Lending and advice – a powerful partnership

Post by Kevin Frost – Head of Centrepoint Lending Solutions

Financial advisers and brokers are both important players in a client’s financial future. Australians have around $6.9 Trillion invested in property, so property makes up a major part of most Australians’ wealth. We have $2.3 Trillion in Superannuation and as a nation we are incredibly under-insured. It just makes sense that we should be working closely together, and I’d suspect our mutual clients believe this and perhaps most importantly, see value in an integrated offering.   

I’ve seen some very successful financial adviser/broker partnerships in our community and I wanted to share six observations that I think best define a successful broker/planner partnership.

1) Have mutual goals 

This goes beyond just the commercial elements of the referral or working relationship. There needs to be an engagement, a cultural alignment between two professionals in any relationship. You need to sit down together and work on what is truly important to the business, the client and to the individuals personally. How does this relationship then fit with your service ethic and belief system? If you are not aligned, the relationship won’t work.

2) Client Review Cycle 

Our combined professions should be reviewing our clients annually. Make each annual review about both the advice strategy and lending situation. Go through your mutual clients and agree to a review cycle plan. Whiteboard ideas on how you should engage the client and what parts of the review are conducted jointly and separately. Make the advice and lending review appear as one offering. As a combined process this can demonstrate added value to the client.

3) Cross-selling 

I am a definite believer in diversification through specialisation. You can’t be an expert at everything and I’ve seen more failure than success when advisers try to take on dual roles of Adviser and Broker. However, to conduct a successful referral relationship we need to be skilled at advocating our partner relationships. Understand enough of what each other does to be able to cross-sell and advocate the services offered by your referral partner. The best partnerships go one step further by understanding the objections they are likely to receive from clients.  Workshop responses and role play how to handle them. Relationships don’t work where one party works harder than the other. This takes commitment from both parties.

4) Evolve your systems 

Wherever possible run joint CRM systems and combine customer data. I understand this is not easy to do with advice firms and brokers using different platforms but there are some systems you can access now that can help. For example, platforms like Mail Chimp can create a joint database for client messages.

5) Collective Marketing 

Mutual marketing campaigns are a boost to any referral partnership. These campaigns need to be well planned and thought through. Work out areas where your offerings intersect and focus on those specific areas. The ability to leverage cost, staff and intellectual property contributes to better marketing ROI. And by segmenting your customer lists with mutual campaigns in mind, you’re providing value that brings the client closer because you’re tailoring your message based on their needs. 

6) Power of the Fact Find 

We collect a lot of information about our clients to assist in providing a better customer outcome. The best integrated partnerships have a combined Fact Find to present their referral partner with all the customer information required to facilitate their services. This enhances the customer experience. The Fact Finds of each profession are very similar and it only takes a few minutes either way to collect the additional information required. No customer wants to sit through the Fact Find data gathering process twice if it’s not necessary. Note, just be aware of privacy issues, which can be handled in your privacy declaration.

So, there are a few tips on how to make a business partnership work. In this case I have chosen Financial Adviser and Lending Specialist, but these steps can be used in any referral partnership.

To learn more about integrating lending into your financial advice firm, please view the video recording of the webinar presented by Kevin Frost – Head of Lending – held on Thursday 1st November.

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