Brendan Wright, CEO at FAST, shares his tips on how you can get the conversation going with SMEs, and capitalise on an enormous opportunity for business growth.
This year’s Budget represented an important cultural shift; a transition in focus from big business to small business – the heart of the Australian economy. Central to the Budget were new stimulants including tax cuts and extending tax concessions on assets under $20,000 for more businesses, further supporting the growing SME sector.
This enhanced focus on supporting Australia’s SMEs bodes very well for brokers. SMEs are the growth engine of the Australian economy, making up 95-97 per cent of all Australian businesses, and a focus from the government on supporting SMEs is only going to fuel this burgeoning sector further. Moreover, given as many as 40 per cent of brokers’ clients are SMEs, this presents a significant growth opportunity. At FAST, we have been focusing on supporting brokers to cater to SMEs for the past 16 years, and we continue to see enormous opportunity for brokers who can cater to the broader spectrum of clients’ needs.
If you’re not sure how to start talking to SMEs about their comprehensive financing needs, here are some quick tips to help you start the conversation with both new and existing clients.
Build it into your initial consultation
For brokers who have long focused on residential mortgages and those who are already delivering to the needs of small businesses, getting a clear understanding of your existing client base and their business matters is a critical step towards identifying opportunities to offer asset and business lending solutions. During any consultations you have on residential or business finance, take the extra time to ask clients about their business and personal needs.
Ask the right questions
Are you being curious enough? Ask how their work or business is progressing. Take every chance to uncover opportunities for you to assist – it may be that you can help them out in ways they’d never even considered.
Call out how you can make their lives easier
A recent survey from the MFAA and EY confirmed customers value the convenience of packaging all of their financial solutions in one place. Just as your customers appreciate the support you offer guiding them through their residential borrowing, they are highly likely to value any assistance you can offer in guiding them on financing their businesses. Business owners are time poor – as many brokers understand all too well – so it’s important to recognise how you as a broker can make business borrowing simple and easier for them, and really dial that up.
Update your collateral
If you have recently added business or commercial lending to your skill-set, think about whether you are communicating that effectively with your clients. After all, unless you tell them, your customers might not even be aware that you are able to help them with their business lending requirements. Have you updated your website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages? Have you sent out an eDM to your clients to let them know how you can help them outside of residential finance? These are all great ways to engage your clients and start a conversation.
While the wider government incentives are set to propel growth for SMEs, brokers who fully understand the growth in every opportunity and start tapping into SMEs will be the ones to lead the pack.
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