How brokers can dive deep in an ocean of opportunities

The first and only time Sharrock Pitman Legal managing principal and author of Fighting for Enterprise Success: through the eye of the tiger David Sharrock went scuba diving was on a holiday in northern Queensland. He panicked at first, but soon calmed down and began to take in the spectacular beauty that surrounded him.

For Sharrock, the experience is akin to running a mortgage broking business; it requires one to take a deep dive in order to discover a world abounding with business opportunities.

“It will push you out of your comfort zone but, in the end, it will be a most exhilarating experience,” Sharrock, also an accredited business law specialist and mediator, said.

One needs to dive much deeper than marketing concerns if he or she wants a business that thrives in an ocean of opportunities, he added.

Dive deep
Personal motivation needs to be reframed first. According to Sharrock, if the motivation is only about making squillions of dollars and cutting deals, it will be short-lived.

“It is not all about you,” he said. “Instead, your motivation must be all about serving the needs and interests of your customers, with care and concern. Deliver real value to them and open up opportunities for their better future.”

Mortgage brokers also need to shift their business paradigm from sales-based to relationship-based, as the former puts sales and money first, with customer needs and concerns second. “Undoubtedly, a sales-based paradigm will infect workplace culture, fuelling an approach toward customers of get, get, get rather than give, give, give,” Sharrock said.

To prepare for a deep dive, Sharrock has these tips:

  1. Become obsessively customer-centric in all aspects of the business. Overhaul each customer touch point.
  2. Talk with customers about their needs and interests. Build life-giving relationships with them.
  3. Upsell and cross sell only if such offering is in the best interest of the customer. One should do it out of care and concern and not for self-gain.
  4. Build a high-performance team. Encourage each member to be involved in new business initiatives.
  5. Unleash entrepreneurial spirit, nurture creativity and value innovation in your team.
  6. Always be on the lookout for serendipity because sometimes the best ideas happen out of the blue.   
  7. Ensure spending on new business initiatives is targeted, monitored and reasonable.

A noticeable difference
According to Sharrock, these days, offering “second to none” products and services is not enough to make one stand out from an extremely tough market. One’s business also needs to be different and customers should notice it.        

“Incidentally, future competitive advantage, in the long term, will not come from software or digital innovation because most mortgage broking businesses will have similar software and digital services,” Sharrock said.

“To remain the same as any other mortgage broking business means you might do okay and survive in a sea of mediocrity.”

To find a competitive advantage, Sharrock suggests mortgage brokers ask these five questions during brainstorming sessions:

  1. Looking at each customer touch point, what changes must happen in the delivery of the product or service to surprise and delight customers?
  2. Are there any new products or services, or new approaches to existing products or services that will meet customer needs and interest?
  3. Is there any technological innovation that will improve internal efficiency or deliver greater value and benefit to customers?
  4. Are there any ancillary services for customers that might be compatible with the core business of mortgage broking but are a nonstandard business offering?
  5. How can I genuinely deepen relationships with my customers and enhance their lives beyond mortgage products and services?