Compliance - don’t fight it - embrace it!

Tony Doidge, trainer and FCA Compliance Consultant, who runs Compliant Selling courses for the BVRLA explains that its best to get into good compliance habits sooner rather than later.

After over 30 years in finance and car sales I know there is one word that sends shivers down the backs of most salespeople.


I can hear the groans from here and I know what you’re thinking “It’s boring, unnecessary, slows me down, a box ticking exercise, someone justifying their job” …you’ve probably said or heard most of these.

Although I’ve now fully embraced compliance, it hasn’t always been that way. I remember the days of pre-compliance selling, where paperwork was at a minimum, yet my colleagues and I still attempted to cut corners!

My justification? I was a sales person not an administration clerk. I just wanted to sell, sell, sell and the paperwork wasn’t even secondary, it was the least of my concerns. What sales person really loves paperwork?

Then serious compliance was introduced, and so did file audits. I would argue until I was blue in the face that “the paperwork didn’t matter” which resulted in additional files being checked by the auditor. I then found I was spending more time rectifying problems than doing what I wanted to do - sell.

So, I had to bite the bullet and have a full and frank discussion with the auditor. What did I need to do to get back on track with my files? How could I make them great so I could concentrate on selling? A full day of training followed and as you could imagine, I was thrilled!

The auditor took the time to fully explain that compliance was not only here to protect the customer but it was also here to protect me against any potential complaints. It was no coincidence that the sales people who complied were trusted more by customers. This in turn led to more sales and more referrals.

This was the lightbulb moment in my career where it all made actual sense! Compliance was not just a stick to beat me with - it is there for our benefit to guide and help us to improve.

Compliance is here to stay. If anything, the FCA will become more involved in the sales process. You may feel that you are going through a whole lot of pain, but it’s easier to get into the good habit of being compliant now, rather than falling so far behind in your skill sets that it’s difficult to catch up.

And on that note, here’s an interesting story about migrating geese…

Migrating geese all fly in a formation which ensures they expel as little energy as possible. Sometimes they attempt to leave that formation and they suddenly realise they are either a) too far behind to get back into formation or b) Need to use 75% more energy to get back into formation.

It is the same with compliance. Why waste all that energy trying to fight something that is quite easy to do and protects you?

Compliance - embrace it, don’t fight it.


Information on the BVRLA’s Compliant Selling training courses.


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Tony Doidge

Trainer and FCA Compliance Consultant

Tony has been a BVRLA guest blogger since May 2019.