CMP: What made you first get into the mortgage broker industry?
Asim Ali: I purchased my first home at the age of 23 using a mortgage broker, and it was a great experience. But initially I met a mortgage advisor from the same bank who said that I wouldn’t qualify because I’d had a bill in collections in the past, so he simply refused me.
Someone recommended me to another mortgage advisor from the same lender whose first question when we spoke on the phone was, “Are you able to come up with 20%?” This question was never asked by any of the other agents I met, and that just did it for me.
I realized there is so much opportunity. The other guys could have completed the transaction, but they didn’t ask me the right questions. I made up my mind that if I was ever to leave the industry I was in, I would become a mortgage broker. I formally entered the business in July 2016.
CMP: How would you describe your time in the industry?
AA: It’s been great. At first, I worked 18-hour days. I didn’t have an assistant because I didn’t know at which point I would need one. Then when I needed one, I wasn’t able to find the right fit for my business model.
The first two years were phenomenal. I did $3.3 million in my first five months, which was OK and paid the bills, but in the next year, 2017, I did over $33 million in my first full year. This year, we are hoping to crack $100 million. We are pushing every day to hit that target.
CMP: How did you achieve such early success in the industry?
AA: I’ve done everything, from knocking on doors to calling real estate agents and setting up coffee appointments on a daily basis. I have been going to open houses with them and becoming friends with them – taking them out to lunches and dinners, whatever I could do to establish relationships.
It didn’t really pan out in the first few months because I was just planting the seeds, but after six months it exploded, one after another. People I had chatted with three months ago started sending files my way because I was consistent in my approach – that’s what I’ve been told by various people.
CMP: Do you have a specialization?
AA: I haven’t turned down a client and have an equal split between A clients, B clients and private clients. It’s all been in residential deals so far.
CMP: What tips would you give to other brokers who are new to the industry?
AA: Become friends with other brokers. Talk to them on a daily basis – they are your mentors and your best tool for advice. They have been there and done it. Even if they have only done 10 files, they are still doing better than you.
You need to talk to a lot of brokers, listen to what they have to say and then apply what they are doing – kind of like copy and paste. Some people consider that cheating, but I don’t. People pick up a lot of good stuff from motivational videos and books and then apply that to their lives; it’s the same thing. Listen to other successful brokers – how they are managing the business and the things they do on a daily basis. Then apply it to your business, and you will find a lot of success.
CMP: We hear you’re also very active in your community.
AA: My background is Pakistan, so the three groups and community associations I help are Pakistani-based. The purpose for them is to bring Canadians, Pakistanis and other communities together, so there’s a wide range of people that come to these events, which I sponsor. I also volunteer at a food bank. I wish I could do more, and hopefully in the future when I have more time, I will.