We can all be creatures of habit – of that there is no doubt. Sometimes, even though the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, you can be worried that should you make your move you’ll find out it was all just a trick of the light, and the grass that you thought would be in plentiful supply, simply doesn’t exist.
Experience can both help and hinder us in this respect – if you’ve perhaps used a new lender that has recently launched only to find the service levels simply weren’t up to scratch, you’ll be less tempted to perhaps give other ‘newbies’ a try. Or you opt for a different sourcing system, packager, distributor, conveyancing platform – only to find that what you actually left behind was far superior or you simply can’t ‘get on’ with the new relationship.
The ‘once bitten, twice shy’ mentality might ensure you stick to your knitting and are grateful for what you’ve got, but it can also mean that you miss out in a big way. How many success stories start with the phrase, ‘I decided to give it a go’? And there’s no denying that, whatever your business or walk of life, as ice hockey legend Wayne Gretsky said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Even with that in mind, when it comes to the advice profession, there are plenty who are (shall we say) committed to their own status quo. I was asked recently what the biggest challenge has been in this business and, amongst a number, one of them has been around, firstly, encouraging advisers to take up the conveyancing advice opportunity, and secondly of course, to use Broker Conveyancing rather than any of our competitors.
The way we have gone about this has been varied – setting up a specific brand for brokers, ensuring that we had a system which was slick and simple to use, ensuring that we had quality conveyancing firms on panel, ensuring that the pricing was as cheap as it could possibly be, paying on exchange, the list goes on.
However, while we register new advisers every single day, it’s not always the case that this translates to business. Most of the time it does, but not always. I’ve had conversations with advisers who fully recognise the benefits of our proposition but, for any number of reasons, won’t make that shift. Sometimes, we will only get a case if we call a broker and they have one on their desk ready to go – but conversely, when they do use us, they tend to stay.
But, overall those advisers are not my main concern, because I know that they already ‘get’ the conveyancing opportunity that exists for them. If they’re not using us, then they’re using someone else, or have a one-to-one direct relationship with a conveyancer they are happy with. Eventually they might choose to use us, and then it’s up to this business to show them what they might have been missing.
So, what is my main concern? Well, as you might imagine, it’s those advisers/firms who do not offer this service at all. How do we go about convincing them? After all – and I’m in danger of sounding like a broken record here – why wouldn’t you in an uncertain economic environment where the number of mortgage transactions could fall sharply. If not now, then when?
But sometimes you have to be blunt, and sometimes clarion calls focusing on the client service provision, or taking control of the transaction, or ensuring that the conveyancer chosen represents the client not just the lender – as with free legals – don’t past muster.
Sometimes it’s all about pounds and pence. So, I will leave this here. One firm – albeit an estate agent – recently announced that over the course of the last 20 years it had received over £5m in referral fees from its relationship with a conveyancing panel manager. That’s £250k of income per year. Now, you might not be able to reach those heights but I guarantee there is income to be made by choosing to get involved. Income that is out there, available, and yet you currently claim not one bean of it.
Think about that for a second. Think about what such levels of referral income could mean for your business. Think about what you could do with that money. And hopefully pick up the phone or register with a conveyancing distributor like ourselves. It’s as simple as that.
Harpal Singh is managing director of Broker Conveyancing