As mortgage brokers, we are always looking for new clients. Having a trail book is great, but new business is the lifeblood of any successful brokerage.
With that in mind, we at Australian Broker decided to put together our best ideas for how mortgage brokers can increase their referrals, keep their business ticking over and ensure that they make the most out of every opportunity in front of them.
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1. Take care of your current and past clients
This should be obvious, but the most valuable clients that any broker has are, well, the clients that they already have. There’s no business like repeat business, and no marketing like satisfied customers. That makes customer service one of the most important skills that you can have as a mortgage broker: ultimately, you are the person guiding your clients through a very stressful, very complicated process and any assistance you provide has to be of the highest quality and packaged in a manner that your clients can understand.
Once you’ve done the deal, your job doesn’t end. Keeping clients onside is how you let them know that they are valued – they should be valued, because they are in your trail book – and how you keep them top of mind when they are looking for a new home loan, recommending you to a friend or looking to refinance.
2. Provide excellent customer service to your clients
As mentioned above, customer service has to be a top priority. That means shepherding your clients through the lending process, being at their beck and call when they have questions and constantly managing their expectations of what they can borrow and what that cash will get them.
In the currently exploding Australian property market, that means keeping abreast of pricing, rates, and product suites, as well as wider trends within politics and business. You need to be able to answer every question they put to you and exude the confidence that you know what you are doing. Appearance is everything.
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3. Ask for reviews and testimonials
Once you have a satisfied customer, then make that satisfaction work for you. Millennials and Gen Z, more than any generation before them, value recommendations more than any other form of advertising, and personal recommendations are the greatest currency you can have with new clients.
So don’t be shy to ask your customers to tell their friends about you, to post on their social media channels and to tag your channels in theirs. A successful mortgage broker is a well-known person in their community because word of mouth is crucial. We work on an intensely local basis, knowing the streets and their prices better than anywhere else, so make sure that everyone in your area is talking about your business.
4. Get set-up on Google my Business
Google my Business is a tool designed by (you guessed it) Google to help spread local knowledge and recommendations. Thus, it makes sense for mortgage brokers to have an account, so that when someone googles “mortgage broker near me”, yours is the first name that they see.
Your internet presence is the first line of your customer service strategy and the first relationship that any prospective client will have with you, so it makes sense to invest the time and energy into crafting something that people will search for, remember, and then act upon.
5. Use social media platforms
Alongside Google my Business, you need to have strong socials. In the hyper local world of mortgage broking, Facebook and Instagram are your most important channels, as they are the ones that spread your name where it needs to be spread. Facebook in particular is filled with local residents groups, news pages and regional real estate members groups, so make your presence felt.
Remember, though, that business social media is totally different to your personal page. You can be funny and be yourself – but remember that this is the professional version of yourself, so keep that face on at all times. You want people to trust you with their houses and their money, so they need to trust your professionalism too.
Read more: 5 things you need to know about Australia’s property boom
6. Create newsletters with regular updates
You are the source of knowledge on the loan market, the real estate market, and the lending process for your customers. That means that you need to let everyone know that you are an authority on the subject and can be trusted to inform them of what they need to know. A customer stays with you until their home loan is up, so a level of customer retention is needed.
A newsletter can do exactly that. Keep client details, buy a software such a MailChimp and make sure that you stay in contact over time. Don’t spam, but period updates are fine, especially if there is a new product to offer, a significant change in circumstances such as an interest rate change, or a life event that is worth sharing.
7. Maintain connections with new real estate agents
Mortgage brokers need to have their ear to the ground at all times, both on a national and a local level. Real estate agents are our partners, and they know more about the area than anyone else, so make sure that you know who they are, what the local prices are, and what advice to give your clients.
Ultimately, everything is local, and nowhere is that truer than in real estate. It’s up to brokers to keep onside with the real estate side of the industry so that you can continually offer your clients the best deals, give them the best options and keep them happy.
8. Form the right partnerships
Often in real estate, it is who you know as much as what you know. Sometimes, the best houses at the best prices don’t make it as far as the market, so having your ear to the ground on with real estate agents is how you can get ahead for your clients. When their friends visit their amazing new house, they’re sure to mention how they came to buy it, which is how you get those valuable referrals.
Owner occupiers are there for that, but investors can also boast of their big earners, and how they came to finance them. Knowing how the investment market is going, in particular through the big development firms and industry bodies, can help you to stay top of mind when the money comes rolling in.
9. Good client communication through the lending process
Clients need to be up to speed at all times. They’re liable to panic, to stress and to make bad decisions if they don’t know (or understand) what is happening, which is why successful mortgage brokers have to be masters of expectation management. If that means being in constant contact, such as over social media or through a live chat system, then so be it. A happy customer is a repeat customer in this game.
Good customer service is the key to creating new referrals, keeping those precious home loans in your trail book, and making a long-term, viable, profitable business.