How these brokers rebranded for fast growth

| May 25 - 3 min read

2013: Bechara Boutros was in his Adelaide office at 10:45 pm, scanning documents, when his colleague Sam Walker stood in his doorway.

“Sam looked at what I was doing and said, ‘Why don't you get one of your team members to do that?’,” Mr Boutros said. “I said, ‘I can't afford a team member’.

“Sam said, ‘But you can't afford to not have a team member -  goodnight’, and then walked out the door.”

That encounter for Mr Boutros at their former workplace - he and Mr Walker are now co-directors at the fast-growing Loan Market Vantage - left an indelible mark. It was the awakening he needed to link staff with scalability.

In setting up Loan Market Vantage in September, Mr Walker and Mr Boutros walked away from databases they’d built up over 15 and 11 years, respectively.

But with no clients, an appreciation that ‘cash flow is king’ and readying themselves to be ‘humbled’ by returning to Prospecting 101, they still brought two Client Service Managers from their old workplace into the new business.

“There's no way we could do what we do without Annette and Ruth (their CSMs) in the background,” said Mr Walker. They do what they do to ensure we can see our clients, structure the loan, hand it over to them, and take it through to the finish line with very minimal input from us.

“They actually tell us to get out of the way - stop replying to emails, stop interfering in their role, because we end up making it harder for them. So we step back and the team take care of it.”

How they moved aggregators

The business partners and their support staff made the transition to Loan Market together, with the ongoing support of the aggregator.

Mr Boutros said: “Whether you start a new job at Coles or at a top tier law firm, you're going to have to learn some sort of new system”.

“I like to think technology is one of my strong suits, but everything is a learning curve when you’ve made a change (of aggregators). We all learned together and we had really good support on a local level from LMG.”

Mr Walker said the support staff in the office had taken the lead in incorporating MyCRM within their processes.

The team is now harnessing the benefits of Loan Market and LMG’s award-winning MyCRM, Mr Walker said, and introducing new hires to the platform. Indeed, the business has onboarded multiple new brokers in their first year, including a commercial specialist. More brokers are expected over the coming months.

“We didn't think we'd grow as quickly as we did but sometimes you’ve got to grab an opportunity when it presents itself,” said Mr Boutros. “We've met a lot of people that we thought culturally were a really good fit and their life objectives aligned with ours.”

How they develop referral partners

Mr Walker said he expects their brokers to have referral partners spread across the spectrum of the finance-property ecosystem.

“I tell them to find two to three referrers in different industries: real estate, financial advice, accountancy, legal, wills and estate planning and building,” said Mr Walker.

“Clients come to mortgage brokers because they want a choice - they want more than one lender. It only makes sense to have a number of referral partners in the same industry because some will be able to work in the best interests of the client better than others.”

The two business partners recognised LMG’s tech - which saves brokers time and keeps them safe - as a drawcard, along with tailored support through Business Builder sessions, Kaizen workshops and more.

They tossed up the idea of bringing their own brand to the new venture or rebranding as Loan Market.

“We could have started up Sam and Bechara Home Loans or something else, but we chose the Loan Market brand because it was an established brand and we had to look at ourselves as brand new brokers - we didn't have any client database, we didn't have any referral database and we were going onto a new system,” said Mr Walker.

“The support from Steve (Pettit, Loan Market SA Director) and Holly (Hammond) at the state level was invaluable because we didn’t want to do a lot of work in the back of the house: we needed to be ready to start running our business.

“It allowed the two of us to head out there and see the referral partners to build the business.”

Loan Market Vantage is also trialing a program with Ray White offices in South Australia, receiving referrals.

“That’s certainly added value. We get the name and number of a person looking for a home loan, but we also get the name and number of a real estate agent that doesn’t have a broker in their back pocket,” said Mr Walker.

“With the real estate agent, we say, ‘Let me demonstrate what I can do with John Citizen, and then let’s have a chat about what you’re doing with the rest of your business.”

You can check out more about how Loan Market Vantage is cultivating excellence by reading their story here.

For a comprehensive discussion with Sam White on the secrets to Sam and Bechara's rapid growth and the strategies they've employed, click here to watch the webinar.