Client relationships – don’t take them for granted
Gemma Harle is managing director of TenetLime
One of the most constant sources of frustration we hear from brokers relates to the thorny subject of client ownership.
It’s something that is easily taken for granted, which is probably the worst thing a broker can do.
For in an ever-competitive market, with rivals – and particularly lenders – eyeing every sales opportunity, it is vital that they do not undervalue the importance of their prime position in the relationship.
Take a typical mortgage transaction for example, where lenders are always on the lookout for any cross-selling prospect, such as GI. Given half a chance they will not hesitate to jump in, contacting your client directly and doing their best to secure valuable business that was potentially yours.
It’s a double-whammy too, because in addition to losing out, you will very likely still inherit the blame if anything goes wrong.
So protect your interests. Make sure your clients are fully aware of the breadth of ancillary services that you can offer, implement and maintain a schedule of regular reviews, ensure they receive informative updates about any changes or additions to your product portfolio and try to use every interaction to remind them of the services and support you can offer.
The same guidelines apply equally when you introduce your client to a third party for services you are unable to provide. You must safeguard your position as the prime contact in all subsequent dealings with the client.
Prevention of course, is better than cure, so in tandem with all the above you can go some way to preventing any detrimental cross-selling opportunism by making it clear on any application to providers and lenders exactly what your client is interested in and what services you are already providing.
Establish well-defined parameters. They must understand that any extra business outside the main contract is channelled through you.
In simple terms, it is the customer that ultimately decides. And ownership is not what is at stake.
A client can never be ‘owned’. Instead, what you should be seeking to secure is their loyalty and respect – a potentially tough ask in any sector, never mind financial services.
It is not hard work. It is however something you ought to be prepared to work hard at.