CMP: What made you first get into the mortgage broker industry?
Jillian Sparrow: My entrance into the industry was kind of a fluke. I had started my own business a couple of years prior – a small aesthetics studio – and met my principal broker while working there; she was a client. We got to know each other, and she found out that I was looking to do something different.
She knew that I had a commerce degree and had worked in advertising in the past, and she suggested the idea of becoming a broker. I was really intrigued. I spent time shadowing her and learning more about the industry and just fell in love instantly. I knew it was going to be a great fit.
CMP: How would you describe your time in the industry?
JS: It has been a whirlwind. I jumped right in and have experienced a lot of growth quite quickly. In my first year, I was laying the groundwork for a really big second year where I just about tripled my first year, which was awesome.
In recent years, we have had a ton of change in the industry, so it has been a big learning curve for me, as well as for seasoned veterans. I think it has been a good time to enter the industry because I haven’t had to relearn anything – I’m learning all of the new processes and rules as I go.
CMP: What strategies have you implemented to achieve such growth so early in your career as a broker?
JS: I have done a lot of reaching out to my existing network. My client base from my previous business has been a huge source of business and referrals. I had gotten to know clients really well, and as soon as they knew about my new venture, they started reaching out and referring friends and family, so that has been great.
This year especially, I have seen a ton of referrals, which to me is the biggest compliment. I have also been doing some social media advertising and some Google AdWords, so that contributes, but it’s not the main source – that’s my existing network.
I also stay in touch with current clients. I’m just wrapping up my third year in the business, and I’ve had a lot of repeat clients already. I’m already seeing the value in staying in touch. I am touching base yearly, if not more, with all of my clients so that I stay top of mind when they are ready to purchase something else or make a change.
CMP: What do you think it is about your approach that compels people to refer you so eagerly?
JS: I think it’s all about providing a really personalized experience, which was my strategy in my previous business. It’s about really getting to know people and making them feel valued, getting invested in their story and making sure they understand who I am.
You have clients who prefer to keep the process as simple as possible and only want essential information, but you also have other clients who need you to touch base with them every day, every step of the way. It’s important for me to figure out from the get-go how each client works and then cater to them.
I really love working with first-time homebuyers and have had the pleasure of helping many already. I find they especially need to be walked through the entire process. When they know I will inform them when things need to happen, they can sit back and relax rather than panic.
CMP: What are your areas of focus?
JS: I am based in Saskatoon, and I do quite a few deals there, but I focus on the province as a whole.
I grew up in a smaller city here, so it has been great to get back to my roots and reach out to that community, because there are not a lot of brokers focusing on smaller centres here in Saskatchewan.