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Know Your BDM: Sonya Willcocks, Coventry for Intermediaries

  • 18/02/2019
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This week Mortgage Solutions is speaking with Sonya Willcocks, business development manager at Coventry for Intermediaries.


How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

I cover Reading, Slough and Uxbridge as well as the South West and West of London, which is quite a diverse patch. As you can imagine, I’m kept quite busy.


How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?

My priority for every day is responding to brokers’ queries as quickly as I can. I want to make sure that brokers are getting the support they need. To ensure that this happens we have recently given all of our brokers two BDMs – one in the field and one over the phone – so there is always someone available to help.


What issues come up repeatedly?

Brokers often ask about the best ways to find our products on sourcing systems, which I’m always happy to help with.


What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

The brokers that I’ve met so far all get it – they understand the trials and tribulations of being on the road every day and they know that our work is much more than simply going to meetings all day.


What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?

I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. To be a good BDM, you have to be reliable. You need to understand your broker’s business and build positive relationships. Being a people person is also a must, as is dealing with any situation that comes your way.


When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?

If you call and I can’t get to my phone it’ll divert to our BDM support team. Alternatively, brokers can get in touch with their dedicated telephone BDM, whose details they can find through our BDM finder on our website.


If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

There’s a real sense of uncertainty in the mortgage industry at the moment, so I think a period of stability would be welcomed across the board.


What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?

I worked in a broker’s office and saw first-hand the value of a good BDM. I wanted a change of pace while staying in financial services, so becoming a BDM seemed like the perfect fit. I like meeting different people every day and helping brokers to find the right solution for their clients.


How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

I think it’s important to get to know brokers on both a personal and professional level. Trust and credibility are crucial.


And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

I get up to Coventry every month to see the field team and meet with our telephone BDMs. We have social events as often as we can which help us to get to know each other better. Being a keen baker, I also bring some baked treats as a thank you for the team.


What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

It’s not work related, but I was once asked if eggs were a dairy product.


And finally, what did you want to be growing up?

Having an artistic flare, I wanted to be an art teacher. I came from Ireland to the UK to study art at university but it was difficult to get a job after I graduated. In the interim, I ended up working for a specialist lender and gained my Cemap qualification. The rest is history.


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