Why face-to-face BDMs still matter in a world of remote working

Ryan Brailsford | Pepper Money
22nd July 2021
Ryan Brailsford Pepper
"84% of executives prefer in-person meetings because they enable them to build stronger, more meaningful business relationships."

With the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK, Pepper Money’s regional development managers (RDMs) will soon be able to head back out on the road and meet with brokers face-to-face.

But after what has become such a long period of time working remotely, the world has changed. We’re all used to communicating over video calling platforms now – it’s convenient and more efficient to stay in one place and carry out visits over a screen. So, why do face-to-face BDMs still matter in a world of remote working?

The role of a BDM has been changing for some time. It truly is a consultative business development role in which representatives from lenders work in partnership with brokers to help get their cases over the line.

This relationship works best when it’s based on trust. For existing relationships, when there’s already a proven track record and trust in place, the convenience of a remote check-in can work well to discuss the details of a particular case or new criteria. For less well established relationships, it’s often important to meet face-to-face.

According to a survey by Forbes magazine, 84% of executives prefer in-person meetings because they enable them to build stronger, more meaningful business relationships.

There are additional benefits to meeting in-person for both new and existing relationships. Psychology Today says that, while it’s impossible to determine the exact percentage, at least two-thirds of communication is non-verbal. So, by being in the same room, brokers and lender representative can communicate more clearly, and this can be important when discuss potentially complex customer circumstances.

We know that the expectations of intermediaries and their customers have changed. As a result of this, how BDMs interact with brokers has changed too. Face-to-face is no longer necessarily the go-to method of communication every time we need to discuss a customer’s application – but it should always be an option.

The pandemic forced us all to become more comfortable with video calling, but the reality is that some people are more comfortable than others. Some brokers will prefer this as they favoured method of communication as we go into the future. Others will still opt for visits and the traditional phone call.

The key for lenders is to make the most of the tools and channels available to them and to provide brokers with the option to work in the way that best suits them. That’s what we will be doing at Pepper Money and my team and I look forward to seeing you in-person, or over a screen, sometime soon.


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