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.

Open All Hours – top tips for Advisers on how to win more clients (without working harder)

Whilst we all know that success comes from hard work (and perhaps a bit of luck) we also know that working smarter is often key too. However, despite this ‘always-on’ digital world that we now live in, it can often seem impossible to switch off without losing an opportunity.  So what if your business could carry on working hard for you, even when you have signed off for the day? With research showing that 85% of shoppers research online before buying* it is imperative that you are ‘open all hours’ for business to win new clients.  Online at least.

Here are our top tips on how to gain more customers, even when you are officially ‘Out of Office’.

Work smarter, not harder

Consumers today look to investigate and research when looking to make any purchase and it is no different with mortgages. With increasingly busy lives, they will typically do their research at a time to suit them – so to capture their interest, you need to ensure your website and your social channels are working even when you aren’t.

By adding interactive information and research tools such as a Mortgage Search plug-in or a Best Buy Table onto your website, users at least have an option to submit an enquiry to you, rather than simply be an uninspired visitor.

Your social channels are also live 24/7 so ensure that they carry on working for you after hours. Take the time to add content that is relevant, current and recent – there are tools, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, to help you schedule social media posts that can be published at times when your potential clients are more likely to be active (and you have switched off for the evening).

 

Get recommended

An influencer engagement survey found that over 90% of consumer’s trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of marketing, and 70% said they trusted consumer opinions posted online.

Provide an excellent and honest service that brings results for your clients, and they are far more likely to recommend you to family and friends.

Why not take the plunge and ask your clients to provide written recommendations that you can add to the content on your website or post on social media. These short recommendations will continue to work for you for many months to come and speak volumes about you and your services.

 

Achieve 5-star reviews

As well as recommendations, you could also ask clients to review your services – the trick is to make the process simple and easy to do so. You could send them a follow-up email thanking them for their business and at the same time ask them to provide a review? There are several ways of doing this:

  1. Reviews given on your Google Listing not only appear on your Google Business Page (easy to set up if you don’t have one) but they also appear against your business record in Google searches:

Ask for reviews on your Facebook page if you have one. Look at this recent search for ‘mortgage adviser’ – which one would you select? A customer will probably consider locality and take note of the star rating and may potentially make a choice based on the highest ratings and/or number of reviews.

  1. On receipt of unprompted feedback or thanks from a client, ask if you can publish what they have written. Most people are delighted to see their name and words ‘in print’.

facebook reviews

Prove your brilliance

As good as customer reviews, testimonials and recommendations can be, many potential clients will also be interested in what you have done for other people in similar situations. Including case studies on your website can open your business up to more clients, as you not only tell them how good other people think your service is, but it also helps to explain exactly how you have solved challenges and issues that may have arisen during the process.

You don’t need to use any names in the case studies, just explain clearly and concisely exactly what the problem was or what situation the client came to you with, what you did to get them the best deal and what the successful outcome was. It provides yet more evidence as to why people should choose you as their Adviser.

 

Perfect your pitch

When a potential client does find you, providing them solid advice there and then will help them to conclude that you are the Adviser for them! Show your expertise, share your knowledge and give them all they need to come to an informed decision.

All clients are different, and as you know will have a varied amount of knowledge about the mortgage process and the advice available. So as long as you use your experience to make them feel comfortable talking to you and putting their trust in you, growing your client base should become second nature.

 

Use technology to your advantage

An ever-growing client base requires management and consistency. Taking advantage of technology to store all your client’s data securely and reduce paper-work to a minimum will save time, both for you and for your client.  Your client will expect you to have the latest information at your figure tips to provide information on products relevant to them and their situation, so be ready to do.

Clients will also be relying on your efficiency, and using mortgage technology can enable you to demonstrate that you are indeed very capable, whilst you remain compliant throughout the whole mortgage advice process. It will also save time with limited need for paperwork as your records are largely entered online.

However, with 65% of consumers citing a fear of their personal information being hacked, you need to demonstrate that your clients’ data is both secure and protected – at all times. If you use a secure system such as the Key, not only will you be able to manage the whole sales process compliantly and with little effort, the associated Client Portal will allow both you and your client to securely message and exchange documents. Not forgetting you can now present an online Fact Find form to your client which they can complete at their leisure, and you have no need to re-key the information as it synchs seamlessly back to the Key.

laptop

Get out there!

So now you have set up your website and social channels to showcase your business and handle incoming enquiries (pull marketing), you may still need to get out there and promote yourself (push marketing). It doesn’t take long to craft an email to send to your database of potential customers. Let your prospects know you are open for business, send them your latest review or recommendation and perhaps provide news of a new fixed rate product, not forgetting to highlight your relevant services. With £35bn of mortgage loans expiring in the next 2 months+ there is huge potential to grab a slice of the market.

Spending time on expanding your presence both online and offline holds the key to obtaining more clients – even when you are ‘out of office’.

We do hope these tips will help to ensure your business is ‘Open all Hours’ – without working even harder than you already do.  Good luck!

 

Sources:

+ CACI

*Retailing Today

◊ PwC, Total Retail 2017

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.

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!

Mortgage Credit Directive is coming

Mortgage Credit Directive is coming…but you are in safe hands!

We’ve all heard about the European Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) – but how will the changes affect the way you use your Mortgage Brain technology?

In July we revealed that we would be making changes to our systems to accommodate the new requirements. The most important change being that ESIS/KFI+ will replace the KFI. The KFI+ will be compulsory from 21st March 2016, but the KFI will not be phased out completely until 2019 and then it will be replaced by ESIS.

Lenders are expected to be using either KFI+ or ESIS by March next year. The good news is that we will produce both an ESIS and a KFI+ to accommodate. We’ll start releasing the new features early 2016 to make sure all of our customers can stay compliant under the new legislation.

The other change is the launch of our whole-of-market secured loans sourcing website called LoansBrain. Developed in partnership with master brokers, it’ll be free to use and no registration will be required. You’ll be able to access it via a standalone website in the first instance and later on, it will launch it directly from MortgageBrain Classic, MortgageBrain Anywhere and the Key.

Our CEO Mark Lofthouse comments: “We continue to work hand-in-hand with brokers and lenders to provide market leading technology solutions that not only meet but far exceed the basic regulatory requirements.”

We’ll be announcing all the changes and additions in due course, so keep an eye on SimplyBiz news to stay up to date.

You can see more info on MCD on our website press release page.