Us little guys need good BDMs too

Online systems can\'t replace talking to good business development managers but lenders seem to be spreading them so thinly that smaller broker firms are missing out, says Sue Read

As mortgage IFAs, many of our new clients come to us after they’ve tried to obtain mortgages with high street lenders. As a result, I’m always being asked to look at interesting cases. This makes my life challenging but also satisfying when I can do something for a client who believed they were unplaceable.

The reason IFAs can sometimes achieve the previously unachievable is because they have strong contacts with lenders and a knowledge of underwriting. My client is my product. My job is to sell that product to a lender. I do this first and foremost by getting to know everything I can about the client, but we all know that clients don’t always reveal everything to us, and second, by having an awareness of how underwriting works and what lenders are looking for.

I build the case to put to a lender, giving them reasons to lend to my client. This, I have found, is a far better route to success than simply submitting an application that tells half the story and hoping it will somehow miraculously get through.

But the most important element in this process is the relationship our company has with lenders. We have a good reputation with the lenders we use because they know we will have done a proper job in packaging the case and presenting it to them.

We usually know what they are looking for and it’s important to us to maintain strong professional relationships with them.

As I was saying last week, lenders rely on the business that intermediaries give them. Why, then, is it that we seem to be contacted by fewer and fewer business development managers?

I see the BDM as a crucial cog in the business wheel. Having a BDM with whom you can discuss cases and speak with when problems arise makes everyone’s job easier and must increase business levels for lenders.

Online criteria, DIPs and AIPs are all great but call me old fashioned, I don’t believe they can possibly replace talking with a real person.

Of course, we’ve all met some less-than-excellent BDMs, such as those who don’t know their stuff and regard an adviser’s office as a place to stop by for coffee. And I can’t see the point in them simply dropping in with a two month old rate guide, apart from getting their own call rates up to the required level.

But on the whole, BDMs can be really useful people. So lenders, please don’t do away with them. Don’t spread those you have so thinly across the country that they can only visit the big brokers. Us little guys need them too. If we have a good BDM contacting us with clear objectives on a regular basis we will, provided your rates are competitive, send you more, better packaged business.

The maxim ‘people buy people’ applies just as much between a lender and an intermediary as between a broker and their client. Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot. I await a deluge of calls.