Graham Wilson Interview | Mortgage Broker | Tracker Hub Co-Founder

On the MLC Show for Property Professionals we had the privilege of interviewing Graham Wilson – mortgage broker and co-founder of Tracker Hub.

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TrackerHub was created by mortgage brokers for mortgage brokers.
TrackerHub enables mortgage brokers to track all referrals, receive automatic updates at different milestones throughout the mortgage process, resulting in mortgage brokers being able to provide live updates, and therefore excellent customer service, to clients in real-time.
  • Would you benefit from saving hours of time currently spent updating spreadsheets?
  • Do you lose track of cases and referrals?
  • Does your current system make it easy to track if introducers have forgotten to refer you cases?
  • Are you struggling to manage commissions?
  • Do you want to generate more business?

If any of the above applies to you then we would highly recommend TrackerHub as a one-stop-shop time-saving solution.

We interviewed Graham in late 2020.

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Graham Wilson Interview

Tell us about your early career please? What leads to you becoming a mortgage broker in the first place and your role at options (Options Mortgage Centre)?

– I was born at a very early age, I went to school with children and funny enough, talking about school, that leads me nicely into talking about me Mum. She had a friend called Jean the cleaner. Jean Makinson, I’ll give her a shout out. Jean Makinson the cleaner at St. John’s Primary School and her daughter who worked for Royal Bank of Scotland.

As I left school when I was 16 she said, well they’re asking for people at Royal Bank, why don’t you come and have a job interview at 16 years of age at Royal Bank in 1999. Giving my age away there. But one thing that’s funny about it is that I went for a job interview at Dixon’s, didn’t get it. Went for a job interview at Tesco’s, didn’t get it. It turned out that the Royal Bank of Scotland was willing to give a 16-year-old Graham the opportunity to join the world of finance. That’s how I got into that. I was with Royal bank until 2007 actually, until the year 2007. From then I was at Santander. Santander from then on. 2011 I became a broker. It was funny, I started doing kids accounts, doing rainbow accounts.

Then the students that would come over from abroad, I would key them and just doing all the mundane stuff whilst listening to a mini-disk. Billy Joel on repeat, it was great. Or Bruce Springsteen, even more fantastic. They used to say what you listening to? Billy Joel. Again? That was all I listened to. Kids like that keying them in, Billy Joel. River of Dreams. That’s how it worked out.

I was never really meant to be in finance. It wasn’t really something that I’d chosen as a career. I wanted to be a drama teacher. But hey, presto. Did a bit of stand-up comedy as well. Started Chorley FM amid Royal Bank of Scotland. I’ve done everything, all my passions. I’m very lucky, I’m only 37 now, coming up 38 next June.

Then 2011 I left Santander. I thought, do you know what at that point in time, my Dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness and my wife was pregnant with my daughter Ella and my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was all in 2011. My very good friend Rick, who I was sending business to from Santander through IFA for intermediaries, he was doing a great job and I thought how come he’s doing more business than I am, and I work in a bank? I thought to myself, there must be a reason. The fact that he could actually do all the lenders, all the providers, I thought if you can’t beat them, join them.

Going back to the big three, the cancer, idiopathic fibrosis for my Dad and my wife having a little one, I thought if I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it. That’s how it worked out.

2011 I became a broker, 2013 I bought into the practice, Options Mortgage Center. Bought into that back in 2013 as an equal partner. Then we grew it ever since. We’re quite fortunate. We’ve just taken on three more advisors. Sadly, Santander, they’re going through redundancies at the minute, so people need a home. Advisors do need homes and thankfully we’re there for them. It’s been a ride Sean, absolutely. Then of course Tracker Hub came to me back in 2018.

Are you enjoying it?

I love being a mortgage broker. You’ve got two hats, haven’t you, running a company. You’ve got the company hat, which is your compliance, your staffing, your payroll, your costings, your everything else. You’re working out your profit margins and everything.

Then you’ve got your other hat which is the broker side. I really enjoy being a broker. Just this morning did an income protection plan for somebody. £13 a month, but you think to yourself, it’s not just a premium. The client’s covered for £700 a month now after four weeks if he’s ill, he’s injured, his wife’s provided for and his family’s provided for. Can’t do that in many other jobs. You change people’s lives.

I’ve had pay-outs for cancer only a few weeks back for clients. I’ve saved people pounds on their mortgage. I saved somebody yesterday four years off their mortgage and they ended up paying £3 more a month.

That shows you the difference between interest rates then and now. Going from Kensington as a lender to a high street provider. Natwest this one was in this case. To name but a few it is brilliant I enjoy it.

Then of course the rewards from that leads into the fact that I can then develop systems whereby it can help the broker and enhance the broker. I’ll be honest with you from a selfish point of view, back in 2018 I started building Tracker Hub for my company. It wasn’t meant for anybody else. I wanted it to be for Options Mortgage Center. But then I thought, you know what? There’s a real gap in the market for something like a Tracker Hub system. Being able to actually give real time updates to introducers, give them a dashboard. I don’t know how you find it Sean, but spreadsheets for instance. You can have a spreadsheet for a spreadsheet and for spreadsheet’s sake.

100% and then of course you have GDPR nowadays as well. Data breaches will continue to be big news with rumours of professional hackers and solicitors now targeting group action claims. For the bigger organizations you’ve then got the duty to write to all of your clients, tell them that you have lost their email address, offer them compensation and then you see this boom in GDPR breach claims and data breach claims. It’ll be interesting to see how the courts play that out because whilst the regulations have got to be very clear it’s very difficult to keep up with the hackers, especially for your bigger organizations. You could have probably, a leading firm of specialists come in for a quarter of a million pounds and do your GDPR and you still might be playing catch up with the 22-year-old kid in his room who people offer silly money to try and hack you.


Spreadsheets…. probably the end is nigh for them. How long? This decade I guess. Best people do move away from them and the quicker people can move away from them the better, for so many reasons.

Back in 2011, I was saying about the big three things that happened in my life, and you make the jump. You make the jump to being self-employed from working in an employed environment such as Santander. From that you think to yourself, gosh, it really is all on you. It’s all on you as a self-employed broker to bring the money in and to go out there and network with estate agents, solicitors, accountants, all the people that potentially reach out to clients that obviously need mortgages, they’ve got access to people who’ve got needs for protections, etc.

Then I thought, how can I keep them updated? Back then I did fill the spreadsheets out. I thought to myself, I’ll share it on a Google drive because that’s probably more secure than actually having it password protected and this that and the other.

Gosh, I tell you, then it got to the fact that over the years I’d built up that bit of a community because people thought I’ll ring Graham, or you need to reach Graham, or an estate agent would email me the lead. You think to yourself; I need more advisors and before you know it these spreadsheets grew. It’s kind of like off Gremlins where you put water on it and these spreadsheets just exploded!

Spreadsheets were popping all over the place. I thought to myself, this is not right. Surely there’s something easier than this. Plus, they weren’t easy to read. You couldn’t just look at it and think, I haven’t heard from Graham this week and I have to update it.

So, come Saturday, I could spend three hours updating spreadsheets. My little girl would be at the side of me saying, “Dad, I need to go to my dance lessons.” “Dad, I need to go swimming.” “Dad, I need feeding.” I can’t, Ella. I can’t help. I need these spreadsheets updated. That’s kind of how that went.

I Googled it, I thought, introducer tracking, nothing on Google. Referral tracking, nothing on Google. I could never find anything that was perfect. CRM systems for instance, they have a job to do. They’re not really sales-driven systems. They are a CRM, client relationship management system, whatever it would be. On that basis, I don’t say it’s their fault that they don’t have an introducer dashboard, or they don’t have introducer capabilities, they’re just not keyed to it. Often they’re not built by the broker for the broker.

So just by pure fortunate happiness, through pure luck, I met somebody back in 2018, Johnathan Wright. Back in 2018, I told him the concept. I said I’ve got these spreadsheets. I share them with the introducer, they can see it online, but it looks horrendous. It’s not brill, it’s all manual. He said, “My God.” One, he couldn’t believe that I’m using a spreadsheet. Two, he said, “Why don’t I get something that I can use “instead of building my own?” I said, “There’s nothing.”

Then Tracker Hub kind of grew from there. We are where we are. We started developing it back in October 2017 and now we’ve got over 500 users now on the platform, which are actively using it.

But the story was, I wanted dashboards for the introducer so they can get real time updates. I wanted a system for the broker that’s easy to use. When you show it to people, they just get it because it’s built by the broker for the broker and also for the introducer.

Then it’s kind of born out of necessity. People do need something like this to make it easier.

I do take my daughter on time now to the dance lessons and on time for the swimming. All thanks to Tracker Hub. If you’ve got timetables for kids, you need Tracker Hub.

There isn’t a better feature than that.

I’ve never had a CRM system that makes it so I can take my daughter on time to the zoo.

What are the key features then for the broker? What does it actually allow the broker to do? Someone registers for the platform, what are the benefits to them?

Effectively with Tracker Hub, how it works is your company would sign up. It’s based on the number of advisors, the number of introducers of course. You get core usage of Tracker Hub itself within the system. You can then issue dashboards to all your introducers. The great news then is, it’s really easy to update them. If you’ve got your own CRM system, that’s absolutely fine. It’s a bit of a no brainer pricing. It’s very cheap to run.

Then what you can also do with this system is run it almost like a social media-type style system. You’ll bob into it throughout the day, you’ll bob out of it. Kind of like you do with Facebook, your LinkedIns and your Twitters.

What I’m finding, the user base using it like is exactly that. They’ll go into it, they’ll get notifications about new leads that come in, any feedback from introducers.

Also, the fact that when you pay introducers, you might get the procuration fee for a mortgage and a broker fee. It then flags you to pay that introducer then. It’s got a little BACS button that you would press to say, yeah, I’m going to pay the introducer 200 quid and then it flags instantly on the introducer dashboard. Anything to make it easy for both the advisor and for the introducer.

Then the introducer at year-end, they can pull off a BACS payment report for their accountant to show exactly what they’ve been paid. You don’t even have to create invoices or payment schedules or anything like that. The system does it all for you, Sean. That’s a real winner with that.

There’s loads more to it, but it’s the simplicity that works.

Plus, we’ve got refer a friend. That just sits on your website. Clients can refer and it all feeds into your Tracker Hub system.

We were talking about business to business and you’ve seen it. With business to business what will happen is if you sign up your accountant, your surveyor, an associate, a firm like yours, Sean. As far as you go, we could actually send leads to your firm, vice versa you can send them to us. Real time updates on B2B. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve never seen a system that allows that yet. That’s why we’ve created it.

If I’m a broker, I might be saying, I’m rammed. There are not enough hours in the day at the moment workwise anyway, that’s without any hobbies, and family, running the house, trying to cope with everything that’s going on in the world right now. Trying to keep an eye on marketing. The end of the year coming so it will be tax return time etc, etc. Yet another web app, another thing to log into to, another thing to sign up for. I’m going to have to try and get used to the system, but I understand the benefits in terms of future saving time……

How easy is it to sign up and hit the ground running in terms of using the system?

It’s really easy. I suppose you’ll say, well you will say that Graham, it’s your system! But I’ll be honest, if a broker creates a system, I’m not going to make it hard. Although what I will say is, it’s like Steve Jobs said, it’s hard to make something easy, but it’s easy to make something hard. Be careful how you say that, by the way!

I’ll be honest with you; it is hard work creating a system that’s very easy to use. We’ve been beta testing the 2.0 version. The idea being you have got a lot of apps and time is precious. What’s key is the fact that you use that time wisely.

What Tracker Hub’s done for my firm; I can only speak for me. I can’t see any data from any other firms or what they’re doing, but the only feedback they give is the same that I’m giving, which is, it saves me time. It’s very efficient.

You bob in and bob out. Eventually I’m hoping the big picture is we may well link up with other CRM systems. But at the minute my users like the fact that it’s actually not built in. They like the fact that it’s separate.

We’re going to have a challenge starting with 2.0, it’s called the 22-minute challenge.

If you can’t learn that new system within 22 minutes, then honestly, I’ll be shocked. There’s going to be a 22-minute challenge. Learn the system, you’ll bob in it, you’ll bob out of it. I guarantee in 22 minutes you’ll be able to use it. That’s the timeframe that we’ve spent at the minute beta testing and within 22 minutes, virtually everybody within that time will say, Graham, I get it.

I’m a technophobe as well. I don’t usually really get technology, 22-minute challenge.

Of course, it saves you hours. I’ve worked out it probably saves me about six hours a week. Between four and six hours with what it does, and the fact that I can pull off reports as easy as a couple of clicks of a button.

Update spreadsheets are no longer. I’ve not got to work out formulas and everything such as, it just does it all for you, Sean.

We have a 30-day free trial too. I’ll show them how to use it. We’ll do Zoom calls. Honestly, it’s easy.

The feedback in real time, we’ve almost made it like a WhatsApp now. When you’re signed into the product, let’s say you send me a mortgage referral. It’s all encrypted. So, you were talking about emails for instance, not encrypted, GDPR. Referrals are all encrypted. Key data is all encrypted. We sit on a London server as well, so it’s all in the UK. So, we’re all fully geared up and compliant.

But when you send me that lead in real time, I can feedback and there’s a cool feedback tool. Literally on that basis we’re connected instantly. It’s an extension via that product. You send me more, we connect. It’s all about making that bridge between somebody who’s willing to send you business and somebody who’s willing to do the business. Might not be a mortgage advisor, might be a solicitor sending the business. Might be a builder. Put them on. If you’ve got leads for a builder they can update you.

I tell you what’s really cool, got a surveyor that I do business with. I signed him up, he works in Blackburn. Great guy, William Rogers. He’s on Tracker Hub.

I send him leads and then literally he bounces the leads back to me. He also uploads the home buyer survey or the building survey on to Tracker Hub. Gets permission from his clients that he can do it, ticks the relevant boxes and instantly I can share that with the solicitor. Everybody’s got access. It’s a hybrid version between a CRM, between social media, it’s just right. It just sits in the middle.

You touched on it earlier, what can we look forward to in the next year or two in terms of where you and Johnathan want to take Tracker Hub?

We’re in big talks with various networks, talks with yourself as well about what we can potentially do together. But also, the fact that it will grow, I’m sure of it.

I want more people on the system to make use of the B2B because I think we all need to stick together. This is a platform that’s here to stay. I really do believe that. We really need it. If I search for eight years looking for this, which is exactly what I wanted to find, people must be doing the same out there. I think from my point of view, we’re going to be launching 2.0, probably December, January. We’ll continue development on that.

We’ve got ideas that you can upload documentation, that’s a good feature. Share documents with introducers and vice versa, all compliantly and encrypted. So, we’ve got loads going on.

Then we move into Australia, Canada, etc but the all-seeing eye is in the UK at this minute in time. This is where we’re focused on. Honestly, it’ll change your business. If it doesn’t, I’ll give you your money back, no problem. I’ve got that much of a guarantee.

We’re in late 2020. There are very few lenders in the 90% plus lender value space. It seems that there are many of them that want to go in there but for obvious reasons the first one doesn’t want to pop their head up because they’ll just be battered with a surge of demand.

Yeah, exactly. Although you do say that, Accord has actually put their flag up, haven’t they now. So, Accord is actually back in the market. They said they’re going to hopefully stay in the 90% bracket. It will take a lender, you’ll know yourself Sean, it’ll take a lender to actually do that, to bring other lenders to the forefront.

If one hangs around long enough and can cope long enough the others will flow.

In 2021, what do you think the availability of those mortgages will be like? Will 90/10 mortgages be available to the masses? Let’s assume they’re available throughout 2021, how do you think the criteria will change for borrowers? What do you think people should be looking out for?

Well, I agree. I think 10% deposits will be 50/50. I don’t think we’ll see them fully return. 5% deposits are obviously a thing of the past at the minute sadly. But yet, I think from what I’ve been reading, the government’s trying to put a package together as to whether they can step in to bring back more 90% deposits. Like an indemnity policy. You remember the MIG policy? Mortgage Indemnity Policy Guarantee. I think the government may actually step in for that. As far as I’m concerned at the minute, the property market is booming.

Bank of Mum and Dad are helping to fund between the 90% or the 85% to a 15% deposit. That’s what I am seeing. Whether there’s a hybrid version of a mortgage in there, which there are already some out there for now, but they’re not helping with deposits. Although in saying that, the Barkley Springboard mortgage, that’s a pretty cool one. They’re still doing 100% as long as Mum and Dad are helping to put a 10% deposit in into a bond.

Is that one of the reasons why maybe you’re going to see a lot of brokers doing more training and getting their accreditations in equity release? You get your clients, or in whatever order it is, maybe the bank of Mum and Dad go, we need to do an equity release as an example to then release the funds to daughter, son, etc. Then you keep more business under one roof.

Do you think that’s why the equity release market is going to either get the kids out of debt or to get the kids the deposit for the house?

100%. That’s exactly why it’s happening. That’s why you’ve got the hybrids such as the RIO products. The retirement interest-only mortgages.

They’re there for a reason. I’ve done a few RIOs. I’ll be honest, I think they’re great. The interest is good. Some people don’t like them because the fact that they’ve got to pay interest on it per month typically. There’s no option for roll up on a RIO. But on that basis you’ve got to be sensible. Calculate what percentage of the pension goes to the other and vice versa. If it still works, no reason that you shouldn’t consider a RIO.

But I totally agree with equity release on that. If you think years and years ago, it’s a bit of a taboo to go through the equity release process. People thought, oh my Lord, they’re going to lose the house, or this, that or the other. But since regulations tightened and stepped in, you’ve seen more and more people come to the forefront and it’s a multi, multi-billion-pound market. But it’s there for a reason. I speak to Mums and Dads all the time. They’re having to draw equity out via remortgage and it’s a good point that, Sean. I think next year we’ll see more of it actually. Mums and Dad helping. Exactly.

There’s a lot of people that are quite confident that this bubble isn’t going to burst any time soon. I suppose there are other people that are quite nervous about March. Furlough is 31st March, stamp duty holiday may be extended but as we record, it’s still on for 31st of March, that’s without considering Brexit and also steep rises recorded by the house price index. With all of them things going on, is it just a case of brokers saying, just jump the next fence that’s in front of us. We go month by month. Or do you think there’s any reason for concern in terms of what the future of the property market will be let’s say post March 2021?

It’s a good point, obviously, we’re of an age where we’ve been through a good few recessions now. You go past the last one which was 2007, but what I and the business partner say a lot of the time, especially when brokers ask us the same question, where do you see hurdles and this, that and the other, but I think the crux of it is, whether you’re in a recession or not, people still need property.

When people still need property because they still need somewhere to live, they might need somewhere to rent, obviously, that would keep the buy to let market moving. But as far as people would say, I need somewhere to live goes, when they’ve got somewhere to live, they don’t want to be paying SVR.

You’ve got the product transfer market, which to be fair, we never had really in the last recession. We weren’t really paying for PTs back then, but now lenders are.

You could argue that you only get 0.15, 0.2. 0.3 is better, but it’s not going to make up the rest of a purchase or a remortgage. I think I’m right in saying I think the market will stay steady.

I’d like to think it’s going to increase significantly on the basis that people are just that fed up with this year and COVID-19 and the lockdown, they do want to move. Staring at the same walls 24 hours a day, you get a bit of cabin fever.

That’s my thoughts on next year. I think it will do well. As far as we’re going as a company, you could say COVID’s here, but I still think that we’ve done marvellously well and I think the problem is, if you’re a one-man or one-woman band, maybe you’ve got to question whether it’s worth joining up a larger team?

Bigger is sometimes better with the support that you do get from a larger business as well. I don’t know whether it’s going to change the land that lies ahead. I think maybe it will change the scope of people as to whether they actually do carry on their own or they join another brokerage firm that’s got more admin support.

The key to this job really is the admin. It’s being able to survive the compliance, the complexities, and it’s forever changing. You mentioned training earlier. You’ve got CPD of course. We’re targeted to keep on top of it all and the changes, forever criteria that changes. For instance, furlough we’ve just had. It is difficult. I think if you’re not big enough to survive, then you may be in trouble. Just depends how your business is set up really.

What would your view be for brokers looking ahead to next year? Would you see the self-employed market as an opportunity, or would you see this as something to steer clear of? If I can solve their problems, actually I’ve done a great job for them and I can excel in a niche market. Or, would it be, I might want to steer clear focus more on the public sector if you like because I know the payslips are going to be there. I know they’re not nervous about jobs.

The trouble is you think they’re going to be there. Look at the redundancy. I touched on Santander earlier in the Zoom. I used to think that. I told you about 1999 going back to the start of this, my Mum said, you got a job for life there Graham, at Royal Bank of Scotland. You’ve got a job for life. But you don’t actually.

I am more talking about civil servants, your NHS workers, teachers, being public sector. They’re going to have a pay freeze and everything else, you can well see the government being really harsh when it comes to pay there, 100%. In the private sector look at Lehman Brothers  -I think they did a trillion in turnover during the company lifespan. A crazy figure and they went under. I don’t care how successful any private business is in whatever period, they’re not safe long term guaranteed.

Yeah, I totally agree. You would think you were safe in a bank though, wouldn’t you? That’s what my Mum was saying back then. She said you got a job for life. You get someone who works in a bank, they come to you, they do a mortgage. Like you just said, payslips. You used to think that at one time. Think would you have ever thought about going self-employed? I’d probably say, there’s more people going self-employed than there ever has been before. I like being in the self-employed sector. I like helping self-employed clients because I think they get a bad rep.

The only thing I would say is, I agree with what you’re saying Sean, certain lenders are going down the forefront of almost kiboshing lending criteria for self-employed people.

For instance, the grants. COVID, you would take the grant to help support your business. But other lenders were saying, you’ve taken a grant so you must be struggling. Actually, I’m not struggling. But if I had the business I would have written it, so therefore I take the grant. And the grant replaces the fact that I wouldn’t have struggled if the COVID wasn’t here.

I think for my point it goes back to criteria. I would take it as an opportunity. I would actually. I see next year as, if I can help the self-employed more than ever, and work with lenders because we’re part of a big network so we can shout a bit louder than some other ones.

I take the feedback on board from self-employed that say, I feel like I can’t get a mortgage.

I’ll tell you what, your profits might be showing low, but there is such things as joint borrower, sole proprietor these days as well.

It may be that we could tag on a family member who’s got that job in the public sector that you mentioned or has got stability in the private sector. Whatever it might be. Tag them onto the self-employed. When the going comes back and COVID’s history, we’re riding high again, take that person off.

Joint borrower, sole proprietor is great. Don’t pay the higher stamp duty, joint borrowers not on the deed, etc.

There are other opportunities, that’s where lenders come back.

We need to see more creativity in the market. That’s good. If self-employed borrowers came to me now and said, my profits are showing low at the minute, and I say, “Have you got your Mum and Dad?” “Yeah, they’re mortgage-free.” “Perfect.” Have they got an income? What’s this, what’s that? Are they employed? Are they self-employed? Are they retired?

I think the idea of being a broker is, don’t just speak to the individual that’s in front of you, speak to the people that’s behind them. Because you’ve got more opportunity then to actually help. Just recently I had exactly that scenario. I said, “Would your family help?” He went, “Every day of the week.” He actually had the 15% deposit, but he didn’t have the income. Dad’s gone on that particular mortgage now. It’s going through. In fact, it completes in a couple of weeks’ time. He wouldn’t have been able to do that if it wasn’t for a JBSP. It flew through. And he had a bit of adverse credit as well. If you’re talking about markets, that was adverse credit, History of a DMP and he was showing low in his profits and I still got it through on a JBSP. It’s all about the knowledge really. That’s pretty much where I stand on it, and opportunities.

If there was one takeaway for brokers next year, if you’re a self-employed broker and you’re looking ahead to next year, what do you think would be one of the things you would recommend to them if they came to speak to you? What do you think would be the biggest thing for them to be aware of?

I think it harps back to knowledge is power actually to be fair. I think knowledge is power.

I think getting your facts straight is another thing as well.

What sometimes we can be guilty of is not doing the fact find justice. We want to zip into oh I think I can help you. I can sort it out.

But actually, if you do it by stages as we used to in the old days where you do the fact find properly and you do it fully. Get to know the clients, get to know the family, get to know the remit of how things are working, then move forward at a pace that you can keep up and do your research and before you know it, you’ll come up with something… a little gold that works.

I think to take that away with you and I think that’s what they’re guilty of. The other side as well is, I’m not talking about Tracker Hub here, but building your network, speaking to your accountant, speaking to the estate agents.

Social media’s great too. We do good news stories. If anything, I’d probably say, when you do a good news story, like that lad with his Dad and the joint borrower, sole proprietor, obviously you don’t put the names on. But put the scenario on your social media page. Say, client A came, Dad B helped, before you know it, what I also do is how much we save people. Four years I took off a mortgage. They only paid a little bit more per month, but I took four years off.

You think to yourself, they’re good news stories. I put them on social media, and they get thousands of hits. I think one just the other day got two and a half thousand hits. They jumped onto our site, referred friends. Before you know it, we all need to be in it together.

The best thing I would say to a broker is don’t be alone. I’ve got a Tracker Hub community. We’re building a community on there and people are emailing me saying how have you done it Graham? How have you grown your business? They’re asking how would it work if I took more advisors on? Do you think it’s an idea if I change my office space? Should I move at the minute, Graham?

It’s more than just building a community; it’s actually building a support group. Absolutely. Get on to Tracker Hub, get B2B and get wise with your knowledge. It’s going to be key to the future in succession planning. I’m looking three years ahead.

The skill I suppose is trying to make sure, because we all fall for it, if your present is hard then you’re going to look to the future. Spend too much time living in the future and if you do that you’ll die in the present. Then if you look at the present too much, really you’re down to luck for the future to be fair. Ideally, the best people do both, I suspect, and the best businesses do both.

I think in this sector people do themselves down a little bit on the basis that compared to some of the other sectors that I’ve operated in there is far more community support and assistance to people like what you’re referencing there in terms of, I use law firms as a perfect example.

If you don’t speak to your neighbour, you could be out of business pretty soon. The problem in law firms is they like to put a massive cloak over my analogy of a skyscraper. They’d be quite happy for all the other skyscrapers to fall down. That’s not the individuals, there’s a lot of great individuals in that sector. But there’s no sharing of ideas in that way. In other sectors it’s similar.

I’m not saying you reveal your introducer list and go, why don’t you take my introducers off me? I’m not saying anything as silly as that. But I do that that the ability to communicate and get proper support and advice from people who are actually living it.

It’s like a 20-year-old business coach on Instagram popping up. It’s like, give me a break, mate. I’d actually rather ask someone that’s failed. It also depends on how long ago you succeeded. No good telling me you succeeded 10 years ago. Facebook had only just been invented then. You might have built your business 10 years ago on email marketing with an 80% open rate. What’s that to me now?

In a way I’d rather have someone go, do you know what? I did this, I did that. This is where things went wrong. That’s how you learn. You fall over, you get back up. To a certain extent I think that’s crucial.

I do think people in this sector will receive great support when they do reach out. I would not hesitate for the doors that might get slammed in your face, or the people that may not be that responsive, I would say it’s well worth it. It’s well worth kissing enough frogs to get the prince!

I think that is it and I think don’t be alone. Especially if it’s the case that you are a one-man or a one-woman band. It can be a lonely job.

My Dad was a lorry driver and I feel as alone as him. When I’m just sat here, although you’re talking to people, you are still alone actually because it’s down to yourself as the individual to get the job done.

I agree with what you’re saying, sometimes as a broker, we forget we can be the last chance saloon for somebody. They’ll go to the bank or they’ll go online and if they get a decline, they’re shot. They think, my God. My earth’s imploded. I can’t do it. I’ll be honest, we’ve still been writing business amid COVID.

People have been gob smacked because they’ve been turned down at the bank. I’ve actually had times where a certain bank has declined a mortgage, they’ve come to me as a broker and I’ve got it agreed with that bank that declined them in the first place. How does that work? Unbelievable.

So, you think to yourself there’s something sadly wrong somewhere because the knowledge in the bank probably is not there anymore. They don’t train them up correctly. That’s one thing we pride ourselves on, knowledge is power.

Training is key and networking, honestly, there’s nothing better. What you can say then is, if you have got Tracker Hub, or you’ve got other means of sharing information, how powerful is it in real time to give your introducers a dashboard?

They become part of your business, they become part of your organization and your steer group. There are big things to come with it. We’ve got a lot of plans for it. I think next year will be interesting as a broker. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. In fact, I’m proud of what everybody’s doing in financial services across the UK. I think it’s good. We just need to be a bit more creative and hope that everybody prospers.