1. Why do you consider yourself a leader and how have you used your leadership skills to influence your business?
Leadership is one’s ability to inspire others to perform at the highest level they can by setting and achieving challenging goals. It’s this exact concept that forms the backbone of my offering at Cherry Lending. My target audience, first home buyers, are at the beginning of their journey and unsure how they can achieve their goals. Often after approaching a major lender or attempting to apply for a loan online, they are left feeling more confused and disheartened.
I strive to educate by pushing the jargon aside and explaining the relevant information in everyday language so clients feel empowered to make an informed decision. This is done through many initiatives, such as regular blogs and newsletters, an active and educational social media presence, and hosting seminars for those looking to purchase their first home.
Through my own experience with brokers and bankers, as well as from market research, I saw a big gap in the market for this type of knowledge leadership. I was determined to offer a brokerage service that was more than just a business transaction, but rather provided a basis to nurture an ongoing and supportive professional relationship with my clients. These leadership strategies have provided me with solid growth from the outset with most seminar attendees converting into clients and many word-of-mouth referrals, especially in the first-home buyers world. In fact, one third of my clients come to Cherry Lending & Finance through word-of-mouth referrals from current and previous clients, as well as other seminar attendees!
2. What steps have you taken and what initiatives have you delivered since you commenced your career that have made a positive impact on the growth and development of the industry, and how have they done so?
A key motivator to start Cherry Lending stemmed from the lack of education for first home buyers. As an ex-bank manager and seller/purchaser of many properties, I noticed many were flying blind. I was conscious to create a brand that resonated with young people; one that was warm, welcoming and relatable so they were not afraid to approach me.
I have proactively implemented many initiatives to positively impact the industry, including free seminars, publishing regular blogs, an after-care program, and collaborated with local real estate agents during COVID-19 to create weekly video updates to keep my target audience updated.
My first-home buyer seminars break down the jargon regarding deposit amounts; lending criteria (and the impact of Uber Eats and After Pay on approval!); government incentives; and the genuine cost of buying a property. I also collaborate with the mental health organisation, Wellways, to host money-minded seminars to provide useful tips and tools to the community. Furthermore, I pride myself on being completely transparent to the client regarding their journey with Cherry Lending & Finance. I have mapped the client experience in my ‘Our Approach’ document to show clients that they are more than just a transaction, and my support does not end after the purchase.
I also actively monitor properties on the Mornington Peninsula for clients looking to purchase and alert them to anything that may be within their budget and requirements, even attending open houses if they are unable to do so themselves.
3. What has been your greatest achievement since commencing in the mortgage broking industry?
Providing exceptional customer service that educates, inspires and empowers first home buyers is the key driver behind Cherry Lending & Finance. Having this at the core of my business strategy has helped provide solid growth from the outset and centre me as the go-to person amongst clients, peers, friends and family for advice and support. Despite a Royal Commission and global pandemic, I have continued to support first home buyers, and as such, my figures have continued to grow. I have grasped at the silver linings of both events and continued to grow my business.
Because many first home buyers are nervous, being able to change their mindset to no longer be overwhelmed and daunted, then being able to see the pure excitement and joy on their faces when they actually achieve their goal – that’s the biggest success for me and the reason I get out of bed every morning.
My focus wasn’t always first home buyers, but over the course of 2020 I streamlined my approach to ensure I was speaking specifically to this 25 to 35 year-old age bracket, with an expansion into this space now including Emergency Service Workers as part of my key audience. I have embraced digital content and employed a social media marketing specialist to inspire my target audience with relevant, educational and empowering content, whilst also remaining light and approachable.
4. in 25 words or less, answer, “What winning the award means to you”
I’m passionate about empowering young adults to purchase their first home. Being formally recognised for my efforts is the cherry on top (pun intended)!