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How to grow your client base

Five things to explore when looking to grow your client portfolio in 2020.

Wednesday, January 29th 2020, 1:12PM

by Adrienne Church

For many brokers and advisers, the pending changes regarding new legislation and licensing requirements may have you feeling a little uncertain. But for those willing to adapt, grow and seek new opportunities, the industry is undergoing an exciting revolution.

But how can you spot these opportunities and capitalise on them to grow your own client base and ultimately, your business in 2020?

1. Embrace new lenders

With banks and traditional lenders tightening credit conditions, the steady stream of alternative and non-bank lenders entering the New Zealand market are a great resource for brokers and advisers to tap into.

Gaining a good understanding of these players and the products and services they offer can give you a competitive edge. Whether your client needs speed, service or funding that doesn’t require asset security upfront, the more options you’re across, the more solutions you can offer to address their specific needs.

Your knowledge and understanding of the sector also reassures them that you’re the expert. So providing choices and identifying the best fit goes a long way in building trust – increasing the likelihood of repeat business and personal referrals.

2. Work your existing networks

Your existing relationships can be a great source of new business leads. Consult and collaborate with those you often come in contact with – colleagues, accountants, book-keepers, lawyers – to see if there are opportunities where you can work together to help small business clients.

If you already have a good working relationship, chances are, they’ll refer you to other clients in need of funding support. In addition, leverage your lending partners and work with trusted business development managers to find the best solutions for your clients.

These relationships can be long-standing and mutually beneficial in driving positive business outcomes for all parties.

3. Diversify your offering

"Diversification" has become a buzzword in the industry. As the market expands, being able to support your clients holistically, with a broad variety of financial needs is becoming increasingly important.

There are opportunities that exist beyond your typical proposition that can help expand your client base – without having to start from scratch. As 97% of the country’s enterprises are made up of small businesses, it’s likely that many of your existing mortgage or insurance clients are also owners of a small business.

Small business lending can often be a natural extension to your core offering, as experience in running your own venture (as an SME owner, sole trader or part of a small team) is commonplace in the industry. You understand the pain points of small business, such as tight resourcing and cash flow squeezes, and can empathise and help identify the issues and opportunities within small businesses. 

You already have a register of clients who trust and consult you, so it’s a great opportunity to be able to advise and offer them a more well-rounded suite of options.

4. Establish an online presence 

Having an online footprint in today’s world is crucial, so establishing a website and a social media presence can be hugely beneficial. They’re cost effective and will often be the first place people visit, to work out whether you’re the right fit for them.

There are plenty of templates and online resources that can make set-up simple. Some lenders actually offer marketing assets that can be customised for social media and web promotions, such as dynamic landing pages.

Consider maximising channel exposure by setting aside some spend for these platforms. You can identify targets, reach a wider demographic and track your efforts which can help with establishing a digital strategy. Even for sole operators, a small investment in Google AdWords or social media boosting can help position you in front of new prospects and help with your search optimisation.

5. Don’t underestimate the power of customer service 

While the landscape is evolving, one thing that remains unchanged is that customer service reigns supreme. Generally speaking, if you remain focused on the needs of the client, deliver solutions that are fit for purpose and are a friendly communicator, your reputation should stand you in good stead.

This also applies to your lending partners, so be mindful of their reputation for customer service. When exploring options, user-generated reviews and ratings such as Trustpilot Scores can be a good indicator.

Referrals from family, friends and colleagues are still the most trusted sources of influence and can go a long way to growing your client base.

Check in with your clients regularly and ask for feedback on how to improve your services too. Encouraging them to leave reviews on your online platforms can also help boost your profile and be a great source of positive promotion.

Set yourself up for success in 2020 and start exploring growth opportunities now. They exist in many places; you just have to be willing to step outside the box to find them.


Adrienne Church is the general manager of Prospa New Zealand, the small business lending specialist.

Adrienne Church is the general manager of Prospa New Zealand, the small business lending specialist.

Tags: Adrienne Church Mortgage Advisers mortgages non-bank lenders Prospa

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 3.19 3.19 3.49
AIA Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 ▼3.39
ANZ Special - ▼2.55 ▼2.69 ▼2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 3.19 3.19 3.49
ASB Bank Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
Bluestone 4.44 4.44 4.44 4.44
BNZ - Classic - 2.65 2.69 2.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 3.25 3.29 3.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 3.35 3.85 -
Heartland 3.95 2.89 2.97 3.39
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 4.35 4.45 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.60 2.65 2.80
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 3.99 2.58 2.68 2.79
Kainga Ora 4.43 3.29 3.39 3.85
Kiwibank 3.40 3.40 3.54 4.00
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset - - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.65 2.79 3.25
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.45 3.49 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac 3.49 3.45 3.39 3.69
SBS Bank 4.54 3.29 3.19 3.49
SBS Bank Special - 2.79 2.69 2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 ▼2.69 ▼2.75 ▼2.99
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 ▼3.19 ▼3.25 ▼3.49
TSB Bank 5.34 ▼3.35 3.49 3.79
TSB Special 4.54 ▼2.55 2.69 2.99
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.75 3.99 -
Westpac 4.59 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - ▼2.55 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 3.19 3.22 3.39

Last updated: 10 July 2020 9:02am

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