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Know Your BDM: Alice Waites, Paymentshield

  • 19/04/2024
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Know Your BDM: Alice Waites, Paymentshield
This week, Mortgage Solutions is speaking to Alice Waites, regional sales manager at Paymentshield.

What does your role at Paymentshield entail and how long have you been doing it?

I’m the regional sales manager (our equivalent of a business development manager (BDM)) for the central region at Paymentshield, supporting 90 accounts and firms of all sizes with a number of advisers employed at each. I’ve worked here since August 2023. 


What attracted you to working in the mortgage/property/finance sector?

I saw a quote the other day that says you don’t choose financial services, financial services chooses you, which I think is bang on. I actually fell into the sector when I took a temporary role at a mortgage business unit after years of travelling. Little did I know, I’d discover a hidden passion for numbers, and within a few months, I was studying for my mortgage exams to become a broker. It was a surprising turn of events, but ultimately a perfect fit for my natural aptitude and interests. 


What were you doing in the five years before starting here?

I was brokering at a big estate agency local to me, and absolutely loved it. I really enjoyed my time there, becoming a senior mortgage broker relatively quickly. However, I’ve always been keen to upskill and to add more tools to my belt – so I took the leap to become a self-employed broker in 2020. 

Following this, I joined Pepper Money as a business development consultant before joining Paymentshield in summer 2023 – so I’ve had a huge amount of experience across the mortgage sector in a fairly short amount of time.


What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?

My greatest strength definitely lies in my ability to connect with people. Everyone communicates and operates differently, and adapting my approach to find a style that works best for each individual is crucial. Whether it’s collaborating with colleagues in team meetings, fostering relationships with clients, or interacting with various stakeholders, it’s all about finding a communication style that allows everyone to contribute effectively. 

This ability to connect stems in part from my own experience as a broker. Having walked in my clients’ shoes, I’m able to understand their challenges and aspirations. For example, having previously worked as a broker selling Paymentshield policies, I witnessed the significant advancements made by the company – such as an improved quote journey – first-hand upon joining the company a few years later. As someone who once stood on the client side, I recognised some of the frustrations of old, and so know exactly how to address those and demonstrate value. 


What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?

Absolutely my geography. I’ve always struggled with it and, given I’m on the road three days per week meeting as many as seven clients in a day, it needs to be tip-top. I’m perhaps overly reliant on my satnav. 


How has the pandemic changed the way you approach your job?

Massively. Seemingly overnight, it ushered in a new era of flexibility – which required some quick thinking to adapt to, but was definitely for the best. It fast-tracked the rise of flexible work, which was a big win for client-facing roles like mine when you need your client to feel as comfortable as possible.


What is the most interesting/memorable property deal/case you’ve been involved in?

I worked on a really interesting case at Paymentshield, for a house on an island in the middle of a river. The client was looking to secure development finance on the house and turn it into flats. He wasn’t sure if this would be possible, due to the seemingly precarious nature of the property.

We looked into it, and despite being a house on an island in a river, it had never flooded, meaning we were able to offer insurance on it – which was the push he needed to get the deal done.


Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I’d love to be continuously learning and still growing at Paymentshield. To continue to strengthen our client relationships while making the mortgage process even smoother and more efficient for everyone involved would be great. 


If present-day you could go back in time and tell yourself something five years ago, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. While moving from one side of the mortgage industry to the other was daunting – given the comfort and success I had in my previous role – it was ultimately incredibly rewarding.

As a result, I gained a deeper understanding of the industry and the people I interact with, allowing me to connect with clients on a more meaningful level whilst becoming a more well-rounded professional. 


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve tackled so far in your career?

Probably navigating the ‘new normal’ brought on by the pandemic. It was a period of significant change for everyone, impacting us all emotionally and physically.

We all became understandably more cautious, requiring big adjustments in how we interacted. It was a huge hurdle to overcome, but one that ultimately sharpened my resolve and made myself, and our sector, much more resilient. 


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Easy. It would definitely be to fly. I live near the M1 and am constantly blighted by never-ending roadworks – which makes getting to clients a bit more of a headache. Flying would save me a huge amount of time each and every day. 


And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

As you can probably imagine there have been some very strange ones. At Paymentshield, a client came to us with a query about insuring a shooting range in his garden. We wouldn’t, but were luckily able to refer him to a specialist insurer who was more than happy to.

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