Ring Ring ... How Much Do You Charge?
One piece of the jigsaw that is being an Independent Financial Adviser is answering the questions “how much do you charge?” and “how much can I borrow?” – even before letting me know the caller’s name…
I’m a stick of rock on compliance – most of my career has been compliance, risk management, legal and HR. So what fun I never knew lay ahead converting from “compliance” to “IFA”!
When I Started Out
I would answer with the fee, exhaust the caller with the regulatory wording in the client agreement, and set up a meeting (if they hadn’t rung off), and then start from cold at any meeting – without even being able to be indicative until I met them.
My Strategy Now
I look fondly on the days of the suicidal approach of regulation-strangling priorities ahead of just generally having a good conversation. But learning about lifestyle financial planning turned all that upside down and putting a top-quality written-down process in place transformed my confidence, my service, and my client engagement rates. Anyone who can’t learn from the generous contributors to LinkedIn is nuts and destined to fail – the skills and techniques to be successful are reflected week after week in some fantastic posts (I must mention the awesome video contributions of Neil Parker of Plan Happy as one terrific example – and Neil is funny to go with it – never ever struggled to learn when it’s a fun environment #planhappy).
So, I have a strategy that starts with imagining every caller is the most wonderful kind human being on the planet (that loves dogs). Psychological barrier overcome, I know I can be friendly even to those who are still working out if I will be useful for them.
The next part is to talk through what the caller is looking to do – rarely have they no any dreams or aspirations about what they want (and why). Once I have that I can explain that what we aim to do is to give great advice on the mortgage for their circumstances.
To understand them I need to learn about their income, expenditure, savings, financial commitments, credit profile, preferences for mortgages, and other aspects of their lifestyle. It’s really important to do this work well because all the UK’s lenders each have their own criteria for who they are prepared to lend to, how much, and in what cases – which is my job to understand.
I explain the benefit of working with us is that we search across all the lenders to find out what is the cheapest rate available based on everything set out above.
Our aim is to give the caller the confidence to know they will end up with the best deal available and save them the time & trouble searching further.
“How much can I borrow?”
I take the caller through some initial questions to get to know the ball-park figures. By now they understand why I am asking the questions and are engaging more openly with me - we have great sourcing systems at our fingertips, so we can be indicative within minutes.
Now the caller is no longer defensive – it’s much more open and they volunteer to tell me even more about themselves… so the meeting can be booked up (including Zoom if they live a good distance away or struggle during the day), knowing my interests are there’s.
“How much do you charge?”
Rarely do callers now want to know this before wanting to book a meeting, but I don’t feel embarrassed to explain the steps of the service, the research process, the recommendation, helping getting all the paperwork needed pulled together, the decision in principle and full mortgage application processes. We don’t stop there, if there’s an issue then we continue to search and help wherever we can. I still disclose our fee and when its due but only after all that – since there won’t be a meeting until the caller has convinced me we are taking this new relationship to the next level.
And finally, if the caller is on the knife-edge of committing, inviting them to look through a few of the pages on the website (www.chestnutfs.co.uk) and let me know if they would like to continue, finishes the call off positively. They are all asked to do one thing… when they call me back could they let me know if the dog picture is ok… apparently he is gorgeous!
The Financial Conduct Authority
Ian Francis is a fully qualified member of the Society of Mortgage Professionals, having built his expertise as an independent mortgage broker.
Ian is a fully qualified member of the Personal Finance Society, since 1994. He has built his expertise with numerous qualifications and professional development each year.
Ian Francis is a fully qualified member of the Society of Later Life Advisers, having demonstrated his professionalism in giving advice for those clients looking to the future and undertaking professional qualifications, as an independent financial adviser.
Ian is also a fully qualified member of the Society of Later Life Advisers retirement advice standard. He has built his expertise with numerous qualifications and professional development each year.
“If you're using an adviser, always make sure it's an independent financial adviser”
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The Times VouchedFor’s 2021 Top Rated Financial Adviser Guide
I am humbled and honoured to be recognised by our clients. I am so grateful for the work I do every day and thank you to all who have supported me throughout this incredible journey so far. Our 5-star rating is something we are committed to retaining through high-quality advice and service to all our clients.
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Main office address:
10 Newark Road,
Lincoln, LN5 9HA
The guidance and/or advice contained within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore targeted at consumers based in the UK.
Chestnut Financial Services Limited. Registered in England no 9918363. Registered office: Commerce House, Carlton Boulevard, Lincoln, LN2 4WJ
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 840940