Separating yourself from the competition as a mortgage broker can be difficult in the current market. A critical factor to a mortgage broker’s success is the skill of building strong relationships, not just with clients, but with professionals who can improve the value you offer to your clients. There are some “common inefficiencies” in the everyday work of mortgage brokers that Mark Bouris believes brokers can address by building referral partnerships with other professionals.
He said, “it’s just shocking how many brokers don’t understand how to add value to a client by building relationships with accountants, lawyers, real estate agents and other professionals who can offer so much to a client.”
The goal with any client is to build and maintain a relationship grounded in trust that ultimately contributes to a satisfied customer. By partnering with other financial professionals, you can build a loyal customer base who rely on your services as well as increase your referral rates and ensure the longevity of your business.
So just how do you go about building professional relationships and integrating diverse service offerings into your everyday work? Mark Bouris sat down with WA-based broker, Sarah Wells, who delivers traditional and tailored financial services in addition to mortgage broking solutions, to find out.
The benefits of partnering with financial service professionals
One of the crucial aspects of a broker’s service to a client is the fact-finding mission that you embark on with a client: when you first meet your client, you have to request a mountain of financial information from them. This information gathering process is critical to assessing your client’s personal circumstances and analysing the best way forward.
Now more than ever Australians are turning to mortgage brokers for assistance in finding the most suitable and affordable home loan deal. As demand for brokers continues to grow, so too does the trust placed in brokers. The depth and breadth of financial information that clients share with their brokers is substantial.
Brokers are therefore well placed to play an active role in supporting, not just their homeownership goals, but also their financial goals.
A partnership between a mortgage broker, financial planner and accountant could, with the consent of your client, prove to be a formidable structure to provide a suite of solutions that places your client in a strong financial position and add maximum value to their experience.
Sarah was an early adopter of this approach, as she now specialises in high net worth clients who are in need of a diverse range of financial services. She said, “What I found out in the early stages of my broking career was, take doctors as an example, they’re used to being the smartest people in the room.”
“I wouldn’t want to go and operate on someone or diagnose whether someone has an illness or not. The same goes for applying for a home loan, they wanted an expert in their corner. However, a lot of the time, they just don’t know what the right questions to ask are.”
“Secondly, these clients trust experts. Just like we trust them with our health, they trust a lot of people around them with their wealth. I identified this group of people who spent a lot of time looking after others, but who didn’t necessarily spend a great deal of time with experts who could explain to them or walk them through the home loan journey so they could make an informed decision.”
That’s when Sarah noticed an opportunity to partner with experts outside of mortgage broking.
She said, “I think next to the relationships we have with our BDMs and our banks, because they’re sort of my primary relationship, a close second would obviously be the other professional financial services workers that I work with. I think the most important thing for me when I was first starting out, was to actually learn how to properly read a set of accounts,” said Sarah.
“So I simply asked for help. I noticed that there was a bit of a pattern with a few clients. They had an accountant. Their accounts made sense. Basically, the clients had a profit, which meant they could borrow. And the accountant understood the difference between tax minimisation and taxation strategies, but also they understood the importance of having a client that was presentable to a bank.”
“So I went to visit the accountants, I bought them a cup of coffee or muffins, sat down, and they taught me how to read a set of financial accounts. What I found over the years was it was about just talking to people, asking whether you could just come in for half an hour of their time. But most importantly, for an accountant or financial advisor, you’ve got to take the time to understand their business, and understand where you can add value to them.”
“I think if you can consistently add value to their business, and you’ve taken your time to do your research, you’re going to probably land with someone that’s ethical, but also someone that has a good skill set to help you add value to your clients.”
How to get started
For a mortgage broker, being able to offer the services of an accountant can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your client’s financial circumstances to identify weaknesses or strengths when it comes to applying for a home loan.
Sarah’s approach when trying to offer value to clients is “educated and guide” the client first, allowing the client to decide the next course of action. She said, “I happened to meet with a client of mine. He introduced me to his little brother a few years later. His borther went from a $20,000 a year PhD income, up to $750,000 a year as a cardiologist. And he asked me, ‘Sarah, what do I do? Where do I go?’ And so what I found was, a lot of the time, my job became helping connect them with other like minded individuals.”
“Most of the time it was simply connecting them with a good accountant that can look after and understand their personal tax requirements, and just explain the concept of structures.”
Mark Bouris strongly agreed with Sarah’s approach, adding: “Particularly for small business owners, the most trusted person from an Australian point of view, is their accountant.”
“It’s a perfect conversation starter for a broker to say to their client: ‘Who’s your accountant? Do you mind if I go and talk to your accountant’, rather than just requesting a set of accounts.”
“It requires the broker to go and talk to the accountant and say, ‘Listen, I’m here on behalf of my client who’s approached me.’ All of a sudden, you engage the accountant and the accountant can start to build up a set of accounts, or whatever it is that you need to send off to the bank.”
How a phone call can make all the difference
Establishing a healthy working relationship with other financial professionals requires hard work, thorough research and some conversation skills. However, Sarah says that to build referral partnerships, the number one thing you can do is to simply start a conversation and get the ball rolling.
She said, “Whenever I work with a client, I ask them if they can introduce me to their accountant by email, so they’ve consented, I will always give the accountant a call. I use email to record conversations not to have them. So I’ll pick up the phone, I’ll ask if they have some time, introduce them to what I’m looking to do and give them a really brief rundown on what their client’s want. Then I simply ask for the accountant’s input.”
“They’ll then send me the accounts, and I’ll ask if they can give me five or 10 minutes, so I can go through the accounts with them. The quality of the questions I ask about the accounts is what I’ve found has forged such strong relationships with accountants.”
“Not many people take an interest in accounts, so I realised by talking to them in their language, involving them in the conversation, asking them for their opinion, I’ve found that the accountant might not only just refer me to other clients, but we will always be able to have conversations about the client and make sure that the client feels safe.
“If the client has any queries or questions they don’t understand, they’ll either come to me or go to the accountant. But like [Mark] said, accountants are our most trusted advisors. So if you can work really well with them, you’ll find that you’ll have a client for life.”
This is part of a conversation from the Broker Room Podcast, available here.
Are you considering a career in mortgage broking? Reach out to our Chief Recruitment Officer Boban Jurisic to answer any of the questions you have about our suite of broking options. Whether it’s opening a new franchise, operating as a mobile broker, or kick starting your career as a loan writer, YBR Home Loans has a suite of options to suit your career goals and ambitions. Contact Boban today: