Melbourne-based elite broker Josh Egan has revealed his top tips to success and how he made it through the crucial first 18 months of broking.
Speaking to The Adviser, Josh Egan, director and finance manager at Astute Financial Melbourne City South and one of the country's elite business writers, outlined how he went from bringing home $17,000 as a new broker to writing $100 million in the last financial year.
Mr Egan, who shared his insights at The Adviser’s New Broker Academy in Melbourne, said that although he was “pretty lucky” to have a father who was a mortgage broker and learn from him, it was by reading all the banks’ policies, catching up with business development managers (BDMs) and doing the admin that helped him get up to speed.
He said: “I read as much as I could . . . and made sure I knew everything inside out. As I gained confidence with product and policy, I also gained confidence with clients.”
The Astute Financial director said that confidence is key when it comes to working with clients, even when you don’t know all the answers.
He said: “I remember that the first 40 (or so) people I saw, I was getting asked questions I didn’t know the answers to, but I would write them down and tell them I’d get back to them on that. It’s how you portray that – you don’t want to come across as not knowing things.
“If you don’t have confidence when you are talking to a client, they will see straight through you and possibly won’t use you on that basis. So, make sure you know what you are talking about and don’t promise anything that you can’t deliver on.”
After working for the family business for 12 years, Mr Egan relocated to Melbourne and started his business with Astute Financial Melbourne City South in September 2013.
Mr Egan revealed: “I had about 16 weeks of cash built up when I started my business with Astute. I was able to use that money to get myself going because I was starting from scratch with zero trail book.”
According to the broker, having “money in the bank or a plan to generate some income when you’re getting started” is key for any new broker, because it can take up to a year before any consistent money starts coming in.
He suggested that the industry average for a broker in the first year of their career is $20 million, but there are other costs to bear in mind.
“I started off in an office from day one," he said, "so I had rent for that office space, phone bills, internet, etc. All those things you have, if you are going to have an office. So, there is more of a cost to consider if you are starting out that way.”
“Some people are lucky and you might be able to get a lease with a rent-free period if you take on a longer lease. I think I got two or three months rent free when I started up. If you want to do it out of your car, you can, but you still need to cover your living costs.”
Mr Egan suggested that joining a “good broker group” is therefore a good step for a new broker.
He explained: “Compliance is one of the biggest things at the moment, so make sure your group can support you with these fundamentals so that you can get out and see clients with confidence. Most aggregator groups will have some type of training and some do it better than others, so make sure you align yourself with someone who can actually coach you and has experience with new-to-industry brokers.
“Most people are happy to share, so don't be afraid to approach fellow brokers [just] because you think you are in competition with each other; everyone has different businesses and targets.”
Have a plan
The elite business writer continued: “Above all, you need a plan. You can’t just decide to become a mortgage broker and start doing it. You need to make sure that you have a good business plan to work out where the business is going to come from, and base it off the fact that you might not earn anything for twelve months. That's the main thing. Have a plan, know where your clients are going to come from, and do that due diligence before you get started.”
It’s the support and planning that has helped him go from bringing home $17,000 around 16 years ago to settling $100 million and roughly 30 loans a month now.
Touching on dealing with “tyre-kickers”, Mr Egan said that it’s still important to treat them well.
Stating that he is now able to identify those clients who are “shopping” for a broker (for example, those that come from a referral source he does not know, or those that won’t come to the office, but instead try and make you go to their house), he said that service was still key.
“You still have to be offering them a service, because it might be that they don’t want your service now, but they might in [the] future,” Mr Egan explained.
“If you treat them badly, they will tell their friends and you can’t have that."
Mr Egan concluded: “Any person who has a house can be a potential client, anyone with a client, anyone with equipment, anyone with super (if you offer financial planning), so there are many ways you can help someone out – it’s not just about the mortgage . . .
“Melbourne is a massive place with a lot of brokers, but it’s about building relationships with people and that is how you keep clients for life,” Mr Egan added.
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