The post Covid Business Development Manager

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COVID-19 has changed many things in our lives, much of this change will be permanent, but no one is sure.

What I do know is I haven’t driven my car since March, and that was almost five months ago. I don’t need to. I live in town, can cycle everywhere. We have groceries delivered, and we’ve re-engaged the milkman after 35 years. I work in my basement video studio every day, running my business entirely online.

I haven’t driven my car. It stands outside the house begging to be started.

If I were to change history, I would never have bought it last autumn; I don’t need a car anymore, my partner’s car suffices. She has a nifty bijou Hyundai i10 that is reasonably good for the environment and nips around town like anyone’s business. I wouldn’t have bought my car if I’d known about COVID.

If you were designing a BDM sales force for a brand new lender right now, I wonder how you might re-imagine your sales force in light of what’s happened? I bet you would have the same model. Probably road warriors with titles such as Senior BDM or Key Account Manager or Strategic Consultant. Plus a team of inside people using the phone only called Internal BDMs or Inside BDMS or Telephone BDMs. I bet you they talk to each other, help each other but the internals still sees the external role as a promotion or a step up.

Tell me I’m wrong?

How has the Role Changed?

The role of the car hasn’t changed; just the way we go around driving is different. Likewise, the part of the BDM hasn’t changed, just the way they go about their business.

The role of the BDM is to generate more lending business for the firm; the purpose of the car is to get me from A to B, in comfort and safety.

They are not missing the lavish lender awards evenings, dinosaurs of the past, entirely self-serving. They do not pine over the long liquid lunches, or the day-long lender conferences sat in a cavernous hall with BDMs all presenting in tandem with the ubiquitous PowerPoint deck.

The way I drive my car, and its uses have changed. When I eventually venture out, I will have to be wary of the extra cyclists around town, new cycle lanes to be careful around, speeds to be limited. I’ll probably encounter eScooters on the road, and there will be fewer cars in the morning and evening commute because so many people work from home. The motorways may be busier as fewer people take the train and the road down to Cornwall will be jammed because everyone is staycationing.

I will drive differently. Likewise, your BDM will operate inversely and here’s how.

What do Brokers want from a BDM?

Have you answered that question post COVID? They don’t want the same BDM doing the same BDMy thing. Many brokers are still working from home, quite enjoying the extra time that the online business model has given them. They have blurred home life with work life and gone is the antiquated notion that the two should be separated. They’ve become good with technology, figuring out how video conferencing can replace the in-person client meeting and working from the cloud quite effortlessly.

They’re now pretty adept at searching the internet for what they want. Months without the regular BDM call has made them less reliant on them. They can now search for everything they need to do their job – features, product specs, criteria and so on. Search engines can do this for them. They always could but many brokers relied on the BDM for this, out of laziness.

They still want help and advice from lenders, naturally. However, they’ve grown accustomed to videoing the “horse’s mouth”. They have direct connections with underwriters now and have been pleased since they don’t need to refer to other people, they know the answers or have the authority to adapt policy on a case by case basis. They’ve been able to hook up with quite senior people from the lender for guidance. People within lenders are all the same now; titles are meaningless, all have been working from home, in studies and spare bedrooms. All in the same boat, well not exactly, some have yachts, others have rowing boats, but it’s the same ocean.

With lockdown withdrawing, many are adopting a hybrid model of client meetings with most being achieved via video technology—an enormous saving in time. Numerous brokers are loving working from home.

They are not missing the lavish lender awards evenings, dinosaurs of the past, entirely self-serving. They do not pine over the long liquid lunches, or the day-long lender conferences sat in a cavernous hall with BDMs all presenting in tandem with the ubiquitous PowerPoint deck.

Outside we had the room of lender stands, universally photoed for LinkedIn manned by BDMs fidgeting with their mobiles behind a table of jelly beans, golf balls and drinks bottles.

Of course, there’s always the exception to these rules. But many brokers just don’t dig the old marketing model, the laddish cultures that still prevail. The younger generation brokers look upon it with disdain, and they chuckle to themselves on social media about the current state of the broker market.

Female brokers, gaining market share of the broker market, do not like the testosterone-filled sales culture.

The FCA’s New Views

The FCA has just appointed a new boss – Nikhil Rathi – when being interviewed by the Treasury Select Committee as part of his nomination; he explained how the FCA could intervene with regulation if the financial services industry does not improve its diversity.

He said there had been some progress, including the Women in Finance Charter, but stressed there was still a long way to go and warned the FCA was willing to take action to see this happen.

He was quoted saying:

“But I think it is in the interest of the whole industry to consider its leadership, to consider if it is properly reflecting the society it serves. I would expect over the coming years to see financial institutions working hard on these issues to deliver diversity and change culture.”

A tad contentious I know, but it’s what I see, hear and talk to brokers about every day specifically female and the new generation of advisers.

A Roadmap Moving Forward

Here’s what your BDMS should be doing and the skills they ought to be refining over the next six months.

  • Continue to educate brokers, train them, upskill them. Help them to create and run a successful business. BDMs should continue to do this, and this only.
  • BDMs need to become very proficient at running live online workshops. Not webinars but interactive and discursive seminars for small groups of brokers.
  • Bring in half a dozen brokers, from different firms. Mix them and encourage them to share best practice. Run a skills session, totally interactive, allowing them to mix and share. Use the technology available and apply it well, like the very best trainer.
  • Learn how to present, to livestream on camera. I mean properly. Polished and professional. Not sitting behind a desk, staring at a laptop screen. Instead learn to stand, with green screen, whiteboard within your delivery zone. Learn to move with the camera, have multiple cameras, master sound. Do this from home and use the tech setup to present and train any broker in any part of the country.
  • You don’t need geographic splits anymore. Tech removes county lines. Use this to your advantage. Search and connect with your brokers via the internet – the usual suspects – LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter – not by a geographic split. You don’t need maps of the UK on your walls anymore with pins showing which BDM looks after which area.
  • Coach brokers online, with video for 15 minutes. Help them with their challenges. Not product challenges but business problems. Product queries can go direct to underwriters or internal people (who will also be working from home). Think that you don’t have an office anymore, head offices or regional offices will become relics of the past. Everyone’s virtual and working away from the office.
  • Start and run a podcast. Voice and MP3s are increasingly popular with brokers, who enjoy the ability to multi-task while listening to the – gym, cutting grass, jogging etc. Run them with your favourite brokers for brokers. Nothing beats real-life experience.
  • Start a Mastermind group of like-minded brokers. Google Napoleon Hill for mastermind groups. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Present at virtual conferences, but make sure you’re one of the best live streamers around. Encourage questions and interact with your online audience.
  • Record videos and post them to your YouTube Channel. Send out video emails instead. Become the face of the lender but do it online.
  • Master the tech, fit-out your spare room or study or corner of your living room. People are choosing properties now on how easily they can work from home; this isn’t changing or going away. If you have offices, equip them with a video presentation room, with lighting, cameras, sound systems, mixers etc. and teach your BDM to use them.

The role of the BDM hasn’t and won’t change. The individual will and how they go about achieving their position might as well.

Perhaps driving my car might return to what used to occur. More than likely, I will sell it and be without. I can get from A to B a lot easier now, and it involves online.

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About Author

Paul Archer is an Online Sales Trainer, Speaker and Conference Host. He’d be happy to assist you in moving your workshops online during this challenging period. Email him on paul@paularcher.com or LinkIn with him at www.paularcher.uk The world of sales development has changed, many have missed this and boldly go on to run courses in the old-fashioned way. You want to develop your people – professional advisers, salespeople, coaches - and know there is a better way. He can help you. Think about music. I mean the music industry. In 2000 music became free, illegally at first with Napster, downloads became cheap as chips and streaming now cost $10 a month. In the same way, traditional self-development is now free. Everything is available online. Music artists and bands now make their money performing live. The live experience is what fans will pay money for. Recorded music is merely to create demand for the live experience. He brings his 35+ years of sales expertise and experience to you in two ways: Online, on-demand, just in time. He doesn’t run “just in case” training courses, they’re a thing of the past. Development should be “just in time”. Curated video, live videocasts and webinars, podcasts — books, articles and blog posts delivered via his Learning Platforms, YouTube or your in-house systems. Live. He can bring his expertise to your teams in live sessions, but these are rare now and need to be exceptional events. Conferences, seminars and events, he can educate, entertain them with my unique speaking style that has been enjoyed by thousands of sale people and advisers across the globe. Forty-five minutes, 2 hours, maybe a day – you choose. You figured there was a better way to develop your sales teams, you are right, and now you may want to make contact with him so you can talk further. You can Linkin with him at www.paularcher.uk, and he’ll start a conversation or head to his YouTube Channel for more at www.paularcher.tv email him at paul@paularcher.com or phone him on +44 7702 341769, and where ever you are in the world he’d love to hear from you. Paul is a prolific writer and blogger – maintaining three blogs, with www.paularcher.com attracting thousands of hits from all over the world. He has published eight books. His latest tome "Pocketbook of Presentation Skills” was released in January 2020 and is available from Amazon. The third edition of his book “Train the Trainer of the 21st Century” is also available from Amazon.

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