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Ready for the New Year? Here’s the Broker’s Checklist for a Prosperous 2024!

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a crucial time for Brokers to pause and plan. While the festive season brings a sense of relaxation, it’s also a golden opportunity to lay the groundwork for a successful year ahead!

Think of it as a time to recharge, but also to strategise and prepare for the opportunities and challenges of 2024. That being said, we made a comprehensive checklist to serve as your guide to close off the year strong and start the year with a bang!

1. Reflect and Strategise

Before diving into the new year, take a moment to look back at the past 12 months. Reflecting on your year can provide valuable insights. Ask yourself:

  • What were my biggest wins this year?
  • Where did I face challenges, and what can I learn from them?
  • How have my clients’ needs changed over the years?

Use these reflections to shape your strategy for 2024. Maybe you’ll find a new niche market to explore, or perhaps you’ll discover a new approach to client engagement that could boost your business.

2. Update Your CRM

Your CRM is like the diary of your business relationships, and the end of the year is the perfect time to tidy it up.

If you find the business slightly winding down this holiday season, take the quiet time to go through your client list, update their details, and archive old contacts. A fresh and organised CRM means you start the new year ready to connect with your clients more effectively.

3. Dive into Market Analysis

Understanding the market trends is crucial for staying ahead. Spend some time reviewing property market forecasts, interest rate trends, and economic predictions for 2024. Then, think about how you can use this information.

For example, use your analysis to spot potential growth areas and risks. For instance, if there’s an emerging trend in first-time homebuyers, tailor your services to meet their needs.

Also take note that your marketing strategy could be aligned based on your analysis. For instance, if it shows a rise in young families moving to suburban areas, consider targeting this demographic in your marketing campaigns.

4. Build Referral Relationships

The holiday season is a great time to strengthen your connections with existing clients, and also build new ones!

Send out personalised messages or small tokens of appreciation, and subtly remind them of your services. A personal touch can go a long way in securing referrals and opening doors to new opportunities in the new year.

5. Onboard a VA

Contrary to popular belief, the Christmas season is actually an ideal time to onboard a VA and get them up to speed! This quieter period in the broking industry is ideal for integrating new team members without the usual stress. Here’s why:

  • Ideal training opportunity: With the market taking a breath during the festive season, it’s the perfect time for a VA to learn the ropes of your brokerage operations. They can get acquainted with your systems, processes, and client management techniques in a less pressured environment.
  • Ready for New Year: Onboarding a VA now means they’ll be up to speed by the time business picks up in January. They’ll be prepared to handle tasks like managing client follow-ups, keeping your CRM updated, and ensuring compliance, allowing you to focus on strategic growth.
  • Strategic preparations: Utilising this period for onboarding means your VA can become an integral part of your business strategy from the get-go. They won’t just be an extra pair of hands — they’ll be a key player in driving your business forward as the new year begins.

By choosing to onboard a VA during the Christmas break, you’re making a smart decision to ensure that they are ready to contribute effectively as the market activity resumes.

6. Prepare Your Internal Processes

It would also be helpful if you document your processes ahead of time so your VA can pick them up as soon as the business resumes. 

Documenting your processes has never been easier now that you can leverage the following tools:

1. Loom:

Loom is an intuitive video recording tool that captures your screen, voice, and face, creating easily shareable videos.

You can use Loom to create concise video tutorials for tasks like loan application processing or client communication protocols. These visual guides are invaluable for your VA, providing clear instructions and reducing the need for constant supervision.

2. Scribe AI:

Scribe AI specialises in generating detailed, step-by-step guides with accompanying screenshots.

This tool is ideal for documenting intricate brokerage processes, such as compliance checks or specific loan application steps. The guides created by Scribe AI offer your VA a reliable reference, ensuring precision and consistency in their work.

3. Lucidchart:

Lucidchart offers a combination of diagramming, data visualisation, and collaborative tools in a single visual workspace.

The mortgage brokerage process involves multiple stages and client interactions. Lucidchart helps you create clear flowcharts and diagrams, mapping out these complex processes. This visual representation is crucial for your VA to grasp the overall workflow and understand how their role integrates into the larger scheme.

7. Establish a Reward System for Your VA

Creating a reward system for your Virtual Assistant (VA) can significantly enhance their motivation and productivity. If you’re considering establishing a rewards system but aren’t sure where to start, here’s an insight into what has worked effectively for us.

Sample Bonus Structure:

  • Performance-Based Bonuses:
  • Home Loan Drawdowns:
  • For a monthly home loan drawdown of more than $2 million, offer a $75 AUD bonus.
  • Increase the bonus to $100 AUD for drawdowns over $3 million.
  • For exceptional performance with drawdowns exceeding $4 million, a $125 AUD bonus per month can be a great incentive.
  • Efficiency in Loan Processing:
  • Offer $50 per file for loans approved on the first submission, paid 30 days after settlement.
  • For files that are sent back to credit once and then approved, consider a $40 bonus per file.
  • A $20 bonus for files requiring two reworks, with no payment for more than two reworks.

Consistent Appreciation Rewards:

  • Some brokers opt to provide their VAs with a monthly allowance of $7-14 for a lunch or dinner treat, acknowledging their consistent efforts.
  • Additionally, a $100 monthly medical allowance can be a thoughtful way to show care for your VA’s well-being and contribute to their sense of security.

Implementing Your Reward System

When introducing a reward system, clear communication with your VA is key. Ensure they understand the criteria and how these bonuses align with your brokerage’s goals. This clarity not only motivates them but also ensures their efforts are in tandem with your business objectives.

Remember, every broker’s business is different. What works well for one might not be the best fit for another. Make sure to adjust the bonus plan to match your own business and what your VA achieves. This way, the rewards really make sense for the work your VA does and help your business grow in the right way.

8. Plan Your Email Campaigns

If you haven’t started with email marketing yet, now’s the time to dive in! It’s a great way to keep in touch with your clients and reach new ones. Here’s a simple guide to help you plan your content:

  • Identify Your Audience: Who are you writing to? Are they potential homebuyers, existing clients, or a mix of both?
  • Decide on Content Types: What kind of information will be most valuable to your audience? Options include market updates, home-buying tips, success stories, or insights into the loan process.
  • Create a Content Calendar: A monthly market update, a bi-weekly home buying tip, or a quarterly success story can create a balanced and engaging schedule.
  • Draft Engaging Subject Lines: Your subject line is the first thing your audience sees. Make it catchy and relevant to encourage opens.
  • Design Your Template: Choose a clean, professional template that is mobile-friendly, as many people read emails on their phones.
  • Write Your Content: Remember, the goal is to add value to your audience’s day, not just sell your services.
  • Monitor and Adjust: After sending your emails, monitor open rates and click-throughs. Use this data to refine future content and improve engagement.

Each of these steps is a stepping stone towards a more organised and successful 2024. By taking the time now to plan and prepare, you’re setting yourself up for a year of growth and achievement in the broker industry.

Ready to make the next year your best yet? Let’s chat about how you can take your brokerage to new heights in 2024!

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Chris Brown is a Director and Senior Mortgage Broker at New Vision Financial Services. He runs a Sydney based mortgage brokerage that’s servicing clients since 2015.

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Sam Panetta is a co-founder and the head of the lending department at Aureus Financial. His business helps clients get the funding that they need to grow their business, acquire their dream home and build wealth through property.

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