"Be like a sponge" says Young Gun

New-to-industry brokers sure have their work cut out for them in the current financial climate. Both the Royal Commission and the coronavirus pandemic have affected not only the finance industry, but the property market too, making it especially difficult for new brokers to establish themselves in the role.

When Melbourne broker Jonathan De Sensi gained his accreditation in 2018, he overcame these challenges to be named MPA Young Gun in his second year. He says while he is proud of this major achievement, it’s the client outcomes that give him the most satisfaction.

A property purchase had him hooked

De Sensi became interested in the finance industry right at the start of adulthood.

“I was 18 when I bought my first property,” he says.

At the time, his now father-in-law recommended he use a broker to assist with finance, having always used one himself.

“I actually really loved the experience, and then ever since that, I was pretty much drawn to the finance industry. I ended up doing finance at Uni and then I became a banker,” he says, working at ANZ and the Bank of Melbourne as a lender.

“It’s safe to say that I always knew the banker to broker transaction was going to happen.

“It was just about teaming up with the right business that was going to guide and help me and support me through that process.”

He was recommended to sit down with the guys at ALIC and he was given an opportunity that not too many people are afforded – to undertake an SAS style mentorship under Mark Davis for 14 months.

“I got the opportunity to learn from the best, and it wasn’t something I was ever going to turn down,” he says.

After leaving the bank in late 2016, De Sensi became a broker with ALIC in March 2018.

It’s the client outcomes that mean the most

De Sensi had an ambitious goal to become a Young Gun in his first year on the job. When that didn’t eventuate, he says he “pedalled pretty hard” in order to achieve this in his second year.

While being crowned a Young Gun is a major highlight for De Sensi, he says it’s the small victories that give him the most satisfaction.

“Every approval and every settlement, especially now in the current market, feels like a bit of a highlight for me,” he says.

“Celebrating those little successes has been really important and whilst the individual recognition is nice for the hard work, I get more satisfaction from, and the highlights for me are good client outcomes.”

While he received really good training and development during his mentorship program, De Sensi says his young age and smaller loan book meant he had to work hard to establish trust in an environment where the industry was under fire due to the Royal Commission.

The more he met with clients, however, the easier it became to overcome this challenge and establish himself as a broker. This snowballed over time, allowing him to build a good network based on client referrals.

The impact the Royal Commission had on the property market also meant it was hard to establish himself. While property investor clients were able to capitalise on the downturn, the majority of ordinary home buyers showed much more caution because of the uncertainty.

“That’s flowed through to 2020. We had a bit of a pretty good spell late last year, but it’s almost like I’ve gone back to square one with this whole coronavirus thing,” he says.

Listening to clients is key

He attributes much of his success to being able to work alongside some of the industry’s best while having an excellent support team behind him.

“I’ve got some of the best brokers in the industry to learn from where I am at ALIC,” he says.

“To have the ability to bounce ideas and scenarios across to the other brokers is something that not many new brokers have the luxury of doing.

“In addition to that, I like to think that we’re all extremely motivated naturally – not just myself, but all the other brokers in the office.

“So, there’s a good degree of competition and culture amongst us, which I think has really helped.”

One of the best lessons he has learned at ALIC is to keep things simple and deliver an exceptional service based on the needs of the client.

“It’s important to understand that every client is completely different and you should really be like a sponge,” he says.

“Get to know them, get to know where they want to be and why, and then work with them to put in place a strategic plan of attack.”