Business development managers are often the face of the lender, perhaps the only person from the organisation you’ve met in person, and whose number you will call when you need support.
Most lenders have a team of BDMs on the road, in addition to call centre-based staff, who can support you and your business in a host of ways.
They’ll help you understand criteria, new products and lending policy, or answer general queries about service and technology. Some of that information you can usually find out on the lender website, over the web chat service or by phoning the mortgage desk. But your BDM can help with a whole lot more if you ask.
So, how do you make the most of them?
1. Plan ahead
Next time you have a BDM visit scheduled, make time to plan for it.
Think about your business and where you are looking to grow, as well as what concerns you have. Your BDM could offer invaluable insight, but knowing what is really important to your business is key to helping them support you.
Put some questions together. It doesn’t matter what they are about – some might be on specific criteria or niggles with the website, others about trends in a niche sector, or running your own business. BDMs thrive on broker feedback and questions, and will do their best to help.
2. Be open
The best BDMs are committed to delivering for their intermediaries. They understand intermediaries and how they can help them develop their business.
Be open to sharing information with them, such as how your business breaks down across different sectors. They may be able to spot gaps. For example, some intermediaries are focussed on acquisition and a good BDM will show them how to build up the remortgage and product transfer side of the business.
If there is an aspect of your business, or the mortgage market, that is worrying you, discuss it with your BDM. Remember these professionals are experts, not only on their own lender’s products and criteria, but on the intermediary mortgage market, with unrivalled insight and access into intermediary businesses, across your local area and region. They can offer you a valuable perspective on the key threats and opportunities you might want to prepare for, and that your peers are planning for.
3. Accept constructive advice
The role of the BDM has also developed to help intermediaries in other ways, ensuring they understand all aspects of appropriate outcomes for their clients.
At Halifax we help our intermediaries to trade appropriately and keep their business safe. Of course, you are responsible for your own compliance but Halifax BDMs will conduct reviews regularly, looking at how you source your products for example. We do this to support you, not to police you, and to pick up any issues before they potentially become a problem.
Remember that your BDM sees the processes in place at many intermediary firms, small and large, so they have experience of best and worst practice.
4. Take the opportunity to learn
Increasingly, a BDM’s role is focussed on education, helping intermediaries to understand not just their lender’s products and criteria, but key issues in the market or new opportunities.
For example, they may come into your offices to do a presentation on regulatory changes, such as GDPR, or new lending rules.
Many lenders now have highly trained, knowledgeable BDMs on the road presenting to intermediaries up and down the country, with a view to boosting your knowledge, not just promoting mortgages.
Halifax’s Making it Easier workshops have been delivered to intermediaries on a range of topics, including the Mortgage Credit Directive, for example. Sometimes our BDMs will present to intermediaries within one firm but we also arrange presentations where local intermediaries get together – which can be a great opportunity to network as well as learn.
5. Always ask the question
If you need help from your BDM – be it a client with circumstances just out of criteria, or a more general enquiry, always speak to them or drop them a line over email. They are busy people, of course, but the best BDMs manage their time effectively and will return calls and emails in a timely way.
Don’t ever be wary of bothering your BDM. They are there to support you and your business, from talking you through the DIP process to looking at ways you can get more business from your existing client bank. Technology can make your working life easier in so many ways but it can’t answer every question. Some queries you just need to talk through with a real person, and a good BDM is ready to help.
For the use of mortgage intermediaries and other professionals only
If you do not have professional experience, you should not rely on the information contained in this communication. If you are a professional and you reproduce any part of the information contained in this communication, to be used with or to advise retail clients, you must ensure it conforms to the Financial Conduct Authority’s advising and selling rules. Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.This information is correct as of March 2019 and is relevant to Halifax products and services only.