In this blog, our Director of Intermediary Distribution, Jeremy Duncombe, shares his experiences from working with mortgage brokers across a long and successful career in financial services.
During my career working as a broker, working for lenders and working with a large Mortgage Club, I’ve seen what makes the best mortgage brokers so successful; what traits they consistently show that put them above everybody else. I’m sure you already display many - if not all - of these. Being aware that these are your main strengths, and that others have used them to build hugely successful businesses could well be the thing that helps you stay successful or take the next step for your firm.
All successful brokers are, on some level, people people. It’s not just that they’re able to strike up conversations with strangers quickly and easily; it’s that they enjoy it. When you talk to brokers about what makes them successful, they will very quickly assert that they love their job and that a big part of that is meeting different people every day. That doesn’t just extend to clients. Good mortgage brokers are also good networkers and hold good relationships with lenders and other business partners. Not only that, they’re people people from the point of view that they know there’s always something new to learn from an expert on any given topic. And they’re willing to listen to and learn from that person for a considerable time. There’s loads of free support, help and education out there and the successful are never afraid to use it.
A clear vision (whatever the vision)
Setting off anywhere without a map (or, I suppose, a sat nav nowadays) is a good way to get lost. That truth is the same in business as it is when travelling somewhere unfamiliar. The most successful mortgage brokers had a clear vision for their firm and now have another one. I phrase it in that way because those at the top of the profession have achieved one vision (‘successfully secure £100 million worth of mortgages in the first year’) and have moved on to another one (‘become the leading mortgage broker in Yorkshire’). A clear vision brings with it a clear list of next steps, targets and priorities on how to get there.
An awareness of process
Achieving your vision often relies on process. That doesn’t sound ‘sexy’, but it is true. Processes are the way you move from point A to point B in the most effective manner. They can govern and define everything, from securing a client a new mortgage to making sure you get in touch before a remortgage is due, to how you hire your team, to where documents are stored and how they are processed. Process breeds successful businesses that continually move in the right direction.
Delegation as a mindset
This is a challenging one, particularly for those of you who are in effective, aggressive and successful growth stages. The problem is that if everything has to go through you, your firm will only ever have as much capacity as you do. At some point, most successful mortgage brokers have recruited or found someone on their team that can take on key responsibilities, particularly administrative ones, to take them away from the firm principal. This is not easy and may involve an uncomfortable learning period for all involved. It also comes with risks attached but nevertheless, it is also a characteristic associated with scale and growth.
Above and beyond for not only the client, but the team
Many mortgage brokers will say that they will bend over backwards for clients and, very often, that is true. I have spoken with mortgage brokers who have driven miles to secure paperwork on time and get the client what they were after. All of this is needed, particularly in growth phases and early days. Many successful mortgage brokers, though, also have highly engaged, energised and effective teams. This does not happen by accident. Showing the same characteristics you show when you bend over backwards for clients when it comes to hiring, managing and developing your team is an investment worth making. Sometimes, it’s the little things, like the office environment or flexible working. Sometimes, it’s grander gestures, like away days or recognition. There’s no set answer, but building a loyal and motivated team can pay big dividends in return.
Flexibility and adaptability
‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’ Charles Darwin
The intermediary mortgage market seems to be a constant state of flux. And successful brokers move with it. Technology will revolutionise how mortgages are written. Successful brokers have recognised this and are investing in technology to help streamline processes, speed up information gathering and provide what today’s (and tomorrow’s) customer wants. The benefit for brokers is an ability to focus on the quality element of their service by eliminating the often laborious activities, which add no value; meaning more time to help even more customers.