After seven years on the job, Darren Liu has cemented his reputation as one of the country’s most successful brokers. Last year the Sydneysider came first in MPA’s Top 100 after writing more than $194m in settled loans.
While the journey to the top hasn’t been easy, Liu says hard work and a good team were what got him there.
He spoke with MPA about how he got started in the industry and why automation is the way of the future
From customer to broker
About eight years ago, Liu went looking for his first mortgage – and found a career change too.
Finding the process extremely helpful, he was also intrigued by the concept of loan minimisation management and wanted to learn more.
“I had never heard of that before and I thought it was a great tool that I should learn,” Liu says.
To do so, he became a broker, starting with the very company that helped him secure his loan.
The first six months were a trying time; Liu earning just a few thousand dollars and helping only four clients.
“The good thing was that in 2013 the property market went up and boomed for the next few years,” he says. “I built up a client base and my hard work really paid off.”
In 2014, he opened up his own brokerage, My Home Loans.
Passion and patience were his saviours
Dealing with the stress of being a new-to-industry broker has been the biggest challenge Liu has had to overcome in his career so far.
He says in the first couple of years his passion for the industry helped him to ride out the storm that so many face when taking on a commission-only role.
This stress was something he wanted to alleviate for brokers starting out in his own business.
“For all the brokers joining our company, we provide them with training and a customer base,” he says. “We even provide some with base jobs. The reason is simple – because I know that it’s really, really hard for people to start a career in this industry without that support.
“You really have to get the industry, the group, the company – everyone’s support to help a new broker to grow, otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult job for them.”
On being number one broker
For Liu, working 12 hour shifts almost every day was the norm in the first five years of his career. In recent times, he tapered this down to 10 hours a day so he could get home earlier and spend time with his kids.
Hard work has been an essential element in his success; each day he takes more than 70 phone calls with customers and responds to hundreds of emails and WeChat messages.
He says without the support of an excellent team, it would be impossible to do the amount of work he does.
Recently Liu invested $200,000 in developing a CRM that would increase the efficiency of the business. He believes automation will be a key part in improving the workflow of brokers in the future.
While he doesn’t think AI will take over the job of a broker, he does think it will take away the stress of doing admin work and help brokers focus on more on their customers.
“It will make it more efficient and really help the broker to put more attention into advising clients rather than doing paperwork,” he says.
When it comes to being a broker, he says it is important to be open-minded instead of competitive.
If a client approaches him and he thinks they could be served better by a different broker, he will refer to them instead of doing the deal himself.
He says this goes a long way in developing trust, explaining the client will be more likely to come back to them later on for other deals because they offered the right advice.
“Be open minded and take care of the client’s best interest,” he says. “That’s what will really drive the business to grow in the long run.”