One of the advisers I most admired in my career was a broker called Joss. Behind her desk, in eye view of her clients, was a collage of thank you cards from all her satisfied clients. All her new clients would see these, read a few and immediately feel comfortable with Joss and her competence.
My desk was immediately beneath an enormous sign saying "Prudential Property Services" in my first sales role. I relied on the brand to set a solid first impression.
Gone are the days when new customers could rely on the brand to demonstrate how competent you are. Halifax, Lloyds, Santander names all give an impression that usually shows that any adviser working for them knows a thing or two about mortgages.
Their advice days are withering, and you may be encountering lots of new customers as an independent mortgage adviser. One of the fundamental challenges will be proving your competence in the first 10 minutes without relying on a significant brand name above your head.
Here are eight ideas to help you do this before you meet the client and within the first 10 minutes:
- Provide evidence for any definitive statements you use. If you're the number one broker in town, back it up somehow. If you're a whole market adviser, established for over ten years, show the client the FCA register entry or your Client Agreement brochure. Online via video, you can easily offer a screen share of the FCA register.
- If you've been associated in the finance industry or similar for many years, make sure you let your client know this to reflect your competence. Don't waffle on about it, but make sure they're aware of your years of experience.
- Exam certificates are helpful either as photos on the wall, as a visual on Zoom, maybe a background to use for a couple of minutes. Or just a PowerPoint slide showing your qualifications on video.
- Testimonials, endorsements and client reviews are more than helpful these days; they are essential. Your potential clients will look you up online and search for reviews of you and your firm. So long as they are impartial and logged in a reputable source, clients will feel assured of your capability and competence. Vouchedfor, unbiased, Google, Trustpilot – there are dozens to use.
- Testimonials and case studies on websites also work, especially if direct quotes from clients on the web pages. Video testimonials are most powerful and possibly a YouTube Channel with all sorts of videos demonstrating your competence.
- LinkedIn Profile is a must-have these days. You can own your name when it's searched on Google, which it will be. Purchase your name as a domain, for example, jenniferBarkley.me and have this redirected to your LinkedIn profile. Naturally, ensure your Social Selling Index is high percentages with your profile.
- Podcasts demonstrate your expertise; a published book will do wonders to your silhouette. Articles in the trade press can help so long as you re-purpose these for your clients. Sponsorship may help; charity partnerships are also heartwarming.
- Finally, how you carry yourself off, communicate, explain things. How you use the tech if you're advising via video. What you look like also impacts, although this is not so important in these contemporary times. A suit and tie are a bit old fashioned, but that's a personal choice.
- Awards? The British Mortgage Broker Award, the Intelligent Finance Magazine Award, the UK Financial Adviser Awards. Please don't get me on that bandwagon. Just think of the Eurovision song contest and the ultimate winners. Doesn't Lithuania constantly vote for Estonia, which also reciprocates and gives top marks to Latvia, who always supports Poland with the best marks? The UK always comes last, but surely, we're the best. These are ego stroking lender marketing events all over LinkedIn like a rash and a complete waste of industry resources and money. If the funds were used to provide free training to every broker, that would be far more beneficial. The Award Ceremonies cost thousands of pounds.