Nicole Cannon is the founder of Sydney brokerage Pink Finance and has been a broker since 2002. The experienced senior loan consultant and MFAA Community Panel member answers questions about mentoring, social media, diversification and the end of COVID-related government support.
Q: The government’s financial support measures connected to COVID-19, such as JobKeeper and rent relief, have ended. How do I support clients in financial difficulty?
A: Staying close and connected has been the key for Pink Finance. Lengthy conversations were held with our customers on JobKeeper and those who requested relief. We were checking in with them to see how they were going and how their business/work was progressing. For clients who were doing it tough, we provided individual options based on redraw/offset balance and then the implications of pausing versus interest-only payments, etc., so that medium- and long-term goals would not be impacted.
Q: How important is it to have a mentor when you are starting your career as a broker?
A: It can be overwhelming when you are starting out. Having someone who you know and trust to help you when you are stuck on a scenario, feeling overwhelmed with it all, or doubting yourself, and to simply share ideas with for business growth is really important. Finding the right person and the right structure can really help you gain confidence and momentum in this industry. Even industry veterans have their crew who they bounce ideas off to gain clarity and different perspectives. So I think having a mentor is valuable indeed.
Q: What’s the value of using social media in growing your client network, and what other forms of advertising work?
A: Social media certainly has its place. The more you invest into social media and its algorithms, the more you get in return. SEO is another strategy – again it takes time and effort to get this right. The hardest thing to work through is the quality of leads and opportunities. This can be very time-consuming, but it is a way to grow your database. I have found collaborating with other businesses has worked best for me when it comes to growing my client network. You need to find a networking group you can connect with – work with real estate agents or accountants and then sell your proposition together. Create a marketing strategy that fits you and your personality as this shows your authenticity.
Q: Working as a residential broker, what steps do I need to take to diversify into other areas?
A: Our Pink Finance fact-find discusses mortgage protection insurance, asking borrowers if they have a debt-cancelling arrangement in place should a party to the loan not be able to work. It also captures specific information for the self-employed. Self-employed customers go into our database and get targeted communications for business lending needs. We also collaborate with accountants and financial planners, so this allows us to get into commercial and business lending opportunities.