Tools of the trade

By Nick Gardner

At 30 years of age, and just two-and-a-half years into his mortgage broking career, some might say it is a bit soon for Jayden Vecchio to write a book offering tips for newcomers to the broking industry.

But the founder of Brisbane-based broker Discovery Finance, and website, and now author of the Top Broker Handbook, a downloadable book of tips, scripts and general advice for broking success, is adamant that he has plenty to bring to the table. After all, he has already written almost $300m of business since setting up – and he won three different awards in 2014 alone.

“It might appear I’m new to it but I have about six years experience in mortgage-related finance before broking – three years in Macquarie Bank’s mortgage product and credit division and about the same time at Bankwest’s commercial and private banking. So I know a lot about what lenders want to see from brokers and how to maximise chances of getting your deals through as efficiently as possible.”

So what motivated him to write launch – a site for brokers to swap ideas and discuss new tactics – and write his book?

“When you’re a new broker there is plenty of academic education and teaching about compliance but very little about how to build a network of referrers, structuring appointments, gaining the confidence of clients – all the essential skills that really make a successful broker,” he says.

“I found that very difficult to get across when I started so I thought I would pass on what I have learned.”

While Vecchio focuses on commercial and development finance, he says his lessons apply across the finance and lending spectrum.

“Number one is generating leads, and for that the most effective way is to build a network of referrers who will recommend clients to you. That is usually done by being persistent and targeting solicitors, accountants and other professionals who you can do business with. It helps if you ‘specialise’ in a particular area of broking, whether it’s investment or commercial, because it narrows the pool of people you need to network with and gives you an edge in that department, just like lawyers specialise in particular areas of law.”

Vecchio says referred leads are the best because they are ‘warm’ and you will convert more. “Simple as that,” he adds.

Advice for brokers

Like other smart brokers who have spoken to, Vecchio says building relationships is the key to long-term success, not a talent for closing the deal.

“You shouldn’t just jump into a meeting and start talking about rates,” he advises. “You have to establish a rapport. Tell them your story; be honest, open and candid. And then ask about them in detail, what really matters to them and what their timescales are.”

According to Vecchio, listening to clients is key, and identifying key points such as their ambitions, their goals, even their families and their hobbies.

“You have to embark on each client relationship as something that will last for life. Get to know their family’s names, ask after their kids, remember birthdays. The result will not only be emotionally rewarding because you get to help people that you get to know intimately, but it will then become financially rewarding because you will most likely conduct every mortgage or credit transaction for the rest of their lives. Then you will be referred to their kids and to their friends, and so the spiral goes on. If you pay that much attention to everybody, the leads you generate will increase almost exponentially.”

But above all of this, Vecchio says you have to demonstrate quite clearly how you are adding value.

“You need to inspire confidence in the client and be able to deliver on your promises,” he says.

“So you need to work hard on your network of contacts at the lenders too. Get to know the BDMs and credit managers, get on first name terms and meet them for drinks. The fact is that going direct to a bank is a lottery for a borrower, but where brokers add value is having access to these decision makers at the lenders and we need to demonstrate how that will help the client.”

Vecchio says his experience working at the banks has helped him smooth the passage of his deals.

“Banks want to know increasing amounts of detail about exit strategies, if you’re buying a property, why, what is your timescale? What is your net asset position? What security do you have? Are you buying for investment, and if so, fore what? Income or capital growth? All these details matter.

“If you know what the lender is looking for you can package an application together that immediately answers all their questions and it will go through much more smoothly.”

Vecchio says the biggest recent changes have been around lenders attitudes to stress testing for first homebuyers and also contractors compared to staff.

“There can be a $200,000 or $300,000 difference depending on what lender you go to so it’s vital you communicate that to the client. Again, this is added value. But you can only demonstrate this to clients and referrers if you get out and about and network a lot. You have to set aside the time to meet everybody and keep yourself front of their minds. Have events where you invite clients and referrers, make time to see them face-to-face. If you don’t nurture these relationships they will wither.”

And for younger would-be brokers, Vecchio recommends getting an industry mentor to learn from.

“I was lucky enough to have a mentoring scheme at university where I was mentored by Tim Brown, the former president of the MFAA. That was invaluable for me and got me into the industry. Mentors are underrated but I cannot speak highly enough of Tim and the influence he had.”


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