Disruption isn’t unusual anymore – it’s the norm. More so, there’s an increasing realisation that disruption can bring incredible opportunity or it can kill your company.
But clearly, we’re not in “any old state” of disruption, and with that, the game has fundamentally changed. And if there’s one thing as certain as death and taxes, it is that business is going to keep changing at an accelerated rate.
In this respect, disruption is closely aligned with business agility, which refers to the capability of a business to rapidly respond to a change as a means to consistently realise and sustain its full potential. This is typically achieved through product innovation (changing your product or service offering to be sympathetic to market conditions) and delivering solutions to clients quickly and responsively (delivery agility).
COVID-19 is bound to the majority of clients in some way. How we respond to, pre-empt and manage clients’ current and emerging circumstances is critical to help them navigate survival (or success). Accordingly, the way we engage needs to be sensitive, strategic, sustainable and solution-focused. Here’s an overview of our top tips to sustain business agility:
- Refinancing has an ‘end date’: Don’t get fooled by the false summer of refinancing. In the current climate, it’s not surprising that refinancing rates have reached a record high of $15 billion as borrowers seize rock-bottom rates to reduce their repayments and release extra cash flow. Though while valuable, refinancing is a very short-term solution. What’s next?
- Be on the front foot: Triage your clients to determine which clients may be in distress, looking out for key triggers such as loan defaults. Or send an email to your database asking clients to respond with a “yes” if they’re under financial stress with their mortgage or business and would benefit from a call.
- Avoid generalisations: Keep in mind that not all clients are going to be in distress! There are multiple sectors that are booming, including home renovations, food delivery services and property developers who are snaffling up land at bargain prices.
- Don’t offer a product, provide a solution: You’ll achieve far greater engagement and traction with your client base if you present a solution rather than a menu of services. A good way to start is to consider the top five to 10 challenges or opportunities that you’re currently being presented with, and let your clients know how you can help (case studies are also a valuable tool).
- Start communicating (and keep communicating): You will not be able to optimise your efforts if you don’t communicate them. If you don’t have the appetite, skill set or interest, outsource There are scores of offshore services, as well as domestic services such as Freelancer.
- ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got’, not any more: There is no room for, “I’ve always done this and it’s worked.” Everything has now changed, and so must your response.
- Those who are early catch the worm: It’s difficult to retake market share. And clients can be fickle – particularly in times of turbulence.
- A sum is greater than its parts: Own your space and be smart about your collaborations. Actively align with brokers in complementary spaces, and refer each other business. Alternatively, become a one-stop shop and champion spot and refer, or identify a complementary niche to your current business, identify the lenders in the space and commit to the sector.
- Cull non-sales-related activities: Be ruthless about prioritising sales-related activities and either delegate (or outsource) all non-billable areas of the business, such as administration, accounting, IT and/or marketing. It’s surprising how cost-efficient this can be – particularly if it’s managed offshore.
- Create space: It’s hard to maintain your mojo when the world seems like it’s in a perpetual blender. For many business owners, one of the greatest challenges is to “switch off” – particularly when there’s so much instability. Find time in your week to recharge to ensure you stay on point.
Nick Young is a results-driven specialist who has more than 20 years’ experience in the mortgage broking industry, and now heads Trail Homes: Australia’s most established and longest serving trail book purchaser.