Planners – because you're worth it

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One of the most powerful tools in business is the ability to say yes, to please your client base. But Jason Back, managing director of Australian Lending & Investment Centre (ALIC), says that sometimes ‘no’ can be just as powerful.

After winning the AMA Australia’s Top Broker award for the past few years, Back and his co-director Mark Davis say that one of their reasons for success is the ability to make their clients come to them.

“We don’t go see clients,” says Davis. “If a client thinks you’re important enough, they come see you. You build up the client’s mind-set that they have to come and see you. We set the expectation that, ‘this is a planning process, Mark’s diary is full and there is a wait-time’.”

Back says that this can apply to the whole financial services profession, including planners. “The finance industry needs to get a degree of self-worth,” he says. “We’re not door-to-door salesmen, we do need to recognise the skills and the value that we add to our clients and that means meeting in place like an office space can be much more beneficial for the client experience.”

The time spent on call-outs, and even sending out information, takes away from valuable client engagement time, says Back. Initial client conversations can go on for a few hours, and there may be more than one meeting, so it is important to be in an environment that generates great ideas, allows free discussion and holds the client’s attention.

A big part of this is also choosing the right clients, says Davis. “We look for clients that have an investment belief, clients that have an appetite to borrow... We don’t want to deal with rate shoppers. We won’t even talk about rates in the first hour-and-a-half meeting. It’s really just getting specific clients who really value progression.”

The firm does have a dedicated team to visit those transactional clients that require it, but it is the ability to say no to call-outs that has allowed Davis to provide the volume and level of service that saw him crack $500m in loans written.

The team is also particular about who they deal with professionally. They leave asset allocation and planning up to the specialists, but will not work with bank-aligned advisers, or those with less than 20 years’ experience. Back says that it is important to find advisers that are not looking for product sales, so that the client can pay for a great conversation without feeling like they have to buy a product. “They’re the type of advisers we’re going to be linking into and our clients are happy to pay for their advice.”

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  • Pat on 7/06/2013 3:03:08 PM

    I think I am happy taking referrals from existing clients and professional advisers such as accountants and lawyers, rather than mortgage brokers. From my experience, mortgage brokers have one thing in mind: property, and lending more to buy more property. As a result, their clients typically have a similar mindset.

    About making house-calls: I was happy to spend c3 hours in the car yesterday to spend 5 hours with my family client who pay me about $40k p.a.

  • Jason Back (Managing Director ALIC) on 6/06/2013 9:46:38 PM

    All, thank you for your feedback and observations. At ALIC we provide over 1100 referrals to external FPs, Risk Advisors, Accountants, BA ect per year so we believe we are very relevant to advice groups. We do not accept commission or fees for referrals nor do we pay for them. ALIC works closely with a variety of advisors and they in turn provide us with a quality client experience and we do not provide advice. Our model is built on education and efficiency in providing funding to clients for investment. Comparisons to a QLD advice firm when we are a mortgage broker are ill-informed at best. We would welcome any advisor that feels that have something to offer our clients via a truly unique client experience to make contact with us to discuss. Scott if you wish to take a closer look at our model please feel free to touch base. As I spent many years as a CFP bank advisor and I do understand your point of view.

  • Innocent Observer on 6/06/2013 3:37:08 PM

    Scott is spot on here.

    And to suggest that advisers who make house calls are somehow selling themselves short, or are somehow less professional than those that don't leave the office is a simply stupid comment.

  • Marko on 6/06/2013 2:29:16 PM

    I fail to see the relevance a mortgage broker has to a professional financial planning business. I doubt I would be taking a lot of notice of this guy. Storm did lots of loans too so big deal.

  • FinSvsExpert on 6/06/2013 10:48:52 AM

    I believe that CFP's have not been doing house calls since the early 90's this is more of a Mortgage Broker syndrome, which I am afraid my not dissolve given that Banks and Other offer Mobile lenders....

  • Scott on 6/06/2013 9:46:42 AM

    Wow, talk about a generalisation saying planners aligned with bank dealer groups are product floggers, along with suggesting that planners with under 20 years are incapable of servicing your clients. I would say that it is those with more than 20 years that may be more on the side of flogging product than strategic advice. Most planners in a bank delaer group that I am part of with less than 20 years experience all have uni related degrees and are anything but product salesman. I understand the thinking but may be doing more harm than good by sticking to such rigid referral rules

WP forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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