According to Elite Business Writer Will Foster, building trust with clients as quickly as possible is the best way to ensure a seamless process in any broking business.
Sydney-based broker Will Foster of Foster Finance was ranked #21 in this year’s Elite Business Writers list, up 14 places from 2015.
His success as a broker is underpinned by his process, which begins with building rapport with his clients. As he explained at the Connective Level Up conference in the Hunter Valley last week, trust is at the heart of every transaction.
“As soon as you have the trust of the client the transaction flows a lot more seamlessly,” Mr Foster said. “The client is then not looking at you and second-guessing everything you say. They are not going online to validate your opinions and they are not seeing other brokers or other banks,” he said.
“I think the real art to having a seamless process is winning the trust of the client as quickly as you possibly can.”
Foster Finance is a process-driven business that settled over $133 million in home loans last financial year. Mr Foster explained how his process works, from the initial enquiry through to approval and settlement.
“If you really work on your process and that first presentation you do with a client you can make it much easier for yourself and your staff,” he said.
The first thing Mr Foster does when a lead comes in is book a meeting with the client. No details of the client’s scenario are discussed over the phone.
“I find it much more efficient for people to come into my office,” he said, adding that an office setting adds to the professionalism of his service and helps to secure a client’s trust.
He uses whiteboards during the meeting to explain loan structures.
“When someone comes to us they are expecting that we will manage that and educate them along the way,” he said.
Automated emails and text messages further show his clients that he is working through the process one step at a time.
The information gathering stage – where the client provides all their details on a secure questionnaire – is critical for the first meeting.
“The first thing I do when I meet someone face-to-face is try and build a bit of rapport with them,” Mr Foster said.
“You have so much information about your client from the questionnaire. You know how old they are, where they live, if they are married and have kids, where they work, how much they earn, whether they have investment properties or not. To find some common ground shouldn’t be too hard,” he said.
“I see a lot of people who come in and sit down and they are really anxious. They don’t know what is going to happen in that interview. I find an effective way to break that down and build rapport is to talk about the referrer. It is someone you have common ground with. That can be a really good way to break the ice.”
Finally, once a deal has been structured and is approaching the final stages, Mr Foster ensures that he is front of mind for any needs the client may have in the future.
“I don’t want my client to buy the lender. I don’t want them to buy the cheapest rate. I want them to buy me. Whenever they think about buying a property or borrowing money I want them to hit my number and get my opinion on it,” he said.
“We want to take as much stress out of the process for the client as possible. We encourage them to call and email as much as they like and to come in and do more whiteboard work.”
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