Top 100 broker Phillip Nguyen of IFG Home Loans offers his top tips for running a thriving business
Years in the industry: 22
What's your top tip for getting a faster turnaround time for a bank?
Company: IFG Home Loans
Location: Perth and Mandurah
Our top tip is to carefully read through the lender checklist to understand the requirements of the lenders and summarise the application into a one page submission notes so that the assessor can easily understand the application. We also have our own process checklist so that we do not miss any steps during submission and post approval. We would rather spend extra time to get everything ready rather than sending bit by bit of information. If all of the requirements are met, approval can be issued very quickly and no rework is required. A lot of brokers do not apply this practice and only want to move the file to submission as quick as possible. When the assessor pick up the application, he or she tends to ask more questions because of the uncertainty. Then it takes extra steps and time to enter the loop of requesting document from customer, get back to assessor with information, waiting for document sent to the queue and getting picked up the next 1-2 days thus double the processing time.
What's your top tip for keeping clients updated?
Communication is the key. We are using AFG’s CRM, which is the high Tech system we have so far. Starting from application process, lodgement, approvals, settlement, post settlement, anniversary fixed rate loan notification… Helps us and our customers.
We take proactive approach to follow up the application and inform the client as soon as we receive any progress in regarding to their application either via email or sms so that we can also get track record. One of the “out of control” factor is the reliance on the other parties. For example, if the bank is too slow due to exceeding its capacity, there is a limited space that we can push the application forward. However, the most importance is to keep customer in the loop by taking proactive approach: informing them what is holding back their application and advising them the turnaround time. We also have to advise third parties such as real estate agents & settlement agents because they also want to understand what is happening with the application. Customer is in the central of the transaction, so they will contact the customers first. As a result, customers will try to push the broker. At that time, customers will be frustrated because they was not informed or did not get the satisfactory outcome. It is then very hard to fix the situation if they decide to bring the application somewhere else.
What's your top tip for strong referral relationships?
Our best tip is to create value to the referrer. Value is not only the remuneration but also appreciation. A gift with a personalised note can have a strong impact. The success factor of our business comes from the referrer and we acknowledge that it is very important to thank those who refer the business to us.
What's your top tip for maximising online presence?
We regularly update social media and website contents to increase our exposures to the world wide web and generate more connections. Online marketing can be tricky because we always have to analyse the costs versus benefits it can bring to the business and keep track all of the return on investments to identify what method work best for us. It is an ongoing task and usually takes months or even years to start receiving the outcome.
What's your top tip for networking events?
Planning is the first and most important step for any networking event. Sounds simple as it seems but it requires a lot of work including preparing resources, time, accommodation and facility. Networking event does not always making sales but we could get more connections with people who share the same interest or knowledge.
What's your tip for when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I tend to set everything aside and do some outdoor activities or play sports, do a bit of jogging. Physical activities rejuvenate my mind and could potentially help me think about a different approach to tackle the problem.
What's your tip for lenders and industry regulators?
We understand that lenders and regulators have to ensure the integrity of the industry and thus require brokers to take extra steps to fulfil the requirements. However, there is not yet a system in place that can fully assist the brokers in compliance procedures without interrupting the interview and productivity. I hope such system can be implemented in the near future.
What's your top time saving tip and how much time does it save you?
My time saving methodology is a combination of planning, prioritisation and delegation. I still use the old-school method which diarise the event on my diary note or save in my phone’s calendar. The first thing after I wake up is to check my note or calendar for any incoming events. Then I prioritise the most important tasks to finish for the day or schedule to follow up for the next day. Then I delegate the unimportant tasks to my PA or reschedule it for later.