The Peril of Existing Customers

St Peter is waiting at the Pearly Gates of Heaven as a newly recruited man approaches. “What would you prefer, Sir, Heaven or Hell?” “I’m not sure. Can you show me heaven please, and I’ll decide”. So St Peter shows the man around the most luxurious, safe and warm place. Full of birds singing, children playing and extreme happiness all around.

“I’ll have that one please, heaven” So St Peter shows him through the gates, and the man arrives. Instead, he’s confronted by a world consumed with fire, brimstone, lightning strikes. The smell of decaying everywhere and crying and screaming around every corner. He quickly pops back to the gate to confront St Peter.

“What’s going on? You promised me luxury, safety, warmth and happiness. I saw the preview with my own eyes. What’s going on?”

St Peter replied. “Sir, this morning you were a new client of mine, I needed to impress, but now you’re an existing client.”

An old story, you may have heard it before. Still, it nicely describes how many companies distinguish between new customers and old existing customers. All their attention and love is adorned on new customers, and existing ones are left to languish on the database with little care and attention.

I wonder how many mortgage brokers do this?

I’m sure it’s not you, but in case it might be, allow me to share some principles and tactics you may wish to adopt as you set up and mature your mortgage advice practice:

  • Unless you keep in touch with your existing clients, they will forget about you and infringe upon your competitors. They won’t feel ashamed to use them for their next financing need.
  • Regularly reviewing protection advice is essential, morally correct and profitable. Schedule 12-month reviews with all your protection clients. Set these in the diary in advance for both you and the clients when the last meeting ends.
  • Don’t ask them. Just let them assume that this is the way you operate in a professional capacity.
  • Set up a CRM system – Customer Relationship Management – to house your client data and use it to keep in touch with your client on a semi-regular basis. Vary your communications. Emails with helpful information and updates maximise social media, ensuring you’re connected on LinkedIn and Facebook via your business page. Birthday and Christmas cards never harm; you could even automate this via Moonpig. Find innovative ways of keeping in touch between your 12 monthly annual reviews, which are already in the diary.
  • Conduct the review meeting yourself or allow your new advisers to do this part. Treat the review meeting as a chance to catch up and see if anything has changed and the client’s needs require looking into.
  • Organise the review meeting to be virtual. No need for your client to rock up at your offices or for you to drive miles and miles to their home. You already have rapport and trust, so a video meeting with all parties is just as powerful and far less demanding on people’s calendars and busy lives. Clients are more likely to accept a 25-minute Zoom meeting than find 2 hours from their diary.
  • You should consider charging for your reviews, they cost you time, and this fee puts a value on your time in the client’s mind. You may feel a retainer so the client can retain your services. Other professionals do this, so should you.
  • Fix rate anniversaries or other product maturities are essential times to get back in touch. Ensure you do so promptly before the lender has contacted them or the client has ventured online for a solution.

Remember how expensive and time-consuming it was to secure a new customer. Existing customers come for free, but you need to expend time and effort to make that happen. After all, you’d like all your clients to be treated as new customers every time and be afforded the luxury of choice at the Pearly Gates.