After winning Young Gun of the Year – Franchise at the 2019 AMAs, Adam Wadley has stepped out on his own, starting up Numero Uno early in the year.
He says a strong connection with aggregator Choice was one reason he decided to make the move away from REA. But, another big factor was one that franchisee’s from all industries face – the need to be in control of their own destiny.
Relationships drive successful broking
Wadley started his professional life as a chartered accountant, spending almost a decade in the corporate world at NAB. After seeing how transactional many bankers were, he was interested in taking a more relationship focused approach.
“My take on it was everyone’s focused on the deals that they write. They are less focused on their existing customer base and that kind of played out when you looked at the numbers,” he says.
He experienced this firsthand when he and his wife applied for their first home loan at one of the big four.
“It wasn’t really a great experience. I just felt with my background being an accountant and my corporate background, I could my put my skill set on top of this to help people and actually make it a better experience,” he says.
“We used to do psychometric testing back in my earlier days and two things that always used to always float up on me was I’m a really, really competitive guy and I also like to help people.
“So, when people were telling me, you’re an accountant, you’ve got no sales experience, you can’t do this – that was like a red flag to a bull.”
Having the Choice to take charge of destiny
Being a NAB person, Wadley had built good connections with the people at Choice – which is why he made his foray into the industry as a franchisee with Choice Home Loans in 2017. About 18 months later, REA purchased the group. Not long after, Smartline were looking to acquire REA, and it was at this stage that Wadley decided to set up his own business.
“We just got sick of not being completely in control of our own destiny. I think that’s the truth when you’re in any kind of franchise model – that someone else is kind of pulling the strings,” he says.
The merge with Smartline would have seen Wadley move away from Choice, which was something he didn’t want to occur.
“I really wanted to stay part of the Choice family. They’ve been really good to me and Tim Schneider’s been amazing.”
Transitioning to a new brand
While it has been a challenge to change all their marketing collateral, build a new website and ensure lenders have their new email addresses, in terms of the branding, the transition has been trouble-free.
“If you ask my clients what my brand would be, or what it was when I was back at REA – I’m not sure a lot of them would actually know. They would just know that it’s me,” he says.
“I think the broker is the actual brand of the business because these are the people, guys and girls, who clients are having an interaction with on a daily basis.”
To new brokers Wadley says, while you can’t control the environment, you can build excellent relationships with your clients and your BDMs.
“Those relationships, if they’re strong, will start to bear fruits in later years,” he says.
“We’re a very relationship focused brokerage, we’re not a transactional based brokerage. I think the key was just our relationships with both our clients and the lenders that we used.
“I think the other thing that’s been good for us is we never just say ‘no’ in our office,” he adds, explaining that they attach a plan to each person who isn’t able to fulfil their finance goals in order to help them achieve readiness further down the track.
“That needs to be really well communicated in getting the clients on board.
“We’re literally helping a client now that we did that exact same thing for two years ago and they just called me out of the blue.
“I think the key is just the communication piece and making sure that the customer understands why it’s ‘no’ now – and making sure that they’re really clear on what they need to do.”