It was a combination of serendipity and character that led Florentin Ciritel into the broking industry 16 years ago.
MPA spoke with the Sunshine Coast broker about how he got started and why he switched from Aussie to Multi-Choice after the first 18 months.
Why broking appealed
In 2004, Ciritel saw a job advertisement in the newspaper that caught his attention.
It was for a broker position at a small firm – a job that he thought would be the perfect fit.
After spending some time working in Korea and then Canada, the slower pace of Australia had left something of a void. He recalled the words of a previous employer.
“She said to me once that you are best running your own business because of the way you think, the way you operate, the way you interact with people – and that comment came about after holding onto a big client of theirs which she almost lost through a misunderstanding,” he says.
“The other thing for me was that I look at my strengths and I was always strong in mathematics and analytics.”
Going back to his first job as a teenager, Ciritel says his manager had once told him “you’ve got a woman’s mind in a man’s body”. What he meant by this was that he interacted well with people on a one on one basis.
All of these factors combined led him to consider broking, and he decided to take on the position.
A change in direction
Just as he was about to sign on with the small firm, Ciritel came across an advertisement from Aussie and decided to go with them instead.
Despite generating a lot of leads through the well-known brand, Ciritel switched to Multi-Choice and AFG about 18 months later.
“I think that year and a half definitely cemented my position and I understood that I wanted to be more with a brand that allowed me to direct how I run my business and how I value my customers.”
Long term support has been crucial
About six to nine months in, Ciritel decided to take on an administrator and never looked back.
“When I first started out the biggest challenge was that I had to be everything – from the network manager, marketing manager, administration manager, sales manager, HR manager – and at the same time I had to do the broking as well,” he says.
“Pretty early on everyone was basically saying, take on someone to do that admin work.
“The scariest thing there, because it’s commission based, you didn’t know how well you were going to travel and you didn’t know if you would be able to handle the cost of administration or support staff.
“Trish and I have been inseparable since that time – it’s the best thing I ever did because it allowed me to focus literally on dealing with clients at that time.”
His administrator went with him when he decided to move to Multi-Choice and is still with him to this day.
“When you take on someone else, I always believe that person has to have similar character traits to you.”
He says Trish shared the same “I care” attitude that he himself had learned during his first job.
“The strength of anyone in their industry is not when something’s going well but when something’s going bad.”
“How they react, how they then overcome hurdles in that time, that’s when you know if someone’s really good at what they’re doing and I saw that in Trish.”