The “best investment brokers could ever make” for their business is to hire staff to help with the front piece of the mortgage broker process, according to award-winning broker Ross Le Quesne.
Speaking to The Adviser, the Aussie Parramatta broker explained, “I always had someone who looked after the loans from day one, from applications through to settlement, but [I needed] to get someone to help me in that pre-stage with the pre-work getting loan documents to clients, getting them back and checking that everything was there."
However, he said by hiring a PA for three days a week helped improve his business “within weeks”.
Mr Le Quesne said, “Within weeks, my volumes increased by $1.5 million at that point in time . But if you compare that to the salary that I was paying her, the return on investment was massive. So, [if] I’m a property investor [and] if [I] can get that sort of return by investing, [I’d] definitely invest in staff a lot earlier.”
As such he concluded, “My recommendation to new brokers or brokers who are thinking about it is to get someone to help you with that front piece... [it] is the best investment you’ll ever make.”
Asked about his insights on how best to train up a team of brokers, Mr Le Quesne noted that any new broker seeking to join the firm would have to serve a stint working in its processing team. “I guess the baseline for a broker is understanding [the] credit knowledge and then understanding the product knowledge,” Mr Le Quesne said, adding that, “Once they understand those two things, they can go out and market themselves and sell.”
“We find that 12 or 18 months of doing that and sitting in with appointments with us, seeing what we do and how we talk to a client is the best way to onboard a new broker,” he continued.
The elite broker also offered some key recommendations around how best to manage volumes. “You basically build a system and then you break it,” he said. “You do the volumes of business, and then you need to come up with something else because it starts to get chaotic. So you say, ‘Okay, how can I rein this in? What kind of system and process can I build to handle the volume that we’ve got?’”
“We are always trying to break the process because that means we’re growing, and we’re reaching to a different level,” Mr Le Quesne continued. “Everything is process-driven in our business, and we are continuing through that. We’re about to put in a Salesforce system that’s going to manage that process. So yes, it’s constantly evolving. “
On the technology front, Mr Le Quesne predicted that in the near-term the use of data would become extremely important in the brokerage space. “Because it’s a big source of your existing business,” he said.
The Aussie broker said that, specifically, having a good CRM system was invaluable as “[It] takes your thinking out of it, [gives you] that consistency, and consistency is the key”.
According to Mr Le Quesne, the core item in delivering quality service is consistency. He explained, “I might be able to give you a good result this time, but next time are you going to have the same thing?” he said, adding that "If it’s consistent every time that you deal with us, that’s what great service is.”
Touching on APRA’s recent moves to restrict serviceability and lending, Mr Le Quesne said that the changes meant, “It’s definitely got harder in that property investment space,” as there have been “constant changes over the past 18 months”.
“It’s every week that something different is coming out, [so] you’ve got to be on top of your game in that space,” he stated.
“In terms of serviceability, it’s been difficult,” he said, adding that a lot of investor do pay interest only, but even for his “good-quality clients with big incomes”, he had found that obtaining further funding for them had been “really challenging”.
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