Sameer is an Account Manager for GTA West. He shares his experiences from the past few weeks, the two ways he’s been responding to brokers and why he believes the resilience of the broker community is so important right now.
What have the past few weeks been like for you?
SB: The first several weeks were a bit of a whirlwind. There were so many changes, for us internally and in the market. First, we had to understand the changes, how to respond to them and how to communicate them to brokers. My job description certainly expanded from being a product specialist to conveying rule changes and working with brokers on how they apply to specific deals. And with so much change came a lot of frustration and anxiety on the part of brokers. A lot of times, brokers just needed to vent, and I needed to be there for them.
What are you hearing most from brokers? How are they feeling?
SB: I would say nervousness is a common theme. Brokers are worried about the short and long-term ramifications of what is happening. There is fear of the unknown because it hard to deal with something that you can’t predict. I’ve definitely seen an evolution from the beginning until now. We answered the early questions, and now we’re dealing with the next wave. Brokers have a handle on what is happening right now and are turning their attention to the future.
How have you been responding to brokers?
SB: I’ve literally had thousands of conversations since this crisis started. Regardless of the nature of the conversation, I focus on two constant messages. First, we’re all in this together. Nobody has any experience in dealing with something of this magnitude, so we’re all trying to figure it out as we go along. It’s important to be understanding and just be here for each other. Second, we’re going to get through this. The industry has been through so much in the past 10 years. And we’re resilient because of what we’ve all experienced together. The fear that we have now will pass, and we will get back to a new normal and feel a sense of peace again.
What are you doing personally, in your role, to help brokers stay relevant and resonate during this crisis?
SB: I think that First National’s transparency has been brilliant. Senior leadership communicated continuously with brokers as the situation was unfolding. Brokers really appreciated knowing about our experiences so they could grasp the rationale behind our decisions. I have been and will continue to re-share all of our corporate communications personally. If brokers see something coming from me directly, I think it helps to cut through the mass of emails that they are receiving. And I’ve started up a weekly video conference call for brokers. It’s a great, interactive platform for them to come together, talk out questions and connect with like-minded people that are dealing with the exact same situation.
Any final thoughts?
SB: This is one of those situations where we have to hold on to the belief that we will get through it. It may take longer than we predict, but we will get to the other side. We just need to keep working together. Everyone is experiencing this, so nobody is alone. It is important to hold on to hope. Negativity triggers more negativity, but optimism helps everyone.