How this award-winning broker is using technology to set her business apart
Julie Bishop, Connective member and Director of Cohesive Finance, talks about her team’s winning business model and how they use technology to work more efficiently, connect with clients and deliver better outcomes.
Tell us your story: How and why did you become a broker?
After many years working for a big bank, enduring numerous internal restructures and a continued shift towards more meetings and, in my view, less client service, I made the decision to become a broker and join a former colleague in a new brokerage.
My ‘WHY’ has always been the same— to make a difference to clients by providing exceptional service and expert advice supported by an array of options not available at any one bank.
What tech tools do you use to increase your productivity and performance?
The use of high quality technology tools is imperative to our business productivity. Mercury, CashDeck, RPData and Equifax all contribute to better outcomes for ourselves and our clients, supporting us to provide the right mix of product knowledge to meet our customer needs. Additionally, Connective’s Digital Marketing Hub is an invaluable tool for keeping us connected to all of our clients – past, present and prospective – by providing relevant, meaningful updates, and maintaining an automated calendar to acknowledge customer milestones.
How has Mercury transformed how you do business?
The easy-to-use CRM, loan research and application platforms housed within Mercury ensure we are able to deliver timely solutions that are in our clients’ best interests. The strong CRM ensures loan maintenance and regular reviews are completed to keep clients’ loans and needs up-to-date with current and relevant offers. Mercury saves us time by providing reminders for reviews and other client follow-up to ensure we don’t lose business ‘out the back end.’ It really is a one-stop-shop which maintains all of our customer records and provides all of the information we need to continue to provide outstanding service.
What are the most valuable services/tools you get from Connective?
There are so many, it is difficult to name the most valuable. We rely on and use all of the following:
- Mercury, as outlined above, is the basis of everything we do
- Digital Marketing Hub provides a constant, consistent stream of information
- Connective’s accessible and knowledgeable BDM support team
- Commission tracking, which enables us to monitor income streams
- Back-office support to handle any processing or commission issues or enquiries
- Learning and development opportunities
- BrokerPedia, bank research, direct links to all of the information we require to carry on our business
- Networking opportunities with other brokers
Why did you choose Connective as your aggregator?
The superior business platform offered (Mercury), combined with the reasonable flat-fee pricing option, supported by exceptionally good people and not owned by a big bank were all factors influencing our decision to work with Connective.
Can you tell us a bit about your business and client offering?
Cohesive Finance is a full-service brokerage offering clients a one-stop-shop for all things finance. We assist in financing:
- Asset finance – cars, boats, planes, P&E, fitout
- Business loans
- Residential and commercial property
- Property development
- Personal loans
- Invoice finance
- Deposit bonds, etc.
What have you changed about how you work and do business over the last year?
Over the past year, as an outcome of COVID changes, we work even more flexibly. Each of our staff have the ability to work either in the office or from home as required. We attend more online training, which frees up time from travelling to events. We also conduct a number of online or remove interviews, and have found that our client base willingly embraces the technology, which enables us to move forward in this way.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing brokers right now?
The biggest issue we currently face is the turnaround times from banks. Across the board, we are seeing longer and longer wait times, resulting in additional time required for follow-up and management of client expectations. Access to bank BDMs is becoming more difficult due to the same issues with turnaround times – the BDMs are stretched too thin to manage their contacts effectively. We are also seeing an increase in the number of bank assessors apparently having difficulty applying common sense.
Your team won the MFAA 2020 Diversified Business Award. Can you tell us why you think you won and do you have any tips for brokers looking to diversify?
Cohesive Finance is different. Why? Individually, we are talented finance advisers, each with our unique skills and expertise from decades of experiences. Collectively, we are a team with broad and experienced business acumen, an empathetic and systematic approach to problem solving, and a true business partnership model that supports us in avoiding internal competition and always putting the clients’ needs first. When one of us wins, we all win.
Our solution diversity, hunger for and sharing of wisdom, along with our altruistic and grateful approach to our clients, referral partners and lenders alike, ensure effective and positive client outcomes – as evidenced by our continued growth! We love our clients, and they love us!