The words ‘trusted advisor’ are often banded around on business courses or seminars, but what does it really mean? This is a topic our Managing Director, Richard Campo feels very passionate about, and so wanted to share some of his thoughts. Richard Says:

I’ve been working financial services my whole career, specifically focusing on mortgages. Firstly working in a bank, and latterly being a mortgage broker. It was always my goal to be the best mortgage broker I could possibly be and have been blessed by working with some truly exceptional people in my time. As I watched them work, and from my own experiences, I learned that gaining a clients trust is simply the most important thing you can do. I have never believed in ‘selling’, as I have worked in ‘salesy’ environments and find it quite corrosive. The job title says ‘advisor’ and not ‘seller’ for a reason, and people who blur that line very rarely get to the top. There are a few key things I have learned, and things I try to embed in our company, which are as follows

Understand your client

This is maybe something so obvious it doesn’t bear talking about, but it is the only place to start to be a trusted advisor. As you get more experienced, the risk is that you start to develop ‘professional arrogance’, by that I mean – you know the answer before the client has barely spoken.

It is a surprisingly easy trap to fall into, but there are literally thousands of mortgage products for a reason – everyone is different. As a mortgage broker you may start to assume that a client wants the cheapest deal, or the biggest loan, but the true motivation of a client often runs much deeper.

The important thing to do is to take a genuine interest in your client. Not just thinking about what clever thing you are about to say next, but truly listen without the thought of what you want to respond with. The purpose of listening is to understand, not to reply after all. I always give the example of seeing a good GP vs a not so good one – a good GP truly listens and asks open, probing questions and will filter you down to a probable solution or next step. In this process, you feel engaged and listened too. A not so good GP will simply probe you and you leave the surgery feeling like a piece of meat. The outcome may well be the same, but its how you make people feel in how they remember you.

Deal with information sensitively

As mortgage brokers and trusted advisors we should always been respectful of the data we are collecting. To us, its our job, but for our clients it may be extremely uncomfortable revealing such personal information to someone they barely know.

There was an interesting article on the BBC website a few weeks back that explored how 4 in 10 people keep money secrets from their partners. That just shows you how unusual it is, especially for us Brits, to openly share info like – income, expenditure, children’s details, bank statements etc, it really is very intrusive and if not handled correctly, quite an abrasive experience. However, a skilful mortgage advisor will explain why this is important and how the data will be handled securely.

That is summed up in a phrase I often use – if you want accurate advice I need accurate information – so when the time is right, we can get the info we need in order to find the best solution for a client. The worst case scenario is that you are half way down the path of buying a new home, only to be told the mortgage will be less than intended or at a higher interest rate. These situations are often avoided if we can get all the info we need as early as possible in the process and a good mortgage broker explains this.

Give advice, not options

In my experience, clients come to you for mortgage advice, and not to be another rate comparison service but trusted advisors. Just talking to a client and them emailing out a bunch of mortgage rates is lazy at best. If you want to know the lowest rate on the market, go play with the Meerkats. However there a number of issues with that:

  1. the best mortgage deals are often exclusive to mortgage brokers, not direct to the public, or even via your own bank;
  2. even the lowest rates aren’t always best for a client. What if you want the largest mortgage you can get? Or more flexibility? Or long term security? What about the fees involved (both the clear and unclear ones)? What if your situation is more complex? If it was as simple as picking out a rate online I wouldn’t have a job!

So giving the best advice goes right back to listening to, and understanding, your clients. Another analogy – you often see flight prices really cheap online, silly deals like “£10 return to Paris”, but if you want to fly at a socially acceptable time, on a convenient day for you, landing at Charles De Gaulle and not Beauvais-Tillé, that is going to cost more. Good financial advice is the same, it isn’t the cheapest that is best, but the most suitable.

Long term relationships

This goes back again to my earlier point on sales vs trusted advisor. If you truly view each new client as the start of a long term relationship, you give the client more. More time, more effort and better mortgage advice. As you want them to come back again and again until you have managed their mortgage down until the loan is fully repaid. And you want them to be so happy with you that they refer their friends, family and colleagues.

If you view a client as a transaction, or are working for free, it’s just a case of getting through them and onto the next one. That rarely leaves people feeling warm and fuzzy at the end of the process. Each to their own, but our focus is on making happy clients and not ‘doing deals’ which is why we are one of the most highly rated mortgage brokers and trusted advisors on Google. Don’t take my word for it, check for yourself.

I try very hard to stick to these guidelines and the belief that I should treat everyone I deal with as I would want to be treated myself. Life is actually quite simple when you break it down. Sadly mortgages are very complicated these days and lending policy very hard to gauge at times, but that is why I view our role as mortgage brokers to explain this to a client, understand what they truly want, and report back on that basis – to be a trusted advisor. What happens between then is a lot of grunt, research and phone calls, but that is our job to make the clients life easy!

If you would like to talk to a trusted advisor, you can see their details here and book into to have an initial chat with any of the team who will be more than happy to help you in any way they can.

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