The search for potential commercial clients should begin right at your door – using your database of existing clients
YOUR CLIENT database is your first port of call when it comes to identifying potential commercial clients.
“If you’re smart about the way you manage your database, you’ll already know which clients are likely to want to invest in commercial property,” says John Swanson, chief executive officer of All Finance.
Mr Swanson advises new brokers who want to break into the commercial sector to go through their database with a fine-toothed comb.
“I would separate out all my clients who are self-employed based on their age range,” he says. “I would then target market them, ask them if they’ve considered buying commercial property and then show them how to do it.”
Financial Alliance’s director, Alfred Buttarelli, adds that it will be easier to work with a client with whom you already have a relationship. “These are not the type of loans that clients will make decisions on right away,” he says. “There are lots of negotiations involved so you won’t get quick results with commercial loans.”
Identifying clients or business on your local strip or high street is another excellent way to market yourself in this sphere, and one that can be used to supplement your database contacts.
Choice Aggregation Services’ national commercial and sales manager, Dennis D’Angelo, recommends a specific campaign to engage these clients. “It should include a face-to-face pitch followed by ongoing marketing,” he says.
“Your aggregator should have the resources, lender panel and structure in place to match the right client with the right lender.”
GETTING THE WORD OUT
The number of brokers dealing in the commercial sector is small, so merely leveraging your database (or mounting a marketing campaign) may have more effective results than you envisage.
“A few years ago we employed a telemarketer,” says Mr Swanson. “We asked clients if we could come in and review their business and see if we could save them some money. The number of people we got appointments with was quite surprising.”
While the database should definitely be the first port of call when it comes to finding clients, simple marketing strategies can also work wonders, Liquidity Finance’s Danny Luu says.
Liquidity Finance sends out a twice-monthly email featuring new products, offerings and specials, and the results speak for themselves. “Last month, an email was sent out and 10 enquiries were received the following day,” he says.
Keeping your referral partners in the loop should also not be overlooked. The more aware a referrer is of a broker’s specific financing solutions, the more they can match up and refer customers with those specific needs.
Mark Golding, managing director at GoldKey Financial, says when starting out with his business, he focused heavily on acquiring business through intermediaries such as accounting firms, real estate firms and financial planners.
While these key relationships can provide a steady stream of business, it’s important to maintain them. “You need to talk to these people regularly or else they’ll eventually forget about you,” Mr Golding says. “By staying close to them you’re top of mind.”
“If you know you’re going to get a certain amount of calls each month from them – which represent 30 per cent of your business for the year – then that’s a lot of business you don’t have to go looking for.”
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