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Help Your Team Get the Most Out of Networking Events

  
  
  
networking

The first holiday gift basket just arrived (Thanks, Bobby!) and I can’t wait to dive in to the goodies. There are other things (many) to look forward to in the next month and half. One of them is holiday parties sponsored by your clients and organizations in your community.

Most bankers I know buy in to the importance of attending networking events. Maybe as a result, sales managers don’t place as much emphasis on it as they should in their coaching.

I think they’re making a mistake. They need to help bankers learn how to work a room better, to become better networkers.

Here are five specific things sales managers can do:

  • Get people to go to the right events. What might be right for Jill may not be the best use of Jack’s time.
  • Make sure that people have a plan for each networking event. Maybe it’s a list of customers to talk to. Perhaps the goal is to connect with a particular prospect. Having clear objectives matters. 
  • Follow-up immediately afterward to see what your people got out of the event. Be curious about whom they talked to.
  • Go to some events with them and observe how they operate. You’ll probably have some more things to talk about when you debrief the session.
  • Ask people periodically whether the events they’re attending regularly are providing an appropriate ROI.

You don’t have to be a great networker yourself. But if you believe being active and visible at client functions and community and trade association events is important, you have to walk the talk.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Planning a Sales Conference or offsite meeting in 2015? Our consultants are frequent speakers at banking conferences and bank sales meetings. They have a reputation for delivering sales and sales management "how-to's" in a dynamic, engaging manner. Offering a range of keynote, half-day and full-day programs, their approach helps salespeople and sales managers gain a competitive advantage in every step of the sales process. For more information about how we may be able to assist you at an upcoming sales meeting or conference, call Ned Miller at 610-296-4772 or email him at nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

10 Tips for Bankers on Finishing Strong in 2014

  
  
  
bank sales

 

1. Don’t stop scheduling appointments. If you have clients and prospects who are too busy to meet before year end, get them on the calendar in January. It will be harder to fill your calendar if you wait until after New Year’s.

2. Be nice to your customers, particularly the 10% who probably represent 80% of your profit. Tell them how much you value their business. Schedule time to meet with them (see #1).

3. Show your (short) prospect lists to the VIPs in your network, starting with some of the satisfied clients referenced in #2.

4. If you haven’t done it recently, review your customers’ accounts receivable and accounts payable lists. They could be great additions to your prospect list (and remember to ask for nice introductions from your customers too!)

5. Ask customers about their capital expenditure plans for the coming year. You might actually find a loan opportunity you didn’t know about.

6. Update relationship plans for your High Potential clients—those could be your best opportunities in 2015. (Cross-selling starts with a plan, not a prayer.)

7. Know what your objectives are at each holiday networking event you attend—and it better include some combination of checking the pulse of current customers, planting seeds with COIs, and meeting new people (prospects, potential COIs, etc.)

8. Think about revising your personal marketing plan. Does your LinkedIn profile need a facelift?  Do you need to get more testimonials from happy customers? How about joining a trade association or two to penetrate a niche that you’re targeting?

9. Figure out how to better leverage Senior Managers and product partners in the coming year. It could start with enlisting their support in crafting strategies for some of your key prospects.

10. Discuss with your boss what specific areas you need to focus on in 2015 to improve your selling skills and business acumen.  Options could include: signing up for a course; reading business publications like INC. Magazine, Fortune and any others that help you better understand the day-to-day challenges of your customers and prospects; spending more time with product specialists in your bank (e.g. Wealth Management, Treasury Management, Capital Markets); and delving into one or more industries that hold particular promise.

Bonus tip: Remember the important personal stuff. Spend quality time with loved ones of all ages. Go to the gym, don’t talk about it. Reflect. Count your blessings.

Next Complimentary Webinar on November 24 at 11 AM Eastern: What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball

Moneyball, the 2011 box-office hit, tells the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and how he built a winning baseball team on limited budget using data and analytics. For a baseball franchise, analytics play a vital role in developing strategy, tactics and techniques. In this webinar Ted Triplett, the Chief Marketing Officer of Insight Ecosystems, shows how banks are applying this same approach to small business banking to gain a competitive advantage, improve performance and drive growth and profitability. You need not know anything about baseball to discover how to hit home runs by turning data into insight and insight into results.

Go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com to register. If you have questions call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com

Recently recorded complimentary webinars available in the recorded sessions area of our webinar archive:

Q&A on Prospecting

Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?

Business Acumen: The Key to Differentiating Yourself

  
  
  

Business Acumen: The Key to Differentiating Yourself

How can business bankers differentiate themselves in the market place? In this short video Buck Bierly discusses how many of the best Relationship Managers succeed by providing prospects with valuable ideas and unsolicited insights. Using their expertise and experience, RMs can stand out by demonstrating a higher level of business acumen than their competition.

 

Next live webinar: What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball on November 24 at 11 AM Eastern

Moneyball, the 2011 box-office hit, tells the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and how he built a winning baseball team on limited budget using data and analytics. For a baseball franchise, analytics play a vital role in developing strategy, tactics and techniques.

In this complimentary live webinar Ted Triplett, the Chief Marketing Officer of Insight Ecosystems, shows how banks are applying this same approach to small business banking to gain a competitive advantage, improve performance and drive growth and profitability. You need not know anything about baseball to discover how to hit home runs by turning data into insight and insight into results.

If you would like to register for the live webinar on Monday November 24 at 11 AM Eastern just click on http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.comSpace is limited to the first 100 participants.  (If you can't make the live session, register anyway and we'll send you a link to the recording.)

If you have any questions call 610-296-4771 or email susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

 

Do All Bankers Have ADHD? (Podcast)

  
  
  

 

bank sales managersDoes everybody have ADHD? Well, not in a strict clinical sense. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, something like 4.4% of the adult population has been diagnosed with ADHD. But even though I'm not a psychiatrist, I see too many bank relationship managers exhibiting symptoms that suggest a problem staying focused. That makes business development a challenge. If you're a sales manager, this is an important topic.

To download the mp3 or a transcript of the recording, click on the link below.

Do all Bankers have ADHD?

Our next 2 live webinars are complimentary:

* "Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?" with Charles Wendel on November 3, 2014

* "What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball" with Ted Triplett on November 24, 2014.

All webinars begin at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771. Space is limited to the first 100 participants. (If you can't make the live webinar, register now and we'll send you the link to the recorded versions.)

Building End to End Relationships with Business Owners

  
  
  

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Business owners have two lives – business and personal. Both lives have multiple financial needs. Limiting your prospecting calls to business products only reduces the profitability, growth, and loyalty of your relationships with business owners.

“Many financial institutions have basically said to their Branch Managers, ‘We need small business loans, so go get me some,’” points out Buck Bierly, President of MZ Bierly Consulting, Inc. (Malvern, PA). “When you look at the data supported by people like Barlow Research, roughly 35-40% of small business owners borrow on a regular basis commercially. The other 60 to 65% of business owners do not borrow on a regular basis. If they borrow, it is typically through home equity lines or credit cards.”

By focusing on small business loans only, you’ve automatically narrowed the focus for conversations with business owners. You go into the meeting asking, “Do you borrow?” and if yes, “What kind of rates are you being charged? And would you like to lower that rate?”

Five Stupid Questions

“We have this expression…it’s called the five stupid questions, and this is what most inexperienced salespeople do in the banking world,” says Bierly. Those five stupid questions are:

1.  Where are you banking?

2.  What products are you using?

3.  How are they priced and structured?

4.  What are two things your current institution hasn’t done that you wish they had?

5.  Can I have a copy of your statements to put together an offer of how we’d handle your borrowing relationship or your banking relationship?

“In the end, all those questions are doing is a product-to-product comparison for a single product, perhaps. Or a product-to-product comparison for multiple products,” Bierly says. “All you’re doing is setting up a price and structure competition.”

Expand Your Focus

An end-to-end relationship with a business focuses on the moment that an invoice is generated to the moment a payment is made for something like college tuition. Savvy bankers recognize that money is circulated all the way through the business and all the way through the owner’s personal life.

“The business owner has a business life and a personal life. Combine those two together using a phrase like in the business owner’s life, which really means from the moment that business owner generates an invoice,” explains Bierly. The owner sends the invoice to a client who then processes it through the accounts payable area of that particular organization.

The money from the invoice circulates through the owner’s business….paying off credit cards, paying employees, going into an investment account, paying down a line of credit, etc. At some point in time, the owner takes money out of the business through salary and/or shareholder distributions. The business then begins a new process….the money starts circulating through the owner’s life.

“There’s a high percentage of people who own businesses that have jumbo mortgages and second homes. So if all you’re focusing on is the business, you’re missing opportunities,” Bierly says. “If you focus on the business owner’s personal life, you may find opportunities that wouldn’t be apparent in their business life.” He cites these examples:

  College tuition

  Buying a second home

  Refinancing a mortgage

  Private wealth management

  Consumer banking

“Don’t limit your sales activity to just business loans. Find out, ‘What does this business owner’s life require them to do at this point in time?’ Then focus on that. By doing so, each interaction with a business owner becomes more profitable and more effective because you’re focusing across a broader array of financial management processes and uncovering a broader array of financial needs,” says Bierly.

Consistent Calling Activity

Consistent calling activity means that you consistently get in front of specific types of relationships. Here’s how Bierly identifies these relationships:

  Retention relationships are the top ten percent of the business relationships in your branch. “The top ten percent would have to be stacked ranking based on some metric. For example, aggregate loan and deposit balances or revenue contributions. Most institutions can’t measure the latter, so we suggest they use aggregate loan and deposit balances,” says Bierly.

  Expansion relationships offer a lot of opportunity to expand the relationships. Let’s say it’s a professional practice that’s got $1.5 million in revenue. The business is using somewhere between 10 and 15 financial management products; that would include both the owner’s business life and personal life. So if you have somebody in your book of business who only has two product categories (6 DDA’s is commonly viewed as one product category) with your institution, you can pretty much guarantee that they’re buying another 8 to 13 product categories from someone else.

  Acquisition relationships are the targeted businesses you’re trying to go after. “We [MZ Bierly Consulting] don’t call them prospects in our process,” Bierly says. “These are people that you and your bosses have agreed on would be good brand builders for your branch. They also match a credit profile and a profitability profile that your branch has defined.”

A Different Client Conversation

With a different client conversation you get deeper into what’s changing in the business. Instead of focusing strictly on financial issues, you focus on the business owner. If you’re calling on a business under $3.5 million dollars, MZ Bierly Consulting always recommends taking an owner focus. Instead of focusing on financial issues at the business management level, focus on how you can help the owner optimize some of your solutions for where the business is going, not where it’s been.

Have a conversation about…

  Where do you want your business to go over the next one, two, three years?

  How is that likely to change your day-to-day business operations?

  How are those operational changes likely to change your financial management processes?

EXAMPLE: Let’s take a look at some of the products you’re buying from my competitor. At XYZ Bank you bought some of those products three or four years ago. Are they still working as effectively for you as they did when you bought them? And as you look down the road over the next year, two years, three years, do you see how that effectiveness could potentially change based on our conversation?

Change is the common thread in having a different client conversation. Whether it’s change in the business itself or the owner’s life, successful salespeople identify and address emerging financial needs. Having the skill to look ahead is key to developing relationships with business owners.

“Stop selling products, sell to change,” emphasizes Bierly. “What’s changing in the business owner’s life? Look at the end-to-end relationship. And whatever is changing is what you sell to, because that creates more momentum to change the banking relationship than selling a single product does or campaigns or blitzes do.”

The Quality Factor

“You can make more calls on businesses talking to the business manager about financial issues…and you keep making more and more calls at that level, but it always leads you to the same thing. You end up with a product focus and selling one or two products at a time, if you’re lucky,” Bierly continues. “Changing the conversation and staying focused on what we call key relationships [includes your retention, expansion, and acquisition relationships] results in more opportunities with fewer calls because the calls are better focused, better planned and you’re spending more time understanding the business owner’s total life rather than just one element of their business.”

Honing your relationship development skills isn’t just changing the activity; it’s changing the quality of the activity by…

  Changing the quality of the clients and prospects you’re calling on

  Improving your conversations with business customers

Examples are focusing on your key relationships and being better prepared. “In the end, you change that client conversation because you are better prepared,” Bierly says. “You’ll find more opportunities faster to get into a relationship and create more momentum in moving those relationships from whatever institutions currently are fulfilling them.”

This article by Lana Chandler was originally published in the "Branch Manager Letter" in October 2014.

New Webinar: Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?

  
  
  

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Bankers know that cross-selling can lead to increased customer loyalty, higher revenues and improved profitability. But for most business and commercial bankers this knowledge hasn’t translated into significant results.

In a live complimentary webinar on Monday, November 3, special guest Charles Wendel, President of Financial Institutions Consulting, and Buck Bierly examine why most banks struggle with cross-selling and review specific things that bank sales leaders can do to create a more effective approach to expanding relationships with business customers. Among the topics they will discuss are:

  • Product knowledge

  • Account planning

  • How to break down silos

  • Improving teamwork

  • Metrics and compensation

If you would like to register for the live webinar on Monday November 3 at 11 AM Eastern just click on http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.comSpace is limited to the first 100 participants.  (If you can't make the live session, register anyway and we'll send you a link to the recording.)

If you have any questions call 610-296-4771 or email susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

Other Upcoming Webinars:

October 27 Q&A on Prospecting

November 24 What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball with Ted Triplett

Go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com to register.

Bank Sales Managers Need Coaching Too (Podcast)

  
  
  

I had dinner recently with the head of corporate banking for a regional bank. He was concerned that several of his new sales managers weren't getting the job done. As we talked, it became clear that the challenges they face are the ones that impact all sales team leaders.

To hear six challenges they face, click on the link below.

Sales Managers Need Coaching Too

 

coaching sales leaders

Our next 3 live webinars are complimentary:

* “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on October 27, 2014

* "Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?" with Charles Wendel on November 3, 2014

* "What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball" with Ted Triplett on November 24, 2014.

All webinars begin at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771. Space is limited to the first 100 participants. (If you can't make the live webinar, register now and we'll send you the link to the recorded versions.)

What Makes a Good Prospect List? (Video)

  
  
  

prospecting for bankers

In a recent poll we asked bank Sales Managers what percentage of their relationship managers had good prospect lists. Many Sales Managers were unsure.  In this brief video Ned Miller examines the key components of putting together a prospect list. 

To view the video, click on the link below.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESxQuy-Jiz8

 

Our next 3 live webinars are complimentary:

* “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on October 27, 2014

* "Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?" with Charles Wendel on November 3, 2014

* "What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball" with Ted Triplett on November 24, 2014.

All webinars begin at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771. Space is limited to the first 100 participants. (If you can't make the live webinar, register now and we'll send you the link to the recorded versions.)


 

Are Your Bank Board Members Bringing in New Business?

  
  
  
bank sales

Several years ago search firm Heidrick & Struggles and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California conducted a survey of directors and CEOs at over 600 of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. In perhaps another example of the Lake Wobegon effect (“where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average”) 95% of the directors rated themselves and their boards as effective or very effective. The CEOs surveyed did not share this inflated view of their board members: only 20% of them rated their directors as effective.

I’m not sure what responses a current survey of the effectiveness of bank boards would get today. But if the test was on only one aspect of their increasingly complicated job-- their contribution to the bank’s business development efforts-- many board members would flunk. Why do bank boards of directors struggle bringing in new business?

There are a number of possible explanations.  Some board members may never have been asked to get involved in business development. The CEO may want board members to contribute to the effort but not get too concerned if individuals don’t. (One banker I know likens this to the approach of not-for-profits regarding fundraising.  That task is one that every board member is expected to shoulder, but at the end of the day many don’t do much to bring in new donors.) 

Over the last decade, new business didn't get much attention at board meetings.  Compliance issues, asset quality and other more pressing topics took precedence on board agendas. And even when it did merit time, the focus was  more about what bank management was doing to grow the bank, not on the contribution of the board members themselves. (This would not apply to the advisory boards that some banks have established to generate leads.  That is their sole mission, one which most directors take seriously. They want to be involved and are disappointed when they feel they’re being underutilized.)

It’s clear from our work with regional and community banks over the last 20 years that for board members to be successful at this task, they need direction and guidance from Executive Management.  It usually starts with the CEO’s commitment to engaging board members and holding them accountable. As one senior manager put it, “If the CEO doesn’t makes it a priority and hold them accountable, it won’t be effective. “

Others in the bank’s Executive ranks can drive the routines that will make a director business development initiative a success. But while CEOs can delegate this task, they still need to stay on top of what’s happening.

Here are some of the critical elements in an effective plan:

1.Directors need to be clear what types of business the bank is seeking:  While some directors are familiar with the bank’s sales strategy, some are fuzzy about which business opportunities different lines of business are pursuing.  Involving them early on in developing the annual sales plan provides an excellent opportunity to review the bank’s target markets, top clients and prospects, competitive strengths and weaknesses, and relationship-building strategies with prominent CPA and Law Firms.  As one banker remarked recently, “It's important to make sure that they understand what you are looking for or you’ll get junk.”

    2. Board members need to know how they can assist: If they are unsure of what specific things they can do, board members will probably do nothing.  Some bankers are reluctant to ask for help, which only exacerbates the problem.Think about how they can assist you and your team. Do you need somebody with expertise in a particular industry? Are you interested in getting an introduction to a leader in the local business community? Would testimonials from board members open doors?

    3. Your directors need to get to know your front-line people: Whether you assign RMs to specific board members or encourage individual RMs to build relationships with a number of directors is usually the CEO’s call. But unless your directors know, like and trust the key players on your sales teams, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll get many referrals.

    4. Review progress at your board meetings:  Provide written reports and summaries for all to review. Have directors update others on their business development activities. Get people to commit to upcoming activities (e.g. arranging a lunch with a prospect, making phone calls to invite COIs to a bank-sponsored event, going on joint calls with bankers, etc.)

    5. Decide how best to reward board members who do a good job.  Not every bank opts for trips and prizes for referrals. Some find that board members get rewarded by learning more about the bank’s products and services, including its credit process. Other CEOs use special networking events as a way to energize and motivate their board members. Listen to one community banker:  “We have a small intimate cocktail hour once a quarter hosted by the directors and the commercial and private bankers. We schedule them for the time when people are heading home at the end of the day. It lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. We typically have a mix of about 20 customers and prospects. The purpose is to thank good customers and give prospects a chance to interact with our directors and bankers. The added benefit is that the customers typically espouse the virtues of doing business with us which further supports our client development effort. This is now a coveted invitation among business people and has been successful beyond our expectations. The directors love it!”

    Bottom line: If you want your board members to be successful, you need to make sure that they can identify which customers, prospects and COIs you’d like their help on and plan  with them on how they can assist you in executing the strategy.

    Comments? Add them below or email nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

    Complimentary webinar on October 27 with Buck Bierly: Q&A on Prospecting. Call Susan Lersch on 610-296-4771 to register or email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

     

    Building Your Personal Brand (podcast)

      
      
      

     

    bank sales

    Many business customers today are demanding a higher level of professional expertise from their bankers. How do you become a more valuable resource for your best customers? Here are a few things to focus on.

    To download the mp3 or a transcript, click on the link below.

    Building Your Personal Brand (podcast)

    Next Live Webinar: Q&A on Prospecting with Buck Bierly on 10/27 at 11 AM Eastern. To register go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call 610-296-4771 and ask for Susan Lersch. 

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