6 MORTGAGE CHOICE
Russell Passﬁ eld and his team have found a unique way to make themselves visible to their community
Everything at Mortgage Choice Indooroopilly reﬂ ects stability: it has over 16 years under its belt, and “virtually no turnover” of staff – many of whom are family members – says principal Russell Passﬁ eld. “We’ve not recruited any staff ; everyone who works with me has actually put their hands up and said, ‘Can I work with you?’ ” The brokerage has consistently made Mortgage Choice’s Top 10 for almost a decade. Yet stability alone doesn’t explain why this year it has gone from outside MPA’s Top 10 to an impressive sixth place.
Passﬁ eld himself isn’t quite sure. “The guys have just been more focused … they’re not really doing anything particularly diff erent. We’re always conscious of engaging with clients in a way where we can very quickly ﬁ nd out their needs and we meet those needs.”
Their clients are broad-based, with slightly more repeat business from investors, upgraders and reﬁ nance, explains Passﬁ eld. “First home buyers are in there; they seem to have returned to the market over the last 12 months or so.”
Brisbane’s housing market “has been a bit more buoyant of late”, says Passﬁ eld; but more importantly – and locally – Indooroopilly’s shopping centre has undergone a $480m revamp, completed 18 months ago. This is important because the brokerage is based within the shopping centre, not in a shopfront, but in a kiosk.
Chasing walk-in clients has not been fashionable of late, Passﬁ eld admits. “It’s a bit unusual to have a kiosk; not many people have done that successfully … the rent is ridiculous.” Yet having a kiosk, conveniently located outside Target, has a particular advantage: “we don’t want people to feel they actually need to break a barrier – the doorway – and walk in like it’s a bank branch; we just want them to lean on the counter and have a chat. We probably get more leads, and maybe the conversion is not as high”.
With a combination of the kiosk, limited marketing and a large database of satisﬁ ed clients, the brokerage is doing well. What marketing it does is focused on making the brokerage visible, including running a BBQ/pizza oven outside the shopping centre for several weeks.
Passﬁ eld himself has stepped back from broking in recent years, and manages the brokerage. He sees Asian and foreign investor clients in Brisbane as a new opportunity. Day-to-day, however, they’re trying to maintain the stability, visibility and customer service that have earned the brokerage not only a Top 10 spot but an even greater accolade: Passﬁ eld notes that “two of the brokers we’ve had were actually existing clients; they loved the experience so much they wanted to come on board”.