MortgagesAug 25 2020

Why brokers are like frustrated flies

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I calculate it is around seven weeks before we put the clocks forward, the nights start drawing in and we swap our t-shirts for jumpers.

Where has the year gone? It started so well and then we got a bit distracted and, before you know it, we are taking down the summer bunting and hanging up the Christmas tinsel.

But it does feel as though we are now crawling back to a degree of normality, a sense of familiarity and, lets be honest, not before time.

I have started to catch up with people I’ve not seen all year, nights out are now out numbering nights in and I have, thankfully, started back at the gym. The latter is probably of greater relief to me as I begin the long walk back from Mr Creosote to Mr Universe.

At the moment it would appear that I am the only member thinking like this as I have pretty much exclusive use of the place. Hardly surprising when you consider my gym has suffered 800 cancellations in the month before reopening.

I can’t take any moral high ground on this point as I’ve been on the train to London four times in four months when I would normally travel in four times a week. It does feel like we are all just watching our economy crash and burn like it’s a Netflix box set, all the time hoping that Season 2 sees things turnaround. Anyone remember the phrase ‘collective responsibility'?

Anyway, I was on the bike in the gym the other day, looking more like Mary Poppins and less like Chris Frome. The bikes are positioned next to a big window and on the windowsill were a number of dead flies and a couple of live ones, banging their head against the window in a desperate attempt to get back to the outside world.

They could see salvation but they couldn’t reach it. Life is all about small margins and for these poor insects the difference between life and death was about 5mm.

Those that know me will tell you that I am never more than 400 words away from a tenuous analogy and so here it comes. The flies that were busy banging their head against the window after walking all the way to the top and back down again reminded me a lot of mortgage brokers (bear with me on this; I did say it was tenuous).

Now, I am no Dr Doolittle so I am not too sure how flies communicate and what they sound like to each other but I would imagine, as they repeatedly keep doing the same thing over and over again and achieving absolutely nothing, there will have been some very strong expletives.

In essence, 10/10 for effort lads, 1/10 for application because a couple of hours of this and you’ll be dead on the windowsill along with your mates. 

How does this relate then to brokers? Well, we speak to lots of them regularly and we hear a lot of frustrations with how the industry works and how they feel restricted by its infrastructure. They can see freedom right in front of them but they don’t know how to get there.

They want to be business people and not just a busy brokers but don’t know how to start that process. So, like those poor unfortunate flies, they are condemned to be rewarded with the madness that repetitive action often brings.

At a time when we need all the positivity we can get, I say this: sometimes salvation is so close you can not always see it.

I preach the benefits of collaboration all the time and instead of collective responsibility why not try some collective individuality? You can work together and still be your own boss.

That journey of a thousand miles has to begin somewhere so why not start by simply asking someone to open the window for you?

Salvation might be closer than you have been led to believe.

Martin Stewart is founder of London Money