Mario Rehayem's tips for a successful 2017

2017 will be a year of defending what you’ve already earned and aiming to attract more customers. At best you will experience net growth, at worst, you will defend the volume you’ve already earned.

How can brokers set themselves up over the next few weeks to be in a good position to kick start the year?

Whether you’ve been in business 10 years or 1 year, make sure you take a holiday! But before you return to the office, spend a day carrying out a business and self-reflection exercise. Reflect on what went well in 2016 and what didn’t. Jot down some learning’s and to do’s from both.

Answer a couple of key questions:

  • How many customers do you need to visit to land your minimum acceptable number of applications? Then how many applications do you need to lodge to convert to settlements?
  • What percentage of new business comes from your existing customers (your back book), and are you making the most of that back book? Is there a flight risk from a potential referrer?
  • What percentage of new business is coming from repositioning existing customers (churn), digital marketing, and traditional marketing?

On a personal basis you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where was your time best spent in 2016?
  • Did you allocate more of your personal time to low value activities that would have been better performed by others in your team? Or, did you invest time in the right areas - growth, strategy formation, relationship building?
  • Did you get traction, or do you need to recommit to those actions in 2017?
  • Are you a one man band that really should be a three man team? When you are overworked, two things suffer: Administration & compliance, and customer service levels. Are you, as someone who’s worth $200 an hour, keying in deals instead of paying someone $20 an hour to do that?
  • Have you achieved an adequate level of work life balance? Remember, regardless of how long a candle is lit, it will eventually burn out.

What are your top tips to brokers for achieving success next year?

  • Know your business – make a point to understand hindsight in order to forge foresight. You only know what to avoid and what to replicate when you study what has happened.
  • Stop being reactive or going with the flow – don’t enter the New Year without a clear plan. Set goals, form a strategy and choose your focus points for the year.
  • Pay close attention to compliance – make sure you know what your personal responsibilities are when it comes to compliance versus the responsibilities of your aggregator or lender.
  • Ask for customer feedback – don’t assume you know what your customers like or dislike about your value proposition. Survey them regularly. Get an understanding of what’s working and what you can do better.
  • Be good to your mum.

What new year’s resolutions should a broker have for their business?

Don’t start your year without a plan – you need to identify those sales activities you performed this year that were a one off opportunity, because next year you’ll need to come up with a different strategy to replace that volume. You should also plan to repeat those events that you can continue in 2017.

Make an investment in your education – it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, you should always take time to understand new products and new lenders.

A great mortgage broker has confidence in their product selection. That confidence comes from the knowledge of what’s available to them from a variety of lenders rather than simply relying on a handful of majors and non-majors.

Just half an hour of study a week could make all the difference to a new client and to your business.

Understand the importance of customer service – there is a direct correlation between great customer service and conversion. Spend some time understanding what it is your customers want from you, and put strategies in place to give it to them. You’ll have customers for life!