Find out what it’s really like to be a Discovery Agent. Read this insightful interview with Discovery Agent, Mel Grant.
So Mel, what do you do for Gungho? My job is to make calls to financial institutions in Europe, Middle East & North America. I have a daily goal to make appointments with AML, BSA & Compliance Officers. I have conversations to get people’s attention on the phone; I’m calling a prospect list completely from cold. It can be quite challenging at times.
What was it that first attracted you to working at Gungho? I was inquisitive about the world of AML and Compliance, the people & technology interested me. It wasn’t an industry I was too aware of before I joined the team. I was curious about the nature of financial crime detection, fraud and anti-money laundering. At first I wasn’t entirely sure I could do this work, because I didn’t have an AML & Compliance background. Luckily, Gungho’s training programme helped me get up to speed quickly and getting my ACAMS certificate really helped.
What kind of work were you doing before you joined? I was working for a UK technology retailer for 34 years before I joined Gungho. Over that period, I worked my way up from a junior shop floor assistant to the senior deputy manager in a flagship store. I was made redundant and soon after, the opportunity at Gungho came about.
What type of campaigns are you currently involved with? Currently I’m involved in an Enhanced Due Diligence campaign. I am focused on calling Private Equity companies in Europe and UAE. My job is to secure face to face appointments for sales reps to attend. This week I am booking for a forthcoming trip to France and Dubai. My afternoons are spent calling for a Fraud Detection campaign. I’m calling into North American credit unions, community banks and small financials. I am booking 15 minute conference calls for our client’s sales team to attend.
What is your shift pattern? My working week is Monday to Thursday 10am to 8pm. Each day is ten hours on the phone, so you have to pace yourself. Some days it flies by, especially when I’m booking lots of appointments. When I’m having a less successful week, the days can seem longer. Splitting my day between Europe and North America helps my day go faster. Working this shift pattern gives me a 3 day weekend -which has to be a bonus.
Tell me, how do you start your working day? I’m up early, checking LinkedIn. I like to follow our clients, their posts and keep up with the compliance industry news. I like to get to my desk in good time each day, to check campaign emails, plan my calls and check my activity in Salesforce.com. I am always in a positive mind set. Some days I might be bottom in the team, but within 24 hours, I might find myself top. I like to monitor myself against the team’s performance. I’m frequently checking the Salesforce.com dashboard, to see how many calls I have made this week and how I’m doing against target.
Explain a typical day for you? I’m pretty much at my desk and on the phone all day, making contact with AML & Compliance officers. I document how each of my calls has gone, and log the outcome on Salesforce.com. Salesforce.com pretty much rules my day. I use Salesforce to structure my calling time; it gives me a framework as to who I’m going to be talking to, what lists to call, and what activities need to be made. My manager will get our team together at various points throughout the day to share an update and ensure we are working the right prospect lists.
How do the targets work? My personal target is to make 5 appointments each week. Some days I’m down on zero, others days I might find that I’ve booked 3 appointments in one day. Having a target is part of the job; it helps to keep me focused and builds my momentum. I set my own targets throughout the day. I like to make a minimum of 145 calls each shift. If I make 145, I know I have the opportunity to secure appointments. I have to be on the ball for each call; I never know where a call might take me. Last week, I was on my 145th call and got an appointment.
How do you respond when you are having a bad day? Every day can’t go always go the way I want it to go. I like to have a positive mind set, and focus on what I can do to turn a bad day on its head. If I’m finding it tough to make appointments, I look at my call rate, and analyse what changes I need to make. When I was new to the job I found listening back to my calls really helped, especially when I reviewed my calls with some of our most seasoned callers.
What do you do on your three day weekends? I go to lots of motor sport events. This year I’ve been to the British Grand Prix, Monza and the Thruxton Touring Car Event. I’m a long suffering Portsmouth Football Club supporter – I go to as many home games as I can. Having a 3 day weekend means that I have more family time. I might start revamping the house soon and actually do some decorating.
Which tips would you share for a successful cold call? Speak clearly, listen well and ask lots of relevant open questions.
What are the best bits about working for Gungho? The Gungho office is a great environment to work in and I get to work with some of the best companies in the RegTech industry.