Starting Out in Your Finance Career: Bluestone’s Top Tips

We know that entering the workplace as a young person can be challenging at first – and the financial services industry is no exception. Here to share their experience and their top tips for young people joining the finance world are some of our very own staff.

Patrick Iyoyin

Regional Account Manager, Greater Manchester

“I joined Bluestone having previously worked in a role focused on new business rather than account management. My first role within the business was a Business Relationship Executive, which was supporting the account managers with projects and partner relationships. I did the role for almost 3 years which was a great grounding in finance, transacting a deal and working with introducing partners and customers. I moved in to my current role in January 2020, and whilst it took longer to establish myself than expected, all the experience is now starting to pay dividends and I’m growing a really valuable territory.

My top tips:

  1. Stay patient – There is a lot to learn which takes time and building relationships with potential partners and clients takes time. Just focus on doing what you are asked to do the best you can each day and eventually you will look back in a few months and have confidence from seeing tangible progress.
  2. Ask questions – We have many experienced individuals at the business that are keen to answer questions. We are in a unique position that we are an established business but small enough still to have access to everyone in the business. Always feel free ask people for their opinion, advice or knowledge and don’t feel bad if it has to be explained a few different times in different ways. We all take in information differently.
  3. Stay Consultative – A huge misconception in sales is the assumption that you are convincing people to buy from you. A huge turning point for me was the realisation that our job is actually to ask the right questions from our partners and clients to uncover challenges they may have and suggest the most appropriate solution. If you keep that in mind, clients will thank you for solving their business challenge and you make the sale. No convincing necessary.”

Louise Harris

Key Account Director – Interiors

“I joined the business 14 years ago as a Business Relationship Manager, specifically within the Interiors world. My background had been in the motor industry, so entering both an interiors and financial sector was a little daunting, although exciting at the same time. Albeit there was so much to learn, and even today there are always new regulations and/or fashions that change so life is never dull – every day is a learning day! I love getting to know different clients in all sectors, understanding their needs and wants and being their go to finance partner. Seeing each client grow and develop and helping them on their journey, is amazing.

My top tips:

  1. There is so much to learn, don’t apply too much pressure to yourself if after a few months you haven’t grasped everything. It takes time but you will get there.
  2. Ask questions, this is how you learn, and I can assure you I asked so many questions over the years and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed.
  3. Carry a pen and notepad with you. You never know when you will want to take notes but the way to help me on my journey, was definitely taking notes!!
  4. Always make sure that if you say you will call someone, you do. This will leave a lasting impression.”

James Joiner

Credit Team

“I joined Bluestone as a Business Relationship Executive, conscious I was joining a sector I had very little knowledge in. Luckily, there was a diverse mix of experience within the existing team, with not only colleagues that had been in the very same position I found myself in but also those with considerable involvement within the business finance sector over a very substantial period. I spent 3 years in tat role before moving in 2021 to work on the Credit team.

My top tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – Invariably you will get something wrong at some point, and although it’s easy to take things personally and assume the worst, the important thing is how you recover and what you learn from the process. Take something from what’s happened and it will make you a stronger and more rounded person!
  2. Ask questions – We work in a sometimes-complicated sector, with multitudes of customers, banks and suppliers who all will have their own way of working. Ask most people, and they would much rather be asked a question than you get something wrong! Once you have your answer, note it down so you have a reference for the next time a similar query crops up.
  3. Make connections within other areas of the business – It can be easy to become insular and work only within your team on a day-to-day basis, but you’ll find that the better your relationships throughout the business, the easier your role becomes. Take time to understand how other departments work and try to work with this in mind, by consciously trying to work with consideration for others, the same will happen in reverse. Also, make the most of team events and establish good connections with people you normally wouldn’t speak to!”

Kate Walker

Regional Account Manager, Anglia and East Midlands South

“I was hired through a recruitment company, having no previous experience in the finance sector. I started as what was then a BRE, now known as an IAM, in the interiors team, and after about 6 months moved into the technology team prior to changing the sales structure. I worked as an internal across Jo’s team, and was promoted to Internal Regional Account Manager a couple of month ago for Midlands South & Anglia, which brings us to today.

My Top Tips:

  1. Talk to people – this job takes months to learn properly, so talk to people across the business, both sales & ops, to gain better understanding and to learn faster.
  2. Get to know the other new people in the business to find out where they have been successful/struggled and exchange knowledge and ideas.
  3. Spend time getting to know the person/people you will be supporting and how they work – most sales people in the office have a slightly different way of working, so getting to know how your KAM works will be helpful for you.”

Ben Howe

Key Account Manager – IT

“I joined Bluestone Leasing from the IT reseller industry, already working within the funding sector for IT assets. While in the IT industry I wanted to specialise within 1 subject matter and instead of knowing a little about a lot, become and expert in 1 subject matter. During my time I learned about the go to markets on offer in the industry working with mainstream funding partners. I joined Bluestone as a Business Relationship Manager working with IT partners. Since then I have expanded into the Key Account Manager role being a go to contact for many within the IT space. Bluestone was great in assisting me in this progress helping with my knowledge, and gaining a diploma with the London Institute of Banking.

My top tips:

  1. The only silly questions are the ones you never ask – never be afraid to ask a question
  2. Take an interest in the market, publications, industry news, podcasts. On car journeys I often listen to multiple podcasts and pick up many tips and tricks
  3. Have a short term, medium term and long term plan – what do you want to achieve in the next few weeks, months and years. Make it realistic and measurable
  4. Personally I always like to ask where I can improve – I often ask my divisional manager what she thinks I can do better and how to do this better too.”

Mark Johnston

Key Account Manager – Reprographics

“I started my finance career working for NWS bank, which was the finance arm of the Bank of Scotland.  It was a call centre and my role was arranging appointments for the account manager to discuss new financing opportunities.  I was driven to prove I could also do the external role and was promoted after 2 years, and given the opportunity.

I then worked for Lombard and then Alliance and Leicester, followed by an equipment finance broker.  This gave me experience across a wide range of sectors, and a huge variety of customers.  I preferred dealing with partners, and building long term relationships and chose this sector rather than personal finance or customer finance

My top tips:

  1. Never judge a book by its cover, I know it’s an old saying but so true.  Some customers you meet come across as never being able to finance anything and turn out to have the best credit.  This is just as true the other way round.
  2. Have patience, everyone learns at different speeds and works at different paces.
  3. Spend time understanding other parts of the business, and how their roles work alongside yours.
  4. Try and ensure you have tried every angle to secure the customer credit and know you have done your best.  Loosing opportunities is never personal but when you do, at least you know you tried and did everything you could.”

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