From the blog

Meet Dino Pacella, Perth Local LinkedIn Influencer, Family Man and Entrepreneur - Ep 49

  • Ask Alyka

09 Jul 2018

Hey everyone, we’ve got a gripping episode for you this week.

Dino Pacella is a local Perth influencer who is also a BDM at Suncorp Bank and the mastermind behind the Ubervation web series. He also is the founder of the National Finance Brokers day, an Australian wide event that brings the minds of Australia's top banking executives together.

I’ve met Dino a few times and this was my chance to ask him some of the burning questions I had about his career, his family and his Linkedin successes.

Meet Dino Pacella, Perth Local LinkedIn Influencer, Family Man and Entrepreneur - Ep 49 - Transcript

Zion: Alright, welcome to episode 49 of Ask Alyka. I have Dino with me today. Hello Dino.

Dino: Hey Zion, how you going?

Zion: Good. I'm going to give you a quick intro for those I don't know. Dino is a multi award winning finance breaking BDM at Suncorp and a massive influencer and advocate in the Finance Broking space. He also is a massive influencer on LinkedIn, with close to 27,000 followers, which is phenomenal. And look, I'm a big fan of Dino. I follow his stuff. We spend a bit of time together, really wanted him on this podcast. It's finally happened. Firstly Dino, how did you amass 27000 followers on LinkedIn?

Dino: Good question to start with. So mate, thanks for having me here today firstly. It takes time, one of them, and you need to understand the audience and the strategy that you have. I personally I didn't have that when I first started. I jumped on the platform about 6 years ago now and I thought it'd be great to get to know some people, put some content out here and there. I was probably posting once a fortnight, following a few people and I didn't really understand either platform worked. Then I changed it to when I moved into it my BDM role, I changed it as more as a self promotion mechanism. I was a little bit arrogant and egotistical on the stuff I was putting out. I was the first one to put my hand up, now looking back on it going I can't believe I posted that stuff. Then I'm lucky enough now to know some, i suppose, really influential people behind the scenes at LinkedIn. Whether they are in Australia or offshore and they've sort of become LinkedIn mentors over the last couple of years. So understanding my audience, understanding that LinkedIn is all about that education piece, the information and entertainment to a degree, and understanding how that algorithm works as well. So it's not just posting now once a week and then leaving and coming back to it. It's all about that engagement, and that social aspect. I use the term social media like a kindergarten playground. If you're not playing with the same kid every single day they're going to get bored and move on to another kid and go play with their marbles, or other balls, whatever kids bloody play with these days. So it's all about that engagement, and consistent engagement. I think doing that over a couple of years, each and every day, is the only way to build a follower base.

Zion: How many times did you spend in your peak years per day do you think?

Dino: Now?

Zion: Yeah now.

Dino: I would say I spend been a minimum of two hours a day on LinkedIn. Seven days a week.

Zion: Wow phenomenal. Seven days a week. Is that throughout the day?

Dino: Majority of that two hours is spent an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening because I am with everybody these days. We're busy throughout the day so can we can't go spending an extra half an hour, or an hour, on LinkedIn. But, Having some block out times there. I mean if I have five or 10 minutes throughout the day in between meetings I'll quickly jump on and see if there's anything important that I need to refresh.

Zion: Wow, do you actually? What's your strategy there? Do you scroll through and look at content that you like and then comment on it and like it? Is that what you do?

Dino: Yeah absolutely. If it's something, like if it's a regular user that I know about, like your stuff Zion. If I see you singing on LinkedIn again mate, I'm definitely going to like and comment on that one. So if it's people I know then I'm absolutely unwilling to support them, because the fact that I can help get their posts out the more traction they're going to reach. So, I think that's a bit of a duty I have for my followers to support them because they support me. It's all about dedication and they commit the piece on it.

Zion: So it's really hustle game. You're right, I think a lot of people think that it is a short term thing, they do it for three months and they self promote and don't get anything out of it, and then think LinkedIn is a failure. Which is completely the wrong perception.

Dino: Correct.

Zion: So i think, like you said, it's the hustle.

Dino: It's the old helicopter effect that back in the mid 80s marketing. If they chucked an advertisement in the West for a week and you think you're going to get some traction, but if you don't it's just going to drop down then you do it again and then you drop down, so you need to keep that flowing and the traction moving upwards.

Zion: Yeah. So tell us more about, i know jumping and fast forwarding a bit. How did you get in touch with Mark Boris?

Dino: Yeah so, probably steps back a little bit when I started National Finance Brokers day back in 2015. I thought I'd need a well-known spokesperson to help me get some traction out in the consumer market to promote the advantages that finance brokers deliver to the marketplace. Everybody knows Mark Boris in finance, and outside of finance now as well. So it was through LinkedIn. I sent him a message and said "Mark I'm doing this", gave him the reasons why I want to do it. I said "Would you be interested?". Then after a couple of follow ups Mark came back and goes "yeah I'm more than interested, let's catch up". We did our first video together in the inaugural year in 2016. Then we did a live broadcast on Facebook last year, where we jointly tackled some consumer questions about brokers. So that was really fun and interesting. This year we're doing something as well which we're going to announce in the next couple of weeks where I'm glad to say Mark will be joining us again.

Zion: So did you send him a direct message and then get no reply and then a couple of days later follow up? And the eventually?

Dino: Yeah listen it was to Marks credit. It was only two follow ups in, I think, a four to five weeks base. So I didn't have to hound him because you probably want to help people like that, to a degree, but it was it was all about the wife factor and all about the good of the broker industry.

Zion:Yeah. You are doing a hard sell.


Zion: Now tell us more about your role at Suncorp.

Dino:Yeah so, my current role at Suncorp. I'm a Business Development Manager so I look after a portfolio of mortgage brokers, or finance brokers if you want to call them. So whenever there's an opportunity for them to present some Suncorp to a client that's looking at finance, then they can call me as a go to person and we can run through certain types of scenarios. If there's policy now which is becoming a little bit complex in the current environment, I can assist them to see if that's something that Suncorp would look at. Or if it doesn't fit our policy, I might be able to recommend another lender that might be better suited for that application and for that client. So, if we assist those brokers so they're not sending those applications in and spending three or four hours worth of work, seeing the client processing it and then we can't actually do it because it sits outside of our space. So, we're saving them time, we're getting the right outcome for them and more importantly, the right outcome for their client.

Zion: Excellent excellent. And you know, you're a massive advocate in the Finance Broking space and you talked about the National Finance Broking day. Tell us a bit more about that. How did it start?

Dino: I started when I first started in my BDM position with Suncorp. As with every new job you jump online and take in as much information and knowledge as you can. I was reading on Facebook, on Google, where ever I could get my hands on and around brokers. A lot of the press I was reading wasn't so positive. I was reading "I was going to I've just joined this industry and I'm a bit concerned, what's going on?" and the more I learn the more people I got to know. These were very individual, static circumstances where people were leaving their feedback. So I thought is not the positive aspect that people are understanding of what brokers do. It's not so much a relationship, it's a full service that they bring. I thought it needs to be promoted out more to the consumer market. So, i thought what better way to do it then actually have a national day. And I know we have national and international days for everything. I think today, the 21st of June, is international selfie day, by the way. So I saw that this morning.

Zion: That exists! Dino: So I understand it. But it's not just the one day, it's the build up through the other 364 days of the year that we can promote brokers and what they do. We do that heavily through the social media channel.

Zion: Yeah, and you also have Ubervation which you've had for about 10 months or eleven months.

Dino: Correct.

Zion: Tell us more about that.

Dino: Yeah, Ubervation came up when I started doing a quick short chat up videos on a Friday about what I learnt or something I learned throughout that week. It evolved into more business tips, into more short inspirational motivational videos and it was all about using the Uber terminology I'm bringing motivation, education and inspiration to you, hence the word Ubervation. It's the mixture of those two. Now bringing out videos every Wednesday and we bring out some short sharp text post throughout the week as well. So I'm glad Ubervation has its own Twitter account and LinkedIn page. It's some getting some good traction. It's really interesting, and I suppose helpful things, that I'm trying to put out and I look at it that if you know 5000 people see it, if two people take something away from that then that's a success for me.

Yeah. Then, just going back to your digital marketing strategies because I know you're really good with this stuff. Like, do you find that being consistent with your content posts, like every Wednesday for Ubervation, is that like an algorithm thing for LinkedIn? Do they really appreciate the same time, same day kind of thing?

Dino: That's a good question. I'm not actually sure if the same time, same day algorithm works well. What works well is, LinkedIn is like any business. You spent time. If they were a retail outlet, if you spent time and money into that retail outlet they would welcome you with open arms every single day. They would tell more people about what you're doing. LinkedIn is like that. The more time you actually spend in there, the more time you engage, whether it's likes, comments or sharing. Then they see that you're on that platform for long periods of time, they're going to like it. So when you share something, the algorithm will pick that up and go "Dino has shared something again, let's get this out to more connections". So the more of your follower base will see it. Then if your first connections like it, then their connection base. If they're not connected with you then they're classed as second degree connections. I'm preaching to the choir here.

Zion: No no its good.

Dino:So your post then can get further reach, the more that you're actually engaging on there. It's not just, we're not talking about sending a little thumbs up or a smiley emoji. You're talking about leaving some relevant and engaging comments on a post. Something that LinkedIn will see regularly and go "hey we love this guy spending time, we want him to spend more time and tell more people about".

Zion: Awesome, how do you manage all these things? You're obviously very successful, you're very driven. You've got you've got your BDM role at Suncorp, you've got Ubervation, you've got the LinkedIn stuff that you do in the morning and at night, you've got the National Finance Broking Day. How do you manage all of this? You must not really sleep much.

Dino: I have a very strict regime.

Zion:Tell us! Tell us more.

Dino: Probably to the detriment of my family. I’m huge on time planning and punctuality. People that probably deal with me understand that. I've got a strict passion for it. If people are two minutes late I probably start getting a little bit antsy to it. So yeah the strict regime is six hours of sleep every night. It's ten til four. Then as soon as I'm up I'm on LinkedIn and to get that first hour out of the way. Then it's into the BDM job. That probably starts at around SIX. So it's emails, returning phone calls, working with the head office in Brisbane, given the time difference there, so we can get in nice and early and start getting answers to our brokers. National Finance Day, that ramps up now and by putting the time and effort, as with any passion that anybody has. You put it in after hours, you put it in on a Saturday and Sunday, and you make it work. So, with the National Finance Brokers I'm doing a special trip over to Sydney next week. That will meet with a few people to confirm the details of the events that will come up. As I mentioned, we'll be able to post the finer details of the event, who's coming, where we're going and what that looks like around the first week of July.

Zion: Wow, you're a machine mate. I love routine questions. That's very disciplined. I could barely wake up at seven. That's awesome. But even harder than that is going to bed at 10:00, forcing yourself to go to bed early. I think that's a really good discipline.

Dino: It's not early when you get up at four, it makes it pretty tired by night.

Zion: You got the routine down pat. Now what's your biggest failure you can share with us?

Dino: How long do we have? I'm going to go back maybe about twelve or thirteen years, take you back a little bit. So prior to me joining the finance industry, and I joined directly out of year 12. I literally finished year twelve in November and I was in a major bank role at the end of December. So, I had a thing for numbers and I knew "this is great, I want to be in banking and I want to be in finance". Approximately seven years after doing multiple roles in that bank, the family had a cafe that had run for twenty five years. Listen, this is the first time I'm telling this story alright, so yeah it is an exclusive. So if I get a bit emotional mate you might have to grab a tissue box. We went into a family business where my father had run it successfully when he immigrated to Australia from Italy and he'd run it successfully for twenty five years with my mum. We decided to jump on board. I left the comfort of a POIG job and I had a steady income. I only had a small family back then, or a young family I should say. We jumped into this then after a year my father decided to retire and left the cafe in the hands of my brother and I. Unfortunately, we made some changes that we look back on and they weren't well received in the industry,or in the environment that we were in, and the cafe basically lasted another four years, after 25. It started to go backwards very quickly. So to cut a long story short, that area or that part of my life, sort of had seen me go from what I had where family house, good employment, to let's just everything had to start from scratch. So it was "no my house for you, let's start from scratch and go back to the bank and work your way up again". So it's, you sort of press the rewind button on life and you go "I'm not going to get those four years back again". It's difficult, and I'm sure I'm not the only person that's had failures right. You can look at many CEOs who have done this. But, if you don't take anything away from it and if you sit in the corner sulking going "oh my god so I feel myself because I didn't make the right decisions and I lost money". I look at money now going "you know what, I can make money anywhere I go". But it's not about the money, it's how do I actually make that money? If I'm not happy with what I'm doing, then then that's a failure. So yeah, that was a failure back then. But, now look at going, if I didn't do that I reckon I would have the motivation and passion to do what I do today. People would hear that and go "yeah I understand" if I'd been through it, but if they haven't they are probably thinking "well you shouldn't have cocked up in the first place". But I needed to. That's the path of life's given me here. You can't go back and change it, or look forward. I do look back only to take the things, that I don't make those mistakes again. If I do them again, I've got a good support network around me now that'll stop me very very quickly and give me quick, swift kick up the backside to say "hey do you have another think about that one, that may not be the right opportunity for you to take".

Zion: Practically, what are some of the things that you learnt and took out of that?
Planning is one. Stickler for structure is another. That's probably why I'm so routinely focused now. Ensuring that if you are starting a business now that your business plan is routinely structured along with the right capital behind you. But you have the right support network where I necessarily didn't have that. We had the right business plan, think we had enough capital behind us, but I don't think we had the right people to go to to say "hey listen this isn't working, what do you think we try?". We just sort of either tried to push through a brick wall with a with a feather, and that was never going to work. So yeah it was challenge at that time. I never wish anybody to fail at anything they do so I'm really supportive to help anybody out there that wants it because I've been through it and you know that feeling of not being on the positive end of success.

Zion:Wow. Thanks for sharing.

Dino:No problem. That's the first I probably said that out loud in about ten years mate.

Zion:Yeah that's an amazing story. Thank you so much. And what was your biggest success?

Dino: Oh, if I take my family away from it and I take the personal aspect from a professional point of view. I would have to say moving into finance, but moving into the broker space. Looking back on when I first started back in finance, my father sort of recommended it because he was good friends with an Area Manager back in the bank when I first started when I was seventeen still, and my father was like "just go into it, like the numbers, go in". I suppose the success was actually listening to my father at that stage, as weird as that sounds. My father, my parents, have always been extremely supportive. If they didn't know that person, one it would have been difficult because I didn't have the university qualifications behind me. I went straight from high school into into banking. But I knew somebody that was supportive. Still went through the recruitment process as you do. But knowing someone, listening to my father's wisdom saying "just go have a chat, an hour is not going to cost you anything". That turning point in my life has got me to where I am today, as well as everything else that I've been through. That passion for finance, passion for brokers now, I don't think if I went into banking originally back then and went off to another industry, not to say I wouldn't have success there, but I wouldn't have success in the finance game.

Zion: Wow. So firstly, what do you think are the biggest key, this sounds like such a corny question, the keys to success? When I say that can you can be specific. If somebody is trying to do what you're doing for example, what one of the first kind of things they need to learn? Is it selling? Is negotiating? Is it time management? Is it being routine? Like what would you say are the first things?

Dino: Look, you've got to know where you want to head. So you've got to have, not necessarily an end goal or an end game, but you do have to have goals in place and what you want to achieve in your industry. Secondly, you need to have a structured routine on how to get to those goals. So yes, everybody and all motivational speakers say "write down your goals have then in a place where you can see them everyday". Whatever the case is, but I feel like you, need a granular structure in place. If you've got a yearly goal, what are you going to achieve to help you get to that goal? Perfect example, and I always use it. The World Cup is a great example to use. You have all these teams that have been qualifying for last year to win one of the biggest tournaments in the world. So that's their goal, to be world champions and lift that trophy at the end of the month. But their structure, their routine and their planning in the last three and a half years is we get everybody together, we do specific training to take a specific opponent, had this in their specific country. What do we need to do to get our guys right? What structure do we need to do? What's the game plan? What areas that we need to focus on? So all those little structures help them get to their end goal and that's a perfect way to explain it in business. It's not just great writing down saying "I want to be the best mortgage broker in the country". If you don't have plans in place on how to actually do that you'll get lost along the way. So yeah, planning, goals and then dedication and support network is a huge one.

Zion: Yeah sure.

Dino: Whether that's from a family's perspective. So wife, husband, facto, kids, anyone that you can go and bounce ideas off, or even just have a rant to at the end of a bad day, that will help you get back into the right frame of mind. Then those professional people that you can bounce ideas off, so you don't make the ones that I did thirteen years ago, will help you on the path to success. There are many and you could call out dedication and passion networking and all of that. But I think in the planning, the structures, the passion and the support network are huge. Be dedicated.

Zion: Yeah you got to execute.

Dino: I think if you're going to be a sales or people facing industry, you're not selling a product or service, you're selling yourself. It's a communication factor. So one thing that we live by is "do what you say you're going to do". If you said we're coming in to do the podcast with you today, I'm going to do it.

Zion: It was early!

Dino: Don't they ring up and say "oh something's come up". You've put it in the calendar for a reason, it's there. Live by that, die by that and live by your promises. People just break them as if nothing these days.

Zion: It's true. How do you how do you train yourself? How do you learn and train and in the professional space, do you read? Do you listen to podcasts?

Dino: Yeah, podcasts is one. So that's easy done in between meetings and put on in the car. Reading social media, you come across many, many different articles pertaining, particularly in the finance sector. There's so many changes within our industry. You probably heard about the royal commission that's happening at the moment. So there's a lot of that to keep up to date with and that's constantly changing and has been over the last twelve to eighteen months. So articles, news articles, speaking to people that have been in the game twenty or thirty years. I've only been in broker industry for five years, in finance about fifteen. I'd never want to say I know everything, because you don't. If anybody says that in finance, you're kidding yourself. Learning off these people, actually sitting down and listening, opening your ears, closing your mouth and asking some questions and taking as much as I can away.When I do travel to the East Coast, there are a lot of well-known, knowledgeable people over there, so I try and get in front of them and learn as much as I can.

Zion: Have you got any tips on, I mean you're in the finance game, on how to invest your money?

Dino: Well we normally lend it out from our perspective. But if you're seeking our finance it'd be a remiss of me not saying go seek some guidance and professonal expert. So, brokers obviously are the perfect way to when you're seeking out finance. Whether that may be finance for a home, car loan, business, whatever it may be. If you're looking at investing, financial advisors are a good way to go, and speak to people, do some research on social media about these professionals, speak to people who have actually dealt with them. But, put them to the test as well. When you' get in front of a broker, or financial planner, or an investment consultant, actually ask them questions. "Can you tell me about your last three successes you've had with clients", "What's been a return on investment on them?". Or if they are a broker, "Tell me what you've done for the last three clients", "give me some tips on how to pay up a mortgage quicker, how do you think I should do that?". These people will help now, because they want to be that trusted adviser. They no longer just want to write a loan and then leave it, they want you as a client and a client for life.

Zion: So Dino,what are your future plans for the next year?

Dino: I love that question. I am continuously looking at ways to improve the broker industry and obviously National Finance Brokersthey play a big part in that. But if I can get more people, more influential people on board to promote it even further. We continue seeing the mortgage brokers share rise, because brokers are responsible for writing something it's around 55.7% percent of all mortgages in Australia. So, it's a channel where consumers are seeking out, and their seeking out more and more. So I look at it from the role that I play, if we can continue creeping that up 0.02, 0.03, 0.05 percent every six to twelve months, then you know what, that's a personal success for me. I don't need personal accolades. If I can help with the industry as a whole, that's a success for me.

Zion: Awesome. Lastly, is there anything else that you're passionate about that you'd like to share?

Dino: I do like my football. I mention this right now which whoever is actually watching. But yeah the World Cup's huge. Again, it's finding that balance. I'm lucky enough to know this other human coach as well, that he doesn't refer something to the work life balance anymore. It's all a lot. It is human life balance you know. It's everything. You're in touch you're online 24/7.

Zion:It's all bottled up together.

Dino:You get more than anything with your business. It is no longer "I can switch off at five o'clock and I'll pick it back up at nine". It doesn't work. So I think making sure that you're rewarding yourself for that your little wins, or whether that is why they sit down and watch Australia play for an hour and a half and then just switch everything off and enjoy that time with my father. We love sitting down with it and we did and on the last game. It is those little things that you need to integrate. But finding that balance is challenging for people. So if you can find these little balances. That's my little tip that I'd give to people out there that find that it's hard to chat to people. Just get rid of your ego, get rid of the walls, get rid of the barriers, people want to know you.

Zion: Yeah, don't be an island.

Dino: Exactly.

Zion: Dino, a pleasure. That was brilliant. Thank you for sharing. That was fantastic. Hope everyone has a great day. Thanks Dino.

Dino: My pleasure. Thank you.

Enjoy the episode and if you’ve got any questions for me or Dino, our contact info is below.

Dino Pacella