In this Q&A, The Adviser speaks to Eddie Chung, partner at BDO in Brisbane.
How long have you been dealing with mortgage and finance brokers?
For most of my career, but probably more so after I became a partner of the firm in 2006.
Do you have exclusive or multiple broker relationships?
I have a limited number of broker contacts within my referral network.
How do you choose which brokers to establish referral partnerships with?
Given that Brisbane is still a ‘small town’ compared with Sydney and Melbourne, the choice of brokers, as with other business contacts, boils down to relationships. People generally prefer to work with people they like, who can get the job done competently in a timely manner, but technical ability is a ‘given’ while personality and cultural fit is the key.
On average, how many referrals would you make to a broker in a month?
It really fluctuates because it depends on our clients’ needs from time to time. Sometimes none for a period and sometimes a few within a month.
What proportion of your new business comes directly from referrals?
Most of my new business comes directly from referrals.
Is this a two-way lead referral partnership?
Yes, it is understood within my contact base that referrals are meant to go both ways.
What are the benefits to your business of this relationship?
My business is all about providing the best quality service to our clients, so referring our clients to another trusted adviser, in the broker space or otherwise, adds value to my service offering and, quite frankly, makes me look good if the broker achieves a great result for our mutual client!
What (if any) drawbacks do you experience from your dealings with brokers?
I had an experience where the broker did not communicate well with our client who was on the less financially sophisticated end of the spectrum. The miscommunication created an expectation gap, which eventually rendered the interaction with the broker a negative experience for our client.
How should a broker approach you about commencing a lead referral relationship?
Articulating concisely the breadth of the broker’s service offering and how they work with clients is a good start.
What advice would you give to brokers who may not have a referral partnership with an accountant?
Don’t spread yourself too thin. If an accountant gets the sense that you have referral relationships with numerous other accountants out there, they may not be willing to invest in their relationship with you. Whichever way you look at it though, you should definitely get alongside a few accountants you trust to create yourself a referral network base.
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