A day in the life of a Sales Manager

A day in the life of a Sales Manager



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Leading on from our behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a BDM, Bridging & Commercial caught up with Matt Rogers – Sales Manager at leading short term lender Omni Capital – to find out how he spends a typical working day in the bustling bridging sector…


A country boy at heart, I live in a small village in the wilds of Lincolnshire. During the working week, I rise at 5.00am, jump in the shower and down a strong, hot coffee to help kick-start the senses. 


I like to leave the house around 6.00am in order to get to the office between 7.30am and 7.45am. I’ve always enjoyed driving, and the morning commute provides a private space in which to organise my thoughts and priorities for the day ahead.


I’m based at Omni Capital’s operations centre in Watford, which houses our core broker-facing sales and underwriting functions. Our head office, which provides service and infrastructure support, is located in London’s Knightsbridge but I have only rare occasion to venture into glamorous SW7. With the Olympics coming to town, I say hooray to that.


I’m one of a sales team of three – soon to be four – and report into Omni Capital’s sales director, Martin ‘Up-the-QPR’ Gilsenan. Our job is to foster business relationships and provide the essential bridge (pun intended) between our intermediaries and the underwriting process. In short, we help pull a deal into shape or say ‘no’ where it isn’t right for us.


Arriving at the office early is a distinct advantage as the next couple of hours can be the most productive of the entire day. But the day itself always commences with another generous helping of strong, hot coffee.


And so to work, I fire up the computer and activate the Live Chat facility on our website. This allows us to have fully interactive, real-time online conversations with brokers, many of whom are first-time visitors to Omni Capital. 


Live Chat is, I believe, unique to us at this time in the bridging sector. It’s a clever little tool and one our brokers have taken to. ‘Conversations’ tend at first to be fairly generalised but often lead to firm deal proposals and longer-term relationships.


My next priority is to respond to any e-mails that have come in overnight. These vary from general enquiries and new proposals to questions and/or information relating to existing cases currently being processed.


The telephone – landline or mobile – is my constant companion throughout the day. It never stops ringing. (Good.) The queries are pretty much the same as those received by e-mail but, coming by phone, there’s invariably a bit of broker banter to accompany them. This varies from the sharp and witty to the downright filthy! A sheltered upbringing is no advantage in this game. 


Communication is at the heart of what I do. I know there’s a lot of talk about technology and how SMS, apps and whizz-bang gadgets are wonderful – and perhaps so in some sectors – but my overwhelming experience is that what bridging brokers want is to be able to get hold of a decision-maker quickly, easily, 24/7. The means are less important than the outcome, but I’d say phone and e-mail are the clear winners.


Next stop, the coffee pot.


A huge part of my day is taken up with new loan enquiries from brokers and distributors. These vary from very straightforward bridging and refurbishment cases to highly complex, multi-million pound development deals involving companies and trusts, often based off-shore.


Our policy is to respond to any enquiry within minutes rather than hours. If we cannot do the deal, we like to say so quickly. Where we believe we can help, we take time to explain the process and expected time-lines. This applies whether the introducer is an old friend or a welcome new acquaintance. Bridging is a nuanced form of lending, and each deal comes with its own personality.


Once the basic framework has been established, I like to discuss the detail direct with the broker as there are often several ways to structure an acceptable deal. This is the point at which we negotiate on the all-important matter of rate, fees, terms and charges. It may take several attempts until all sides are satisfied, but flexibility is a big part of the Omni Capital ethos and offering. 


The next step is to produce printed Indicative Terms for the broker and their client. On their behalf, I also instruct the valuation from our extensive panel of specialist surveyors and, where required, arrange the requisite undertakings for the case solicitors.


Once received, I collate all relevant information and data to produce a ‘pack’ ready for the underwriting team, who sit alongside us. The pack may be in hard copy or electronic format – whatever works best to help speed along the process.


But my part doesn’t end there. I maintain an ongoing and proactive liaison with valuers, solicitors and our retained asset manager (whose job it is to take a 360-degree view on the deal from a property perspective) to ensure we live up to our hard-gained reputation for service excellence. Brokers hate an information vacuum, and I do all I can to ensure they’re kept fully in the picture. I expect the same in return.


All being well, the case completes. Despite being in the lending business for more years than I care to admit – both as lender and broker – it still gives me a huge kick to get deals over the line. Sometimes it happens smoothly; sometimes it’s a feat of endurance and persistence. Either way, my reward is a ‘thank you’ from the satisfied customer at the other end of the phone.


After that final cup of strong, hot coffee – and a judicious visit to the Powder Room – I diligently follow our clear-desk policy, pack up and at 6.00pm head down to the Matt Mobile in the car park. But I’m never lonely on the drive back to the Fens as I have my close friend the phone to keep me company. After making the final few calls of the day, it’s time to see the family, put up my feet and unwind. For tomorrow, it begins again…

 

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