Conveyancing and technology: how the two go hand in hand

The conveyancing market is booming. Proactivity levels have soared by 69% in the past four years, according to data released in July by Search Acumen, even with 11 per cent less conveyancers currently in the market. It’s becoming ever more imperative that those of us still working in the industry can cope with a heavier workload, and continue to make it a success.

As the amount of technology on offer increases, its use in different sectors grows at the same time. Technology in the conveyancing industry has improved as of late, with the rise in technology overall playing its part in enabling conveyancers to not only keep on top of their cases, but to ensure they are completed efficiently and to a high standard.

Conveyancers are, on average, now completing an extra case per week, and technology can be thanked for having a large part in this success. It can be said to be helping improve efficiency, enhancing due diligence and streamlining the processes that must be completed in the conveyancing process. But do you know everything that’s on offer to you to ensure your conveyancing career is a successful one? 

Technology and communication

Communication is incredibly important if you want the conveyancing process to run as smoothly as possible. ConveyancingBrain’s Case Tracking Guide provides an overview of the perfect method of three-way communication, between you, your client and the chosen Solicitor. The ConveyancingBrain team is also able to join in the conversation to move things along, so it can be a four-way conversation if need be.

One of the beauties of the messaging element of the case tracking is that you can also choose whether all parties or just some can see each message. On occasion it may be prudent to simply converse directly with the Solicitor without the need for the Client to view that message, thereby giving you greater control of the communication.

The Purchase Progress log on the case tracking system also shows what stage the case is currently at and helps provide confidence and information as to what activity the Solicitor is undertaking.

With all communication in one place and made simple, you can keep up with your growing workload whilst not compromising on service. The guide explains how to track your cases efficiently, with the system allowing everyone to see case updates 24/7 and alerting all parties when there is an update, request or advance in the case.

Regular updates

The brilliant thing about technology is that it means processes are now instant, and updates more frequent. ConveyancingBrain are committed to making regular updates to the system to make things easier to use and processes more simple to follow, giving you the tools you need to obtain a quote quick and easily, instruct a solicitor and complete a case.

tracking

Automated emails and text messages (if chosen) are sent whenever a Solicitor adds a note to the Case Notes section of any ongoing cases, saving plenty of time as it means you don’t even have to log in to check your messages.

Technology also makes it easier to take on customer feedback and implement any changes to make the user journey a better and smoother one.

One change ConveyancingBrain made recently was making it possible for you to choose whether to disclose the Solicitor’s name on the quote you provide to your client. Technology allows you to choose from different options to make everyone’s conveyancing experience better.

Opportunity for more

With technology comes the ability to offer more for your customers, with the advantages for online offerings ever increasing. Downloadable guides are a handy ConveyancingBrain offering that you can use to offer additional support to your clients.

Whether it’s sharing the 10 Steps to Conveyancing with your client to help them understand the process, information to sell conveyancing to clients, or guides to help you to make the most of the system, there are plenty of free information available to ensure both you and your clients are well equipped to understand the conveyancing process.

Technology is all about making things easier

When it comes to your job, the more streamlined processes are and the easier a system is, the more likely you are to succeed. Coping with an increasing workload sounds difficult, but when you use systems at your disposal, life is made much easier.

Social Media for Advisers

Social media for advisers – where to start?

Research shows that £145Bn worth of mortgages were granted in 2016* but with new mortgage brokers setting up every week you need to be able to protect, and indeed grow, your own market share. You can gain instant access to 1000s of buyers using social media, but where do you start? Or how do you maximise your time online to the best effect? In this article, we explore how social media can give you that competitive edge.

Why use social media?

Being part of a social media community immediately opens up opportunities to expand your audience, communicate within the industry and engage with potential clients. It can help you:

  • Keep abreast of the latest news and developments in the mortgage market
  • Promote your business and communicate with potential clients
  • Network with fellow brokers and connect with Lenders
  • Link in with industry influencers who may open doors for you

As we mentioned in our previous blog, your website acts as your shop window. Social media goes further – it provides more channels and opportunities to promote your business, as well as directing readers to your own website. With each and every social media channel you can easily connect, engage and discuss with all those who are important to you. You can promote your business through your social profile(s) to help attract new clients. By posting engaging, relevant content and promoting your profiles to others, you can help boost your reputation and recognition amongst your target audience.

You can promote your business through your social profile(s) to help attract new clients. By posting engaging, relevant content and promoting your profiles to others, you can help boost your reputation and recognition amongst your target audience.

Social media platforms allow you to network with fellow brokers, start a conversation about a current topic and discuss more general, light-hearted subjects. Ultimately, social media gives you the possibility to grow a network of contacts you can connect and potentially work with in the future.

Using social media

Which platforms should you use?

From Facebook to Pinterest and YouTube, the myriad of channels can be overwhelming making it hard to know which one/s to focus on.  However, you don’t have to use them all. Don’t overstretch yourself and focus your efforts on perhaps just one platform to start with. This will ensure the quality of your messages remains of a high standard and you are able to post regularly.

TOP TIP: Do NOT attempt to use more than three channels when starting out on social media. Perhaps start with one and build from there.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a prime platform for brokers to find and network with like-minded peers. It is traditionally a professional network, where discussions tend to centre on industry-related subjects. This means that most of your connections are likely to be people you work with and other industry contacts you may know, for example, people you have met at events or conferences. You can also join groups about topics you’re interested in or to connect with like-minded people, such as the Mortgage Brain group or Mortgage Brokers UK.

You can create a personal profile as well as a company page for your business to post your own content and updates to promote your services.

Twitter

The main benefit of Twitter is that it is an open network. While LinkedIn and Facebook both have closed networks whereby you must connect with, ‘like’ or ‘follow’ someone in order for them to see your content, Twitter is open to everyone.

Unless your account is on a private setting, people can see your tweets and get involved in discussions, especially if you use hashtags. This is an excellent technique to increase brand awareness and to spread the word about your business.  Don’t use more than a couple of hashtags in any one tweet thought, otherwise it could look like spam.  Again, you can set up your profile to be personal – or create one for your business.

TOP TIP: Practice at writing short posts as Twitter only allows 140 characters, including any relevant links or tags.  For example: Radical new proposals to cut out unfair abuses of leasehold have been announced by the government this week:  buff.ly/2uBapHo   (132 characters)

Facebook

Your personal Facebook profile with party and children photos won’t get you far in the mortgage world, so for business promotion, it is a good idea to create a Facebook company page to act as the hub of your marketing on this channel.

Like many other social channels, Facebook allows you to schedule content to be posted directly onto your page and reach out to your target audience with the use of promoted posts. It is a tool primarily for businesses to use, and it can help you with lead generation.

TOP TIP: Ensure you set up the right sort of page for your business – Facebook guides you through the process and has a great help centre should you need it.

Business or pleasure?

If you have your own business and are looking to grow your client base, it’s best to first focus on creating company pages for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can share similar content across all three sites whilst ensuring you reach a variety of audiences since different people use different networks. This simple step ensures you are promoting your business, rather than your social activities.

TOP TIP: Check your organisation’s policy to ensure you stay within their guidelines (if applicable). It may include hints and tips to get you started.

If you work for a larger company and would like to expand your industry presence as an individual, you can start off with a Twitter account and a LinkedIn profile. You can get involved in discussions on Twitter and tweet from meetings or events to get involved in conversation with fellow brokers. Start building connections with colleagues on LinkedIn and explore any groups you can join to meet new people to network online with.

Use social media to your advantage

Using social media wisely can help grow your business and your network of trusted contacts and specialists. Show yourself to be an expert in your field and you are likely to earn the trust and respect of your audience. You should share interesting, unique content that adds value to your followers, reminding yourself that it’s quality, not quantity that counts. Dedicate sufficient time to build an audience on each network – and remember not to spread yourself too thin. Good luck!

*Source: Building Societies Association

The best sourcing gets even better

We’re always looking at different ways we can enhance our offering to you, and we’re excited to be launching second charge sourcing functionality in our systems very soon.

It will be a new chapter in mortgage sourcing, as our whole of market first charge online and offline sourcing systems will now include second charge products. You will be able to compare first and second charge products side by side, so it will be much easier to advise and offer your clients alternative lending products

One system for everything
Back in January 2016 we launched LoansBrain, our free second charge loan sourcing website, allowing advisers to source and refer to a Master Broker or simply advise on second charge products to their customers.

The choice of products direct from lenders or Master Brokers are now wider than ever before, so with the inclusion of second charge products in our mainstream first charge sourcing systems, you know have the option to source both first and second charge loans all in one place.

Innovative and advanced sourcing
The new functionality will offer you the ability to compare a remortgage with a current mortgage, plus a second charge loan to assess which suits your client best.

Over 200 search criteria in our sourcing systems will help you find the products that best match your client’s requirements and display them side by side, so you can easily compare and decide which would be most suitable. This comparison function, combined with the ability to run and save different scenarios for each client, now means that the second charge loan sourcing capabilities within our systems are second to none.

The new second charge sourcing option will be available to you to select from the main sourcing screen, as well as when sourcing a re-mortgage. The control is completely with you, and that’s what’s so exciting about it.

Watch this space
We will be rolling out the enhancements to our MortgageBrain Classic system users from mid-April onwards and MortgageBrain Anywhere users will receive the update in early June.

We’re incredibly excited to be bringing you yet another quality solution to help you expand your business opportunities as an Adviser.

Introducing: New Secure Client Portal within the Key

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new online Client Portal within the Key: a facility where you and your clients can communicate and exchange documents securely and easily.

The Client Portal is the first in a series of enhancements being made to the Key this year, and is a functionality we’ve designed in order to improve and enhance the user experience and the adviser-client relationship.

So, what is it?
The new Client Portal is a virtual environment developed within the Key that allows you and your clients to exchange documents securely, as well as communicate through a secure messaging service.

Put simply, the Client Portal offers a secure space for you and your clients to share information and documentation, all in one place.

What are the main benefits?
The new functionality will enhance your service and support to your client. It will give you greater control and transparency of your exchanges with each of your clients. For your customers, the Portal allows them to upload and send you the documentation you request securely as well as enabling them to the view current status of their ongoing cases with you, be it mortgages, insurance or other products.

The interface is clean, straightforward and intuitive for your customers to navigate making this exchange of information and communication during the property purchasing process less stressful.
The online portal is available your customers on a 24/7 basis, and can be accessed via computer, tablet or smartphone, giving them complete freedom of choice as to when and where they log in.

Client Portal

How does it work?
Each client record will need to be set up for online access individually, to ensure that you can easily control which clients can access the Portal. This means you won’t have to create any unnecessary client accounts. Our user guide gives you step-by-step instructions on to how to do this.

In addition, because the Client Portal links directly to the Key database, only one person can access the client record at any one time which ensures complete data integrity throughout the system.

And what about the messaging service?
This is the place where you and your client can exchange messages with regard to their records and cases. It provides you both with a single place to communicate in, without the need to switch between the system and your emails, as well as peace of mind, with the knowledge that the Portal is completely secure.

The most recent secure messages will be displayed on the Portal’s home screen for your client’s convenience. Furthermore, every time there is a new message, your clients will receive an email so that they don’t have to keep logging into the Portal unnecessarily.

Similarly, in the Key, your clients’ messages are stored in one place, under each client record, making it much more efficient for you to access specific information about the cases you might be working on.

What’s in it for me and my client?
Your clients will not only be able to view their data, but also edit and upload their own information. Once you have initially set their client record up and activated it on the Portal, your client will be able to upload their own documents and data, which eliminates the need to send sensitive personal information via email.

The Portal will also save you time. Because it is linked directly to the Key database, there is no need to re-enter any data you already have on file for your clients. It’s simple to use and lets you work more efficiently.

Interested in finding out more? Make sure you read our full user guide in our Help and training section.

If you don’t yet have the Key, download your 30-day free trial by clicking here.

Mark Lofthouse on the Importance of Client Retention

Last month, our CEO Mark Lofthouse had an excellent opinion piece published online. The column covered the importance of client retention, a significant area vital to mortgage brokers.

We’ve broken down the top points from Mark’s column so you can easily digest the important information that he covers.

Don’t ‘just sell mortgages’
Any adviser who just ‘sells mortgages’ isn’t doing their job as well as they could. Mark explains that a role of a mortgage adviser extends far beyond simply advising and selling mortgages.
They must value each customer as an individual, and treat him or her as such. He says: “It is critical that the needs of the customer are met and the review and advice process should look at the customer’s overall needs and not just their mortgages.”

This will in turn increase your income.
Mark goes on to say that, if you acknowledge the individual needs of each customer, you are more likely to receive a lifetime of recurring business. On the reverse, you may be missing out on a great sum of income because you’re not paying due care and attention to your customers.

Provide a broader service.
Following on, Mark advises that, although we don’t want to be selling customers things they don’t want or need, offering extra services to them is beneficial, as if the client sees the services as good value, “they’ll be pleased you’ve taken the trouble to give them that extra level of service,” thus leading to recommendations to friends and family.

Regular contact is paramount.
Don’t just contact your clients when they are due a remortgage. It is vital that your customers stay in your thoughts as often as possible, and finding out more about them means you will be able to offer them further services in the future.

Mark states: “Finding out more about clients’ financial affairs also gives you a reason to stay in touch, either as a courtesy call every so often or when one of their products is due for renewal.”

Keep on top of the industry.
Mark’s closing points underline the importance of keeping abreast of the constant changes in the market. He outlines a myriad of knowledge about each customer you need to know, such as “knowledge of the prevailing provider service levels, what clients enquired about last time you saw them, awareness of their financial situation, and if you know them well, where they went on holiday or what their children are up to.”

But you can’t store this in your own head! To keep all this vital information, and to ensure you are organised, Mark emphasises the importance of using up-to-date front and back office technology, which everyone has at their disposal and should be taking advantage of, for example, our CRM system, the Key.

Follow Mark’s tips to become a better asset for your clients, and remember that “advising on more than just mortgages might take you out of your comfort zone, but the rewards to you and your clients are well worth it.”

If you would like to read the column in full, you can do so by clicking here.

Technology in the Mortgage Market

It’s been thirty years since we first introduced our mortgage software to the market, and it has been a vital tool which has revolutionised the industry in terms of technology ever since.

Technology is constantly evolving in its nature, but its particularly interesting to see it used so much in an industry that has, for the most, part stuck to what it knew best and not ventured into unknown territory.

But where can it go from here? And will the mortgage industry be as happy to welcome yet more changes?

Thankfully, we can hope that, because it has become accustomed to new technology before, the industry will be more likely to welcome future technological developments.

Where did it begin?
In 1986, we introduced the first ever piece of mortgage software, but with some drawbacks due to technology itself still evolving into the type of system we needed for it to really take off.

Fast-forward to 2004 and M-Day, which propelled the mortgage industry forward in terms of technological advancements. It revolutionised the way brokers worked, however, the sceptics were out in force: asking how the existing mortgage systems would cope with new demands.

As we know, it did more than just cope, leaving the mortgage industry and the brokers working within it a bit happier about the idea of using technology in their line of work.

But where are we now?
After M-Day, technological advancements took a giant leap; it allowed us, and other mortgage solution suppliers, to create systems which were faster working, easier to use and up to date – waiting times became a thing of the past, and the client became more involved with the introduction of social media, apps and bigger and better websites.

And what do we predict for the future?
Technology is a hard one to predict: faster software, holograms, robots – who knows?!

It does seem that as time goes on, the industry is more accepting, and welcoming, of technological advancements, especially if it makes their job smoother, quicker and easier – as that usually means more business too!

Following on from M-Day, and 2014’s Mortgage Market Review, this year’s Mortgage Credit Directive requirements have enforced more change in the market.

In five years’ time, we think there will have been various advancements, including:

– More systems integration
– Integrating the tablet more
– Remote video – Skyping your broker!
– The (further) rise of Apps

After that, who knows! Technological advancements mean that exciting times are ahead for the industry, and for MortgageBrain too. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store – even if it is robots!