As I was chatting with Wayne Dickerson, the 251st person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, there was a moment when his face really lit up.

Wayne, who is a mortgage broker, told me how much satisfaction he gets from educating first home buyers and helping them achieve their goal of property ownership. 

Wayne’s body language perfectly aligned with what I’d already learned – that he’s a relationship-driven person. Obviously, he’s good with numbers, but the people matter more.

As Wayne made me appreciate, mortgage broking is far more people-focused than most professions. That’s because a broker is legally required to know intimate details about their clients, including what they do for a living, how they spend their money and where they’re going in life. So you can’t be a good broker without taking a genuine interest in other people.

And it’s almost impossible to interview thousands of clients, as Wayne has done since he founded Direct Mortgage Concepts in 1999, and not develop good people skills.

Chatting with Wayne was effortless – he was very friendly, he was an attentive listener and I could tell it was important to him that I felt comfortable.

Wayne, like most business owners, works morning, noon and night. But there’s always one part of the week when he clocks off. Late on a Friday morning, he meets a few friends for 18 holes of golf followed by a couple of beers. It’s his way of unwinding and protecting his mental health.