At Canadian Mortgage Professional’s second Broker Connect forum on Thursday, four of Canada’s top brokers, along with Mortgage Architects president Dustan Woodhouse, gathered virtually for a wide-ranging chat about life as a broker circa now.
One of the liveliest topics involved what rookie brokers need to do to distinguish themselves amongst a sea of seasoned industry vets at a time when COVID-19’s market disruption has made experience all the more valuable to anxious borrowers.
“Top brokers are having record years,” said Mortgage Outlet’s Elan Weintraub. “I think newer people are not necessarily getting in on that.”
Weintraub’s advice for mortgage newbies was simple: Work your asses off.
“When I look at this panel, this panel of top producers, they’re literally all working eight, ten, twelve hours a day, five, six, seven days a week,” he said. “How are you ever going to deliver a ton of business when you’re half an hour here, half an hour there?”
“It’s really easy to fill your day with a list full of bullshit,” Woodhouse added. “What are you really doing with your time?”
Joanna Lang of Outline Financial also had some words of advice for young brokers who may spend their days procrastinating. She encouraged them to first think about how much money they want to earn and then calculate how that amount translates to an hourly wage.
“You’re going to feel so much worse if you spent an hour browsing Facebook if you just burned through a hundred bucks,” Lang said. “Time is money here. If you’re not using your time productively, you’re wasting your time and you’re wasting money.”
DLC’s Varan Karunanantham said young brokers who only have a deal or two in the pipeline can often get so focused on making them work, despite the fact that neither is guaranteed to go through, that they let prospecting for new business fall to the wayside.
“Prospect two or three hours a day,” he told the audience, adding that brokers should be making at least ten calls every day if they want to ensure a steady stream of deals.
“Pick up the phone,” Karunanantham said. “Call people. You will get business.”
Mackenzie Gartside of Mackenzie Gartside and Associates took a different tack, encouraging new brokers to get involved in their communities by volunteering.
“Pick your passion, pick a charity,” she said. “Sit on the board and learn how a board works. If you have a genuine interest and show that you’re caring, then people will respect that.”
Not wanting to seem as if she’s there to sell mortgages, Gartside doesn’t use her volunteerism to generate business.
“I just show that I have genuine interest in the community, and I think that that feeds the business in a natural manner,” she said.
Lang said rookies need to build credibility before they can initiate fruitful relationships with real estate agents and other referral partners. She encouraged them to leverage their sphere of influence as a way of generating the kind of endorsements referral partners will see value in, like the ones visible on well-curated LinkedIn profiles.
Alternatively, she said new brokers should also consider joining a team where they can work under someone with more experience and name recognition.
“You can build your credibility under them and have them mentor you or maybe even go to some meetings with you virtually,” she said.
Weintraub jumped in to advise new agents who might find themselves in a referral competition with one of their more seasoned counterparts. In these circumstances, he says brokers should emphasize the fact that they actually have the time and capacity to provide attentive, detail-oriented service, a claim their busier, more established counterparts can’t necessarily make. Key to the strategy, however, is the new broker telling the referral source that she’s working alongside experienced brokers at a winning brokerage.
“You have to use the fact that you’re new and you don’t have a huge reputation as an advantage. Otherwise, you’re never going to get any business,” he said.
Weintraub had one last piece of very enthusiastic advice.
“Never let an unknown number go to voicemail,” he said. “If you don’t know who it is, it could be a $10,000 client. If it’s an existing client or underwriter, it can go to voicemail. Do not let an unknown number ever go to voicemail.”