4 phases of growing a mortgage brokerage

Building a successful brokerage is hard. Sacrifice, investment and a good dose of sweat blood and tears go into making an attraction brokerage that offers service and results that every customer wants and that every rival wants to be.

It’s near impossible to do this on your own. You need someone in your corner, showing you how to tick off the various stages of business growth so success follows your journey.

The relationship is like a marathon runner and their coach. And, just like a marathon runner, your coach won’t let you take short-cuts; trying to sprint won’t work, either.

There are multiple types of brokerages:

  • The sole broker
  • A head broker with a support team
  • A head broker with support and loan writers
  • A branch with diversified asset streams

So many business owners think their business is a success, but how do you really know? If you want to grow, you need a partner to help you judge if you’re ready for the next stage – or checkpoint – in the marathon journey.

Being your own boss

Working solo = freedom. But it can be lonely and daunting tackling the changing world of broking on your own.

To be a successful sole operator in the mortgage industry, you need to have:

  • An awesome business plan with accountability measurements built-in
  • Inside-out knowledge of your processes and numbers (i.e. you should be able to explain these clearly to a 10-year-old)
  • Technology that wins you back time and keeps relationships strong
  • A clear process for each stage from lead to settlement
  • A pipeline of leads and cash reserves to support operations
  • Existing referral partnerships and scope for new ones

Ticking off these measurements of success are not easy when you’re the broker, receptionist, accountant and coffee runner.

You need to have good systems and support people to help you achieve this – both under your roof and outside it.

A lot of successful brokers will have a Business Growth Coach with them from Day 1, honing their skills in every discipline of broking. The expert will be able to:

  • Provide the right talent identification insights to find the right people to grow a business
  • Sharpen a plan and tactics to take the business to the next level
  • Educate the broker on unearthing new online and offline lead generation funnels
  • Arm the broker with marketing and branding tools to heighten awareness and consideration in the marketplace

They also need an integrated technology solution, not just a place to store data. It needs to save them time so they can focus on increasing profitability, protects them against regulatory risks, and drives their entire business. The solution needs to have:

  • A CRM that is designed specifically for brokers
  • Automated, personalised customer communications
  • Loan information and commissions management
  • Accounting functions
  • Compliance features to keep brokers safe
  • Business Intelligence insights that show performance across broker activities

Employing admin support can be costly. Many sole brokers struggle on without it because they can’t afford to pay a full or part-time wage.

But with the digital marketplace, there are outsourcing solutions where brokers can have the paperwork of an application done for them. Even better, there are in-sourcing solutions where a team can prepare a file for processing in a consistent, timely manner. Essentially, they can become part of a broker’s team for a fraction of the cost of employing an admin. 

You need to conquer these elements as a successful sole broker before you think about expansion. But once, you have you need help to go to the next level.

A dynamite head broker

If you’ve succeeded as a sole broker, you’re in a position to build a team around you and drive growth.

It’s the job of the head broker to design a position description and KPIs for their support person that clearly defines expectations and goals.

An internal PA or CSM (Client Service Manager) will help optimise your work in the field. They’ll be a CRM ninja, populating and managing your central information hub so you can pull any report, correspondence, file or more at any time, from anywhere.

They’ll also need to be comfortable with:

  • Marketing the business
  • Handling customer enquiries while the broker is on the road
  • Self-learning so they stay up to date with new legislation, compliance and lender policies

A PA or CSM needs regular training to ensure their contribution adds value to the broker’s workflow and the wider business objectives. But it also helps if there are ways they can learn and train that don’t interrupt the broker’s activities.

Often, admin support staff sit alone in their office, all day long. It can be lonely and boring. It helps their job performance and professional satisfaction if they can reach out to other admin specialists like themselves for help, advice, or even a friendly chat.

Creating a business team

Once your back-end support is tight, you’ve developed a consistent pipeline of leads and engaged referral partners, you’re in a position to think about bringing on a loan writer or delegating more responsibilities to support staff.

How the head broker wants to grow will depend entirely on what activities they want to keep doing themselves, and what they want to delegate.

For instance, if they want to spend less time organising networking events and staff training, they’ll task their CSM with managing junior administrators with tasks that don’t require strategic attention.

But if they want to focus on driving more leads and winning business, they may employ a loan writer(s) who they can pass work to and who’ll manage clients through to settlement.

A business growth coach will help brokers make a clearer decision about the best way to expand. Their experienced, third-party perspective will deliver an objective path for growth.

Branching out for business growth

Mortgages are the central source of leads for most brokerages. But there’s scope to be so much more.

Loan Market gives its brokers the platform to be a Trusted Adviser, servicing the full financial needs of their customers through a community of products.

When a broker diversifies their services they’re breaking through to the final stage of business growth – a branch.

Trusted Advisers create ‘sticky’ relationships with the customers, helping them with:

An aggregator with connections and a diverse lending panel will best help a business owner expand their services to become a true Trusted Adviser.

A partner, not just an aggregator

Broking is damn hard work. You need someone helping you achieve success in your respective business and preparing you for the next stage of growth. Coaching, broker-focused tech and measurements of accountability if you choose a franchise that’s more than an aggregator – they’re a partner.

PUBLISHED September 27th, 2019 IN Stories and insights

Andrea McNaughton

Andrea is Loan Market’s Executive Director of Network Growth. Starting her career in real estate over 20-years ago, she has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge within the real estate and finance industries. Andrea's love for a challenge and restlessness for growth have made her an undeniable force of leadership within the Loan Market Group.