The benefits of tactical communication for brokers

Applying military-style thinking to broking

The benefits of tactical communication for brokers


By Ryan Johnson

A former high security correctional officer has brought tactical communication, a form of communication often used in the defence industry, into his current role as a mortgage broker and urges others to do the same to better serve customers. 

“Communication is at the heart of every successful interaction, be it personal or professional,” said Sergio Stefano (pictured above), a mortgage broker at Aussie Prospect in South Australia.

“One of the greatest takeaways I had as a bouncer and a correction officer was the ability to tactically communicate and I’m thankful to have had that experience and use it not just with my clients but in my everyday life.”

The difference between being a prison guard and a broker

In its intended form, tactical communication is a strategic approach to interacting with people in high-stress or potentially volatile situations.

It involves using specific communication techniques to defuse conflicts, gather information, and achieve desired outcomes while maintaining a calm and controlled environment.

Stefano said knowing how to proactively guide a situation towards a pre-determined goal was crucial as a high security officer as it could be the difference between a peaceful resolution and a dangerous situation.

“It was often very stressful. You’d have two officers to 60 prisoners, and you can’t have eyes everywhere if something begins to spiral out of control,” Stefano told the Australian Broker Talk podcast.  

“You’re dealing with a variety of often confronting and conflicting situations. But at its core it comes down to employing techniques such as active listening, de-escalation, and empathy to navigate conversations and maintain order.”

In his new life as a mortgage broker, Stefano admitted that the stakes weren’t as high and scary than before.

“We are there to provide a service. The customer contacts a mortgage broker to help solve a problem and your job is to give that person guidance to solve that problem,” Stefano said.

While Stefano admitted that this approach sounded oversimplified, he said there would always be nuances in each situation.

For example, while some more experienced customers such as property investors might know what they want straight away, others, like first homebuyers, might not have a defined goal or strategy in place.

“Any broker can process a loan, but the best brokers are going to be the ones who can find out exactly what that client specifically needs now, in a month, in 12 months’ time, and five years from now, and build a strategy towards achieving that,” Stefano said.

However, the importance lies in understanding what your goal is as a broker is first.

“If you understand your goal as a broker in each interaction then you’ll go a long way to being able to tactically communicate,” Stefano said.

“Go into each situation with a goal in mind – whether it be to gather information, to remain open-minded, or provide technical advice – and think about what strategy you will use to achieve this goal.”

Mentoring tactical communication 

While Stefano has honed the skill of tactical communication through years of experience, he admitted that he too was still learning to apply it to mortgage broking.

“While I’m certainly not perfect, my role as a bouncer and a correction officer has helped me simplify this process and get to the root of it, as its quite basic in nature. Essentially, it's all about talking to people about what their wants and requirements are and how can we get there,” he said.

“That’s pretty much the same thing with mortgage broking. It’s all about how we approach a situation, talk to a person, ask them the relevant questions to get the relevant answers and give them what they want.”

Equipped with the belief in the potency of effective dialogue, Stefano is not only practising it himself but also inspiring fellow brokers to follow suit.

“I’ve just started mentoring people and I’ve been looking to implement this approach to help brokers communication whilst avoiding any drama.”

If you want to know more about Stefano’s journey from bouncer to broker, click here to listen to the full podcast on Australian Broker talk.

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