21 Feb Prioritise customer outcomes when diversifying, says CAFBA
Sarah Simpkins 05:40 AM, 16 Feb 2022 9 minute read
Brokers seeking to diversify should work to secure education, mentor advice and accreditations for the sake of customer outcomes, an industry body head has said.
Speaking during a webinar hosted by Lend last week, Matt Atkin, president of the Commercial and Asset Finance Brokers Association (CAFBA) stated accreditation will be a “very important plank” for anyone seeking to branch out of their current niche.
Previously, Mr Atkin has predicted that a wave of diversification could be in store for 2022, with more mortgage brokers expected to extend over into asset and equipment finance.
“I think [accreditation] can’t be downplayed. I think in terms of having the desire to diversify is important, but then to have the tools to be able to deliver good customer outcomes is equally as important,” Mr Atkin explained.
“In our game, the accreditation piece is obviously going to give you those tools, if you can get accredited with the lenders that you need. So, in terms of moving into or looking for accreditation is the first thing that the successful brokers have been doing is really understanding what opportunity is there for them.”
Such brokers would work out who their clients are, what they need and then considering what lenders they should work with, Mr Atkin said.
He added brokers moving into commercial finance should consider gaining education, experience and access to a mentor, in order to gain a better understanding of what funders require.
“I really, really would advise those guys that want to do it, to really connect to people that have already been accredited with those lenders and to talk to the lenders themselves,” Mr Atkin said.
“Because unless you have the right accreditation, I would suggest you’re not going to be able to give the customer the best outcome that they could possibly get if you’ve only got one or two minimal, you know, minimal accreditations in this space.”
David O’Toole, business and broking industry consultant noted the level of time and experience needed, as well as lender fatigue and keeping up with various accreditations can make diversifying seem daunting.
But, he added, brokers shouldn’t underestimate the high level of trust they have, as an adviser to their client.
“One of the things that I really think that sometimes brokers underestimate and they get themselves worried about is, if I don’t have the experience in actually doing the transaction, should I take the step because maybe I’ll lose trust or I’ll lose face with my clients,” Mr O’Toole said.
“If a client already trusts you and they need to buy a piece of equipment for their business, or they need a business loan, they will actually prefer to deal with someone that they already trust rather than walking the streets to find somebody else.”
Similarly, Lend head of asset finance Andrew Moulds, stated more brokers will be taking on deals they previously turned down as “it’s all about the customer”.
“If you don’t do it, if you don’t engage again, whether it’s technology or networks, another broker will. And that that client who you’ve been able to look after for such a long time, say on the personal side, whether it be their mortgage, or their asset, finance, another broker will be able to serve them,” Lend head of third party Donelle Brooks commented.
Brokers can also miss opportunities around other loans if they don’t start the conversation with clients, Mr O’Toole warned.
“I think a lot of times when you have your first conversation, the brokers say I don’t come across car loans, or I don’t come across business loans. And I think of that old saying ‘you don’t ask, you won’t receive,’” he said.
“And I think a lot of the times is, just from a motivation point of view, actually having a conversation once you settle a mortgage, whether it be owner occupied, investment.
“Once you have that, it’s just the conversation with the client – ‘Hey, thanks so much for letting us do the new mortgage for you. Just want to let you know, we can also now do your car loans.’”
According to Mr O’Toole, brokers can start asking current clients about their interest in other loans, such as asset or business finance, and to make the discussion part of the post-settlement process. They can also incorporate the question into communications and marketing strategies, or into the CRM or management systems they use.
Other product opportunities can be presented by asking about the purpose of a loan and learning more about the client during the settlement process or during follow-ups on the loan throughout its duration. Mr O’Toole explained mortgage brokers will consider their customers’ home loans every 18 months or two years, whereas a finance broker may need to consider a client’s car loan more frequently.
Others, such as mortgage brokers, are increasingly analysing clients’ bank statements – which can open opportunities to offer assistance on personal or business loans.
Meanwhile, Ian Robinson, founding director of agribusiness and corporate finance specialist Robinson Sewell Partners, asserted brokers looking to diversify should consider their passions and their client networks, and where they intersect with lending markets.
“[Work] in one industry that you might be really passionate about, because that will help really drive your curiosity and willingness to learn. And you’re going to need a lot of that. So, passion is a big part of it,” Mr Robinson said.
“And then also choose an industry that perhaps that your network will help you reach into. And that will give you a much greater chance of exposure or networking and obtaining clients. There’s no point trying to expend a lot of time resources, but you don’t have a natural network already established.”