BLOG: Greasing the Wheels

During the summer holidays, the last thing any commercial manager wants to be doing is spending the majority of their day desperately searching for valuers. The kids are off and most of their parents take some leave; the larger valuers either refuse to quote you or tell you that nothing can be done for “three or four weeks” and the smaller outfits rarely crop up in any searches. You’re stranded at sea and water’s running out.

It’s a nightmare scenario and loss of business was a very real prospect for us back then. It’s nobody’s fault; we’ve all got to cope with those six weeks that the schools close their gates, but how you keep your processes running during this period can impact the rest of the year.

It was after being turned down by literally every valuer I approached for a deal towards the end of July that the penny finally dropped – why not engage a panel manager? Being so new to the industry, the idea wasn’t quite so obvious until an SOS status I posted on LinkedIn opened my eyes.

A quick Google will give you a few options but LinkedIn, as ever, got me a direct line to the exact person I needed to be speaking to. I’m a firm believer that LinkedIn is the most valuable social networking site out there, but that’s a blog for another day.

Needless to say, getting a panel manager ingrained into our business process was one of the best things we’ve ever done, and I honestly don’t know how any lenders can cope without one after the torment I went through during the summer. Our particular panel manager has a huge number of valuers on its books; from two-partner outfits to some of the larger, more well-known players in the sector. You’re almost spoilt for choice.

I’m no longer waiting upwards of a week for a single quote; I’ve usually got over three responses to my enquiry within a few hours of my initial email. Better yet, we get the quote, the distance the valuer is from the site (local knowledge is so important) and of course the PI cover. Being able to present this information to our brokers and borrowers such a short amount of time after their deal came to us greases the wheels like you wouldn’t believe.

And a greasier set of wheels means a slicker business. And a slicker business is what we all want, right?