Staying organic and cloning: A broker's unique plan for his business

These days, with the widespread use of social media, it’s easy to assume that every brokerage capitalises on the digital tool to attract clients. Well, this might come as a surprise for many, but there’s one brokerage that refuses to conform to the mould.

“Having an organically grown business that stood the test of time for 15 years, we don’t advertise, we don’t do social media and we don’t ask or pay for referrals. We just do the simple things well, with a highly systemised and methodical approach,” PFS Financial Services director and 2018 MPA Top 100 Broker finalist Daniel O’Brien told MPA.

“We have ironed out the kinks in 15 years. We aren’t perfect by any means; but at this point, it’s just about consistency and repetition.”

O’Brien and his team purely depend on word-of-mouth and repeat business because they know their clients are aware of getting quicker and better outcomes. “We don’t try our best, we get stuff done!” O’Brien said.

His team also keeps in touch with existing clients throughout the loan’s entire life by “providing ongoing value, and not just Christmas cards”.

Not his style
It’s not that O’Brien avoids social media; it’s just not his style. He doesn’t begrudge anyone who uses social media as leverage. The idea just makes him feel “awkward and weird”. O’Brien would rather show clients how he does his work well than tell it to them.

A live electronic loan checklist serves as the backbone of PFS Financial Services’ daily activities. O’Brien’s team meets every morning to discuss their ‘live’ files, then holds afternoon debriefings. They make sure each file is “very visible and very transparent” so everyone can see what’s happening and contribute to look for ways to manage deals.

According to O’Brien, with the post APRA and Royal Commission environment, his team essentially has to sing a lot more for their supper as they have to confront more paperwork and jump through more hoops.

O’Brien also said that the Royal Commission revealed that banks are self-serving, doing only what’s best for them irrespective of what people like him say. “Thankfully it’s an election year and politicians need votes, so we have been given a reprieve for now,” he said.

A clone to win races
In the future, O’Brien hopes to transition out of his business with a clone of himself, a mini-me who can over work and be underpaid. He wants to go out while he’s at the top of his game, not when he’s a burnt-out has-been. 

For O’Brien, leaving at his peak also means his business is still performing well and it’s worth more to sell. “It’s about maximising my value and my selfish pride and ego,” He said.

“I want to go out at a 100 miles per hour, still winning races! Not stalled at the starting line with tears in my eyes.”