Top 100 broker Colin Mason talks networking and Covid-19

As director of one of Queensland’s top brokerages, Colin Mason has made quite a name for himself over the years. Last year he came 8th in MPA’s Top 100; his total value of loans settled exceeding $164m in the 12 months to June ’19.

This was nothing out of the ordinary for Mason; the broker writing more than $100m in settled loans each year for the past seven to eight years.

He says despite the current economic downturn caused by Covid-19, he and his team are still doing good business while staying positive and proactive.

From knowing no-one to creating a web of referral partners

Mason says he attributes much of his success to building an extensive web of referral partners.

“When I first started in the role here on the Sunshine Coast I knew no-one, so it was a matter of getting out and meeting people and having them be advocates for me.”

With more than 100 real estate agents on his referral books, Mason says tapping into the databases of others has been a key part of his strategy as a broker.

But, he doesn’t pay a referral fee for business. Instead, Mason relies on a positive brand built on delivering the best for customers and partners.

“They refer to us because they know that we can get the job done,” he says, adding that word of mouth in the community matters.

“If you do the right thing by people up here then the work comes.”

A strategy for getting started

Networking is something Mason encourages new-to-industry brokers to focus on at SMS Finance. He says one broker in particular went from doing nothing to writing $90m a year after he gave him the challenge of contacting five new professionals and getting them to refer to him within three months.

“It’s just about getting out there and meeting people,” he says.

While this is a challenge given the current social distancing laws, Mason says having the right attitude and using video call technology can still bring positive results.

From the Royal Commission to Covid-19

Mason says while the Royal Commission was a tough time for brokers and lenders across the country, he and his staff overcame this by staying focused and adaptive.

“For us it was still business as usual, we still managed to recruit a few staff leading up to the royal commission and through it as well.”

“The policy makers make the changes and we’ve just got to adapt to them and make sure that we incorporate those new changes into our procedures and processes in the office.”

Now, with the challenges posed by Covid-19, Mason says SMS Finance is still doing good business. Normally writing about $50m to $60m a month in lodgements, the office did nearly $14m in submissions in the first half of April despite the Easter long weekend.

“People who are comfortable in their jobs that want to buy a property are still buying a property,” he says.

“But now’s a good time for people in households to refinance as well.”

“If they’ve got a home loan and they want to try and beat the rate they’re on at the moment we are doing pricing concessions.”

Mason says he knows other professionals who are taking time off work at the moment because they feel the environment is too hard to cope with.

He, on the other hand, sees things quite differently

“We’re looking at it from a positive spin and saying let’s keep writing more business now.”

“Whether they be new customers, or whether they be current customers on our books, lets offer our assistance in whatever way we can – because if we can be there to help them now in a time of need, then they’ll be advocates for us down the track when business is back to normal again.”

Mason offers the following advice to other brokers.

“Try and remain positive.”

“There’s a lot of negativity out there at the moment. There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the press.”

He says to maintain a good business at the moment it is important to stay close to your clients to make sure they are okay and to be there for assistance if they need it.