Analytics is AFG’s interactive reporting tool for our brokers on SMART where they can access data on deals lodged and settled, commission payments, portfolio growth, customer statistics, and key indicators which let you know about the health and growth of your business.
A reporting tool that’s just like having your own Business Analyst on staff.
Some of the features you can take advantage of in Analytics include:
Access to AFG Mortgage Index reports
Reporting on lodgement pipeline
Top lodging loan writers
Portfolio value detailed report
SMART send information
Marketability tab to segment your audience
Analytics 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 latest data.
With clever reporting on your business patterns and customer statistics, you’re able to develop better forecasting to leverage positive trends and counteract any negative patterns before they impact your bottom line.
Learn has many training opportunities for you to learn about Business Intelligence and how to apply it to your business operations. Once you’ve integrated the instant data analysis that Analytics can provide into your business, you won’t know how you lived without it.
Are you reviewing your lodgement pipeline to enable better business forecasting?
Are you using the tool to better target your customers – going into the customer tab and looking at those with a low LVR to have focused conversations on their options from here?
Are you clicking on the commissions’ tab to review your upfront and trail to better identify any potential discharge trends to then apply to your wider retention initiatives?
Are you using it to identify which SMART campaigns you’re currently on and reviewing the feedback you’re receiving to ensure your customer service is as top notch as it can be?
Are you scrutinising the marketability of your contacts to see which email addresses you’re missing in FLEX and who you need to get in contact with?
Are you customising the right reports to best suit your business? This is one of the most powerful features of the tool that has the potential to lift efficiencies. If you need to know more on the most popular reports our brokers run and which could be of most value to you, talk to your BDM or RM today.
Each and every one of the 2,850 brokers under the AFG umbrella is different. You have different business models, and we expect you will use the tools available to you in different ways. That’s why, more and more, we are building flexible features into our solutions, helping you use the tools that work for you, in the way that works best.
We have a vast range of custom built solutions for our brokers, one item we’ve been developing changes for is our SMART website. Not only do all the integrations you’ve come to expect from us, continue to be updated and move with the diversification of our industry, but we’re continuously developing new ways for our websites to work for you.
You already know about the FLEX integrations, sending enquiries straight to your database, the over 20 embedded calculators, the constantly updated content and of course the huge amount of content we include for your social media, digital business presence and other marketing materials.
What you may not already know about:
The extra colour choices we are providing to better match your branding with your website — taking the selection up to 20.
Your expanded news article sharing abilities — enabling you to share individual articles from our entire history of online Haven editions, one article at a time, giving you a large library of social content.
You can add in even more custom content to various pages in the website.
Plus, our favourite, five brand new informative guides with your branding and contact details for customers to download from your website. If you’ve heard of the term ‘lead-magnet’ before, you will know how juicy and valuable these can be to a business.
Is your website or social media letting you down? When was the last time you updated your website content or posted an article to Facebook, allowing followers to send an enquiry straight to you?
Your digital presence is often more important than your physical presence. You think long and hard about your choice of clothing and how your office looks, have a think about how many people have the potential to see your website. Leaving a website untouched and unloved, means you run the risk of lower results on search engines and less engagement from those who do visit your site. We help take a load off by doing the updates for you.
If you’re managing your own website, there are a host of things to consider. A few that should be high on your priority list include:
Think about your target market and the words they would type into Google to find you. These are the words you should be using on your website to optimise your appearance in search results.
Ensure you have the functionality to update your website often. A dynamic website is a great way to show Google that you are paying attention to your website and your customers. Adding a short blog or article once a month is a great way to do this.
Do not make any claims that you cannot prove. If you don’t have proof that your rates are the ‘cheapest’ or your service is the ‘best’ then you cannot say it.
Visit Learn to download our advertising guide. These rules apply to the promotion of any product or service by your business. Your website is required to meet the same standards.
If you are an AFG Credit Representative, it’s important that your website and all the wording contained in it are approved by the AFG Compliance team. You can contact us at email@example.com for more information.
We don’t like to make blanket statements at AFG. Our industry works in facts, figures and codes. But the words being used to describe AFG’s National Broker Conference 2017 are worth sharing here and the 1,150 who attended will confirm them:
An industry first
The largest gathering ever of mortgage brokers in Australia
Insights from ASIC to help future proof your business
Networking opportunities to meet and learn from other successful brokers
The introduction of Australia’s first smart commercial lodgement portal, AFG Business
With so many people flying in from all over the country, the check-in time was a mix of brokers catching up, networking with lender partners, tired post-flight eyes heading straight for the coffee cart and plenty of exchanging of agendas for the afternoon.
Rob Carlton’s welcome to the conference was heard throughout the venue with our brokers always appreciative of Rob’s intricate knowledge of the industry and his ability to apply this to all aspects of his role as MC.
Thursday provided a smorgasbord of content for attendees, providing the chance to choose from eight different breakout sessions. Topics ranged from insights into Olympic competition with swimmer Cate Campbell, motivation techniques from the World Champion surfer Layne Beachley through to economic and business updates from lenders, and a change management session with TED speaker Marty Wilson.
All of the business breakout sessions were standing room only and the applause could be heard throughout the venue at the end of each session. These times also presented a great opportunity for brokers to speak to AFG’s Executive and Directors, with many taking advantage of the chance. Hearing the strategy for the business from our CEO is an opportunity that as any AFG staff member will tell you, is not to be missed.
Friday followed with a full day of conferencing content and, once again, the coffee cart was fuelling some energetic discussion, or in Jeff Kennett’s case – perhaps debate.
Highlights of Friday included:
David Bailey, AFG’s CEO
David Bailey took the audience through our plans for AFG’s future and helped our brokers get to know him better. Not only did we all learn that David’s 12-year-old batting average was abysmal, but we also heard about his passion for CX (customer experience) and advocacy for the broker channel.
David Bailey – really appreciate what this man is doing for our industry and us as brokers. – AFG broker
Keiran Evans, AFG’s General Manager – Commercial
Keiran Evans introduced the conference to AFG Business, the Australian first in smarter commercial lodgements. Keiran’s knowledge of the commercial space is an asset to all AFG brokers and his contribution to AFG Business is helping us to shape the future of this diversification initiative.
AFG Business looks like a game changer, cannot wait until this is rolled out. Will help my business a lot! – AFG broker
Peter Kell, ASIC’s Deputy Chair
Peter Kell explained topics currently under the ASIC spotlight in human speak. Peter won the crowd over with his personable presentation and the feedback from our brokers was overwhelmingly appreciative. Peter also put forward suggestions for our brokers on how they can work towards positive consumer outcomes and protect their business, encouraging them to “prove how you deliver great outcomes for your customers.”
Brokers can help to match the needs of a consumer with the right product and lender. – Peter Kell on the function and benefits of mortgage brokers.
Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, former Premier of Victoria and founding Chairman of beyondblue
The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC charged the stage and had the audience in awe through his entire presentation. Jeff helped the room to understand how to prepare themselves and their staff for change. His time on stage finished with questions from the audience with his honest and frank answers resulting in the room erupting in laughter. Jeff challenged the perceptions and predetermined attitudes to change of the audience, reminding them that resilience takes training and preparation. Jeff’s positive influence on the management of AFG resulted in a new AFG initiative launched on the same day, Healthy State of Mind.
When properly structured and conditioned, we will all get through change. Preparation is key in challenging times. – The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC on how business professionals can get themselves and their staff through change.
Andre Eikmeier, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and Joint CEO of Vinomofo
In his laconic, laidback manner, Andre Eikmeier shared with us the failures, triumphs and learnings that have shaped his disruptive wine business into one of Australia’s fastest-growing start-up success stories. The audience enjoyed listening to his personal story of resilience and never giving up, attributes that we can all apply to our every day.
Andre’s story showed how persistence and self-belief can really pay off. – AFG broker
Dr Catriona Wallace, Founder and CEO of FinTech company Flamingo
Catriona Wallace is a customer experience futurist, and she took the audience on a ride into the future, as she ran us through how customer experience technology may change the face of the finance industry. With predictions that by 2022, 30% of customer interactions in financial services will be conducted by machines, Catriona made us think about how our industry could be impacted.
Having an interest in technology and its role in the workplace, I found Dr Wallace’s presentation fascinating. – AFG broker.
At the Conference evening functions, the attendees placed the formalities of the daytime business sessions aside for a few hours of reward and recognition, and to do what many considered was one of the most valuable aspects of the Conference – networking and the opportunity it provided to share ideas, learn new things and get a better understanding of how fellow brokers operate their business.
The social gatherings were invaluable for networking. New relationships were forged and many ideas were shared. – AFG broker.
On the final night, the inaugural National Broker Conference culminated in the presentation of the following awards to our high achieving brokers throughout the country:
It was certainly an excellent two days packed full of content and the huge amount of positive response we have received is overwhelming. Our events team are reviewing all of the feedback provided by athe attendees to ensure that the next AFG National Broker Conference continues to meet the needs of our members.
There were mixed feelings at breakfast on the final morning with many lamenting the end of the Conference they’d enjoyed so much.
When large groups of our brokers gather, the comradery, spirit and supportive discussions are unrivalled in their ability to help businesses grow. The passion of our brokers continues to amaze us, their thirst for great outcomes for their customers and their advocacy for the industry is impressive.
We look forward to sharing the details of 2018’s AFG National Broker Conference with you in the future. See you there!
With mortgage brokers now responsible for more than 52% of home lending flows, Australian consumers are clearly indicating a high level of comfort with the service they receive. Today’s results are a testament to our focus on maintaining a strong core broking business, which continues to provide essential competition in the lending market and a true choice for consumers.
Our collective role is to regularly remind those around us of the value mortgage brokers bring to the lending landscape and to those Australians seeking to secure finance. If you’re after any reminders on just some of the benefits those around you may not be aware of, here’s a start…
We work at times and places that suit our customers.
We are open for business when bank branches are not.
We speak many languages and many of us are a part of communities that would otherwise not have any understanding of the way lending works in this country.
We are a highly productive variable cost base for lenders.
We provide a vital distribution channel for those lenders without a branch network.
Without the competition we help drive, prices would inevitably rise.
We spend a considerable amount of our time educating potential clients at no cost to them.
For many rural and regional Australians, we are the only ones in their local communities.
In a complex home lending landscape, we are working in the interests of consumers trying to negotiate one of the biggest financial decisions they will likely make. The probability of those consumers knowing the options available to them is remote.
Consumers are happy with the service provided or we would not have a successful business.
Please feel free to also forward your clients on to our handy Why use a broker? page.
Offering your clients a holistic finance offering is more important than ever.
Diversification of your product offerings and your value proposition helps attract a wider range of business development opportunities and it can help safeguard your income when regulatory or policy changes affect one of your market segments. It can create additional income streams and it means you can look to retain clients who may previously have looked elsewhere for other financial needs.
We encourage diversification across our broker network to help grow and protect each of our brokers’ businesses. Being able to attract, service and retain clients when it comes to their residential and business needs is key. We’re here to make that task easier than ever before.
Over 52% of Australians turn to a broker for their mortgage finance needs.
Our aim is to see similar figures across the commercial lending landscape.
Commercial finance is the new battleground, and we want to lead the charge. Today, ‘commercial’ is largely under-banked and under-served in Australia and our aim is to ensure Australian businesses have access to the right business finance, through the right channel: AFG brokers.
Our alliance with US-based Biz2Credit, called AFG Business, was formed on the back of a worldwide search for the right technology partner, and it began over two years ago. This has been no mean feat given the complexities that sit behind it by way of technology capability, integration with third party providers and the integration with our key lenders’ different platforms and tools, and most importantly, their risk and credit appetite.
AFG has invested heavily in this program to ensure it is fit for purpose in servicing our Australian marketplace which is far more complex than the US model.
The AFG Business platform is a game changer and it is an industry-first for Australia.
We are proud to very shortly be in a position to offer this to our brokers, and we’re so excited about the potential business growth this will deliver. Not to mention the impact we will have on thousands of Australia’s small businesses which are desperate for assistance, choice of lender, and access to many products not currently well known.
The platform’s patented analytics and financial services technology will provide small business borrowers with a broad range of finance options to align borrower needs with lender appetite, delivering faster and more efficient access to the appropriate capital.
The platform enables brokers to prepare a single commercial application that prior to submission can provide a list of suitable lenders with a high likelihood of approval, satisfying a wider range of commercial market segments, and giving choice on criteria such as purpose, term, repayment options and alike.
As a specialist commercial finance broker, with our new technology investments just around the corner, we’re giving you the ability to attract, fulfil and service market segments sub $1m that may not have been an efficient avenue of growth in the past. Diversifying into residential finance has also never been easier thanks to the tools and support on offer at AFG. If this isn’t something you do a great deal of now, we’re here to show you how.
As a specialist residential finance broker, we’ll help you learn the ropes, gain knowledge on talking the talk and understand how business lending can help your clients, particularly in the sub $1m space thanks to the new AFG Business engine.
The platform is designed to remove a large extent of complex financial analytics, and to use brokers’ skills for a great commercial conversation to provide outstanding customer solutions.
While AFG Business is an investment in innovation and technology, it’s also an investment in people. We’re investing and building a new opportunity for you, our brokers, and your customers to grow.
Watch this space as AFG Business is unveiled in the coming months. This is a significant investment and we have significant expectations when it comes to the difference this will make to our brokers’ businesses.
As buzzwords become more ubiquitous, it’s easy to tune out. Disruption, virtual reality, fintech, chatbots, blockchain, robo-somethings, robo-everythings, algorithms, machine learning… the list goes on.
The good news is we’re here to wade through it all for you, serving you up what you need to know when you need to know it, and breaking down in simple human-speak what this means for your business, and what we can adopt on your behalf to help your bottom line.
We do want to talk to you here about algorithms and machine learning, as we’ve been doing some great work behind the scenes in this space, and we have high expectations when it comes to the tangible benefits on offer to you as an AFG broker.
We’re fortunate in that we have a vast repository of data, as do our lenders and our business partners. The more data we have, the richer it becomes, and the easier it is to turn into proprietary algorithms which is where the real value of data lies.
In tech speak algorithms are encoded rules of operation guiding how customers interact with your products or with your services. In human speak, think how Facebook knows who to tag in your photos, think Amazon or Alibaba who know what else you may like to add to your cart, even before you do, think Uber who use algorithms to connect drivers and passengers, or drivers and hungry homebodies.
And what exactly is machine learning? Machine learning essentially means deep learning or pattern recognition — giving computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. It devises algorithms that lend themselves to predictive accuracy and uncovers hidden insights to keep businesses on the front foot, leading to strategies to fuel profitability.
The application of the algorithm and machine learning in the mortgage broking space means figuring out how different finance customers behave and respond, helping us to define ideal products, processes, experiences and messages to help create a tailored customer experience time and time again. What this enables is better customer experience, and helping build better business and better bottom lines.
Machine learning needs data, and a lot of it, and it also needs it sorted cleverly, tagged correctly and categorised perfectly, and that’s just what we’ve been doing. This sort of human recognition at computer scale can be used to drive desired behaviours into sales, predicting propensities to buy and to discharge, forecast loyalty, anticipate risk, and help better segment at customer level and better cross and upsell.
Watch this space as we roll out machine learning across our SMART program, starting with the red alert campaign as we take this powerful campaign to even greater heights when it comes to best predicting customers at risk of discharge.
Our role is to help support and help you grow your business, and we’ve talked a lot on this blog about just some of the ways we achieve these aims.
Something somewhat outside our remit, but something that is important to mention, particularly on the back of the presentation held at this year’s National Broker Conference by the Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, is mental health within the workplace.
We are not experts in this space and do not pretend to be, but there are a host of Australian businesses and online resources you can go to when wanting to learn more about the importance of mentally healthy workplaces.
If you’re humming the tune of ABC by the Jackson 5, you’re not alone. And they were right when they said it’s easy.
Helping fuel growth
It’s easy to build your business in a smart and efficient way when you make the most of the innovation and the initiatives AFG undertakes on your behalf. It’s easy because we provide training, tools, automation and integration to satisfy so many of your requirements, help mitigate the risks and leverage the opportunities.
Helping fuel competition
With growth comes success, and we’ve got a lot of success to celebrate. Broker market share continues to grow, with the AFG broker network seeing solid growth in a very competitive space, with a combined loan book that today sits at over $133B.
We also celebrate the competition and good consumer outcomes we as mortgage brokers bring to the Australian marketplace. In an increasingly complex lending landscape, mortgage brokers are working in the interests of consumers trying to negotiate one of the biggest financial decisions they will likely make, whether on the residential or the commercial front. The probability of those consumers knowing the options available to them without you and the broker channel is remote.
Your value proposition as a broker remains strong. Consumer appetite for choice and competition is high.
We all need to make sure we are doing what we can to continue to provide great outcomes for customers and build strong resilient businesses. It’s important not to be complacent and let our success stop us from continuing to improve. In an industry that can change as quickly as ours, innovation and constant re-assessment of processes and customer experience are key.
Not only are we bringing more competition to the table, we’re also helping you diversify your income to protect against, and best leverage both an ever-changing lender market and ever-changing consumer behaviours.
What more does the future hold? We’ll continue to help you stay ahead of the curve and the pack when it comes to smart growth strategies, helping you meet increasing legal and regulatory obligations, all whilst leveraging tomorrow’s technology.
If you’re keen to read more, scroll to download the PDF version of our brochure available at our recent National Broker Conference. It covers topics such as automating business growth, diversifying your business, and custom digital solutions.
Here’s our brief guide to the different types of media available to you if you’re considering paid advertising. Every dollar is precious and it’s imperative to achieve the greatest return on your investment in order to grow your business, so we’ve briefly outlined a few pros and cons about each of the main media options you have when it comes to spending your advertising dollars.
Pay per click advertising
Known as PPC, this form of advertising consists of internet ads that are run via search engines and their partner sites. You pay only for clients that click on your link, the ads can be instantaneous and very easily changed, and you can segment down your audience and select where your ads will be shown, and where they won’t – ensuring each click is more likely to be a consumer more likely to want what you’re selling. The downside is you often have to ‘bid’ for the keywords you’re looking to come up with and with competitors also wanting the same keyword searches such as ‘Italian restaurant Melbourne’ you could be paying relatively high per click prices and also be appearing in a cluttered advertising space alongside most of your competitors.
Social media advertising
Most social media platforms are now leaning more and more towards attracting the advertising dollar and it can be a very cost-effective and targeted medium to consider, particularly when it comes to a wide and targeted reach. This can be great for building customer relationships, growing your database and for the ability to connect with the next generation of customers. The downsides include the fact most people on social media are there to connect, not to be sold to, so you have to carefully consider your message and your offering so it’s not a hard sell. And be prepared for the fact that proven conversion rates are often on the low side.
Online banner ads
Banner advertising is one of the more popular forms of advertising online. An ad is produced that consumers are encouraged to click on for more information. Prices CPM (cost per mille or cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click) can be relatively inexpensive depending on where you choose to be. They are a great branding tool and are very easy to track in terms of conversion. Good design and clear messaging are important though as the medium can be seen as intrusive and annoying for people online and could lead to more harm than good. Over-saturation is something to avoid, and popup blockers are another barrier to consider. Like anything, check out what your competitors are doing and see what you think works, and what fails to hit the mark.
Television reaches more people, has a high penetration and achieves high message delivery fast, but it is expensive with both ad placement and the cost of production often prohibitive. It’s also relatively inflexible for rapid response to changes to creative, and it’s not ideal for short term planning due to the popularity of the medium with larger spend advertisers. With both television and radio, experts often tell you that the optimal frequency is between three and four times for your client to be exposed to the advertisement. The first time is when they see the message, recognition comes with the second exposure and action comes between the third and fourth time.
Radio also achieves high message delivery over time, reaches a captive audience (ie those at work or in their vehicles), is good for targeting certain demographics, but isn’t a strong medium for active response and can be cost prohibitive due to the need to use multiple stations to cover broad audiences. With radio, always look at the rate for different times of the day and think about when your target market is most likely to be tuning in. You can select BMAD (breakfast/morning/afternoon/drive) or ROS which means Run of Station which means your ad can be run anytime. Don’t be seduced into the cheaper rate as it will mostly relate to off-peak times when most of your prospective clients may be fast asleep.
Press ads can achieve high reach quickly, often has a strong local area targeting capability and has the ability to target niche demographics through tailored sections and lift-outs. It is an expensive medium if you’re looking for frequency of exposure and the cost of production (design) can also be high. Other things to note are that some of the larger metro papers will do a split between different areas, so you may be able to negotiate a lower rate if it’s only one footprint you want to be seen in. In terms of measurement, consider the circulation, which is the total number of papers/magazines printed and distributed or sold, and readership is worked out by the number of times the medium is considered ‘read’, i.e. if there are at least three people on average in households within your area, the circulation may be 1,000 but the readership is calculated at 3,000.
Something else to consider with print media is its shelf life — i.e. a daily paper’s shelf life is around 24-36 hours, a weekly paper for a fortnight or so, and a monthly glossy magazine’s shelf life can be far longer if it’s lurking about in a hairdresser’s, coffee shop or doctor’s surgery.
Lastly, think long and hard about traditional printed media and if it’s really something that still applies to the sorts of people you’re trying to attract. It wasn’t so long ago that for most businesses the weighty Yellow Pages was an advertising mandatory, and now most consumers struggle to remember where they keep their’s, or it’s already in the recycling bin. Chances are your customers are leafing through pages online these days rather than old school directories.
Where and who?
This is by no means an extensive list and we’ve left off vehicles such as outdoor advertising and promotional advertising, but hopefully this gives you a few pointers in the right direction. Like anything, always think about who you want to talk to (your demographic), what messages are most likely to appeal to them, and where they are most likely to have exposure to them.
One final word before you begin. Please be aware of legal and compliance obligations in terms of what you can say, and who you can say it to.
Have you set up your social media business pages and run out of energy or time to keep them current and updated? Don’t be ashamed, it’s ok to admit it. You’re not the only one! Many of our members tell us they just don’t have the time for social media. We hear you, you’re busy lodging deals and working through solutions for your customers. So we’ve put together a quick easy weekly timetable that you can follow to ensure that your business is kept current in the online world.
Before you start with the schedule, ensure you have decided on which networks will work for you. Do have a read through our social media guides on Learn to get a taste for what each network can do for your business and make a choice on which to use. We would advise that at a minimum, you have a Facebook and LinkedIn page set up for your business.
If you don’t have the time to get on LinkedIn with regular posts or shares then at a minimum do make sure your business profile is up-to-date, give people a way to contact you and leave it at that. The page will still come up in search results occasionally and those looking for you on LinkedIn will see that you’re a professional business and know where to find the most up-to-date information.
Click here to download a simple PDF version of our helpful weekly social media schedule of the tasks we suggest you or someone in your business completes at a minimum to keep your Facebook running smoothly. You will notice in social media, the week starts on a Friday. This is to avoid the Monday worry of not having a post ready.
We encourage you to also look at your analytics pages on a monthly basis to keep in touch with the post types and topics that work with your followers.
Don’t forget that if you’re a member of AFG’s SMART Marketing program then you have plenty of content already created for you on your SMART website, Haven, Rate Alert and make sure you read through all the guides and tips on sharing this information to make the most of the resources. Enquiries entered on your SMART website go straight into FLEX so be sure to link through to that page when you can to minimise your time spent entering information, we’ve automated this for you
If you have a question about social media and you’ve already read through all our guides and tips then you can contact your BDM, RM or Member Support for more information.