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Self-awareness in broking can lead to better success

by Zak Wilford6 minute read
Zak Wilford

A 360 recruiter is someone that touches every aspect of the recruitment process, from business development to picking up jobs, to taking the order, to search and screening candidates. In the mortgage broking game we call them a ‘one-man-band’ as they do everything from sales, to admin to marketing to finance.

In the recruitment business, the 360 recruiter is a dying breed and it’s as a result of the realisation that the job is essentially split, and within this split are two different personalities. The person who likes cold calling, chasing business and closing deals more often than not isn't the same person who likes to search, screen and manage candidates or do all the admin work that comes with it. It’s not the dollar productive portion that the sales-driven recruiters like. 

As a result more and more groups are pairing people up – one side picks up the job while the other fills it. They exploit the strengths of each person rather than training and working on their weaknesses. I think this is a trend that broker businesses need to adopt too.

The broker who is a ‘one-man-band’ has to be extremely good at managing time – from building a brand to attract clients, to processing loans, managing customers, banks and assessors and all the rest. The truth is, it’s different personalities that thrive in these different areas of business and it doesn't make sense to think you can do all of them successfully. I believe self-awareness is unbelievably underrated in the broker game and people too often focus on their weaknesses with a view to improve them. 


The issue here is the current trend within the business landscape that it’s seen to be cool and trendy to be a start-up, to run your own show and to live life on your terms. The benefits of doing this can be incredible and as someone lucky enough to say I’ve done it myself, it’s great. However it isn't for everyone and unfortunately due to a lack of self-awareness people are learning the hard way. 

I’ve seen first-hand the lack of self-awareness and patience people have when making the jump into becoming a broker. An example would be one successful banker adamant on building his own brand by starting on his own. I talked them into a meeting with a broker who has been in the game for a long time and is looking to grow the team. He put an offer on the table that included a retainer and commission split (including trail) with the view to transition to a commission-only role, effectively building his own business within another. On top of that an office to work out of, a phone and laptop, access to the in-house credit analyst and loan processor – not to mention the support of an award-winning industry broker who could provide leads to get them started. The offer was declined and instead the banker jumped on board with an aggregator and set up on his own. 

Six months later, the banker is back in a 9 to 5 on a salary with zero prospects of building an asset and trail book which they own. 

Indeed, this comes down to self-awareness: recognising what you are good at, doubling down on your strengths and finding something to compensate for where you are weak rather than focusing time on improving. 

If you’re a networker with a big personality who is a gun at bringing in business, wooing referral partners and closing deals but hates admin, then outsourcing loan processing could be a solution. However, these kinds of skills and attributes are short in the industry and a lot brokers would be happy to take on someone with strong business development acumen and pay them well. So decide what’s important and make decision that is going to provide longevity, because at the end of the day being the number five loan writer of a big group is going to make you more money than being number one in your own group that doesn't write any business at all.

zak wilford

Zak Wilford

Zak Wilford


Zak Wilford is a specialist business consultant in the finance broker space and recently joined the banking and finance division of heavyweight recruiter Randstad.


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