Well, I guess primarily it’s to increase the sales from a panel of advisers, but it’s so much more than just that.
A BDM is the main contact for advice firms when they’re working with a provider or lender, so actually the most important part of the role is relationship management. As a BDM, you really are aiming to be an intermediary between the two.
A Day in the Life of a Protection Business Development Manager:
It’s so varied! Firstly, there is analysis of the firms that you look after using management information – some will already be supporters which means they submit a steady flow of business and probably already know about what we have to offer. Others might only use us occasionally and some might not do business with us at all.
Each of these different firms will need different and tailored support from their BDM, for example those often submitting business might need help with getting cases pushed through, whereas those who’ve never done business with us are likely to need training on our proposition and systems etc. So, you have be comfortable with questioning and fact finding but also be an excellent listener to pick up on any objections or issues.
As a Regional BDM approximately half of my time is spent on the road, visiting firms to carry out meetings, training or quarterly business reviews but also attending network conferences and presenting material, hosting round tables, or manning a stand at events, so time management and organisation are key. The variety of questions is vast and can be very technical, especially around taxation and trusts so a really good level of knowledge is required both about your own company but also the industry in general.
This is where taking industry qualifications such as RO1 and RO5 can be of huge benefit as well as keeping up to date with regulatory changes such as Consumer Duty. You find that a good BDM will become a sounding board and a source of information for more than just the products that their company sells.
I’ve always believed that providing excellent service, with the help of a good proposition, sales will come naturally. So, another important part of the BDM role job is to manage expectations around servicing cases and to make it easier for advisers to do business with the provider. This can involve anything from arranging for policy amendments to be carried out promptly, helping to correct errors and explaining processes, to challenges arising from underwriting decisions. Another area that BDM’s will need to have some understanding of is medical terminology as often we are asked to help with pre-sales enquiries to refer to an Underwriter to enable us to offer indicative terms based on a client’s medical or family history.
I believe that the most important elements to being a good BDM are knowledge of your subject matter, have excellent communication skills, be able to negotiate and mediate and most importantly of all, if you don’t know something, admit it and go and find out rather than trying to muddle your way through – trust goes an awfully long way in building long lasting relationships!
Vikki is a Business Development Manager at Guardian Financial Services.
For more information on the different paths to becoming a Protection Business Developer, including qualifications, exams and salary information, check out the Protection Business Development Manager Role Profile.
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