GREEN FINANCE Group is probably the closest thing broking has to a one-stop shop – a term that Daniel Green himself admits is bandied around far too much in the industry. The brokerage offers a vast range of finance types, from the niche (hair and beauty finance anyone?) to the general, including financial planning and residential lending. Over 2015/16 Green wrote an impressive 183 loans – the most prodigious writer in this year’s Top 10 – with an average value of under a million.
The brokerage isn’t done yet, however, and has continued to diversify with the introduction of a car-buying service. It’s a great example of diversification, says Green. “By engaging a car buyer, you not only ensure that your client gets the best deal but you also keep them away from the dealerships’ own financial services … we can organise finance and insurance quotes on the spot. We can even organise for the car to be delivered. People literally do not need to leave their home to buy a new car.”
In 2016 the brokerage has also consolidated; it has bid goodbye to some brokers and closed down its relatively new Sydney office. Perhaps the biggest change has been Green himself moving to a more hands-on role, going back out on the road, talking to clients and referral partners. Oddly enough, it’s the brokerage’s success that has made this essential, explains Green. “With the volumes constantly increasing, there’s a strong temptation to stay in the office and concentrate on getting the deals written. However, this is not a sustainable strategy if you want to continue to grow.”
Green has concentrated on getting in contact with clients, making 20 phone calls a week to past clients. Commercial brokers who’ve previously sat back and waited for referrals need to be more proactive, he argues. “Especially when the general economy is slower than usual, you need to be out there building your presence and profile to make sure that when an opportunity comes up, you are the first person people think to call.”
On the topic of hiring those new staff , recent experiences have convinced Green that “nothing will ever be a substitute for on-the-ground experience”. By this he means banking experience. “To competently negotiate for a client, you need an intimate understanding of how banks work and what is achievable within their frameworks. You need to know who to approach and how.” Brokers without this experience often end up fighting the banks and prolonging the experience for the customer, Green warns. Ultimately he wants staff that “don’t just forward the information to the bank” but actually write a completed application the banks can use instantly.
There’s no easy solution to the problem of writing big numbers, dealing with small clients, and managing a brokerage. Nevertheless, Green is confident in his approach. “I have always been a big believer in making sure that you can help all customers – big and small … I’ve never turned a transaction away for being ‘too small’, and we treat all our clients with the same level of respect and importance. Ultimately, those ‘small’ customers are the ones that stay with you for life.”