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How Mortgage Lab grew into a national financial advisory firm without any full time admin staff



Mortgage Lab was one of our first partners to come onboard, and we have been working together ever since.
This case study takes a look at our journey over the last few years, and how Trail has helped their team to generate outstanding results.

By using Trail, Mortgage Lab has been able to double their loan writing capacity and grow to 15 advisors and without any full time admin staff.

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Rupert Gough, Mortgage Lab

“We’re processing more applications thanks to Trail.”

About Mortgage Lab

Established in 2015 by Rupert Gough, Mortgage Lab is a financial advisory group that provides mortgage and Kiwisaver brokerage services to clients around New Zealand. They operate using a remote adviser model, which provides each team member with the tools and support required to do a great job for their clients.

There are two layers to the business:

Commission-based advisors located throughout the country establish relationships with clients and look after their needs.

Rupert and the management team at Mortgage Lab look after the advisors by providing training, brand awareness and the systems to help them succeed.

“Essentially, we turn up, help clients out for free and then the bank pays us on time, every time. So we’ve got no late fees and we don’t have to charge the client anything... It is a GREAT model in terms of business.”

Most of their clients are first home buyers that have never been through the process of getting a mortgage before. These buyers quite often don’t know what to expect, so being able to spend the time helping them to understand their options and supporting them through the process is highly valued. By using Trail, Rupert’s team was able to focus more on interacting with clients and spend less time doing tedious admin.

“Using Trail is giving them the right tools for the job so that they can produce the best outcome for the client.”

What makes Mortgage Lab unique?

Rupert saw that there was a gap in the financial advice industry: helping new advisors to enter the market. To support their team, Mortgage Lab provides all of the training, tools, knowledge and support required to succeed - which is something that’s not very common among larger firms.

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The problem

Outdated systems were limiting advisors earning potential and reducing the level of service provided to clients

“Before using Trail, we used an ePDF as a data collection form. And then emailed them a list of documents and said ‘hey can you submit payslips and bank statements and things’. These came in various types and then we built a PDF around that and then emailed that to the bank.” As you can probably imagine, this took a significant amount of time to compile the required documents, and resulted in lots of double-handling of work.

“We had a sales CRM that had names and phone numbers and scraped our email addresses. But the information gathered on the PDF was not on the CRM.” Before Trail, there were no CRM tools designed specifically for financial advisors in New Zealand. While the administrative side of the job was an obvious pain point, the real opportunity cost for Mortgage Lab was the lost business due to advisors spending so much time on data entry.

“It was generally expected that with the ePDF, one adviser could do 8 applications per month, and then needed admin support… 8 applications gets you about $150,000 income, and then if you have to pay for a PA on top of that, that’s probably 30% of your income. So it’s really hard to get from $150,000 to $250,000-$300,000 and increase your profit.”

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The Solution

Less time spent on admin, freeing advisors up to focus on closing deals

When our founder, Chuck Slogrove visited Rupert and introduced Trail, he could instantly see the value that this software can provide. “Chuck walked into my office just after I had set up Mortgage Lab and I could pretty much tell that you could go from 8 applications to potentially 20 applications without needing any admin support because of the key steps that it took off the hands of the admin and into the system.”

Rupert was converted, and we have been moving from strength to strength ever since. By partnering with Trail, Mortgage Lab has been able to grow from an ambitious startup into a national brand without taking on a large amount of overheads.

“The tangible benefit is hiring less staff in terms of admin. Because of the processes and systems that it has, we don’t require as much support staff and our advisors can be out spending more time doing their business.”

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The Result

A modern advisory firm that’s ready to take on the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow

Fast forward to 2020, and Mortgage Lab is now well established with the team, tools and reputation ready for growth. Here’s an overview of the four key benefits that Mortgage Lab has enjoyed as a result of working with Trail:

Minimal admin support required

Rather than hiring a team of personal assistants or VA’s located around the world, Trail has reduced the amount of work that advisors need to do in order to succeed.
“We’ve got 15 advisors and we only have one admin assistant who works 4 hours a day. I would have 8 admin people without Trail.”

Reliable systems that perform

The true test of your software comes down to what happens when things go wrong.
“If there’s a major bug, you (Trail) will fix it in a day. You guys go out of your way to fix it real quick.”

Eliminating the double handling of information

Rupert mentioned that the most obvious benefit of using Trail is that customers can actually fill in the details and enter their data within the software, cutting out an entire step in the process.
The advisors are now able to focus on ensuring that clients have the best outcomes instead of just collecting facts.
“The other big sell is that it fills in those horrible calculators. The joy of never having to fill in one of those again is amazing.”

Advisors love how easy it is to use

Not all financial advisors are tech savvy, so it was important that we kept the user interface simple and intuitive to ensure that it works for everyone.
“Some of the advisors that are openly not very good at software have found it easy to use”

Are you ready to simplify your business?

We created Trail to streamline our previous mortgage advisory business, Mortgage HQ (previously iRefi Limited). After spending countless hours on mindless administration work, we knew that there had to be a better way of doing things.

We searched far and wide for a solution, but couldn’t find anything. So we decided to make a custom-built app to solve our problems. This became Trail: the best CRM software for financial advisors.

Book your free demo today and check out our latest product enhancements.

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