How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
There are over 1,000 advisers registered with Fleet Mortgages in the North East; they all receive our regular updates and I’m working hard to meet as many of them as possible. I know there are many more advisers in my area and I’d encourage any adviser who hasn’t already registered with us to take a minute to do so.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I love being busy, so being organised is the key to success. I plan my diary well in advance and I leave plenty of time to respond to enquiries from advisers, as well as enough time to travel to and from appointments. My promise is that I’ll always respond to an enquiry on the same day (unless it’s after 10pm), so dealing with things straight away means they get done, which is important to my brokers and their clients.
What issues come up time and time again?
There are certain issues I discuss with brokers on a regular basis, some of which are due to market conditions in the North East. I take all broker comments onboard and always feedback internally. I don’t see issues as a problem, I always work hard to overcome them and if not, I ask myself, what can we learn from the situation or do differently next time?
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I don’t believe it’s for brokers to understand what I do, it’s more important for me to understand what they do and provide solutions or ways we can work together to add value to their business and clients.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
I believe providing an answer to any question in the shortest possible time is above all the most important attribute. I tell my advisers that if they contact me with a query they will get one of three answers; Yes, No, or I don’t know, and if the answer is I don’t know, then I will find out and come back to them straight away. I strongly believe that you shouldn’t waste time or keep anyone waiting.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Either by e-mail or text. If I’m unable to answer I’ll always endeavor to respond the same day.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
Regulation is very important and is essential to protect the consumer. It would be good for the FCA to see things from an adviser’s point of view and really help them understand what needs to be implemented to protect their clients and still allow for an excellent customer experience. Some real-life case studies when things change would be a good example.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I’ve built my career around jobs that involve understanding people and building relationships. Skills I developed in these roles have provided me with the foundations I need to be a good BDM. I love the idea of getting in my car and driving to a different city every day; I like the freedom to manage my own diary and love helping people. I get a real buzz from finding solutions and getting a thank you from my brokers when they have been able to help their client due to us working together.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I like to have a good initial conversation, get to know a broker and understand their business. Following on from this, providing clear and timely communication through all channels is how I maintain a good relationship.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I live quite a distance from our head office in Hampshire so maintaining internal relationships is very important for me. I make time to have a conversation with colleagues on the phone and show appreciation for their help and support. When I’m in the office, usually once a month, I grab a bite to eat with as many of my colleagues as I can. I also have regular catch up calls with Laura Smith, our internal BDM for the North, who is available to help if I’m not immediately available.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I always wanted to be a footballer, or a sportsman of some kind. I wonder if, when I was younger, someone had explained the role of a BDM and told me how much I’d love the job whether I would have believed them and changed my aspirations at that time?