April 3rd, 2018
Diversification has been a buzz word amongst aggregators and brokers for several years now. The concept of branching into related areas and joining with other business ventures to provide consumers with a one-stop-shop for their needs is not only great for business growth, but also for customer retention and best-practice outcomes.
From Connective’s perspective, it’s usually existing mortgage brokers that we’re supporting to diversify into other business areas. However, there’s an increasing trend going the other way – brokers of other business types are joining us to get support for their objective of diversifying into mortgage broking. One example is Vish Uttam from Xperience Realty in Brisbane, who joined Connective in February 2018.
Whilst Vish is new-to-broking, he’s not a newbie to the finance industry, or to the Brisbane real estate market. His high-octane fun, personality fuelled approach to marketing and customer service in real estate has been creating quite a stir over the past few years. And just after joining us, Xperience won the much prized 2018 Small Agency of the Year Award from the Real Estate Institute, Queensland (REIQ).
Barry Jannese and the Connective Team in Brisbane will be working with Vish to get his new brokerage arm, Xperience Money, up and running over the next six months – and we expect to see more great things to come from this successful young entrepreneur. So, last month, we caught up with Vish to congratulate him on his award, and to find out a bit more about one of our newest members.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I’m originally from the Philippines and at the age of 16, came to Australia to study at Bond University in Queensland, where I obtained a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Afterwards, I went to work in Dubai for a year in the real estate business with my Uncle, which was very exciting and I suppose this experience was what eventually kicked off my 10-year career in real estate here in Australia.
When I returned from Dubai, I landed a great job as an Accountant at Price, Waterhouse, Coopers in Brisbane – a fantastic company to work for. I left them to work for Suncorp Bank, but soon realised it wasn’t the right career fit for me. During this time, I purchased my first investment property and became interested in mortgage broking, so I obtained my Diploma in Mortgage Broking but have never had the chance to use it until now.
After Suncorp, I worked in real estate companies in Brisbane for a while, and then about four years ago I established Xperience Realty. I’ve settled in very well here – my wife and I have been married for two years and we have a baby on the way.
Q: What’s the strategy behind the Xperience brand?
Obviously, the real estate world in Dubai is completely different to Australia. There the approach to customer service is much more focused on making the whole process a fantastic and exciting experience for everyone involved. I personally found the experience of buying property in Australia to be very transactional, and kind of dry and boring by comparison.
Right from the start, my objective for Xperience Realty was to put the personality and fun back into the business of buying property. I wanted to break down the barriers between us and the clients, so we could enjoy each other as people during the process. Xperience is a business that values people for being people, rather than treating them as numbers or potential profits. We provide complete customer service solutions that cover the whole process every step of the way. And most importantly, we make sure it’s great fun from start to finish.
Our mission statement: Helping people write their life story and having fun along the way.
Q: How is Xperience paving inroads into your competitor’s markets?
The fun aspect of doing business with Xperience is a big USP. We’re a small and independent real estate agency, so it helps us to compete against the big-name brands, which are all much the same except for their logo. So, it’s a matter of paving inroads and getting market penetration with marketing that’s different – and that’s where our personality comes into it.
Our brand is all about having fun. We’re the agents with a quirky twist! The Vish List videos are a great success and really appeal to people’s sense of humour. We’re seen as the fun office where people can get personalised service and will be treated like real people. The rest of our advertising and marketing – from the tone and manner of our copy in our real estate ads to things like our client parties, tenant of the month awards, small gifts and incentives – all work together to make interacting with us a fun experience. We’re not just talking about it being fun – it really is. We enjoy it just as much as the customers do.
Q: Why did Xperience embark on the diversification journey so early?
It came from our approach to providing end-to-end customer service solutions. We quickly established a large customer base with many property investors – and once you have established a solid foundation in your business, you can grow. Xperience Property Management was a service our clients needed (we currently have about 200 properties under management).
Introducing Xperience Places three months ago added even more value for these customers by helping them maximise their returns. One client asked us to set up a property as a holiday rental and we doubled his income, so in a market where rental returns are generally declining, why not offer this service to everyone?
Next is Xperience Money. Not providing mortgage broking leaves a gap in our service approach. I’ve sent clients to mortgage brokers I know, but they didn’t receive our fun brand of service. Deals were lost when they shouldn’t have been, and it occurred to me I could do a better job of it myself, particularly with my finance background.
Business models fascinate me – I really like the brokerage business model where there is also a passive income from trail commissions. It’s also a business model with minimal overheads – no big staffing requirements and no additional office required. If I put this service inside the business I already have, I’ll create stickier clients and increase profits from my existing database. Working with Connective makes it low-risk and simple, so why not give it a crack? The next six months will be devoted to learning with the Connective Team and getting up to speed before I start marketing. But I picked up three home loan clients in a week just by adding Xperience Money to my email signature!
Q: How do you think Xperience Money will impact the mortgage broking space?
Anything we do, we want to make people smile. Xperience is all about putting a smile on people’s faces and there just isn’t enough of that. We want to bring more personality to the mortgage broking world, but mostly we just want to add value for our clients and give them the services they need.