Building trust is key to making a top BDM

Being reliable, honest, responsive and creative is what makes a good business development manager (BDM), according to Chris Murphy from TAL, this year’s BDM of the Year.

The overall winner described a good BDM as someone who advocates for advisers within the business that they work for, and if necessary, would not hesitate to “go in to bat for them when there are challenges at hand”. 

According to Murphy, a great BDM also needs to be honest and not shirk tough conversations.

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“My idea of a successful BDM is someone who is reliable, honest, responsive and creative in their approach to effectively managing relationships,” he said.

“I think you have to be adaptable and apply different skillsets for different advisers however one thing I’ve always been adamant on is the power of listening during a meeting and then being able to demonstrate that with a follow up email or phone call that addresses a concern or query that the adviser raised.”

Asked about how the financial services industry evolved over the past year, Murphy stressed that it was more important now than ever for advisers to have a “listening ear”. 

“A big part of my approach this year has been to listen and often let them [advisers] vent about things that are frustrating them. Where possible, I will make suggestions however sometimes it is just about being there to support them.”

Similarly, NSW/ACT winner Reuban Siva of Walsh & Company Asset Management, is a firm believer that trust was an integral part of any successful BDM career.

“The key to building trust is to be open about your offering and your motivations and find ways to be authentically relevant to the client/stakeholder,” he said.

“By building trust, my clients/stakeholders invest in my service offerings and they rely on me for ideas and solutions. This ultimately is how I have found to be successful in my career.”

According to Jade Custance of TAL and SA/NT/Qld winner, the top qualities that would make both a good business development manager and a good employee were knowledge, responsibility and constant improvement. 

“With client’s I work with, I enjoy working with advisers and their staff where I know I can add value and that they value it too,” she said.

“Businesses that want to develop staff with knowledge, responsibility and constant improvement with processes and client engagement. When we meet on these similar drivers we achieve great things”. 

For Victoria winner Ravi Verma of OpenInvest, what makes a good BDM is also understanding each business and its pain points: “Integrity and trust are values I uphold; this is key to my close working relationships with firms.” 




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