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Day in the life of a BDM: Louise Drummond

In July, our Business Development Manager for Scotland, Louise Drummond, beat off competition from over 150 individuals to win the Business Development category at the British Mortgage Awards. So, what does it take to be an award-winning Business Development Manager? We spoke to Louise to see what a typical day in her life looks like and why she thinks building relationships with brokers has been key to her success.

So Louise, what does a typical day at work look like for you?
I’m usually up early, and will be online from around 7:30am responding to emails. By around 8am I’m in the car heading off to my first appointment of the day. I am the Business Development Manager for the whole of Scotland, which is a huge geographical area, so I often joke that my car is my home from home. I’ll cover around 400 business miles per week, and on busy days I’ll sometimes end up having breakfast, lunch and dinner in there. Thankfully I am supported by the Telephone Business Development Managers in the office as well as other areas of the Society.  

I usually book in three to four appointments a day and each day is spent in a different city with the firms and estate agents, which requires careful planning when you consider the large area I cover! Diary scheduling can be difficult, and it can be hard to get hold of the people you really want to talk to at a time that works for the both of you. I often plan in meetings a month in advance and how often I see brokers very much depends on the company. It can range from as often as once a month to once every 6 months.

Between meetings I’m returning calls and checking emails. I usually get anywhere between 80-100 emails a day so some time back in the car replying to these is essential between meetings, especially as I always aim to return a call within two hours and reply to an email within a day. It’s busy but I’m not complaining. I enjoy the fast pace, and the brokers always offer me a cup of tea - which helps!

What do you try to cover in a typical appointment?
There is no such thing as a typical appointment really, as I’m always trying to tailor my meetings to any one broker’s particular needs. One meeting might be to discuss our key lending criteria, whereas the next might be about turnaround times and how to package cases to Leeds Building Society.

I often find that while the questions are different, each client I speak to wants the same thing from their BDM, which is their support. I speak to brokers who say they have a bugbear with BDMs who say they will be there to offer support, but are nowhere to be found once the meeting is over. That’s why it’s important that I deliver on my promises, and I am available to speak to, even after I’ve left their office - probably one reason why I’m always so busy on emails. It’s important to be approachable as that’s how trust is built and good relationships are formed.  

What do you get up to when you’re not on the road?
I spend four days a week out meeting brokers, so my day in the office is the time I take to brush up on my knowledge of criteria and speak to the underwriters so I can offer the best service once I’m back on the road. I might be meeting a team leader to discuss new build, or discussing criteria with higher-level seniors and taking that knowledge out with me the following week. I often undertake training courses in this time as well – recently I undertook the Underwriters Mandate Holder training which is the entry-level training our underwriters go through, which was helpful in seeing things from the other side of the fence.  

What is the secret to being a good BDM?
It’s all about the relationships you build with the brokers. I’ve covered the area I work in for 10 years, and I wouldn’t have got anywhere if it wasn’t for taking the time to build these relationships. Often that means having integrity, and being honest – if I can do something to help I will. Other times it’s going that extra mile to help those more tricky cases get through.  

I’m definitely a victim of my own success, which shows in the volume of calls I get on a daily basis. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s always such a great feeling to be able to help a broker get a case through to completion, and indirectly help their clients purchase a new home.

For more information about Leeds Building Society or to speak to one of our team about general enquiries or specific cases call 03450 50 5555. We may monitor and/or record your telephone conversations with the Society to ensure consistent service levels (including colleague training).