in quantity has not changed our method.
Our approach ensures our brokers are provided with leads, and our customers are given the best advice possible.
The client servicing team proactively contacts all clients whose mortgage is due to come to an end within six months. Once they have made contact, they will then continue to follow up with the client at regular monthly intervals to ensure they are aware of the options.
This continues right up until the remortgaging date, at which point the client is passed on to the original broker they worked with. When this is not possible, they are referred to one of our experienced brokers.
From here, our broker can provide expert advice and ensure the client is aware of the products available to them.
This approach is the same for all our clients, regardless of age or demographic as we trust our brokers to be able to deliver first-class service for our clients, regardless of their background or their specific requirements.
To attract new business, we have been running a social media campaign for the past three years which is highlighting the importance of remortgaging.
This campaign focuses on ensuring customers are getting the best deal possible, and promotes how Just Mortgages’ team of brokers can help find that deal.
David Hollingworth, associate director, communications at London and Country Mortgages
Looking after existing customers should be a primary goal for any adviser.
The first interaction should only be the beginning, whether it takes place at the beginning of the customer’s home owning journey or further down the line.
Once that customer has secured a deal, they have a clear point in time when they will need to revisit their deal to be sure that they will still achieve the best ongoing value.
As a result, we have a commitment to contact that customer at the right time to discuss the options.
Dealing with maturities now carries a broader range of options, given lenders are much more on the front foot in looking after their borrowers with product transfer deals.
Advisers clearly offer customers the best of both worlds by providing an important safety check on retention compared with the rest of the market.
In addition, they can offer more holistic advice such as trimming back the mortgage term to cut the long-term cost of the loan.
However, with lenders more proactive with their customers, there is even less room for adviser complacency and the hope that customers will do the leg work and simply come back could be a false one.
Re-contacting a customer really should be the culmination of a more continuous programme to keep in touch, so that they are aware of the benefits of a review and are fully expecting to hear from the adviser that helped them get the current deal in the first place.
Sounds easy, but with such a big year of maturities and a busy market it will need to remain a key area of focus and communication to customers, existing and new.
Back to the future as 95 per cent LTVs make a welcome return – Phillips
The government’s 95 per cent LTV mortgage guarantee is being offered only by a handful of lenders, but this is a welcome addition to the products already out there.
According to MoneyFacts, more than 100 products are back on the market already, with more coming daily.
However, we are still a long way off normality. At the start of 2020, MoneyFacts data stated there were 391 mortgages requiring a five per cent deposit.
The full return of these products may take more time, but those back on the market are having an impact.
The first few months of 2021 have been incredibly busy, and fears that the stamp duty holiday ending would result in a cliff edge seem to have been unfounded.
How long can it go on?
The question on everyone’s lips is: how long can this intense pace last?
Purchase activity has been key to demand so far this year, and this trend shows little sign of slowing down. More homes changed hands during the final three months of last year than during any quarter over the past 13 years, according to figures from HMRC.
Ahead of the initial stamp duty holiday deadline, sales agreed in March stood at almost 162,000, according to TwentyCi. This was a record since the property data company began collating figures in 2016, with the number of transactions more than a third higher than February last year.
While we cannot keep going at this historic pace, the re-introduction of 95 per cent LTV mortgages will bring more buyers to the table. And with people looking to move, the market will continue to turn, albeit at a slightly slower pace than the first quarter of 2021.
Beyond the products and criteria, the motivating factors behind people looking to move are intriguing.
The pandemic has changed the way a lot of us work, but will these changes stick once we are all allowed back into the office? The answer is probably not definitive either way.
There will be some who will work from home full-time, regardless of lockdowns. Others will go straight back into the office. And there will inevitably be those who opt for a hybrid of the two.
Whichever way people work, the genie is now out of the bottle, and that means there will be those who no longer need to live near the office, or who now need an extra bedroom to work from. This will continue driving the desire for moves throughout the year.
Push and pull of city life
What shouldn’t be overlooked is the impact of refinancing.
There are due to be more than 700,000 residential fixed-rate mortgages reaching maturity in 2021. While it can be easy to focus on new business, particularly with the number of buyers looking for mortgages, brokers should ensure they are in contact with existing clients to make sure they have the advice they need.
The return of 95 per cent LTV lending is a welcome reminder of the pre-pandemic world, but what has changed is the needs and desires of clients.
It remains to be seen if we fall back to the old ways in a few years as we move away from the pandemic. Perhaps this will see another rush on the housing market as everyone looks to move back to cities to be close to the office once again.
What’s clear is that, even with a DeLorean, this housing rush does not look set to end anytime soon.
Just Mortgages allows experienced brokers to work from home
The option will be offered to brokers who have at least two years mortgage advising experience.
Those who normally work in a Spicerhaart estate agency branch will still be provided with leads and work as usual but use video calls and emails for work that would have been done in person.
Brokers will still be offered the chance to work in branch if they want to.
John Phillips, national operations director, Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, said this would be good news for brokers who wanted more flexibility to manage their schedules.
“The pandemic has opened up a lot of eyes to the potential of working from home, and we’re really confident this will help our brokers to continue to deliver exceptional service.
“Work life balance is crucial in these trying times, and adding the option for brokers to work where they want gives them the flexibility to interact with clients in the most effective manner,” he added.
He also said clients had given positive feedback to working with brokers remotely.
Philips said: “There are those who will still want to return to the office, and some will want to conduct meetings in person, and we support the flexibility to decide. The key for us is to empower our brokers to choose the right option for them and the client.”
Just Mortgages’ lending leaps, buoyed by more brokers and a strong market
The brokerage grew its mortgage lending by 59 per cent to £3.5bn during the year. Profits jumped by 20 per cent.
The firm added 135 new brokers in the year, bringing the total to 455, while its support team grew by 10 to 55 people.
The self-employed division saw particularly rapid growth, adding 70 brokers during 2020 and a further 60 in Q1 2021, bringing the total to 360.
The financials reflected the combined performance of the firm’s self-employed and employed broker divisions.
“Once the dam burst open in May, a flood of clients came rushing through in the second half of 2020. While it’s certainly not a year anyone wants to repeat, the resilience of our brokers and the housing market shone,” said John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart (pictured).
“The stamp duty holiday kickstarted action for some, but the desire to move isn’t solely down to the tax saving. Spending extended periods of time at home during lockdown has driven many people to look for properties with more outside space or an extra bedroom for use as a home office.
“Our brokers did a fantastic job last year, and these results are testament to their resilience and expertise.
“Early signs for 2021 suggest it will be another strong year for mortgages, with Q1 extremely busy for our brokers,” Phillips said.
Just Mortgages trains self-employed brokers to head up own firms
The sessions aim to give the self-employed brokers the resources they need to recruit, manage and progress their own businesses. The firms will remain under the Just Mortgages brand and receive the same support they currently do.
Just Mortgages said the training programme was in response to brokers who had gone self-employed and had since been asking for the ability to expand.
Through the programme, 39 self-employed brokers have hired staff in recent months and Just Mortgages expects 15 more advisers to do the same by the end of the year.
The six-week training sessions have been taking place online and are led by former brokers from the Just Mortgages team.
Attendees are given information on how to run a team of brokers, daily operations and how to develop a business strategy. They are also given advice on how to recruit the right people for their teams.
The Just Mortgages self-employed division now has 345 advisers and is looking to grow to 460 by this time next year.
With IR35 changes set to alter the way self-employed staff pay tax from April, Just Mortgages said it did not expect any issues arising from the regulations relating to the new firms.
It also said it would support the advisers to make sure both they and their businesses were compliant at the time of setting up the business and throughout its growth.
Rodney Sloan, head of training at Just Mortgages, said: “Many self-employed brokers are lone wolves. They are brilliant brokers who are great at communicating with clients, however they lack the experience of managing another broker.
“The set of skills required is slightly different, and our training programme is designed to give these brokers all the tools they need to succeed.”
Sloan added: “Key to the success of these programmes is the buy in from the participants. We never push people to take part and those who enroll onto the courses have to commit fully.
“Those who have committed have shown promising signs already and we are really excited about the future of the programme.”