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The latest kit for brokers

8 minute read

Image is everything in business. Based solely on your presentation, prospective clients will form opinions about your level of proficiency as a broker, as well as your trustworthiness and approachability as an individual

In today's tech-reliant world, personal image has extended to include the types of gadgets you use. Older operating systems and damaged devices can easily undo your efforts to project an image of honesty, success and repute.

If it’s time to upgrade, don’t forget that the government’s $20,000 tax deduction threshold is currently in place for SMEs, making it possible to claim tax breaks for more than one device. So if you’re in two minds about what to buy, why not invest in one of each!

WEBSITE

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Why: There really is no substitute for a good website. This is where people find you through internet searches (such as on Google), research your expertise and discover how to contact you. Many people make referrals by sending others to a company’s website.

What: The best websites aim to capture the highest possible number of hits, and then convert those hits into direct contacts. That requires a professional-looking site with quality copy and images, a simple layout and prominently displayed contact details.

Software applications will do most of the hard yards for you. Choose one that is user-friendly, easy to update, reliable and widely compatible with various computer types and internet browsers.

Which: Surprisingly, it’s not always a matter of getting what you pay for. Some on-the-cloud services have basic options accessible for free – such as Wix and Wordpress.

COMPUTER/TABLET

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Why: Some people prefer a laptop, others opt for a tablet. The trick really is to ensure you have the right tool for the job. Tablets are useful for quickly showing clients documents or web pages on-screen. Completing forms, however, is considerably easier using a physical keyboard.

What: These days, the decision of whether to buy a laptop or a tablet has been made for you – get a machine that does both, blending all the benefits of a tablet with the versatility of either a detachable or retractable keypad.

Go for something that has long battery life, is lightweight but strong, has a high-res screen and perhaps even a touchscreen and digitiser pen with which to make notes.

Which: Those in the know are raving about Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 as one such option. It retails for around $1,149.

WATCH

Why: Nowadays it’s all too easy to rely on your phone to keep track of time. Yet by constantly reaching for your mobile, you can send clients and prospects the wrong idea – such as that you’re expecting a call from someone more important. As such, a good timepiece on your wrist is a worthwhile investment.

What: As with virtually everything in business, less is more, so look for options with understated elegance and practicality. Size also matters, but in this instance, big isn’t necessarily better. Some of the latest watches include a variety of additional features, such as a heart rate monitor and GPS.

Which: The wrist accessory on everyone’s lips at present is the Apple Watch. Depending on the model you opt for, prices start from around $499. For more variety in sizes, styles and colours, try one of the established brands such as Seiko.

BUSINESS SOFTWARE

Why: While not something you generally show off to new clients, without good back-of-house software in place, you probably won’t have many prospects to begin with. Software should help to manage the day-to-day running of the business, giving you more face time with clients.

What: Regardless of the size of your business, software should be easy to use so that any employee can operate the system when needed. Compare system costs against the lost productivity of doing tasks – such as account keeping, database management, taxes – yourself.

Which: Ultimately there is no one-size-fits-all approach; there are a multitude of software applications out there, each tailored to differing task functionalities and volumes of data input. As a guide, Salesforce advertises a complete CRM for any sized business for $95 per month on an annual contract.

VEHICLES

Why: Don’t drive away new business with a bad set of wheels – if someone is likely to be embarrassed having it parked in their driveway, they won’t be keen to give you their business.

What: It isn’t simply a case of having the most expensive car either. Loud, flashy cars can be a turn-off, while even the most appropriate of vehicles will fail to impress if it arrives covered in bird poop and full of your empty snack wrappers.

Consider vehicles that are comfortable, easy to drive and meet your satisfaction in terms of price, functionality, reliability, environmental impact and operational costs. Spare a thought too for your target client base – the types and brands to which they will most likely relate.

Which: Really, this one comes down to personal preference and budget!

MOBILE PHONE

Why: Mobile phones are arguably the most iconic and most relied upon piece of tech equipment. What shape is your current phone in? Does it look new, clean and sleek befitting a successful business professional? If not, it’s probably time to invest in a new one.

What: You want a reliable phone with good battery life – especially important for a roving salesperson. It doesn’t hurt if it’s aesthetically pleasing, but place greater importance on a simple user interface. Some of the latest phones on the market are also waterproof.

Which: The Sony Xperia is one such phone that meets all these requirements. It can be purchased outright for around $499 or as part of a phone plan. Don’t forget that to make the most of any new phone, you’ll also need a good service provider with wide coverage!

The latest kit for brokers
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If you have ever considered how you could better service your SME clients but lack the knowledge or confidence to do this beyond referring them on, this is a must-attend event for you. Don't miss SME Broker Bootcamp, a jam-packed, free-to-attend, practical workshop. Register today and secure your place at this interactive, flexible, must-attend event.

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