Sydney-based brokerage PFS Financial Services has nabbed one of the industry’s biggest awards after its corporate strategy enhanced productivity and enabled the one man broking band to write $159.7m worth of loans this year.
After winning the Commonwealth Bank Broker of the Year – Productivity award at last Friday’s Australian Mortgage Awards, Daniel O’Brien owner and sole broker at PFS sat down with Australian Broker
to discuss how he managed to bring in 400 loans last year and 422 the year before that.
As the only one writing loans in a firm with four support staff, O’Brien brings in the majority of clients through word of mouth or repeat business without any external advertising.
From a productivity standpoint, new clients require more work to win their trust, he said.
“If it’s a repeat client, they already know me and I don’t even necessarily need to see them in person. If it’s a word of mouth client, they’ve been referred by their best mate or their cousin and the job is half done when I see them.”
Around 80% of PFS’s clientele comes from word of mouth or repeat business through its existing database and network. This was the most productive business to get, O’Brien said.
“The opinions of a third party are far, far stronger than anything that I can say or any glass trophy that I can wave in front of them.”
While PFS doesn’t have any referral bonuses for those bringing in word of mouth clients, the firm sends out a thank you card as well as small gifts such as movie tickets or a scratchie. This applies regardless of whether the loan goes through or not.
“We don’t so much reward the outcomes, we reward the behaviour,” he said.
Through this focus, O’Brien has retained a 35-hour working week despite being the only broker at the firm.
“I’m not overly ambitious in terms of getting numbers for the sake of numbers. I feel like if I maintain a certain standard of quality, it’ll be a stronger and longer term business anyway.”
This type of model can work for any established brokerage by following some easy internal strategies, he said.
“Little things like just making sure our communications are extremely thorough with clients – lots of little touchpoints along the way.”
Even something as simple as initiating contact with clients and proactively notifying them about delays and updates can save time through a quick 30 second phone conversation, O’Brien said.
“If they call us asking what the hell is going on, in their mind we’re not on top of things and we’re not in control so that same information can take a 10 minute call.”
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