Why the Australian Broker of the Year stopped working Saturdays

The winner of the Westpac Australian Broker of the Year award is obsessed with learning policy, has an internal customer service tracking system, and now spends Saturdays in the bleachers.

For these reasons and many others, Loan Market Bayside’s Josh Bartlett settled more than $203m in residential loans this financial year, adding $19m to last year’s total.

He walked away with the most coveted prize at last Friday’s Australian Mortgage Awards, capping off one of the most successful year’s he’s ever had. Here’s how he did it.

“Policy obsessed”
Bartlett may have lodged 85 fewer loans this year (for a total of 400), but he had “much tighter processing around each client”, including which clients he met, the conversations they had and the follow-up process.

“The biggest key focus this year because of the royal commission, and the bank and policy changes, was we literally trained every day on learning policy,” he said. “We’re obsessed with credit policy training.”

As a result of that, and having eight years of experience under his belt, Bartlett said his client meetings were a lot more effective this year. “The client has to know you, trust you and understand the information that you’re giving them,” he said.

At the same time, brokers need to spend more time listening so they really understand why their clients are there. It’s often about more than just product and rate, he said.

A team effort
For a top broker, Bartlett’s team is small. He has three staff devoted to managing client services, all of whom have been with him for about three to four years.

“It helps when you have people around you who know how you work, and you know how they work. It’s a very positive place and they’re just as obsessed with finance as I am. It’s a celebration when we get loans approved.”

Bartlett said he’s constantly looking at ways to improve his team’s skillset, so they can keep learning with him.

”I want them to learn just as much as I am. …I want everyone in my team to succeed with me, so I definitely look after my team a lot better than I think a lot do. My success is their success.”

Self-assessing customer service
Bartlett has an interesting way of internally self-assessing his customer service. Each client who comes in gets a number associated to them. This 1-10 number relates to the number the team thinks that client would give them in a review.

All clients start as a 10, which is what his team hopes to maintain throughout the process.

“There are so many different things that can go wrong in finance, whether that’s the conveyancer, broker or bank’s fault. …If there is a seven next to the client, I ask my staff, ‘Why do you think that’s a seven and how can we make that a 10 by settlement?’”

“I’ve found that trying to create that 10 experience that we thought might have been a seven turns out to be a referral at the other end.”

Taking Saturdays off and going back to the gym
This year, Bartlett stopped working Saturdays so he could watch his kids play basketball. Taking this time away from work has actually made his business run more efficiently.

Now, instead of holding four or five meetings on a Saturday and handing over all the processing to his team on a Monday, they can get caught up and start fresh when the new week rolls over.

“It created too much business and too many problems,” he said. Now he only works late on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when he holds about six meetings a day.

“People will always take your time if they can... I think you’ll find that the people who only want to see you on a Saturday because they don’t want to put themselves out probably aren’t the ones you want to meet anyway.”

Bartlett, a former gym owner, also decided this year that it was time to get back into fitness. “This business can totally control you with the hours and pressures we have to deal with. If you don’t have mind and body strength to get through it, you’ll get taken out.”

Bonus: What are you reading?
As a time-poor broker, Bartlett is a huge fan of the Audible app, which allows him to listen to books on the go. His favourite listens are: Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone and Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount.

Photos and video coverage of the Australian Mortgage Awards will be available shortly at http://www.australianmortgageawards.com.au/ and the November issue of MPA.

2018 Australian Mortgage Award winners:

National Awards

Westpac Australian Broker of the Year
Winner: Josh Bartlett, Loan Market Bayside

Liberty Australian Brokerage of the Year
Winner: Option Finance Australia Pty Ltd

Australian Young Gun of the Year
Winner: Alex Veljancevski, Eventus Financial

MPA Australian BDM of the Year
Winner: Donovan Blanch, ANZ

Brokerage Awards

Bluestone Brokerage of the Year- Diversification
Winner: Bell Partners Finance

ANZ Brokerage of the Year (1-5 staff)
Winner: Loan Market Bayside

Brokerage of the Year (6-20 staff)
Winner: Option Finance Australia Pty Ltd

ME Brokerage of the Year (>20 staff)
Winner: Shore Financial

NextGen.Net New Brokerage of the Year
Winner: Insight Property Finance

Highly commended: Loan Market – Feedback Finance

Best Customer Service from an Individual Office
Winner: Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

Australian Broker Most Effective Online Presence – Broker
Winner: Shore Financial

Broker Awards

ANZ Broker of the Year – Commercial
Winner: Daniel Green, Green Finance Group

FBAA Broker of the Year- Independent
Winner: Will Unkles, 40 Forty Finance

ALI Group Broker of the Year- Insurance (Mortgage Protection & Life)
Winner: Nicholas Kakalis, Finance Unlimited

Pepper Money Broker of the Year- Specialist Lending
Winner: Stuart Styles, Arthurmac & Co Pty Ltd

Equity-One Broker of the Year- Productivity
Winner: Josh Bartlett, Loan Market Bayside

MFAA Young Gun of the Year - Franchise
Winner: Mick O’Shea, Loan Market

Young Gun of the Year - Independent
Winner: Alex Veljancevski, Eventus Financial

BDM Awards

Bankwest Best Aggregator BDM
Winner: Tim Schneider, Choice Aggregation

Highly commended: Mark Lewis, Fast

Best Major Bank BDM
Winner: Donovan Blanch, ANZ

Best Non-Major Bank BDM
Winner: Sally Hillman, St. George

Highly commended: John Loukadellis, Macquarie

Best Non-Bank BDM
Winner: Andrew Crossley, Homeloans Ltd
Highly commended: Denya Dean, Bluestone

Aggregator Awards

Deposit Power Aggregator of the Year (Up to 500 brokers)
Winner: Outsource Financial

OnDeck Aggregator of the Year (Over 500 brokers)
Winner: Loan Market Group

Most Effective Online Presence – Aggregator
Winner: Vow Financial Pty Ltd

Industry Awards

Best Industry Advertising Campaign
Winner: Pepper Money

Best Industry Service
Winner: NextGen.Net

Lender Awards

Major Bank of the Year
Winner: Westpac

MSA National Non-Major Bank of the Year
Winner: Bankwest

Non-Bank of the Year
Winner: Liberty

Most Effective Online Presence – Lender
Winner: Bankwest

More coverage of the Australian Mortgage Awards will be available in upcoming issues of Australian Broker and MPA magazines and online.

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