John Hardman, Head of Sales at Bridging Finance Solutions (BFS) discusses the diversity that governs the bridging industry.
Each bridging deal is unique. Every potential customer typically has established a plan and a vision of what they require and how the end scenario looks. It is the role of the bridging company to interpret that vision and to develop a solution that enables them to meet their goal. Ultimately, the bridging sector is one driven by customer service through a keen understanding of what every individual wants and needs.
What we are tasked with at BFS is fully understanding the diverse needs and requirements of the client fully, then matching this up with a truly bespoke funding solution. When it comes to fees and costs, for example, a client will typically have strong views about where and when these should occur during a contract and at what level. Our role is to ensure they walk forward with a funding vehicle they feel has been tailored by themselves rather than having some formulaic rules imposed upon them.
It’s important that each client is confident in their choice of bridging provider. At Bridging Finance Solution, each customer is assigned their own Account Manager who will remain with them throughout the process, guiding them through to the point of release of funds. It is this approach from BFS that ensures the firm retains its consistently high level of repeat business.
At BFS we have seen real growth in the numbers of repeat clients that we continue to serve, giving our company a definite relationship led feel to it. As the bridging market has matured so too has the number of repeat users, meaning they have become more savvy, aware and understanding of the process. Coupled with this is the fact that people typically go again for a very similar or identical project once they have repaid us, purely because it gives them that comfort factor that they have done it before and successfully. This creates a customer profile we see very often - a mature borrower, with experience, looking to repeat a success they have had in property.
At BFS we cater for this by offering clients their own dedicated personal point of contact, someone on first name terms who we have worked with and can very quickly advance an application so they don’t feel they have to ‘start all over again’ with unnecessary red tape and paperwork.
The relationship with the broker remains an important one for BFS. The team at BFS consider it part of their role to help educate the broker market to truly understand the flexible nature of bridging and how it can support their clients in completing a deal when mainstream lending is unavailable. We have a dedicated sales team that routinely engages with brokers across the UK and have developed some truly outstanding working relationships here with individuals we class as friends as much as business partners. Our team has over 50 years combined experience working in this market and our strongest selling point has always been the ability to deliver crystal clear advice and speedy solutions for their clients. Additionally, we have a dedicated BDM resource whose sole focus is to network and develop relationships with banks, accountants and solicitors, both locally and nationally which is extremely effective.
BFS has dedicated BDMs that cover the North and North East, Midlands and Wales. Whilst technology moves forward (and we fully embrace this from an internal systems perspective), BFS aim to retain a commitment to personal relationship building. We work hard to offer brokers the ability to conduct matters online but firmly believe that “people buy people” and by delivering funds within any given timescales is vital we dovetail this with ensuring that a face to face relationship is always available, wherever that broker may be based in the UK.
Head of Sales, Bridging Finance Solutions