10 MORTGAGE CHOICE
After years of repeat business and referrals, Richard Crommelin’s brokers are again knocking on doors and chasing new business
Relying almost exclusively on repeat and referral business has become a badge of pride for brokers in recent years; chasing new business has been seen as a waste of eff ort. Yet justifying this argument has become increasingly diffi cult in much of Australia, particularly for Mortgage Choice Perth. “The market has changed dramatically,” explains director Richard Crommelin. “It’s not a growing market so our business has to come from increasing market share.”
Located in Perth’s CBD, 300m from the offi ces of Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum, BHP and the like, the brokerage has been aff ected more than most by the drop-off in mining. Simply having a great reputation (and continually featuring in MPA’s Top 10) was no longer enough, explains Crommelin. “We can have the best customer service and products in the industry, but if we don’t get a chance to tell our story, that’s a problem.”
Their solution? “We stopped sitting back and waiting for business to come to us,” says Crommelin. “We’re going to go out and knock on doors, and that’s what we’ve done for the last six months.”
They took on a business development specialist, who is already paying dividends. “She’s been fantastic in exposing us to additional referral points, because previously our business was 95% referral points and 5% alliances, and we’re trying to make that 70% to 30%.” They also market themselves through Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and database marketing, with eight to 10 campaigns running at any one time.
Mortgage Choice Perth has long had a focus on diversiﬁcation, and being a ‘trusted ﬁnancial partner’ to their clients, so customers call them for all ﬁ nancerelated questions, according to Crommelin. “We want to cuddle all our existing customers and look after all their needs, rather than sending them out to other businesses to do that.”
In order to achieve this, they’ve recently tried to assign speciﬁc brokers to speciﬁ c areas, notes Crommelin. “If you don’t have somebody focused on something, it’s hard to get the maximum beneﬁ t from it, and that’s something we’ve really learnt in the last 12 months.” That includes a dedicated commercial division, a ﬁ nancial planner, and the brokerage’s above -mentioned business development specialist.
Keeping an eye on diversiﬁ cation despite a tough market is critical, Crommelin believes. “We got onto the diversiﬁed income philosophy quite early. It is a battle; people come in for one thing and don’t expect to be talked to about other things, but it’s something as brokers that we have to work on … we believe the SME market is the next mortgage broking market.”