Groundbreakers / Article

Groundbreakers: Building an entourage of experts for business success

Damien Roylance

Damien Roylance started broking in 2006. He’s a ground breaker because he tries to do things differently, like encouraging clients to share their good experiences online – a clever marketing technique that generates more referrals.

“I was serving a family friend at the local pub who was the one who offered me a job in broking,” says Damien.

“I liked to talk to people and look at property, so I tried it and was good at it. From there, I set to work gaining as much experience as I could, improving my skills, meeting people and understanding what it means to be a finance broker.”

Damien started Entourage in 2015 – a full-service property and finance firm in Melbourne, whose main goal is to help its customers grow their wealth through property. It offers a holistic approach for people buying and selling property.

“The business was started with the singular purpose of providing an entourage of experts for each of our clients,” says Damien.

“Our unique selling proposition is to make it easy for our clients to buy and sell property, and grow their wealth. With that in mind we have four key pillars within the business – finance, property, conveyancing and wealth.

“Each of these areas of expertise combine to provide a seamless experience for our clients, no matter where they are at in their lives or what their individual needs are.”

Damien credits his team at Entourage as his biggest achievement and the reason for the business’ success. His clients are primarily owner-occupiers who began as friends and family, and are now becoming investors.

“My team provide great support to me and each other, and we have excellent retention of employees,” says Damien.

“The team are all vibrant and hungry to succeed. They are always focused on getting the best outcome for clients and this is what makes the business a success. Our clients have become our biggest fans, they advocate for us and are constantly amazing me with their generosity, engagement and friendship.”

Damien has a great passion for property, gets along with different people easily, and is able to speak in plain English, helping him with client communication.

“When it comes to supporting someone through what can be the biggest purchase of their lives, you have to get the communication right,” says Damien.

“My years of experience help me to be the calm, confident voice of reason and guide them through the process – particularly if we hit a challenge or unforeseen issue.”

Damien won the National MFAA Residential Finance Broker Excellence Award in 2021, and has also been recognised as Broker of the Year by the Australian Mortgage Awards.

“I’ve been up for a lot of awards over the years including a range of industry, business and the MFAA awards program too, but MFAA award is the biggest one I have won,” says Damien.

“The fact that it is a governing body and free to enter makes the awards credible. It is my greatest achievement.”

Business challenges

Damien says that being a business owner with 20 staff, as well as being an active mortgage broker writing business, plus having three kids at home, is his biggest challenge.

“As the founder and managing director of Entourage I am often consulted on a range of issues that arise within the business and the day-to- day running, however I have learned to leverage the people around me, like my partners and management team.

“I love to be involved in all aspects of the business, but as we have continued to grow and add services, I’ve had to place my trust in the team I’ve built and let them do what they do best.

“2020 and 2021 have provided me with unique challenges, such as moving our entire workforce out of the office and into their homes. Leveraging the technology available has been key to ensuring business continuity, and again, trusting my team to do the right thing at every stage has been important,” Damien explained.

Networking tactics

Damien is a big sporting fan and attends the football, tennis and basketball throughout the seasons. He’s found this to be a great way to network, reward their good referrers and clients and his team as well.

“I love people and I love networking, I’m the type of person who is happy to put themselves out there whether at lunch or online. I go to lots of lunches and am always meeting new people, networking at events and functions.

“We have held an annual ladies’ lunch for the last five years, which started as a small thank you and has turned into something far bigger. 2021 was our biggest yet where we invited the media, banks, and referral partners; and had speakers such as Rebecca Madden and Mia Freedman.

“We have clients from all walks of life, including some pretty heavy hitters online from shows like The Block, which give us a good following and leads,” says Damien.

Industry trends

According to Damien, the future of broking belongs to the innovators.

“As our industry continues to be influenced by various fintech’s, legislative requirements and competition, I believe technology will be a bigger and better part of what we do as brokers.

“Open banking will make our jobs easier as we will have greater visibility and more transparency of our clients’ finances.

“That said, open banking will be a game changer for businesses that can innovate and invest in their technology to make the most of it. Those who don’t, whether they are brokers, banks, technology suppliers or aggregators, will be overtaken and become redundant,” he said.

Advice to young brokers

“You have to do something that stands out and find your niche,” advises Damien.

“The younger generation are social media savvy - they like videos and podcasts. Use these mediums to get your name out there with first home buyers in their 20’s and build trust.

“Keeping clients is the long game, and they will eventually lead to bigger loan size,” concludes Damien.

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