20 December 2016
Know your Principality BDM
Introducing our Principality Business Development Manager, Alan Browning.
How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
In terms of networks, (Openwork, Connells & Peter Alan) this number is in the thousands. However, I am also responsible for a geographical area, the South West, where the identification and development of key brokers aligned with the society’s criteria is the key priority. In this respect, development is more parochial, with the focus being concentrated on a much smaller number of key accounts that possess the potential to introduce volume business to the society.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
By a continuous balancing act, and by never losing sight of what it is that I want to achieve. By being flexible, and constantly re-appraising my priorities each day.
What issues come up time and time again?
Affordability, the ‘grey’ areas of criteria and self -employment scenarios. There is also a high incidence of brokers surprised to learn that we allow 4 applicants on a mortgage, and that we lend on holiday lets at BTL rates.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
That we are here to help them successfully place business, and that a quick ‘upfront’ call before submission can often make all the difference!
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
Being approachable, knowledgeable, reliable, and always delivering on promises. This combined with the ability to self-motivate and prioritise, as well as the ability to empathise with brokers by providing a firm response, without over promising or under delivering, are the key ingredients to building successful relationships.
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second best-way for brokers to get in touch?
Our outstanding team of desk BDMs, comprised mainly of former underwriters and advisers, who provide an excellent broker service.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
It combines helping people with travel, and also provides the opportunity to work both as an individual, and as part of a team in one of the most competitive and challenging markets. The intermediary market is constantly changing, and the need to evolve with it means that you are continually learning with no two days ever being the same.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Initially by using a marketing tool such as Touchstone to help identify volume, business type and the location of the broker. Then by meeting with and speaking with the broker about his business and what is important, and about our criteria and USPs. Gradually a rapport will build as well as an understanding of the business so that the broker begins to understand how the society can help add value. As time goes on the relationship will become more empathetic as a greater mutual understanding develops on both sides.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
By building mutual respect and trust over time with all colleagues. This can be helped by taking the time to visit departments and colleagues when in head office, and also by empathising and showing that you are prepared to give and take, and see the bigger picture whenever a decision is not favourable.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked by a broker?
Whether we would consider a remortgage with extra funds for an extension in relation to a canal barge. I am not sure whether they intended building a sun deck or upgrading the lower deck to a glass bottom boat! Either way, we were able to oblige by securing the mortgage against their unencumbered residence as opposed to the boat!
Principality. Lle mae cartref yn bwysig.