Mark Davis is Australia’s number one mortgage broker and one of the principals of The Australian Lending and Investment Centre. His expertise at building strategies geared to enable wealth creation has earned him the prestigious title seven years in a row.
He speaks with Nathalie Silva to discuss the passion that helped him create Australia’s only successful investment lending business, his dedication to change people’s lives, and why he’s lucky to have the best job in the world.
What motivated you when you first started in the business?
I always had determination and passion to be the best I could be. When I came to Melbourne from Tasmania, I realised I’d been held back for 10 years. During that time, I built the foundation and skills I needed in order to see all the good and hard work I had to do to move forward. When I arrived in Melbourne 20 years ago, I had so much enthusiasm and energy than ever before. Similarly to Matthew Hayden the cricketer, he was held back at state league level for years and was then developed to the point where he became the best cricketer in the world.
I think it’s good to be held back in regional areas or in a state like Tasmania because it builds your determination, drive and knowledge to be able to succeed.
When did you realise you had become successful?
I worked at ANZ for 21 years and one day I was given a job to set up and roll out a sales division that was going to be profitable for the bank. I never had sales roles but someone along the way picked up that I had some sales skills and I could possibly increase the numbers to challenge certain divisions of the bank that were running at a loss. At that moment I thought, wow, someone has belief in me and I could be good at it. From then on, my job was to keep rolling out new divisions at ANZ for two decades.
What do you attribute your success to?
I’m determined to be the best at what I do. I’m determined to improve every day when I go to work and be conscious about doing the right thing for my clients. My purpose is also to be ethical and give expert advice that’s going to benefit the person sitting in front of me. When a client wants to borrow more than they can financially manage, I would never approve, I want to create wealth for them not do the wrong thing by them.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success when you started out?
I always had the vision to work in a role where I could change the lending division and develop it into an investment division. I was given that opportunity at ANZ and, for me, that was so important as it gave me the freedom to mould the role into what I truly believed would benefit the firm. I didn’t want to just stay as a banker and talk about rates and products, even though now the market has changed significantly and is geared more towards that. But I don’t want my clients to just think about saving a minimal amount on rates, I want to turn their $500,000 investment into a $1.5 million investment.
It’s about understanding where the client wants to go and how I can open those doors for them to walk through.
What are the Top 3 habits you would you tell people to give up if they want to be exceptionally successful?
My top three is solely time. To be good and the best in the industry, you’ve got to put in the big hours. I work a minimum of 70 hours a week but I don’t see it as work, it’s my passion and when it’s a passion, working all those hours becomes easy.
What are the Top 3 habits you would tell people adopt if they want to be exceptionally successful?
- You need to have passion and you need to use it. Once you do, it’s not just work; it’s something you do every day because you love it.
- You need to be ethical and do the right thing. I never do a loan for a client just for the sake of it, businesses that have no ethics don’t last in the industry and that’s well known.
- Go hard. Nobody’s ever died from hard work if you’re a healthy person. I have regular health checks, so you’ve just got to get on with it.
What makes you tick every day and push you through your worst times?
The ability to change people’s lives and take them on a brand new journey and direction. It gives me great satisfaction to give clients opportunities to live in places they never imagined they could live in, or contribute to people’s early retirements so they can enjoy life.
My belief is that only 10 per cent of the market worldwide truly knows what their passion is and they are brilliant at what they do. The remaining 90 per cent are still searching for it. I love being around people who have the drive and want to achieve, and sadly in this business, there are a lot of people who don’t belong in the industry and need to be true to themselves if it’s not their true passion.
Who is your hero or someone you’ve looked up to that has influenced your decisions and success?
My dad made me tough but he wasn’t a risk taker, I’m a risk taker. There have been certain people in senior management roles at different institutions whose brains I’ve picked so I can be better and better at what I do. You’ve got to have a good executive team of people around you to achieve peak performance and that helps a lot. I also do some mentoring with my team and even though they may not know it, I’m learning from them every day as well.
Do you have a specific daily routine that has helped you reach your successful career?
Yes, I have a very disciplined and structured routine that I’ve been doing for 10 to 12 years. It helps me balance my life because you can’t go hard and work the hours that I do without having a healthy lifestyle and exercising with regular health checks.
I go to the gym four times a week and Saturday is my golf day. I don’t work on Wednesdays after 6pm and Fridays after 8pm. Saturday is my day off, and on Sundays, I’ll usually start work at 4pm. I sleep about four to six hours a night and I do sacrifice family time, but when you love what you do, you live and breathe it.
My goal in a few years is to turn over one billion dollars in home loans and for me to be able to do that, I need a disciplined lifestyle to service my network efficiently.
There are exciting times ahead for us.
More information on Mark Davis can be viewed here.