How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I joined Family Building Society in July and am responsible for the EN, HA, TW, KT and BR postcodes inside the M25. I also assume BDM responsibility for John Charcol and am at their offices in the City once a week. Since joining Family Building Society I have seen around 100 advisers and I’m looking forward to growing this number.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
Being proactive is key to keeping the appointment levels strong enough to build my broker network, create new relationships and strengthen existing ones. I also ensure my diary is free enough to allow time to reply to enquiries either via email or by telephone.
Liaising with my underwriting team at our Epsom head office is fundamental to achieving the best outcomes. Getting back to my broker in a timely manner with a workable solution is the real key to winning that business.
What issues come up time and time again?
Family Building Society is a niche lender that offers appropriate solutions to real problems faced by borrowers. Unlike a mainstream volume lender, FBS tends to deal with cases which brokers will look at as a “tricky” case. The good news is that we are able to help older customers by lending into and in retirement – yes, I can help an 89-year-old with a five-year mortgage. I also get lots of enquiries for interest-only mortgages that are maturing with balances and looking for a solution.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
In the main, most brokers appreciate the value I can offer, whether that is talking through cases with underwriters and getting to a workable solution or clarifying how we deal with certain types of customers. I know brokers can get exhausted by meeting requests – however, I often get the greatest satisfaction when a broker reacts during a meeting with surprise on the types of cases or solutions we offer.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
There are two. First, to be tenacious – keep going, keep getting our message out there. Second, do what you say you are going to do – very often, in the heat of the job, you may forget to chase a deal or return a call. I have seen how this can impact on a relationship and it takes time to rebuild that trust.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
I ask brokers to email any case queries if I am unavailable. It helps when presenting a case that it is written and I can respond with a solution. However, if you leave a voicemail I will look to respond on that same day. Alternatively, our new business team at Epsom is available on 01372 744155.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I previously worked as a BDM for Intelligent Finance and Bank of Scotland until the market crashed in 2009. I continued to work as a relationship manger in commercial banking but always enjoyed my role as a BDM. I therefore decided to re-enter the marketplace with Family Building Society.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I aim to make a good impression from the outset and make sure I deliver on promises. That ultimately builds trust with a broker and is the foundation of everything when it comes to strong relationships as a BDM.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
BDMs spend most of their time away from our offices and colleagues, therefore most of our contact with colleagues is via telephone and email. I always try to build these relationships by listening to others. In most successful relationships, hearing what the other person has to say is crucial to building trust. Rather than just giving my own opinion every time, I try to ensure I listen and learn from others while airing my opinions with sound reasoning. I feel that helps grow relationships with mutual respect.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I was born in the West Indies and moved to the UK when I was nine. I was regularly asked “Did you not find it weird celebrating Christmas when it is hot?” I never knew any different and I still prefer summer to winter any day.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I am not sure I have ever grown up, however, when I was very young I always wanted to be a footballer or cricketer. As I got older, and was good at maths, my mum and dad always said to become an accountant.