What makes a good bridging BDM?

What makes a good bridging BDM?




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With the bridging industry still booming, an increasing number of lenders entering the market and top lenders looking to strengthen their teams, Bridging & Commercial asked industry experts, current BDMs and recruiters what characteristics they believe make up a good bridging BDM within the industry.

Business Development Managers (BDMs), along with Underwriters, are one of the main areas in which bridging lenders typically focus on in a time of expansion. Terry Markham, Managing Director at the Funding Operation Ltd, told us that BDMs can be an invaluable resource for lenders but that they must be able to add value to your business. “A good BDM can really cement relationships between you and the lender they represent. They will help you fully understand their criteria and give you a good understanding of what they will and will not do,” he explained.

Stephen Johnson, New Business Director at Whiteaway Laidlaw Bank, supports this view, highlighting that a good BDM is: "a professional that actually makes a relationship work. That includes helping identify existing sales opportunities from today's activities but even more importantly support on how the broker can expand what he is currently doing.

“When a BDM delivers on this they are the most valuable commodity around - but, when they pop in for coffee and a chat they are waste of time for both lenders and brokers!”

In terms of the day-to-day duties which define a good Business Development Manager, Richard Deacon, Sales & Marketing Director at Masthaven, said: “A good BDM should always return calls promptly whether the news is good, bad or even if it is a holding call advising the broker that they don’t have an answer to their question yet.

“There is nothing worse for a broker to be left in the dark, so communication is absolutely key to a successful business relationship.”
 
Lucy Barrett, Director at Vantage Finance, agreed.  “A good BDM must fully understand not only the product but the operations of the business they represent. If knowledge of either falls short they will soon lose respect of their brokers.

“It's important that they can guide you through the process and get involved if necessary. Quite often once a relationship is established with the team their role becomes less hands-on, but all good BDMs will ensure that they are there to get involved as much as necessary to make deals happen.”

Speaking about the most important part of being a BDM, Jason Fantini, Business Development Manager at West One Loans, told us that it was about: “understanding what an introducer aspires to, ensuring I always add and deliver value. 

“The secret to being a good BDM is following up the promises you make and working for the needs of the client’s business by building their practice, not just selling them a product.”

Richard Deacon explained the ideal characteristics required. “A self-motivated person is an obvious trait that is required, as they often have to travel long distances every day in bad traffic and difficult conditions just to ensure they get that slot with the MD of a company who may give them some business in the future. Lateness is something most business people cannot abide,” he said.

“Trust is something that is difficult to gain and so easy to lose. A BDM must be trustworthy. They are often on their own for a large majority of the week and have to be trusted to be doing what their calendar says they are,” he continued.
 
Terry Markham informed us about his own experience of working with BDMs: “Over the years I have dealt with many BDMs from many different lenders and on the whole virtually every BDM has been able to assist my company with getting cases completed, when all appears lost.
 
“It really is all about relationships, as most of the time you may have telephone conversations with lenders about prospective cases, but the BDM is the one you have had face-to-face contact with and that is the real relationship between you and the lender. When they understand you and the needs of your business they can make a significant difference to getting cases completed.”
 
Peter Gwilliam, Owner of Virtus Search, has been headhunting in the mortgage market since 1998. He provided us with some insight into what recruiters perceive to be the ideal traits of a good BDM. Alongside common skills such as communication and relationship skills, goal orientation and a track-record of performance, there are more specialised and particular qualities needed to shine as a bridging BDM. “Commercial acumen and the ability to find solutions are much more a feature of the bridging sector for instance than in the residential sector and that therefore necessitates greater negotiation and influencing skills,” he explained.
 
Ultimately, the normal characteristics needed to be a good bridging BDM these days are the standard: being self-motivated, being trustworthy and able to build strong relationships. However, in a time of expansion these general skills need to be coupled increasingly with more commercial acumen and experience.
 
By Jason McGee-Abe

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