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HOW BROKERS CAN BUILD AN ONGOING RELATIONSHIP WITH SELF-EMPLOYED BORROWERS

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Building long-term relationships with their customers can help brokers to build more stable and profitable businesses, and may improve outcomes for borrowers. Here’s some tips to make it happen.

Referral marketing and client retention is a hot topic for many brokers. It takes considerable effort and resources to source new leads and build rapport and trust, so encouraging customers to return for their next transaction should be a key strategy for any broker business.

Self-employed borrowers are a great target market for brokers, because they often need more ongoing financial support than their PAYG counterparts. Obtaining a loan in the first place can be harder for them due to the need for additional documentation, and businesses often require regular financial planning and support to make sure cash flow is managed effectively.

Here’s a few things you can do to build the kind of client relationship with your self-employed borrowers that can span years or even decades.

PROVIDE GENUINE VALUE

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you want to build a client base that keeps coming back again and again, you need to provide a great service. And there’s a lot of things you can do to make sure your service stands out against your competitors.

Strong product knowledge and a good relationship with a diverse panel of lenders is key to always having the best solution at your fingertips. This is the crucial foundation that has to underpin every client relationship, but it’s only the start to providing a truly memorable experience.

What sets ‘good service’ apart from a great one is often in the details. Outstanding customer experience is the secret sauce that will help you build a loyal customer base that won’t just happily keep coming back for more, but also refer you to their friends in need. Have a look at some of these stats that show just how crucial customer experience is to your bottom line.

If you’re targeting small business owners, apart from knowing the solutions they want and need, think of how else you can make their life easier. For example, as most of them are time-poor, they may appreciate quick SMS reminders and updates about their loan application rather than scheduled phone catch-ups or meetings, whenever possible.

A personal touch can also go a long way. Make a note of any details they mention about their personal lives or interests, and casually bring them up when you see them next. Asking how that marathon went, or talking about an interesting article about car engines you just read will make them feel personally valued and understood, and at the same time, building rapport and loyalty.

GET TO KNOW THEIR BUSINESS

Aside from getting to know some of your customers’ personal lives, learning about their business is also a great way to build loyalty and identify other opportunities.

When a business owner first comes to you, they will have a specific problem to solve. Maybe they want to purchase their first home but don’t have access to the records other lenders require, or perhaps they want to refinance their existing mortgage to pay off a tax debt.

While helping them solve this problem, try to understand the broader context of the business, so you can predict when your client may need help again. What does their annual cash flow look like, and do they regularly need cash injections to keep everything running smoothly? What are their plans for expansion over the next few years? How often do they need to replace or repair major equipment?

Making a note of some of these tidbits will help you proactively check in with your customers when you know they may have a new financial problem you could help solve. It’ll make them feel understood and supported by you, which is crucial if you’re aiming for a long-term client relationship.

LEARN HOW TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS

Even if you only work in residential mortgages, self-employed customers are a rewarding segment to target. But if you’re serious about sourcing and retaining these types of clients, think about how you can diversify to address more of their needs.

In the case of residential home loans, different lenders offer different features for self-employed borrowers. Non-banks like Bluestone offer a variety of options like cash out for business purposes, the ability to consolidate business debts into a personal home loan, paying out ATO debts and multiple options for proving income if tax returns aren’t available.*

If you want to go even further, expanding into business and equipment loans, insurance broking or even financial advisory services can be another way to make sure you can assist in solving the problems they face.

Diversifying doesn’t always have to mean you have to know about everything – consider hiring subject matter experts into your business to build a full-service agency, or build strong referral partnerships with like-minded professionals who can pick up where your expertise ends.

The goal is to always have an answer when your customer approaches you with a question, so they can feel secure that they’ve got you in their corner as a trusted source of support.

STAY IN TOUCH

Your relationship with your clients should never end at settlement. Make sure you have a strategy in place to periodically check in on former customers so you’re still top of mind when they need you.

Check-in points can present themselves for various reasons, but should not be arbitrary and impersonal – your customers will notice if you’re just sending mass emails that go to everyone in your network.

Instead, focus your check-ins on your individual customers’ journey. Contact triggers could include:

– Key milestones, such as the anniversary of their settlement
– Periods where you know finance needs may arise, such as tax time or pre-holiday periods when retail businesses may need cash injections for merchandise
– Any period your customer signalled for key business goals, such as when they were planning to expand
– During significant market developments in their suburb or industry
Finding strategies to build return and referral business is a great way to grow your business, and self-employed borrowers are one of the best segments to target with return business in mind. Bluestone offers a variety of purpose-built solutions to fit a wide variety of business owners. To find out more about how Bluestone can help your self-employed customers or to discuss a specific scenario, get in touch with your BDM today.

*Subject to conditions
The information provided in this article is general in nature and should not be taken as constituting professional advice.