How a broker support manager is helping brokers with their business challenges

Aaron Cody

Hear Aaron Cody, our Broker Support Manager in VIC, talk about the biggest challenges the broking industry is facing at the moment and how an aggregator helps brokers overcome business challenges.

What do you see as the biggest challenges the broking industry is facing at the moment? Is there anything you’re doing to try overcome them?

There’s a fair bit of uncertainty about the future, which is weighing on the minds of a lot of my brokers at the moment. We’ve been lurching from one crisis to another, going as far back as 2017. Three years of waiting and watching as people outside the industry pass judgement on what we do has been terribly fatiguing. The message I continually give to my brokers is control the controllable and don’t lose sleep about those things outside of your control. Whatever will be, but I am confident, a strong, prosperous broking industry will be a constant, even if change is forced upon it. Consumers have spoken, they want us to help them which means we’ll always be relevant.

How are you managing and maintaining your relationship with your brokers during this time?

It obviously moved from being largely face-to-face to being solely remote. I utilise Teams (communication platform) and spend lots of time on the phone every day. I find I’m able to be even more responsive than usual and I’m not spending a solid two days a week in my car which means I’m able to keep on top of emails much easier.

How are you supporting your clients who are struggling with their business during this time?

This hasn’t fundamentally changed. The issues they are having now are the issues they were having pre-COVID-19 and what I’m doing is reasonably consistent. If it’s business generation, then we look at what they are doing to stoke the flames. If it’s process, then we’re spending time in Mercury working on how they are operating.

How did your workday change now that you don’t have face-to-face meetings?

Sleep in until 15 minutes before work starts and tracksuit pants and slippers! But more importantly, I simply have more time. When you add up all the time you spend travelling in this role, it becomes incredibly significant. It’s not uncommon to spend the day on the road and then arrive home at 6pm with 20-30 emails awaiting your response. They can’t wait until the next day and even if they do, you simply end up with 20-30 more so that can lead to regular late nights getting back on top of emails when you’re on the road a lot. No such issues at the moment.

How are you building relationships with new clients during this time?

This is more difficult. There’s a lot to be said for being face-to-face with someone when building a new relationship. All I can do now is be super responsive and proactive with my newer brokers. Stay in regular communication and make sure they are very clear that I am merely a phone call or email away if they need anything. My existing broker network are all fairly aware of this, so it’s not so much an issue with them.

How do you think your job will change post COVID-19?

While face-to-face meetings will always play a significant part in any relationship management role, I will definitely be spending more time working over the likes of Teams. There is a large component of my role which requires responsiveness rather than meeting someone in person, so I’ll definitely be looking to better utilise technology to help me there.

How does the broking industry look to you post COVID-19?

I’m a glass half full guy. There’s always going to be plenty of lending opportunities and what I think this period has helped brokers do, is demonstrate their value even more than they already were. It has also forced a lot of people who would traditionally have required assistance via a bank branch to seek alternatives. It’s onwards and upwards for the industry, in my opinion.

What common questions are coming from brokers at the moment? How does Connective provide support to address some of their concerns?

The initial shock of the COVID-19 crisis has passed and many brokers are getting back to ‘business as unusual’. While some brokers have seen their volumes drop, many brokers are as busy as they have ever been, so have the same questions and issues that they have always had. There’s been a huge focus on process of late, namely how to deal with servicing clients when you are not able to meet with them. I think the industry has adapted brilliantly and it’s great to see lenders moving quickly to support brokers and enable them to continue writing business.

What value do you think an aggregator brings to brokers?

Experience. Connective has nearly 4,000 brokers aggregating through us so there’s not much we haven’t seen and done before. Brokers can leverage that knowledge to help overcome challenges and grow their businesses faster than they otherwise would. We’re a very mature business with robust systems and processes that have been honed over nearly two decades and brokers can rely on our experience.

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