How using OKRs can boost brokers' business in 2024

Neighbourhood Holdings marketing coordinator on a tactic that should be a key part of brokers’ approach for next year

How using OKRs can boost brokers' business in 2024

This article was produced in partnership with Neighbourhood Holdings

Fergal McAlinden, of Canadian Mortgage Professional, spoke with Jessica Yang, marketing coordinator at Neighbourhood Holdings, to hear how Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can help them build market share and streamline their business in the year ahead

With 2024 just around the corner, mortgage agents and brokers are ramping up their plans to make the coming year a successful one – and alternative lender Neighbourhood Holdings is encouraging mortgage professionals to use OKRs, Objectives and Key Results, to set goals and map progress in the next 12 months.

Those measures allow brokers to have a clear and structured approach to business goals, according to Neighbourhood’s marketing coordinator Jessica Yang (pictured top). She told Canadian Mortgage Professional that with brokers continuously handling multiple targets and tasks, adopting OKRs is an essential way of flourishing in the key responsibilities of their roles.

“OKRs help mortgage brokers clarify their objectives by breaking them down into specific, actionable, and measurable key results,” she explained.

“Having clear OKRs gives brokers a plan to follow that matches their goals with the changing market, making it easier for them to handle challenges. It also helps them to prioritize tasks more efficiently, ensuring that they focus on high-impact activities that drive growth.”

How OKRs can help brokers adapt to a changing market

Of course, with the mortgage market constantly evolving – and having witnessed plenty of change in recent times – the importance of brokers being nimble and adaptable has never been greater. That’s another reason to put OKRs into practice, according to Yang, to ensure as dynamic an approach as possible.

“OKRs enable brokers to pivot quickly in response to new changes, ensuring resilience and agility in their business operations,” she said. “By setting OKRs ahead of the new year, mortgage brokers and agents are positioning themselves to be proactive rather than reactive, laying a solid foundation for growth in the year ahead.”

It goes without saying that expanding a client base should be a key part of a broker’s growth strategy – but improving operational efficiency is also essential, Yang said, in building for the year ahead.

Neighbourhood’s senior director of origination, Jared Stanley, noted in a recent blog post that client acquisition and retention strategies are crucial for brokers, and those are other areas where OKRs can prove a huge asset. “Brokers can set OKRs around building strong relationships with clients through exceptional service and consistent follow-ups,” Yang explained, “which can turn one-time transactions into long-term partnerships.”

OKRs related to daily routines and productivity can help brokers and agents optimize their workflow, reduce admin work overhead, and spend more time on client-facing activities, Yang added, a subject she addressed in further detail through a recent blog post on habit tracking.

What should brokers be focused on in their plans for 2024?

Top of mind for brokers in 2024, according to Yang, should be a blend of forward-thinking strategies including the adoption of new technology such as CRM systems for managing client relationships and AI tools like ChatGPT for drafting communications.

“That’s critical for staying ahead,” she said. “Staying current with market trends through tools like news alerts also ensures brokers can provide relevant and insightful advice to their clients.

“Equally important is continuous learning – keeping up with new mortgage products, understanding the updated regulations, and gaining insights into market trends are all part of offering extraordinary service and standing out in the industry.”

Neighbourhood is reintroducing its OKR template for agents and brokers to prepare for the year ahead, with that framework      which has received a strong positive response in 2023 – accessible through this link.

Adopting the use of OKRs has proven a big hit for the lender, and it’s keen to share some of its most successful practices with brokers, Yang said.

“At Neighbourhood, we’re passionate about helping our broker partners succeed,” she said. “We use OKRs ourselves to stay on track and we’ve seen firsthand how OKRs keep us focused and moving forward.

“That’s why I drafted a blog last year and designed the simple OKR template that brokers can use, too. It’s about giving them a straightforward way to set their goals and check on their progress – just like we do in our own team.”

Jessica Yang is marketing coordinator at Neighbourhood Holdings, an alternative mortgage lender based in Canada.