Groundbreakers / Article

Groundbreakers: Cracking the code to keeping clients

Adam Grocke

From hiring brokers on salaries to creating solutions to help brokers retain customers, former broker and technology company founder Adam Grocke has been doing things differently.

Today, Adam is CEO of Sherlok, an automated repricing and refinancing retention tool, a tool he developed to help solve a problem he had, and knew other brokers had too – client retention.

It was when being a sole operator was no longer allowing Adam to do the things he wanted that he really started to do things differently.

“Being a sole operator wasn’t sustainable for me, the hours, it was hard to scale the business, and if I took a holiday I would lose clients,” says Adam.

“So I flipped the business model, I became a kind of BDM for the business and sought out leads, while brokers I hired on a PAYG model – which was pretty unique back then – wrote the loans. It was a hard decision with a much larger hit to profits and significant investment at the beginning, but it paid off long-term.”

But, there were two problems his broking business was continually encountering. First was that they weren’t able to scale the service they were offering their existing clients from an economic perspective, and then the drawn-out process he was experiencing when refinancing clients’ loans.

It was solving his refinancing problems, which were also impacting client retention, that changed the game for Adam.

“We were using the traditional method of calling a client’s current lender, but they never gave the best rate and were always prioritising purchase settlements. Also, the bigger our loan book got, the more our trail book drop off increased,” he said.

Adam investigated the problem, calling clients who had left for feedback.

“Almost all of them said it wasn’t about their service, they just realised their rate wasn’t competitive now and took the path of least resistance, which was to go to the closest broker or the one they most recently heard of. And now people are shopping around online before going to a broker,” said Adam.

“I wanted to solve the problem for my business, but I couldn’t find any technology solutions that would help and I saw the gap in the market that we could potentially fulfill for brokers,” explained Adam.

Adam developed a tool for his own team of brokers to use, and it saw their trail book run-off reduce by more than half in six months, and their settlements also increased as they generated refinance leads from their existing loan book.

That tool is now available to all brokers and known as Sherlok, it automatically reprices clients’ rates with their current lender and detects quality refinancing opportunities, sending those leads to the broker.

Adam says brokers should be using technology to take away the low dollar productive tasks and automate, and that there will be more tools coming out on the market. He acknowledges this can be confusing, and says brokers should be careful about how, and which, technologies they implement.

He recommends brokers:

  • Understand where in the lifecycle their business is.
  • Prioritise which software or technology is appropriate for where their business is at in the lifecycle.
  • Don’t do everything at once. Start with the two or three technology tools that will give the business the highest impact for the lowest effort.

Adam also recommends brokers make sure their data is up to date and in a format that can be easily extracted to use in other tools.

Considering if they want to remain the ‘key person’ in the business is also something Adam encourages sole operator brokers to think about.

“Brokers need to continually question if there a better way of doing this and what is the effort required to make the change,” he said.

Adam came to broking after initially studying industrial design. He wanted to run a business, and together with an interest property and finance, found mortgage broking hit the mark.

When Adam started out in 2008, he says he didn’t really know what he was getting himself into and had no business experience. There was also no formal mentoring requirement at the time, but Adam called a lot of the top brokers he’d come across for advice and guidance.

“They were great in giving me part of their time to let me pick their brains about what to focus on in the first 24 months, which was all about lead generation, referrals and getting out there and driving as much business as possible,” said Adam.

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