What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover Wales, the West Midlands and the South West. So, quite a few firms and advisers, but I do have great support and work in collaboration with our telephone business development manager (BDM) Joseph Morriss who covers the same areas.
How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
You will never beat face-to-face meetings over a cup of tea, but virtual meetings have obviously changed the way we as BDMs have worked. We’ve all used Zoom and Teams, but I’ve carried out video calls via Facetime and even Facebook messenger. Using these platforms has allowed us to speak to more people and, in some cases, some brokers who we may not have been able to get to previously.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
The ability to listen – though my wife may argue this point. But I do believe that I am a good listener at work. It’s no good saying ‘yes’ to a case, and then finding out three weeks later that you’ve missed a vital point in a conversation which puts a case outside of policy. So, it is vital to listen carefully to our intermediaries to ensure we are doing the best job for them.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
Coming from the Welsh valleys, my accent and speed that I speak can sometimes cause an issue. I can’t change my accent, and nor would I want to, but I could learn to speak a little slower.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
During lockdown, I longed for a trip along that M4. However, having recently re-joined the rush hour traffic through Newport – BDMs and South Wales advisers will know what I mean – I think I’ll take the Zoom calls.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
It was quite a simple one really but one that I needed at the time. At a previous post, I was given the opportunity to make a move from a comfortable job to one that was really going to challenge me.
A very good friend told me it was time to ‘put my big boy pants on’ and take a leap of faith. I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve not looked back since. Now I see every challenge as an opportunity.
What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
One that sticks in my mind was a property in the Welsh valleys that from the outside looked like your typical former miner’s three-bed terrace. Then, you got inside and found that it had an indoor swimming pool. It was amazing.
What was the greatest lesson you learned during lockdown?
That I’m not as good at long division as I thought I was. But, joking aside, making sure I put the phone down more as life doesn’t revolve around an iPhone, and spend good, quality time with my friends and family.
What was the first social event you attended once restrictions were eased?
The first proper event was a football match – Bath City versus Cardiff City. I’ve never been as excited to go to a game as I was for that. Given Cardiff City’s form this season though, if we could bring another lockdown in soon, it might not be a bad thing.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I spent the earlier part of my career at Principality Building Society and worked my way up from working in the contact centre to underwriting. From there an opportunity came up to join the BDM team as a telephone BDM, and it kind of went from there.
I love speaking to and trying to help people, and luckily for me I get to do this every day in my role.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I loved being an underwriter and if I ever get sick of driving along the M4, I’d love to go back into that role. Being able to build a case, make lending decisions and help a customer to achieve their first home or the next property in their portfolio is a great feeling.
What did you want to be growing up?
A footballer. I was quite a good player and always saw myself scoring the winning goal in the South Wales derby and captaining Wales. I’m hoping one of my daughters, Millie and Ava, will live out my dream.
What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?
I’m quite boring, I’ve got a nice blue Adidas one. It matches my trainers.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I always say to my brokers there’s no strange or silly questions. However, at work it has to be getting asked if we could do a transfer of equity on a property that had been knocked down without telling anyone. Also, being asked if I could explain what the difference between a purchase and a remortgage was.