Today we are joined by Dan Eisner, founder and CEO of True North Mortgage. Last year, True North funded $2.2 billion and look on track to beat that number this year. Dan joins us today to discuss making the leap into hiring, growing a business and why boredom can be a broker’s downfall.
Timestamped Show Notes
(click the timestamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[2:08] When did you get into the mortgage business and what inspired the launch of True North?
- In 1999, before getting my MBA, I told my wife I would never be a mortgage broker.
- I found myself underemployed for 3 years when a friend introduced me to brokering in 2004.
[3:29] What was your model when you first started your business?
- I was trained as, and wanted to be, a consultant. Turned out I was not very good at it.
- I went back to brokering in what I felt was the right way: setting up a storefront with rates in the window.
[5:45] What was involved in the process of getting on Dragon’s Den?
- Basically, it was a pitch to producers and then I was on.
- I obtained my MBA at Richard Ivy School of Business, as Kevin O’Leary did, and that was another reason they put me on.
[6:50] Tell us about your primary role in the business at the time.
- I had $30,000 in savings that I put into the storefront.
- I did all the deals myself and put heavy emphasis on customer service.
[9:43] What was your first year of production like?
- Around $40 to $50 million.
[9:55] When did you start looking at opening more storefronts?
- It was always the plan from the beginning, but we had a hard time getting landlords to lease because we wanted retail space.
- There was never an issue with money but with the type of business we were versus what they wanted.
[12:00] What was the path like to store expansion?
- Around year 3 we opened the second store and from there we opened across Canada. We currently have 11 storefronts and we have our own lending option, Think Financial.
[13:00] How much business comes from storefronts opposed to digital?
- It’s hard to answer because they are tied together.
- With COVID-19 stores were shut but we are still busy.
[15:30] What percentage of business is from your own lender and has it been beneficial?
- Roughly half. I would still do it if it just broke even because it is more efficient.
[15:58] Explain the J Curve to us as you see it.
- It’s when skilled, high profit brokers get bored and start looking for the next challenge.
- They start doing their own deals, grow and end up with less revenue than they would have had due to overheads.
[20:56] What advice would you give to your past self?
- Have confidence and go faster.
- Look at what gives you a competitive edge.
[24:11] How have you found adapting to the dual role of broker and lender?
- There’s less friction for the client and I can control the customer experience.
[28:59] Right now are you seeing more purchases or more refinances?
- We are seeing both purchases and switches.
[29:23] What is your advice for starting your own brokerage?
- Have a clear path and a unique selling point. Differentiate yourself.
[31:54] Is there anything else you would like to share?
- There are some misconceptions about True North I want to address.
- We aren’t on comparison sites.
- We don’t do rate buy downs anywhere near as much as people seem to think.
Contact Dan here: https://www.truenorthmortgage.ca
If you’re interested in becoming a deal creator, visit https://www.10loansamonth.com/call/ to find out more.