Suburban brokerage sends home success

Phil Elliott’s YBR Branch has already won multiple awards in a year that’s barely even started.

Phil Elliott’s YBR Branch has already won multiple awards in a year that’s barely even started.
Being further afield hasn’t stopped Phil Elliott and his team from garnering national attention.
With 36 years in banking and brokering behind him, broker pro Phil Elliott knows well that customer service and hard work reap the rewards.
 Recently inducted into the exclusive Yellow Brick Road Chairman’s Club, Phil Elliott is the lead broker and business partner of YBR’s branch in Frankston, a seaside suburb of Melbourne. Although located further afield than others, this local and his team can’t keep out of the spotlight, collectively taking home six awards this year already.  

YBR Frankston, led by Elliott and Branch Principal David Brewster, also a Chairman’s inductee, was established four and a half years ago and won this year’s YBR Top Branch Transactions title. They’ve also claimed Mortgage Branch of the Year, Branch of the Year VIC and SA, Branch Support Person to Tanya Crawley and Advice Wealth Manager for Arthur Vlanes.
Of course, being a suburban based branch outside of a CBD can have its pros and cons.
“It’s closer to home,” he says with a laugh, having lived there for nigh on 40 years.
“The dollar value per loan is a lot less than the Melbourne areas, because we’re a working class suburb. Our loans compared to CBD Sydney is probably half.” But conversely, he points out that CBD Sydney most likely pays three times the rent as their Frankston office, for a tenth of the space.
Elliott says “you make where you are successful” and that the branch’s success boils down to a straightforward recipe where the main ingredient is hard work plus a generous amount of genuine care for customers. And with a 56 hour work week on average, he leads by example.
“Just doing the right thing by clients, it comes back to you,” he says. “We also look at a journey for life mentality. If you’re 25, you’re buying your first house, you’ve got disposable income… what are you going to do with it? Well pay off your house before you have children, so you can live on one wage while you’re going through the children stage of your life. Yes, have your holiday and enjoy it but don’t waste your money. So we look at the whole picture.”
Honing his banking skills from the age of 17 at the Commonwealth Bank, he left in 2003 after 24 years’ service in lending to become a broker - and has never looked back.
“The change was a bright light,” he says. “I got to the stage I’d had enough of the bank. It was time for a change of life and coming out into the brokering world was an eye opener. There were just so many other options out there to service a customer to how they want to live their life.”
Although he’s left his banking days behind him, Elliott says it was where he picked up the fundamentals for his trade; learning how the cogs of the lending wheel work together and laying the foundation in great customer service which would only help him later on.
“I’ve always said you’re only as good as the last loan you’ve written,” says Elliott. You’ve got to communicate (to clients) and you’ve got to make sure they understand - if they understand and you spend the time with them, they refer you.”
And Elliott says referrals flow in regularly as a result of the time he’s invested in his business.
“I’ve been in this game 12 years now - my phone just rings. I tell (clients), I say ‘I’m pretty black and white in what I discuss because it’s no use me leading you up the garden path. I’ll throw a lot of ideas on the table and you’ll disregard most of them, but the idea is you get your thought process moving.’ Because half of them don’t think about retirement and that’s probably the worst thing they can do.”
Elliott’s clients come from a broad range of backgrounds, from first home buyers and investors to semi-retirees, super fund loans and mum and dad buyers. It’s probably fair to say this broad reach stems from what he likes most about brokering: “Talking to people,” he says. “Meeting everyone from different walks of life and being able to use my knowledge to help them. I really like young people who are starting out - if they want to listen they can get on the right foot.”
This passion for going the extra mile for his customers is reflected in Elliott’s work ethic.
“With my data base and referral base, I tend to visit 80 per cent of my clients and a lot of it’s at night. I’m still in at work at 7:30 in the morning, but that’s probably why we’re so successful here – you’ve got to fit in with the client. Some people say ‘work’s not going to dictate me’ but at the end of the day work always dictates you, if you want to make a living and build a business. If you’re going to have a go at it, have a decent go of it.”
When asked what is in store for the year ahead, Elliott says to keep providing business and services to customers professionally.
“More business is better but no use doing ‘more is better’ if you’re not doing it right.”
On those who are planning on taking a crack at the industry, apart from having superb customer service, accurate knowledge, transparency and honesty, Elliott says if you don’t want to work hard, don’t get into it.
“It’s not a 9 to 5 job, never will be. If you want a 9 to 5 job, you’ll just be a mediocre broker earning a wage. There’s so much potential out here that you can earn good dollars and you’ve got to be genuine about what you do.”

This article originally appeared in Issue 12.02 of Australian Broker magazine.

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