With 2017 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to reflect on the future of your business. Mario Rehayem, Pepper Money managing director of Australian mortgages and personal loans, shares some key tips on how brokers can kickstart a productive and fruitful new year.
2017 will be a year of defending what you’ve already earned and aiming to attract more customers. Depending upon the maturity of your business, at best you will experience net growth, at worst, you will defend the volume you’ve already earned.
Firstly, whether you’ve been in business 10 years or one year, make sure you take a holiday!
But before you return to the office, spend a day carrying out a business and self-reflection exercise. Reflect on what went well in 2016 and what didn’t. Jot down some learnings and to-dos from both.
Answer a couple of key questions:
- How many customers do you need to visit to land your minimum acceptable number of applications?
- How many applications do you need to lodge to convert to settlements?
- What percentage of new business comes from your existing customers (your back book) and are you making the most of that back book? Is there a flight risk from a potential referrer?
- What percentage of new business is coming from repositioning existing customers (churn)?
- What percentage of new business is coming from digital marketing?
- What percentage of new business is coming from traditional marketing?
On a personal basis, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Where was your time best spent in 2016?
- Did you allocate more of your personal time to low-value activities that would have been better performed by others in your team? Or, did you invest time in the right areas — growth, strategy formation, relationship building?
- Did you get traction, or do you need to recommit to those actions in 2017?
- Are you a one-man band that really should be a three-man team? When you are overworked, two things suffer: administration and compliance and customer service levels. Are you, as someone who’s worth $200 an hour, keying in deals instead of paying someone $20 an hour to do that?
- Have you achieved an adequate level of work/life balance? Remember, a candle as long as it is lit will get burnt out.
Top tips for achieving success next year
Know your business – make a point to understand hindsight in order to forge foresight. You only know what to avoid and what to replicate when you study what has happened.
Stop being reactive or going with the flow – Don’t enter the new year without a clear plan and goals, strategy and focus points.
Pay close attention to compliance – Make sure you know what your personal responsibilities are when it comes to compliance versus the responsibilities of your aggregator or lender.
Ask for customer feedback – Don’t assume you know what your customers like or dislike about your value proposition. Survey them regularly. Get an understanding of what’s working and what you can do better.
New Year’s resolutions for brokers’ businesses
Don’t start your year without a plan – You need to identify those sales activities you performed this year that were a one-off opportunity, because next year you’ll need to come up with a different strategy to replace that volume. You should also plan to repeat those events that you are able to continue in 2017.
Make an investment in your education – It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, you should always take time to understand new products and new lenders.
A great mortgage broker has confidence in their product selection. That confidence comes from the knowledge of what’s available to them from a variety of lenders rather than simply relying on a handful of majors and non-majors.
Just half an hour a week could make all the difference for a new client and to your business.
Understand the importance of customer service – There is a direct correlation between great customer service and conversion. Spend some time understanding what it is your customers want from you, and put strategies in place to give it to them. You’ll have customers for life!
Mario is the Managing Director, Australian Mortgages and Personal Loans at Pepper where he is responsible for the strategy and day to day management of all residential mortgage and unsecured personal lending in Australia.