Sarah Thomson – Loan Market’s Number 1

| Jun 09 - 3 min read

As part of LMG’s ongoing ‘Success Breeds Success’ series, Sarah Thomson lifted the lid on how she’s broken through to new levels of productivity with the right structure behind her.

Loan Market’s Top International Broker Sarah Thomson has scaled-up significantly in the last year, growing from a team of two brokers to seven, with 21 overall in the brokerage.

Breaking her team down further, she has four Client Service Managers (CSMs), three settlements specialists, an administration team of five, an Operations Manager who brings the whole process together, and a data validation specialist placed within the aggregator’s in-sourced data validation and processing unit, BrokerForce.

Sarah has always been an advocate of well-resourced and trained CSMs and back-end support specialists being the secret to productivity. In fact, over 2022, her business, Loan Market Geelong, settled $320m for a total of 760 clients - and that was before the new brokers joined the team.

So, in preparation for the new brokers, she and her Operations Manager spent a lot of time considering how they could best support the new additions.

“I knew if we could streamline this business, it would mean really good brokers would be excited to join the team and be able to focus on their clients, without having to do the backend (work),” she said.

“A lot of brokers might be brilliant with their clients, know their products and policies and how to structure a loan to deliver a great outcome to their client, but they might not be so great at the admin part.

“I love the fact that our brokers can plug into the systems and our staff and have the trust in them to hand over a deal. Brokers can still call-in and touch base along the way, but the CSMs and the settlement staff will actually drive the process, following-up the clients and keeping the relationship really strong throughout the whole process. Our brokers can be hands off if they like and concentrate their efforts on other things, or maybe just have more of a lifestyle at the same time.”

Sarah’s focus on quality support saw her engaged by her aggregator to run bespoke coaching with other business owners last year, sharing her insights on growth as part of the Scale-Up with Sarah program. From coast to coast, she spoke with Loan Market business owners who had the capability to break through to new levels of productivity, but were unsure what type of back-end support structure they needed to achieve that.

As part of the recruitment drive for new support staff, Loan Market Geelong engaged the aggregator’s TalentForce team and Loan Market’s social media advertising service to find interested prospects through social media.

“We had about 125,000 views on Facebook, which was huge. The enquiry off the back of that has been overwhelming.

“We have a few people in Loan Market’s recruitment team as well that have really looked after us and helped build our team from there.”

Not everyone wants to be a broker, but they may still want to contribute to the energy and outcomes of a brokerage. Sarah has enabled her support team to take ownership of their roles, appreciating that different skills are needed for different jobs. Career progression and different experiences are also possible within her segmented support structure.

“Some of the most amazing people in our business are people that have started on reception as a junior role. We had one (staff member) who started in reception and has moved into a settlements team and is now one of our CSMs and doing an amazing job. Our people get to understand how the entire business works and where they'd like to be place, as well.

“It's funny, because within our CSMs and settlements team, neither of them want to do each others’ job. The role can come down to that person’s personality-type, as well - it’s really interesting.”

The ability to hand over a file, and the ongoing communication with clients, has underpinned the business’ stellar customer service offering. One of the early adopters in the network of Google Reviews, Loan Market Geelong now has more than 600 Google Reviews for a five-star rating.

The brokerage’s online presence - along with word of mouth referrals - has become the business’ primary source of leads.

The Google Reviews have not only provided prospective clients with the confidence to pick-up the phone and try Loan Market Geelong’s service, it’s also amplified the brokerage’s online profile in the local area.

At the end of every settlement, Loan Market Geelong makes a point of asking customers to refer them to friends and family and leave a Google review.

“I know a lot of people have real estate agents or conveyancers as referrers,” she said.

“But I remember years ago, thinking, ‘My clients are the ones that have had the experience with us and they know the job that we do and that we've done what we said.
“So, why not treat them as our referrers because they know us better than anyone’.”

In the next edition of Success Breeds Success, we’re sitting down with Grant Rheuben for another conversation you won’t want to miss. Click attend to watch it live on LinkedIn here.