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To my mind, SMART is like having an automatic reticulation system watering my garden. There is certainly more work that I can do to make my plants thrive when I want to get my hands dirty, but at the very least I know the fundamentals are being covered and my garden isn’t going to die from lack of water. Nor do I need to spend hours of my own time standing around hand watering my plants, so it is a huge time and effort saver.

AFG has thousands of Mortgage Brokers who do and don’t use their SMART program, so it is a great case study of the real world effectiveness of a post sales marketing system. Since 2008 when AFG launched SMART, on average, the members who have used the system have experienced portfolio growth of more than double that of the AFG Brokers who haven’t taken it up.

As at 2015, AFG Brokers on SMART have increased their businesses by 220% over the first eight years of SMART, whilst those that haven’t have increased their businesses by just under 90%.

These results show that maintaining contact with your clients is not an expense, it is an essential investment with a very high potential payoff.

What the above graph doesn’t show is the even greater growth in the value of the Broker’s business, should that Broker ever look to sell it. A business that consistently does repeat loans for clients is worth a lot more than a business than only does individual transactions with each client, and can be sold at a much higher multiple of its revenue. This is because every client it generates has a greater value compared to a business that is only as valuable as the future viability of its initial marketing.

A truly valuable business is one that generates new clients whilst also systematically turning them into repeat clients. Each client then has a value well beyond just the trail income, because each client has a predictable number of future loans that are likely to be done for them by whoever buys your business. That is one of the reasons Apple is such a valuable company, its clients repeatedly purchase its products and applications. They make it difficult to do anything else.

My own direct experience with Brokers who do and don’t engage their clients regularly bears out the results found by AFG. From 2000 up until 2008, when I was doing a lot of online lead generation, my expectation was that the client base we were building up would see our volumes steadily grow as those clients came back for future loans. Unfortunately, only a minority of the Brokers I was working with had a post sales marketing system — and back then it was a lot harder as everything had to be done manually and mostly offline which was more expensive.

2008 was a defining year for a lot of Broking businesses, and it definitely separated out the Brokers who had a client base they were cultivating and those that didn’t – the tide went out and it was clear who wasn’t wearing bathers. New clients were hard to find, the banks pulled back heavily from lending and bunkered down, referral sources dried up. The Brokers that were left standing were largely those that had a business based on more than just Initial Marketing. Definitely they were the ones that rebounded the fastest.

In Broking, we need to be careful because our trail commission can mask a lot of business problems and make us slow to respond. Established Brokers often find that half their income is coming from their trails, so that even a 50% drop off in new clients really just translates into a 25% loss in income — at least in the short term till it starts to show in our trails.

For a lot of businesses, a 50% drop in sales means closing their doors, but as Brokers we can often ride through it. I see it a lot with sales representatives of building companies. They can make a lot of money in boom times and spend like the good times will never end, but in the inevitable bust periods they don’t have a trailing income like we do that will support them in the lean stretches.

The downside in this for us as Brokers is that we can become complacent with our trail commission of several thousand dollars a month guaranteed to come in. Instead, I suggest you look at it the other way and invest time and money in protecting your client base because that is what is going to give you a business that will support you and your family for your lifetime.

AFG’s Business Intelligence system (BI) is a great tool for getting an accurate picture of the performance and trends of your business. It’s just like having your very own virtual Business Analyst on staff.

BI is an interactive reporting tool where you can access data on your deals lodged and settled, commission payments, portfolio growth, customer statistics, and all the key indicators which let you know about the health and growth of your business. It extracts and analyses all of the data from your FLEX Applications, Contacts and Commissions on a daily basis, updating every evening so you have the very latest data to hand.

With a host of pre-defined reports, it will eliminate all of the guesswork, giving you the insight to help you make better and faster decisions. With clever reporting on your business patterns and customer statistics, you’re able to develop better forecasting and counteract any negative business trends before they impact your bottom line. This brand new Business Intelligence function is just like having your very own Business Analyst on your team.