Advising in a competitive mortgage market

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


Value is in the eye of the beholder.

I've worked with various mortgage advisers competing against online comparison sites and AI-based apps that give product options to customers.

Life assurance, second charge loans, health insurance, private medical insurance are all being sold online, on time and on-demand…with little human interaction. And customers are buying them instead of the advice from the brokers and advisers I've been working with.

When challenging the customer, they receive mentions that the online, on time, on-demand apps are quicker, easier and cheaper.

The problem is that the customer is right. Correct on two counts. These apps are cheaper, quicker and ready to take your order and secondly, the customer is right in their mind because the value is in the eye of the beholder.

There lieth the problem in the adviser's point of view. Many of them think the customer is mad to go online and buy life assurance or second charge loans without their advice; they could get into all sorts of dilemmas and problems for the future. How dare they! Yes, I've heard advisers exclaim this.

And the adviser is right; many of the sites promote low headline rates or cheap premiums to draw the customer in. The adviser feels she is right, silly customer for thinking that way.

But remember, value is in the eye of the beholder. And the customer needs to see and feel this value; otherwise, they will go for the cheap, easy and available option.

The adviser or broker's value needs to be articulated early to influence the customer's thinking before, not after the horse has bolted. Ask the customer what's important to them, what are they looking for? How do they perceive good value in a mortgage or protection plan? What's their number one concern in buying a mortgage? What worries them?

Ask, and you will receive their criteria; in other words, how they perceive value, what's the preference. Only then can you start waxing lyrically about finding the best loan, the right cover, handling the paperwork, dealing with incredulous underwriters, handling everything for them, getting the right deal now and in the future.

Only then can you influence the customer's perception of value, so they see you as their first choice.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Sorry, it's value in the eyes of the beholder.

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