Remember In Financial Services, Nothing is Nothinggary
As a small or medium sized mortgage broker or financial adviser the quote “nothing is nothing” which has been variously attributed to Beckett, Molloy and Shakespeare is far more than just another insignificant saying. The phrase has been used more recently in advertising by an Japanese electronics company and a motor manufacturer, but actually is far more important in financial services,
Why is that you might ask? Well for a larger firm, particularly if it is in white goods or electronics, although individual units are important the overall sales patterns that are far more important. Individual units are relatively cheap and the profit per unit relatively small, If you’re a financial adviser however things are completely different. Each unit, in this case each mortgage, insurance policy or maybe package of products can represent a large slice of your income in percentage terms, This being the case then it is important that you do everything possible to be successful with each prospective sale and every contact, “nothing is nothing”.
This article is designed to give overall advice on the subject and not drill down to individual points such as voicemail messages, phone techniques, emails or company websites. It won’t be covering scripts or template wordings as on a local level everyone’s client base tends to be different and nobody knows your clients or potential clients better than you! So to kick off, as it were we’ll start with the telephone and emails.
If we first look at working hours, we can start by asking a simple question. Would you interrupt your favourite television program to answer a telephone call if I were to pay you £1,000. Of course you would; so why do you turn your phone off at 5.00pm or 6.00pm, I wouldn’t expect you to answer calls 24/7, or on the toilet, or in the bath, just because as a mortgage broker I have (too much information?) but when it’s possible and there isn’t anything important going on why not leave the phone on to say 9.00pm. Some people work late, even more people forget to do things “like call you” during office hours so why not make it easy for them to give you business.
Still on the subject of the telephone. When was the last time you really listened to your voicemail or answerphone message? I’m assuming here that of course that you’ve at least bothered to record one, although at Which Network we find about 15 to 20 percent of financial advisers mobile voicemail messages appear to be “you are through to the Orange voicemail service for 12345678 please leave your message after the tone”. Are you amazed or embarrassed by that revelation or thinking “so what”? Whichever it is, why not listen to your voicemail message right now. Does it sound professional and upbeat, does it sound like you really, really want to do business with the caller, and does it make you sound like an approachable, friendly type of person, because if it doesn’t then you need to re-record it. Now not later!
Email is another huge area where you can get things very right or very, very wrong. Firstly, if you’re currently using a Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail account for your professional emails, then shame on you, straight up to bed with no supper and no cocoa.
I’ll let you into a little secret here, as the director of a company which deals with financial professionals on a daily basis, when I look at a contact or enquiry form, the email address is one of the very first things I notice. Has the person making the enquiry got their own domain or at least a domain from a professional financial services organisation? Second tier is where the enquirer uses an ISP email such as BT, TalkTalk, Orange or whatever, and ranking right at the bottom there is good old Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail. firstname.lastname@example.org was an actual email of one of our clients, thankfully gone forever, but they wondered why we didn’t take them seriously until we actually got to know them…………”Really George?”
Now because I’m superbly professional I treat everyone the same since it could well be that the person making the enquiry has done so from home, wishes to avoid using their normal email to avoid the possibility of spam or wants’ to be discreet about their enquiry and would not want any possible correspondence ending up in the wrong inbox. The fact that I make allowances however just happens because I am aware of all the previous points and how things work in the world of financial services, Mr client on the other hand just wonders why, if you are a qualified Financial adviser or experienced mortgage broker, you use a hotmail account?
For newbies and slackers, like myself, I hope this article will at least give you pause for thought on how you present your business and how you handle contact between yourself and clients or prospective clients. For experienced independent mortgage brokers, I would think the article contains nothing new and covers nothing you aren’t already putting into practice, but remember, “nothing is nothing” J