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Working with your BDM

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Working with your BDM

They are your business partner, your ally and sometimes your lifesaver. They are your BDMs.

The role of the Business Development Manager has changed dramatically since the years when ‘sales reps’ were, I’m afraid, sometimes referred to as ‘brochure bunnies’ – essentially the smiley deliverers of brochures to bricks-and-mortar agencies.

Now they wield much more decision-making power, come equipped with marketing and promotion dollars and have the clout to dig you (and your client) out of the occasional deep hole.

Which is why you need them on your side.

How to develop a good relationship with your BDM? It can be a challenge when they probably have a huge territory – sometimes the entire country. Here are some tips:

  • If you haven’t already, find out from your host agency who your various BDMs are. Introduce yourself by email and tell them how much you are looking forward to working with them and supporting their company. Ditto when there is a change of BDM.
  • Many suppliers base their sales revenues (and agency override commission targets) on the location of the agency. Your host agency may be in Vancouver but you are located in Calgary – yet your sales all benefit that BDM based in Vancouver (whose salary usually includes sales targets). Therefore it might not be in the best interest of the Calgary BDM to help you with that consumer show or customer relations problem. This is something you should clarify with your host agency to ensure that you get the attention you deserve.
  • Make sure you attend their events in your area. A huge amount of time and money goes into planning trade shows and it’s part of your job to support them.
  • Have a happy client? Be sure to let your BDM know. Heaven knows they spend enough of their day trying to put out fires, and we all love a good news story.
  • Conversely, when you do have a minor problem, see if the reservations department can solve it for you. Leave your ‘huge headache’ calls to the BDM for only when the situation has escalated.
  • Do not abuse their time! They likely have hundreds of agencies in their territory plus travel a great deal and need to be very efficient with every day.
  • And remember, if in life the squeaky wheel gets the oil, in travel the top producing travel advisors get the love and attention of their BDMs. Support your BDMs and feel that love grow!
Lynda Sinclair

Lynda Sinclair

CTM, Vice-President/Leisure at Vision Travel Solutions
With over 30 years in the Canadian retail travel industry, she says she “Lives and breathes what goes on at the front line.” She can be reached at
Lynda Sinclair

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