80 Little Bits of Advice For Mortgage Brokers

check list for mortgage brokers

80 Little Bits of Advice For Mortgage Brokers

The following list, which is never going to be all encompassing since as someone who has been active in the financial services sector for over 20 years, I see something else which isn’t covered every time I look at it.  In fact, to be brutally honest this article actually started life as a 50-point list but every time I read through it I would find another point missing which seemed important or at least semi-important so it just grew organically.  If you’re an experienced established broker you may well find some of the points obvious, contentious or downright irrelevant, but if you aren’t so experienced, you’re bound to find the odd gold nugget amongst the rocks so please feel free to dive in!

 

  1. Make sure you keep up to date with qualifications
  2. Make sure you sound like an expert (remember you might only need to know more than your client to be an expert, but you do need to sound confident)
  3. Be nice to lender staff (you want them to say yes!)
  4. Keep up with mortgage products
  5. Make sure you have access to a mortgage helpdesk. At some time in your career you will find a property or situation that leaves you at a loss as to where to place the mortgage.
  6. Sell insurance
  7. Sell as much insurance as you can
  8. Could you sell more insurance?
  9. Go to industry expo’s (check out what is happening in your field)
  10. Go to seminars and listen to industry experts
  11. Remember your business is to run a business you’re not just a mortgage adviser. Don’t get sucked into thinking “If I do a good job clients will always come knocking on the door”.
  12. Look for niche marketing opportunities, National Health staff, the police, self-employed, contractors, horse owners. Basically, any area that you can become an expert in is usually good business.
  13. Don’t neglect marketing; it’s the one thing that will keep your business going.
  14. Don’t put off all the tedious stuff until tomorrow, if you can, do a bit every day.
  15. Always be on the lookout for lead sources
  16. Don’t leave an appointment with a client without asking for a referral. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this practice asking in front of a mirror or whatever it takes until you do.
  17. Try the solicitors you deal with for referrals, consider a reciprocal agreement, you pass them conveyancing for a fee, and they pass you mortgages for a fee.
  18. Also try Estate Agents, accountants and will writers, and insurance brokers (especially commercial insurance brokers) as sources of paid referrals.
  19. Don’t just do “face to face” business, do everything
  20. Don’t just do distance business, do everything
  21. Use email as much as possible, it’s fast, reliable, environmentally friendly and assuming you already have internet access it’s free.
  22. Try to get a client portal on your website so clients can login and check the progress of their mortgage. It gives them 24/7 access and saves you a 20-minute telephone conversation every time they get curious.
  23. Use electronic identification verification whenever possible, the days of passports whizzing back and forwards through the post have long gone.
  24. Consider joining a local breakfast club to bring in leads.
  25. Give back to the local community. Remember if you sponsor something like a local youth football team with strips, you not only get noticed by their parents and relatives, but every now and again might get your businesses name photographed in the local newspaper.
  26. Never forget your clients owe you nothing, but you owe them your business
  27. All of the other 79 points in this list may be relevant but please, don’t spend all of your time looking after business (If you currently don’t have time for a life outside of work then you need to change the way you operate)
  28. Never pay the full price for newspaper/magazine advertising. They’re under massive stress now from internet news sources and will invariably give you a discount if you negotiate for long enough.
  29. Remember the saying “what starts bad ends bad” as this is often the case.
  30. Also remember the 20/80 rule, 20% of your clients will take 80% of your time. Learn to spot these situations and try to avoid them or at least control the time spent on them
  31. Learn to look at problems from different angles. If Mr Smith wants to buy another house but can’t sell his existing? Have you considered a let to buy?  As long as you stay legitimate, try to avoid the “NO” word if at all possible.
  32. Stay in contact with clients, send them a newsletter, a note, phone them, email them, anything as long as it’s at least 3 times a year.
  33. Do you do will writing?…….If not is this because you don’t need the extra money and spin off insurance this generates?
  34. Brand everything, paper, compliments slips, backs of envelopes, use a signature on your emails, mention your company whenever you answer the phone…everything
  35. Get a decent website, it doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it looks professional
  36. Promote the website; make sure the website address is on all of that stuff you have branded.
  37. Don’t expect to make zillions off your website to start with, many clients will use it to check you out before using your services and you’ll never know it.
  38. If you’re a bit techie, sign up with Google analytics, at least you’ll then know if anyone is visiting your site and which pages they are looking at.
  39. Always be on the lookout for fraudulent documentation from clients. If a lender discovers you have missed some, even years later you can get terminated by them which could be the end of your business.
  40. Double check all new introducers. I’ve seen a business brought down by a new introducer who was himself introduced to the business by a high street bank manager who had been passing on leads to that particular mortgage broker for six years.
  41. Never take any introducers honesty as read
  42. And while we’re at it, unless you know them personally, never take any clients honesty as read. Remember even usually honest people can act dishonestly under the strain of trying to buy a new house.
  43. Never be tempted to massage incomes or commit scheme manipulation to get a mortgage through, at some point you will be caught and that’s almost always the end of your business.
  44. Always give quotes for GI, you won’t get it every time, but you will get some of it.
  45. Remember to offer all of your services to all of your clients
  46. If you haven’t got a fancy client tracking system, use a magic matrix to make sure you have offered everything to everyone.
  47. Watch out for wrongly sold PPI claims. Sometimes you’ll find you didn’t even sell the client PPI, but a little thing like that won’t stop the wolves.
  48. Really keep up to date with all the protection products you sell.
  49. Go to insurer seminars, they know how to sell their products!
  50. Don’t cut corners on compliance
  51. Make sure you NEVER hook up with any scheme which could have a negative impact on your clients.
  52. Consider allowing an IFA to carry out investment and pension transfer business for your clients but make sure you get a no cross-sell agreement, and only do it if you can trust them 100% to look after your clients.
  53. Put insurance in trust wherever you can. It’s better for your clients and it helps to stop the sell it cheap, pile it high big nationals from re-broking it.
  54. Offer all new clients a full “free” insurance review.
  55. Offer all of your client s “free” annual or biennial insurance reviews, their circumstances may change, you might sell them more insurance, it keeps you in touch with them and lets them know you care.
  56. Make sure you use some kind of client tracking system. It’s probably built in to the CRM system you use, but if not it doesn’t have to be an expensive commercial system, you could use Outlook or a spread sheet but use something.
  57. Keep up to date with FCA regulations and terminology you can’t know if you’re a benchmark endorser if you wouldn’t recognise one in a crowded lift!
  58. Remember to use the telephone properly, it’s often your first point of contact with a client so make it count!
  59. Don’t even think about going head to head with the banks, comparison websites or big nationals, use guerrilla marketing, your small, personal and flexible they’re big, rigid and impersonal, how can you fail to run circles around them.
  60. Consider using a 0845, 0345 or even an 0800 number if you tend to deal with clients from across the country.
  61. DON’T use an 0870 number unless you actively want to discourage clients.
  62. Give clients freebies, cheap (but attractive) pens, or key fobs
  63. Consider having calendars printed for your clients, a printed calendar means your name is always in front of them. They might be old hat now, but an amazing number of people still use them and if they don’t use them they might pass them around the family, “win, win”?
  64. Don’t just use any old printing firm, check the costs but also the quality. A good quality business card is worth 10 cheap ones.
  65. Don’t use cheap paper, it makes you look cheap and is a false economy. If you have to, buy quality paper and cut back on the amount of stuff you print.
  66. Consider buying a laser printer but make sure it’s one that you don’t need to change the drum every time it needs more toner.  They’re as cheap as chips now and the print quality is usually better than an inkjet.
  67. If your headed paper design is simple and you don’t send many letters out, consider using a template to print paper when you need it, this can work out cheaper, you won’t run out of headed paper and you can change the paper or design at any time.
  68. If it’s hard times and you’re a sole trader, do you need a serviced office? Could you work from home?
  69. If you know of any mortgage brokers in your area who are retiring, why not offer to buy their client bank or offer to work it for them on a split fee basis.
  70. Don’t be tricked into expensive advertising media that doesn’t work things that often don’t work include, TV at Doctors surgery’s or hospitals, cards at supermarkets, BIG or tiny one-off adverts in the national press.
  71. Local Chamber of Commerce branches often have networking events that can result in referrals. See if you’ve a local branch you can join.
  72. Consider training up for equity release mortgages, with property prices on the rise, more homeowners approaching retirement and pensions performing very poorly they are guaranteed to pick up.
  73. If you do a small amount of investment and pension work check your compliance and PI costs to see if it would be more cost effective to introduce it to a colleague rather than doing it yourself (a trusted colleague of course!)
  74. If you are an appointed representative, always keep an eye on your network, its so easy to mis costs rising or service quality falling when you’re in contact with them almost every day.
  75. If business levels are rising, it can be better to employ an administrator rather than an adviser. I’ve spoken a number of brokers who are personally writing over £180k pa with administrative help.
  76. Don’t be scared of social media to keep your business in front of people, embrace it, even if personally you hardly ever use it. Remember, if they’re not looking at you’re business, they will probably be looking at someone else’s.
  77. Remember to keep social media light! If you want clients to return to your Facebook page or Twitter feed don’t set it up like an advertisement.  Keep them wanting to check it out at regular intervals.
  78. If your business isn’t ready to employ admin staff yet, think about using a virtual assistant to answer calls or pass them on to you if you’re out and about.
  79. If you must use voicemail then make sure your message is polite and professional.
  80. Finally, I appreciate it’s almost impossible to run a financial services business without a degree of stress, but don’t let it take over your life. However bad a situation seems, remember that one day you’ll look back on it and laugh.  Even if it is from a padded cell!