While some regional brokers feel they need to work twice as much as their city counterparts due to the difference in average loan size, Paul Wright says there could be greater potential for success outside our major city centres. MPA spoke with the Wollongong broker for some tips on how to be successful in a regional or metropolitan fringe area.
Word of mouth is crucial
Sense of community is a very important ingredient for regional brokers looking to build a successful business. In fact, it is this ingredient that makes it potentially easier for brokers in smaller centres to build up a strong source of leads compared to what many city dwellers experience, says Wright.
The MoneyQuest broker says even the sizeable region of Wollongong has a country town vibe that makes word of mouth an essential currency.
“I think the big thing is to make sure you always do the right thing by people.”
“If you do the right thing, people will refer you and that’s essentially what has happened with our business.”
While this is important no matter where you hail from, in a smaller region, the consequences are heightened by the fact that members of the community tend to be more connected with one another.
He says it is important to build a good community presence by becoming involved in local groups and businesses.
“Get out and go to open homes and be seen with the brand.”
“Support the real estate agency you are trying to do business with by being there for them.”
With video conferencing now playing an important role in the lives of brokers all over the country, regional brokers stand to gain from a wider customer reach, says Wright.
“Use technology to your benefit so that you’re not just restricted to working in your area.”
“I’m seeing it more in the last six or seven months with the acceptance of Zoom, where I’m getting a much larger client base outside the Illawarra because my clients are referring to their friends and colleagues who aren’t based in Wollongong.”
Standing out from the crowd
Being able to advertise the way you stand out from other brokers in the area could also be particularly advantageous, says Wright.
“When you’re working in a regional area, try and create a niche.”
“I am a qualified property investment advisor and there is no other qualified property investment advisor in this area.”
He says investor clients tend to gravitate towards him due to the fact he can offer this level of expertise.
Get more bang for your buck
Focusing on customer segments that deliver a greater return is another important factor to consider, he adds. A perfect example of this would be an investor client that has a PPOR.
“If I see an investor client, I’ll pick up their owner-occupier loan as well.”
“If you are working in an area where dollar values are lower from a loan perspective, that can impact your success against a broker in a city area because, per transaction, their dollar values might be higher.”
“But if you can pick up a client that is doing two transactions at the same time versus the broker in the city that is doing only one, you can make some really good inroads into building a client base and a good revenue stream.”
An inroad to the market
Launching a new brand within a tight knit community doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. New to industry brokers looking to make their mark in a community of experienced professionals could benefit more from joining an existing firm and taking on a mentor, says Wright. It may then be possible to use that brand to build up your own personal reputation, while learning the ropes from someone who has already experienced success.
He says learning about what others have done to build their business is always helpful, even if they come from a different region to the one you would like to operate in.
“If you don’t want to speak to the brokers in your local area, go and look at another regional centre that’s a similar size.”
“See the people who are successful there and find out how they did it.”
“Success does leave a lot of clues.”