Hope Capital

What makes a great BDM?

What characteristics and skills make a great BDM? The most common response would probably be along the lines of someone who can sell vast amounts and drum up business.

However, a good BDM is so much more than just a salesperson pushing whatever offering they have. In today’s specialist lending market, the role of a BDM is to understand each client’s needs and then find the best solution in any given set of circumstances. 

I have worked in the specialist finance sector for over 25 years and, in that time, have had my fair share of working with some fantastic salespeople and, in all honesty, some who have not been cut out for the job. 

Defining what makes a successful BDM in the bridging finance market is tricky, however I am a strong believer that you’ve either got it or you haven’t. But what exactly is ‘it’?

Firstly, sales isn’t for everyone. It can be high pressured, demanding and only the right career path if you are passionate about your work and are target driven. Of course, it can be a very rewarding role and flexible, too, as every day is different. Working in sales has taught me that you need to have integrity and a backbone, and be confident in your ability and a team player. The customer is always at the forefront of everything you do and going above and beyond will set you apart. 

The importance of knowing the company you are representing and products you are selling inside out, is also absolutely crucial. With each case, an entirely new, unique set of circumstances arise. Therefore, brokers need to feel confident that when they approach you with a deal, you can guide them correctly and will have the knowledge in place to discuss the area in detail.

Asking someone what skills a BDM should have will undoubtedly generate a multitude of responses, which is why I decided to put the question to the experts:

Jodie Gillingham, head of bridging and commercial at Chase Blue:

“For me, I look for a lender that is honest, open, and consistent. There is nothing more frustrating than when a BDM says they can deliver a solution and then, for one reason or another, discover they can’t. 

“I would much rather the BDM has the courage to say no at the start, rather say they can do the deal when they actually can’t, all because they want the sale. That will only result in me wasting time and, subsequently, losing respect for that BDM and the lender as a whole. Ultimately, being transparent and reliable is paramount if I am to build trust and long-standing relationships. 

“Let’s also not forget the importance of good communication and courtesy. A great BDM will have the decency to return calls and emails, proactively follow up with information if they said they would, and listen intently when I am discussing a unique case. At the end of the day, of course they need to be knowledgeable and able to provide a reliable service but, if I am speaking to them on a regular basis, I need someone who is easy to get on with and will help make my job as painless as possible.

“All of these qualities are what separates a good BDM from an exceptional BDM.”

Bridget Kibiru, corporate finance broker at Aureum Finance:

“As an intermediary, one of the key components of my job is to work closely with BDMs. Therefore, I thrive on being able to build real relationships where I know when I pick up the phone or ask to meet up for a coffee to discuss a case, they will genuinely want to help and take the time to walk me through the process. This is particularly important if I have a deal that isn’t straightforward and requires expertise. The best situation is where the BDM you work with has the ability to show they understand your situation and is committed to providing support.

“Of course, a BDM’s worth can be measured on whether they can take a challenging deal and get it approved. However, the steps that person takes to add value is what goes a long way in my books. 

“The ability to provide a personal and dedicated service is also key – there is no doubt delivering excellent customer service helps build trust and loyalty quicker than if you are offering a mediocre service. 

“Overall, there are numerous characteristics needed to be an excellent BDM, but being trustworthy, a good communicator, and having the willingness to go the extra mile — this is what I really value and look for.”

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