I just finished up a meeting with Jason Back. For the few people that don't know he’s the Managing Director at Australian Lending and Investment Centre. A driving force that implements strategy and processes for the industries #1 Broker - Mark Davis. We spoke about a few different things, an immediate hiring need, long term recruitment goals but mostly business strategy, small businesses are facing as well as whats going on in the industry, and how the ASIC review is going to impact change. We quickly got on to the inefficiencies and issues that brokers face as an an industry. I’ve recently tried to document the fact I have intentions of changing the way brokers are recruited and find new opportunities, career opportunities that are more suitable for their situation offering a greater chance of success and making it to year 2, 3 and 4. Jason’s also has plans of his own, to “rise the tide” with in the broker space. He plans to fix another area that is also playing a role in the lack of new talent coming through. Jason is developing an education programme, alongside events he is running, sharing his insights and experiences on how a successful broker business is built on activity and processes. We both agreed the way brokers currently enter the industry is flawed, its for that reason so many don't make it to year two. Every groups is recruiting, and so many offers are based on “support”. Something that cant really be measured or defined. A normal on boarding process has milestones, KPIs, and some form of on going education but when a contractor is acting as a one man band the focus moves to sales, sales and making sure money is coming in. Part of Jason’s course is displaying this. Het outlines the way a broker operates and where focuses lie throughout year 1, 2 and 3. How a new broker will start with a focus on sales and money but to grow and be successful it needs to eventually change and become more process focused. It’s always a very engaging chat catching up with Jason and the business part of discussing recruitment needs was probably over in 5 minutes. A quick brief for an immediate recruitment need and when I brought up for more long term goals his answer was “lets give it a try.” Usually when talking to groups I explain where the site is marketed, the money invested, and the traffic. I walk them through a google analytics report of how many people go to the site and where they come from. Jason was actually the first person I talked to about my idea for a niche job board, probably around a year ago and he said then that it would be something he’d like to try. Theres benefit in being an early adopter. At the minute there is around 15 jobs on the site and over 800 views each month. I left the meeting with a tonne to think about. I was left wondering how I could implement the kind of strict structure that ALIC has developed within my own business. Its clear that the key to their success lies in the framework that has been implemented, no huge marketing budget and no special referral relationships. The office runs on momentum, all variables accounted for within a machine that is clearly engineered to near perfection. #1
The awareness of is growing and more groups are choosing to use the platform to advertise their opportunity Today I completed the profiles of two companies of whom are represented by a couple of my favourite contacts in the industry. Two BDMs that have both agreed to be early adopters of . For me it’s clear why they have both chose to support me in building this platform and why they believe in its future success. When I talk to groups about the platform and discuss the attention arbitrage in social media. I talk about Facebook ads, custom audiences and how I can get their company profile and job opportunity in front of a qualified audience of finance brokers. I walk them through my highly targeted digital strategy that includes leveraging a range of different platforms, content distribution channels, as well as different industry contacts. The first contact of mine that has signed up to be a featured brand is this years BDM of the year Suzi Trajanovski of Loan Market. Having been friends for a while we often catch up over coffee and discuss the tricks of broker recruitment as well as the benefits of having a strong online presence. Suzi has leveraged platforms like LinkedIn to get Loanmarket’s a great  story in front of brokers and drive leads. On top of that Suzi’s other business interest has grown as a result of Facebook and Instagram. Having witnessed first hand the success digital marketing can have its easy to see why Suzi was one of the first to sign up.  - The second is Adam Baker, another industry contact who I've called a friend for a while now. A fellow pom we often discuss life in aus, broker recruitment and social media marketing. Adam’s role at Rateone is to recruit and support the broker team. Since joining the team he has started creating content and posting it to LinkedIn and Facebook and has developed a personal brand that again helps him to drive business. - As result of these two contacts already having success with digital platforms   they see the job board as an opportunity to boost their already influential personal brand and promote their groups. They recognise the benefits of leveraging my marketing and presence to ensure they are seen in another place that is getting mortgage brokers attention. The secret to recruitment is to not recruit. Its to be seen in all the right places, just like marketing to consumers the leads that convert the quickest are the ones that come to you. They are already in the right mindset. This is the same, develop a visible attractive employer brand that will create intrigue and an inbound stream of potential recruits.
My last post outlined my future plans of How I will Change Mortgage Broker Recruitment. I think its also important to create an understanding of what my motivations are, and the reasons WHY I’m changing my direction. Why am I trying to change how groups find and engage with talent? Why, from a business/personal perspective does this make sense for me? My vision in building my recruitment business has always been to develop something that is entirely online. To build something with a recurring income that can be run 100% from my laptop, from any where in the world. This vision has been the main driver behind my content marketing strategy and the reason I share my experiences and ideas through a range of digital platforms. I feel because of my position in the market and the fact I've developed a strong personal brand synonymous with mortgage broker recruitment it has afforded me a an opportunity to develop into something more. The current state of the market is talent short, heaps of businesses have aspirations to grow and the lack of visibility means that brokers don't know what their options are when it comes to new opportuntites. A niche job board has huge potential upside for the broker industry it will benefit those looking to grow and those looking to make a move either into or within the industry. My plan is to have 30 Businesses who have the appetite for growth subscribe to a “Featured Brand - Employer of Choice” Package. This gives them the opportunity to sit at the top of the page in a featured section. Their opportunity is renewed monthly which means they are always seen and always visible to those looking to move. (at the moment around 800 visits per month) For smaller groups there are single job posts, these are for more specific roles like admin assistants and client service managers. This will see a steady recurring income and allow me to focus my time on a highly targeted digital marketing strategy that sees qualified traffic driven to the site and applying for positions advertised. I can be any where in the world as long as I keep up my appearances in industry specific magazines and continue to market just like I do now. The way brokers are currently recruited, especially new to industry talent often comes down to popularity or consumer focused brand. Because of competition for market share from aggregators it can make it difficult for smaller groups to play in the same arena and grow their business. aims to level the playing field, providing a cost effective solution for groups to enhance their employer brand and be seen in a place that almost acts as a comparison site of broker offerings. Ranging from aggregators, sub aggregators all the way down to one man bands who are have opportuntites available. The market is a lucrative one, and from the outside looking in becoming a mortgage broker is an attractive prospect, but at the moment we are seeing high turnover and a sensationally high figure when it comes to new talent dropping out 6/12 months into their broking career. With a range of different opportunities available, and by creating a platform that puts all employers in the same space it will allow talent to really hone in on what it is they want and find an opportunity that is the most suitable and offers the highest chance of success. Having spent two years building an audience and community that is only getting bigger, and with such highly targeted marketing products available, it is becoming easier for me to get your opportunity to the market in a highly targeted way. I will fix the talent shortage in mortgage broking, and I will do it from a beach in bali or my Grandmas house in Leavening, England, or at Home in Melbourne. If you want to hear more about how the job board works, and want to be part of my vision to change the game get intouch, whether its about creating your company profile or you have a question you want answering I’m always reachable -
  If you work in a shop and sell a jar of Marmite, the earnings are there straight away (OK I know that there are a lot more costs involved, holding stock, shop overheads etc, but let’s keep it simple for now).  In the Australian mortgage broking industry, brokers are paid by the lender once the loan has settled.  This can have a long lag time.  I’ll give you an example.  Let’s say that I meet a client in September, they have found a property to buy with a 30-day settlement date of the 3 rd October (in most cases this would be the shortest time offered).  But once the loan has settled, it’s not just a matter of “thank you very much Mr Broker, here is your cash for a job well done!”  No, not at all!  Every lender is different and has to reconcile all of the settlements before paying, some will reconcile daily or weekly whilst others will reconcile monthly.  Once reconciled they will pay the broker’s aggregator.  In the case above, imagine that the lender reconciled once a month on the 2 nd  and paid on the 9 th October a week later, unlucky me!  I just missed out this month, that means that my settlement will not be reconciled until 2 nd November and paid on the 9 th November.  Once the aggregator has the funds, they also have to reconcile as above.  Now, I am playing devil’s advocate here but it could happen at an outside chance that the aggregator reconciles once a month also and it just so happens that they reconcile and pay on the 8 th November.  Now I am really unlucky, no point putting a bet on Spurs to win next weekend!  Finally, the commission hits my account on the 8 th December just in time to do some Christmas shopping. From meeting the client and being paid for my services, I have had to wait 3 months!  I am just grateful it was not a 90-day settlement!  Not to mention the time it took to get the lead in the first place in finding potential referral partners, gaining their trust, waiting for the business to come. When a broker first starts out, the cost is not in the set-up of a mortgage business, its actually quite cheap in comparison with the Marmite seller, give me a laptop and a phone and I am away! (almost).  The cost is in the lag time. I have a couple of points to make here; New brokers joining the industry; don’t kid yourself, this is a tough gig and requires hard work and perseverance, but above all patience . If you can set yourself up so that you do not have to rely on income from the broking business for the first 6 months, then you are putting yourself in a much stronger position, the last thing you want is to be worrying about finances when you start up a business!  Desperation creeps in and that is the enemy in sales!  Before you start, make sure you have a plan in place; Put together a list of all the people that you know with their email and telephone numbers so that you can tell them of your new venture and keep them up to date. Start talking to people on the lead up so that you can potentially have deals ready to go, refinances should be fairly easy to come across in the current market, rates are lower than ever, if people have not looked at their mortgages in the last couple of years, you are sure to be able to save them money. Think about who could refer to you that you know. Do you know an accountant, real estate agent, conveyancer, developer, builder etc.?  Start engaging them now. The second point is for existing mortgage brokers; A successful month in broking can mean that you now are spending a lot of time processing deals, following up lenders and lots of admin, your eye has been taken off the ball. When things quieten off, you sit back and relax for a while, you deserve it after all you have had a great month or two.  But the problem is within the lag time we discussed earlier.  If you now put your feet up, don’t service the referral partners or stay in touch with clients, then the pipeline soon dries up and you are having to do it all over again, it will be another 3 months before you see any upfront commission.  The key is to continue prospecting even in the busiest of times, block it out in your diary and stick to it religiously.  Everyone has a different way of doing it, 5 calls a day, block out 1 morning a week, it doesn’t really matter, whatever works for you.  I personally prefer small chunks rather than one big prospecting session.  But be consistent and stick to it, your business will thank you for it. In summary, nothing happens overnight (apart from sleeping), you need to work at it, don’t give up, it will happen!  Remain with your eye on your “why?”, make sure you have a consistent sales process to follow and as long as you are talking to people, you are at risk of doing business, be open to the opportunity! Please  share this video .  If you want to read any more of my blogs you can find them here.
From Buck Rogers to mortgage broker, to BDM and back to broker...the evolution continues! 2 Years in, you can confidently say that this is what you want to do with your life, you enjoy helping people with their financial needs.  You have realised that although the job is not exactly "Rocket Surgery", it takes a lot of hard word to be successful and you need to be open to every opportunity that you are faced with.  So where to now? You have a couple of good referral partners, but the leads dependent on their busy periods, if you had more referral partners, you would be able to level this out and remove some of the peaks and troughs. Your business success wouldn’t be so reliant upon your referral partners’ success. The good news is that you now have a database of sorts, probably building at about 80 clients a year, but you have no time to manage the database, your time is spent in the business fighting fires on specific files. A settlement issue on 1 file can take you out of your business for a whole day trying to fix it up, liaising with the client, conveyancer and bank, what happens to all the other clients that need your expertise during this time? Now let’s not kid ourselves, settling $20 million a year can earn you a fairly good income, but you want to do more. How? Your time is all accounted for, how will you see more clients, speak with more referral partners, you don't have the time to take your family on that holiday you have been promising them, how on earth would you have the time to write more business!? This is where you are faced with some decisions. Do you take on a PA to free up your time so that you can see more clients? This comes with its own challenges; now you have to manage someone, pay a salary and where are they going to work? Where are you going to house them? At home with you in your makeshift office?  Maybe you decide to outsource your processing where you pay per file. The cost for this varies across the board, I have seen as low as $30 per file to as high as $500 per file. The obvious point to make here is that you get what you pay for. Also, when you are paying per file, maybe you don't send every file to the outsourcing company, maybe you just send in the ones that you are confident that they will settle, not the pre-approvals for example. Now you are having to keep two processes going, one for the outsourced files and one for your submissions that you will need to track yourself. How much are your outsourcing company doing on the file? Is it just data entry of the loan application? Does it include file tracking? Valuation submission and tracking? Managing the settlement process? Looking after discharges? Taking care of your clients’ construction progress payments? Are they communicating with solicitors, agents, referral partners and the client at milestone stages of the application process, or are you still doing this? This is the point in a broker's life cycle where the RateOne proposition really comes into its own. We will help you to implement strategies to attract and build new referral partners which will spread the lead source, which in turn will alleviate some of the business risk.  We will help you manage your database by staying in touch with your clients at specific milestone stages of their financial journey and marketing to them on a monthly basis. And that 1 settlement that took you out of your business for a day, our settlements team will be following the file up with the conveyancers and banks to ensure that these instances do not happen, and if they do, they are there to support you through the process so you do not have to get too bogged down with it.  Now what about that holiday that you promised your family? Our Co-Op style culture allows RateOne brokers to take holidays knowing that their submitted files in the system are being looked after by our experienced broker processing unit and if they need any sign ups or client interaction, our buddy system has them covered! You can go away safe in the knowledge your business is in safe hands. As for taking on a PA, our process means that you really should not need a PA until you are writing more like $40 million a year (we have brokers NOW that can attest to this). Then there is the option to outsource your application lodgements. At RateOne, every broker regardless of their level, and every file that they write regardless of the whether it is a full application or a preapproval, gets the benefit of our well-oiled machine, the broker processing unit, the team that submits and manages your deals through to settlement and beyond. I mentioned this in a previous blog, but with the complexities of compliance and with the evolving technological world, the expectations to do more than just offer mortgage recommendations to your clients, to be more of a relationship manager understanding all facets of the clients’ needs, the days of a one-man-band broker are numbered, it’s time to team up, share resources and knowledge. I found an African proverb that I think sums this up; "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". For more of my blogs and insights, you can click here.   Adam Baker was born in England where he first became a mortgage broker at the age of 23.  At 27 he was in search of something more, but unsure of what that was, he decided he needed to think about it for a while.  So he packed his bags and set of to travel the world!  The "travelling" got him as far as Australia and that is where it stopped.  Adam recruited Banking professionals for a global recruitment agency for a while, before spending 8 years working within the banks as a Business Development Manager.  The pull to return to mortgage broking was soon difficult to ignore and in January 2016, he joined RateOne Home Loans and Financial Planning to help them recruit, train and coach mortgage brokers whilst building his own broking business in within the RateOne framework.