What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I have a very broad geographic area covering the Midlands and North of England, as well as Scotland, and parts of Wales. Unsurprisingly, this is a lot of broker firms, although I also have help from our great team of account managers as well as the national account managers. Luckily I enjoy driving.
How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
Whilst the way in which we all communicate has changed drastically over the last year and a bit, with Zoom and Teams meetings replacing face-to-face, the basic role is still the same – talking to people, listening to them, and being available for them. Also, it really doesn’t matter if it’s early and you’d rather not have your camera on. Oh, and my two cats now play a much larger part in my work meetings, whether I want them to or not.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Honestly, I think experience. You can’t cheat time, to get 10 years’ experience takes 10 years, not two. You learn from your mistakes, you learn from others, you learn from life – every day is a school day – never think you know it all.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
Delegation. I still find it difficult to delegate things.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
Zoom calls – don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer seeing my brokers face to face than remotely – but I do detest motorway traffic jams with a vengeance.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Never take things too personally.
What was your lockdown coping strategy?
Making sure I get out of the house every lunchtime, and ideally again after work, for a short walk – come rain or shine. Get some fresh air and unwind a bit.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
It may sound corny, but I like helping people. The ability to help a broker resolve an issue and get a case to completion is very rewarding, especially when you remember there is usually an end client desperate to move into their new home. On the wider matter, it is great to impart your knowledge to brokers of things we can do to help them overcome issues in their day-to-day job, enabling them to give a better overall service to their clients.
What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
Many years ago, we had a client buy an old sea fort in the middle of the Solent, which we financed. It doesn’t get much more specialist than that.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I’d love to be a high-end architect. Some of the wild and wacky property designs you see these days are amazing whilst, on a more serious note, to be able to improve the energy efficiency of properties and the way we lead our lives.
What did you want to be growing up?
A footballer – but it was never likely to happen.
What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?
Fairly boring here I’m afraid, either the ubiquitous pale blue, or plain black.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Well, if you’d have asked me 18 months ago, I would have said “What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear”?