A mortgage broker is not simply a person who assists customers with home loan transactions. They’re a crucial cog in helping Australian’s achieve their dreams and goals.
There’s no denying that the industry has changed a lot over the last decade or so – what used to be a straightforward process now requires significant planning, expertise and technological know-how. Now more than ever, mortgage brokers are poised to grow in importance in Australia. So, with the new year upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the insights from when Mark Bouris sat down with Aaron Milburn, who has an extensive track record in banking, to discuss the keys to success for new and current mortgage brokers in 2022.
Aaron has held senior roles at Bankwest, Citibank, St George and Westpac. More recently, Aaron was General Manager of Mortgage and Commercial Lending at Pepper Financial. Drawing on all the experience of Mark Bouris and Aaron, here are the keys to success as a broker:
What to be aware of about the mortgage broking industry?
If you’re looking to join the mortgage broking industry or you’re relatively new, Aaron believes you’ve really got to love working with people and to have a desire to take a family and help them reach a better position in their life.
For Aaron, mortgage broking is “one of the most under-appreciated industries, because of what brokers do for families is just incredible.”
Aaron advises any new brokers that this is a relationship game, and when you’re working with customers, it’s all about them. Whether they have had some blips in the past or they’re looking to achieve their dream home, if you’re passionate about their success and that is a motivation for you to turn up to work each day, then mortgage broking will be a wonderful industry for you.
“If you love to see people succeed or helping people succeed, this is the industry for you. If you’re in it for 9 to 5 and just for a commission cheque, this is the wrong industry for you. You won’t believe in what you’re doing. You’ve got to immerse yourself in it and become part of the fabric of the industry in my opinion.”
What has produced the top brokers over the years?
Aaron believes that the downfall of any broker will be treating your customers like a transaction. When asked what helps mortgage brokers succeed in a complex industry, he said, “I think they treat their customers as they would their families. That’s a common thread. Some of the most successful brokers I speak to never talk about a deal number, they talk about the family name, so when they converse with me about where the deal is up to, they’ll use the family name instead of the deal name. And they’re heavily invested in it.”
“Some of these brokers are writing the loans for sons of dads that they wrote a loan for. They’ve got this beautiful book of customers that they’ve looked after as if they were their own family.”
“They’re dedicated, they really care, they know a lot about their customers. It’s not just about entering a name in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management software), they actually know their customers and understand them, and know what their aspirations are moving forward, so they’re partnering with that customer, to ensure they have a successful financial future together, not just a one-off transaction.”
When dealing with new customers, Aaron says that brokers need to be reminded that in a consumer’s mind, “they’re not thinking about the act of transacting a mortgage.” They’re focused on the dream home for the family, so as a broker “you’ve got to hold that dream and become part of it and the best brokers become part of that dream and make it happen for that family and build that excitement and momentum around that particular experience for that customer.”
Aaron shared a telling example of what it takes to succeed:
“I was down at the local cafe near my house, and I saw a broker, Robert Ward, a legend.
I asked him ‘what are you doing here?’
He said, ‘Catching up with a customer of mine.’
I said, ‘Oh cool, have you got a transaction on the go?’
He said, ‘No. Just checking in, catching up, seeing if they’re all good.’
“Robert gets it. He’s catching up with someone not because there’s something in it for him, he’s just maintaining his customers, he wants to build that relationship with them.”
“I learned a really valuable lesson that day. It’s not all about always looking for a transaction when you speak to a customer, sometimes it’s just about saying hi and just building the relationship. You can’t fake this.”
What is a common work ethic in successful mortgage brokers?
The broking industry has indisputably changed a lot over recent years and decades, and whether you’re an aspiring broker, relatively new to the industry, or have years of experience, the number one trait of successful brokers for both Aaron and Mark is flexibility.
“The most successful brokers are dynamic”, said Aaron.
“I don’t advocate for a 23-hour work day, I get that you need a break, but if you’re a business owner and you want to be successful and you want to back your customers in, then you need to do the right thing by them. You need to be available when they’re available and if your customer is working nine to five, they’re not going to be able to ring you during your business hours.”
“The brokers that get that, and have that level of work ethic, are successful.”
Many brokers have come to Aaron in recent years claiming: ‘I have customers that come to me’.
“That’s great”, says Aaron, “but the brokers that I see that are successful are still out there in the homes of consumers, prior to lockdowns, meeting with them at a time and place that suits their customer and making it about the customer, not what works for the business.”
“Now, I’m not saying that works for everyone, but the differential I see in terms of broker success, is that desire to be where they need to be to help their consumer.”