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Know Your BDM: Robert James, Barclays

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  • 04/03/2019
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Know Your BDM: Robert James, Barclays
This week Mortgage Solutions is speaking with Robert James, business development manager at Barclays.

 

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

There are 60 across the West Midlands.

 

What issues come up time and time again?

Traffic jams on the M42 and voicemail tennis that often goes to a fifth set.

 

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

Being organised is vital to success as a BDM. I plan my diary two weeks in advance but aim to leave time to respond to enquiries and requests from brokers, as well as time to travel to appointments and to say hello to my family occasionally.

 

What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

They already understand it. We work similar hours to them and we have the same goal – to help customers achieve their dreams.

 

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

Knowledge and trustworthiness. When a broker contacts me with an enquiry I strive for simplicity and clarity. So I will always be honest. Yes is my favourite response but I will always be honest if we cannot help with a particular case. A broker’s time is of the essence and I’m certain they prefer a no at the outset to avoid any time wasting. If I’m unsure then I will find out and come back to them in the quickest time possible (with the bonus of learning something new). As my boss tells us on every conference call: “Every day is a school day.”

 

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

Email. They pop up instantly on my iPhone (with attachments) and I reply between appointments throughout the day and sometimes in the middle of the night, if I can’t sleep. I love to talk but phone tennis can often be avoided via email.

 

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

I would enable the regulators to see things from a broker’s point of view and help them understand what needs to be implemented to protect their clients and still allow for an excellent customer experience. I’m all about simplicity and clarity and this is something I feel we don’t always have with the FCA.

 

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

I’m a people person with over 15 years of experience in the UK mortgage market. And yet I’m still learning new things and growing relationships with new people. It’s a good match.

 

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

I have to thank my personality for that. I get to know my brokers well and I’m yet to find one I have nothing in common with. Brokers are very busy so I strive to make our meetings meaningful and enjoyable. The credibility is then built by delivering on actions, being true to your word and completions.

 

And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

This is absolutely vital to being a good BDM. I am very fortunate that the team we have behind the front line at Barclays provide fantastic support to me and I wouldn’t be a success without them. So getting to know my colleagues, understanding their pressures and showing my appreciation for what they do every day helps build the team that we have. Also I make them laugh sometimes.

 

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

My mum asked me last week – how do you google the internet?

 

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

To be the goalkeeper for Aston Villa Football Club. I turn up every week but I’ve yet to be asked to bring my gloves.

 

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