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A Perspective on Alternative Lending for Small Business Bankers

  
  
  

Guest Blogger Charles Wendel, FIC Advisors, Inc.

Increasingly, banks understand that alternative finance companies (AFCs) are here to stay in business lending. Still, many continue to view AFCs simply as high risk and high rate competitors for loans. In fact, many AFCs want to cooperate with banks. Working with AFCs can reduce business lending operating costs, generate new loan revenues and referral fees, increase deposit levels, and address vexing regulatory challenges. But, what issues do banks need to consider in choosing an AFC partner and what process should they follow to ensure they pick the right one?

A Brief History. AFCs expanded in business banking largely as a result of bank limits on lending. In effect banks invited AFCs into their world when, in reaction to the last downturn, they narrowed their “credit box,” tightening lending criteria and eliminating more businesses from consideration for loans.

Based upon risk, industry, and other factors, we estimate that banks view only about 10% of businesses as acceptable lending targets, leaving the remainder to AFCs and others funding sources.

Bank Qualified and Non-Qualified Business

Category

Number of businesses (Millions)

Potential $ Loan Value (Billions)

Percent of Businesses

Percent of
Value

Qualifying

3.7

$544

10.2%

23.8%

Not Qualifying


32.4


$1,745


89.8%


76.2%

Total

36.1

$2,289

100.0%

100.0%

While to some degree alternative non-bank lending has always existed, this time is different in part because of the extent to which the new breed of lenders integrates technology into origination, underwriting, pricing, and risk management, causing one industry insider to suggest that a better descriptor for AFCs is “digitally enabled lending.”

Initially, AFCs competed with banks, operating under bank radar, since their primary focus centered on targets that banks avoided. Because of the speed and responsiveness AFCs offered, in recent years an increasing number of borrowers showed they were willing to pay above bank rates for the speed and execution AFCs provided. Although estimates vary, AFC business loan outstandings in 2014 reached at least $5 Billion in the U.S. While this represents only 1‑2% of current small business lending, growth rates are increasing rapidly. And, new loan revenues provide only part of an AFC’s value to a bank.

In recent years several AFCs experienced limited success in partnering with banks, focusing on providing financing to companies banks already turned down. This emphasis often resulted in frustration for both banks and AFCs. Banks referred a low number of acceptable deals, raised concerns over privacy and other regulations, and found that their likely revenue potential “did not move the needle.” AFCs quickly realized the need to provide greater value-added in order to interest banks.

Pivoting for Success. Moving beyond turndown lending, AFCs are currently focusing on one or more of three lending-related activities:

• Market expansion

• Integration

• Related to the above, specialized lending

• As an alternative to AFCs, DIY

Market expansion. Rather than focusing on limited “second looks,” AFCs now approach banks with loan growth opportunities. For example, many banks for reasons tied to high cost and internal risk parameters provide loans to no more than 20-30% of their current small business customers. With the cost efficiencies and risk insights that AFCs bring they can offer loans to a significantly higher percentage of current customers on a white label or co-branded basis. Banks may receive a fee and/or retain a portion of these loans for their own portfolio while maintaining relationship control

Integration. Small business loans, in particular loans below $100K, generate losses or subpar returns for the majority of banks. Rising costs tied to origination, underwriting, monitoring, compliance, and other areas lock in loses for traditional lenders.

$100,000 Loan Example: Cost per Loan

Loan origination

$1,000-1,500

 

Underwriting

$1,000

 

Loan review

$100

 

Operations

$250

 

Monitoring

$500

 

Compliance

$250-500

 

Total

$3,100-3,850

 
   

Interest Income (assume 6.25% loan)

$6,250

Loan cost to bank (3%)

$3,000

Total non-interest costs to generate loan

$3,100-3,850

   

Net Income

($600) to +$150

Banks want the deposits that these small businesses provide. As bank /AFC relationships progress, the business focus has been moving toward full integration, whereby, the AFC in effect assumes responsibility for the bank’s low-dollar business lending. The bank focuses on origination, shifting back office and risk expenses out of the bank and to the AFC. This relationship also results in fee income and/or the opportunity to purchase loans for the bank’s portfolio. Leveraging the operational and risk platforms some AFCs offer can change a bank’s business banking economics.

Specialized lending. Related to market expansion and integration, AFCs realize that success increases with their ability to address bank “pain points” including efficiently meeting CRA and Fair Lending hurdles. Banks have begun to work with AFCs in these areas with the AFC taking on increased responsibility for meeting loan goals. The AFC operating platform reduces costs while its data analytic and risk management capabilities increase productivity and the quality of prospecting. Expect more activity in priority areas in which banks recognize the need for third party assistance.

DIY. A small handful of banks are pursuing a different path, believing that they can replicate an AFC-like approach based largely upon their internal data. But, most banks lack the data, analytic capabilities, risk management appetite, and culture required for this approach.

Managing through the Alternative Finance Ecosystem. Senior bank management needs to analyze which approaches to pursue, which AFC to work with and/ or explore a hybrid approach. The AFC ecosystem is becoming more complex and the number of potential AFC partners continues to increase.

Digitally Enabled Lenders Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

AGGREGATORS

BROKERS

LENDING PLATFORMS

P2P PLATFORMS

MARKETPLACE LENDERS

CASH ADVANCE COMPANIES

SERVICERS

 

Each business model is a bet on where each firm believes value is being created in the system and what the market is willing to pay for it

Source: Fundation

   

Banks should determine their preferred approach and create a checklist of partner selection criteria likely to include assessing compliance and regulatory capabilities, analyzing the ability of the AFC to provide a turnkey solution to minimize the burden on the bank, and determining the AFC’s reputation for performance and quality based upon competitive intelligence.

As part of this process, banks need to decide between working with direct lenders versus marketplace lenders that do not take credit risk but provide a platform to match borrowers with lenders. Direct lenders operate with the funding and risk expertise required to assess and book loans themselves and have “skin in the game,” an approach some banks may prefer.

Managing through the alternative finance “ecosystem” presents banks with multiple challenges, including tracking developments in this space. AFCs are not going away; as they achieve greater acceptance among borrowers and provide more economic benefits to banks, they will play a larger role in business banking. Banks should take advantage of what AFCs offer.

Charles Wendel is the President of FIC Advisors, Inc. He can be reached at cwendel@ficinc.com

 

Free Webinar: Alternative Lending and Banks with Charles Wendel

Alternative lending companies continue to focus on the business banking space. Increasingly, banks are evaluating how to cooperate with these players since they offer streamlined processes and enhanced risk management, both of which can turn small business lending into a profitable opportunity for banks.

This webinar will summarize the current state of alternative lending, the different lending approaches, the major players and how they work with banks as well as developing trends. It will also discuss the key criteria that banks need to consider when they evaluate whether and how to work with these new lenders.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

REGISTER HERE

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What is the worst sales advice you have ever received?

  
  
  

 

bank sales adviceEditorial comment: I appreciate the candor of the 20 talented bankers who shared the worst sales advice they had ever received. Do not assume that the bad advice was offered at their current place of business--in most cases, it was not. And don't forget that while there are people who might lead you astray with hackneyed recommendations, there are a lot of savvy bank sales leaders (and even a few consultants!) who can provide invalauble coaching that will help you develop relationships with business owners.

1. One thing I've encountered is the "give the client what they want and we will figure out how to do it later" approach. Doesn't work very well when you can't deliver and you have to back track on your commitment. Not very smart in my opinion. I think the proper approach is to understand the client needs and align your capabilities to determine what solutions and options are available. It's about having a collaborative relationship with a client and not just appeasing them with promises that might be broken later on.

Victor W. Capozzolo First Niagara

 

2. Probably to make unannounced cold calls without being prepared. A former bank had quotas and we were encouraged to blanket an area and simply “drop in “on a prospect that in many cases were a terrible fit for our bank. No prep, just drop in. Stressful and highly ineffective and in many cases offensive.

Scott Page Colorado Business Bank and Arizona Business Bank

 

3. I know the owner he really doesn’t like to talk that much about the company’s financials. Besides these guys have been around forever so make sure you don’t get too deep into the financials--we need this deal.

Rick Webster Union Bank

 

4. I would say the dumbest thing I have done (not necessarily advice) is to “wing it” or “assume I earned a piece of business because……” In most of those situations I have left myself and the bank exposed to a competitor that took the opportunity WAY more seriously than I did and as such shined a lot brighter. This either caused me to lose the opportunity or scramble to get it and look like a fool in the process.

Mark Augustyn Mercantile Bank

 

5. Cold calling is the best way to generate new business and tied with that: cold calling blitzes in a certain geography.

Jeffrey Carstens Bank Leumi

 

6. At the top of my list is some advice that a manager once gave me. He told me that I didn’t need to spend a lot of time with my top performers, that they always have the drive to succeed and that my time was better spent on the mid- and low-performers. I learned the hard way that while top performers may not need the specific sales coaching that others do, you do need to spend quality time with them as a leader. Top performers not only want to be recognized and appreciated but you also have to make sure that you are helping to remove obstacles, having meaningful career discussions and checking in frequently to ensure they are engaged and motivated. As a leader you can also help them solidify existing relationships with customers and COIs and help convert prospects by demonstrating that senior leaders are local and available.

Rob Brown Citizens Bank

 

7. “We don’t have the time or resources as an industry to teach RM’s commercial credit. We just need to teach them to sell it.”

Jeffrey Orner Santander Bank

 

8. "If a customer doesn't like you they are not going to do business with you, so determine that quickly and move on."

I understand there are some situations where you determine quickly the fit isn't there and continued discussions would be useless. However the context of the article ‎was from a very aggressive sales approach (bull in a china shop in my thinking) and the author suggests you go in on your terms without considering the customer and how they may react to such an aggressive sales approach. If they don't like it, too bad. There are other deals to be had.

I feel this approach shows the customer you do not value them. I also believe you have to be respected in your market place, and this approach will quickly tarnish your credibility and reputation. Once you develop a reputation that it's all about you and not about the customer you are done. Your chances of getting in the door of other prospects will be greatly diminished. ‎Customers in our market place talk, and this kind of information gets passed on quickly.

Jeffrey Stauffer Ephrata National Bank

 

9. Do not ask for the business but rather permit the prospect time to come to an understanding that the bank has "selected" them too. Once that understanding comes to the prospect they will more readily see the value, and be more drawn to the overtures. Sales come more often when both parties reflect on the fit. Asking for the business would sully the reputation of the bank. It came across like dating advice--play hard to get almost. I swear it is true.

David Swoyer Santander Bank

 

10. To ask for financial statements and bank statements on a cold call "calling blitz".

Scott Sehnert Rocky Mountain Bank

 

11. “If you don’t have the prospects interest in 5 minutes then move on”

Everything I have learned tells me I WON'T have their interest in 5 minutes and if I have a buyer in 5 minutes, they will leave me in 5 minutes. This advice was never based upon relationship sales. It was based on the ABC (Always be closing) mentality. Never works.

Chris Martin Northwest Savings Bank


12. ABC Always Be Closing. Courtesy of Glenngary, Glen Ross.

Susan Eick Right Management

 

13. “If you lose a piece of business you wanted, tell the prospect how stupid they are.”

Frank E. Walter Heartland Financial

 

14. I think the dumbest sales advice I got was that if I just played the pure numbers game I could ultimately land a big deal. If I make 100 cold calls, I get a 10% response rate, and then get a 10% hit rate on those, I get one deal. Of course, that assumes that the deal is the kind that I want, if not, then I start all over again. I equate it to the concept that if you put enough primates in a room with typewriters, sooner or later you will get War and Peace (bound and ready to sell).

In commercial lending you simply cannot continue to just bang and bang on doors with no solid plan. Stupid, dumb, blind luck simply does not work. Clients and prospects are too smart to not see it coming. By the way, one of the smartest pieces of advice centers around the concept that the only true way to win the business is to provide something that the customer needs or wants. If they don’t need it, or they don’t want it, it is going to be pretty difficult to do anything except compete on price.

Chris Caldwell Mutual Bank


15. Worst advice - stay in the office...how else will you be available to your customers?

William Newell Burke and Herbert Bank

 

16. A product specialist (Investment Bankers are notorious for this) telling a Relationship Manager “just get me in the door.” In essence, you don’t need to know my product or how I will sell or how I might damage your relationship, you just need to set up the appointment. I think this attitude has made the integration between Commercial and Investment Banking a real struggle for most banks. It goes to other product lines as well.

“You just need to make more calls.” Sales managers tell junior people and some more senior people that they are not on the street enough. Then we do the training that centers on making an impactful call. What the junior banker may be asking is how do I set up appointments? I think sales managers overlook this aspect of calling and training here seems much more limited.

Dave Durham Fulton Bank

 

17. The best thing that comes to mind is related to “Cold Calling”. You know the comment about “The more cold calls you make, the more chances to get a deal”. I just believe that “cold calls” should NEVER have to be made. In today’s times of social media, there are so many ways to connect with a business (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Avention/One Source and many more.) With all of the possible connections, make calls to companies where you have someone in common. There are too many of these “low-hanging fruit” opportunities.

Gerald J. Deetz Jr. Arizona Business Bank


18. I overheard a manager tell his younger new employee to pick a nice place to eat for lunch and go there every day and eat the same thing. That way when you bring a customer there, you will be recognized as an important person and the server will simply say “the usual, Joe?”.

Robert Lenihan Vectra Bank

 

19. One of my greatest frustrations is the lack of advice. For example, at my last job, when I would ask my manager for ideas on how to develop business in the market, he would turn it back on me and say, "Well, that is what I hired you for." His business development skills were based on his age and time in market that lead to his ability to poach a few pieces of business away from his former employers. I have not had very many managers who knew how to develop new business.

Lathem Scott First National Bank

 

20. Well, if by advice you mean in a formal setting from a manager, trainer or consultant, I’m not sure there is anything really stupid.  Most of what I recall would probably just be a different philosophy but not necessarily wrong. 

I had a participant in a networking workshop proudly proclaim he didn’t have time to waste on any “soft” questions or conversations to connect with the individual.  That his goal was to find out immediately if the person he had just met had investible assets worth his time (he was an investment rep).  I did a role play with him in front of the class and literally his second question after “How are you doing?” was “So, about how much do you have in your savings or investment accounts?” 

His feeling was that if they weren’t willing to share it, he would just move on because it was a numbers game.  That he was “hard core sales” and “touchy feely” stuff was not for him.  What he didn’t realize obviously is that hard core sales is having the guts to put in the work. 

While it isn’t “advice” per se, it absolutely is a recurring theme and something that a lot of people believe on some level.  And it isn’t just networking, it’s all conversations.  But they’ll continue to wear it like a badge.

Guy Johnston City National Bank

 

If you’re interested in getting some good advice, check out the following blog posts:

What's the best sales advice you ever received? (Part 1)

What's the best sales advice you ever received? (Part 2)

Free Webinar: Alternative Lending and Banks with Charles Wendel

Alternative lending companies continue to focus on the business banking space. Increasingly, banks are evaluating how to cooperate with these players since they offer streamlined processes and enhanced risk management, both of which can turn small business lending into a profitable opportunity for banks.

This webinar will summarize the current state of alternative lending, the different lending approaches, the major players and how they work with banks as well as developing trends. It will also discuss the key criteria that banks need to consider when they evaluate whether and how to work with these new lenders.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

REGISTER HERE

If you liked this post, share it with others on LinkedIn, Twitter and by email.

 


 


Bank Managers: Triple your sales training ROI with one question

  
  
  


Guest Blog Post by Gregory LaMothe, President of Action Systems Training

Greg Lamothe

 

Many years ago I worked for a sales training consulting firm, and like all such firms we had a number of “shelf” programs for Business, Commercial and Corporate Banking. At the end of every session, I dutifully asked the learners what they would commit to taking from the program to use on the job. I naively expected to hear some dedicated, serious commitments.

But without fail, the learners would say, “I liked the part where you talked about how important it is to send an agenda before a sales call,” or “I enjoyed the discussion about overcoming objections on the telephone.” No one ever said, “Starting tomorrow I’m going to ask the Six Killer Questions we practiced yesterday.” It was always, “Here’s what I liked,” and never “Here’s what I’m going to do.”

Try this yourself if you’re a trainer and you’ll see it always holds true. Does it surprise you that people don’t volunteer to change behavior following training?

Now let’s talk about your investment in training your team. It’s considerable and you should worry about it. Here’s why. If you hire a company to train your people, you’ll have to pay for their services and expenses, but that’s just part of it. There are other costs too, including the opportunity cost for taking salespeople off the line for a period of time to train them, as they could be out selling instead. So mostly for these two reasons, the training must result in improved sales performance. That’s your ROI.

What can you do as the sales manager to ensure you get the desired return? Let’s consult the great psychologist and educator, Robert M. Gagne, whose 1965 book, “The Conditions of Learning” included his set of 9 steps called the “Events of Instruction.” Gagne solidified the instructional design process to ensure that instruction would work. Of the 9 events, the last one may be the most significant: enhance retention and provide for transfer of learning to the job.

So as we saw above, the learners won’t commit to changing behavior, and the training consultant is headed for the airport. Whose job is it to ensure the transfer? Why, it’s yours! Consider the person who is out of shape or overweight and goes to the doctor about it, only to be told he will now have to diet and exercise. You’re the one responsible for ensuring that your people use the program skills when they get back to the job, and recouping your investment.

So here’s the question you must ask the training consultant: “How will you help me ensure that my team uses the content from your program when they return to work?” If the training firm doesn’t introduce the issue themselves, or has no ideas on learning transfer, don’t hire them. Period.

You will want to explore a number of proven transfer approaches, including at the least:

· Coaching before training—Discuss current performance, followed by overviewing the training content, and then agreeing on “What you expect to take away from the program in order to enhance performance”

· Coaching after training—“What did you learn and what can I expect to see you do differently

· Learning contracts—Formalized agreements on changed behavior. The manager has the sales team member make specific written commitments.

· Joint calling—Observe and coach the performer

· Tools and job aids to provide evidence the new methods were employed

· Reinforcement of the training through skill practice and review at sales meetings

You can triple the ROI from your sales training investment if you focus on the critical step of learning transfer. Never assume others will do it for you.

You can reach Gregory LaMothe by going to his website: www.actionsystemstraining.com

or visiting his blog at: www.actionsystems.wordpress.com

 

Checklist for Bankers to Assess Mid-Year Sales Performance

  
  
  

 

6 month salesYou have six months to meet your goals for 2015. What do you need to do?

That's one of the questions that forces Bank Relationship Managers to think. Unfortunately, thinking consumes both time and energy so most of us tend to avoid it. (One of the things a teacher of mine used to say was that "Most people would rather die than think--and most do.")

So if you had to think about your sales prowess--as if your professional future really depended on it--what should you focus on? Here's a quick checklist for starters:

1. How is your performance year to date? How do you stack up vs. your peers? How are you doing in retaining and expanding relationships with your key and high potential customers? What does your pipeline look like now and 3 or 6 months down the road? Are you making progress with your key prospects? Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth? What are the major challenges you face?

2. What do you need to work on to improve your results? Be honest. Is it better product knowledge? A more focused prospecting approach? Quality time to prepare for upcoming calls? A better working relationship with your administrative assistant? A consistent follow-up plan to stay top of mind with your COIs and prospects?

3. Who can help you get to the next level? The obvious answer is your sales manager, but think about where you might find other allies. Are there customers who could refer you to other businesses? Do you need to do a better job of networking internally with product partners in cash management or private banking or capital markets? Can the Executive Director of that trade association of manufacturers become a referral source?

4. What's your plan? Get specific. Write it down. Make sure that you get feedback from your personal board of advisors (e.g. your spouse, your boss, any of your good friends or coworkers who want you to succeed, etc.)

For most of us this is not a 20 minute exercise. But if you've only got 20 minutes to start the process today, do it. Your results in 2015 (and in 2016) may well hinge on it.

Here are some prospecting resources from MZ Bierly Consulting.

1. How to Build a Business Network eBook

2. Recorded and Live Webinars

If you liked this post, feel free to share it with your network via email, LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

11 Reasons Why You May Be Struggling with Prospecting

  
  
  
prospecting, bank sales

 

  1. You’re not delegating enough of the gruntwork.
  2. You’re not clear who you’re going after (translation: Your prospect list isn’t something you really own.)
  3. You can’t differentiate yourself from your competition—you’re another  boring banker.
  4. You lack product knowledge in key areas outside your specialty.
  5. You’re a mass generalist not an expert specialist – you try to be all things to all people. (Zig Ziglar said it best: “You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.”)
  6. You don’t develop alliances with others in your network, both inside and outside your organization.
  7. You’re not connecting with prospects on their most relevant and important strategic issues. (Question: Do you know what their 5 year strategy is for their business?)
  8. You don’t have a defined sales process and find yourself winging it more often than not.
  9. You’re still waiting for the phone to ring in the age of social selling.  
  10. You’re relying too much on one approach (networking events, CPA referrals, , etc.).
  11. You underestimate the amount of time it will take to grow your book of business successfully. Prospecting is a long term proposition.

What do you think? What can bankers do to improve their success in prospecting? Please share your advice, insights, and experiences in the COMMENTS section below.

Looking for more tools to help you with prospecting? Check out the following resources:

How to Qualify Prospects Quickly

Leveraging Your Network in Prospecting

Keys to an Effective First Call on a Prospect

Go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com for a complete list of our recorded webinars on prospecting.

Free Webinar: Alternative Lending and Banks with Charles Wendel

Alternative lending companies continue to focus on the business banking space. Increasingly, banks are evaluating how to cooperate with these players since they offer streamlined processes and enhanced risk management, both of which can turn small business lending into a profitable opportunity for banks.

This webinar will summarize the current state of alternative lending, the different lending approaches, the major players and how they work with banks as well as developing trends. It will also discuss the key criteria that banks need to consider when they evaluate whether and how to work with these new lenders.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

REGISTER HERE

If you liked this post share it with others on LinkedIn, Twitter and by email.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Mistakes Bank Sales Leaders Should Never Make

  
  
  
bank sales leader

Many senior bank executives question whether their sales leaders have what it takes to get the job done. Some banks are redoubling their efforts to train and coach their first-line sales leaders on how to develop their commercial and small business teams. Others are actively recruiting management talent. The smart ones are doing both.

If you’re a sales leader, here are 10 mistakes you don’t want to make:

  1. Managing everybody the same way.
  2. Administering your bank’s sales process rather than leading it.
  3. Thinking that you can be successful from behind your desk.
  4. Forgetting about coaching the top of the sales funnel while helping your Relationship Managers close business. 
  5. Failing to provide ongoing refresher training to your teams.
  6. Letting average-performers develop their own prospect list.
  7. Not strategizing with people about their top customers and prospects.
  8. Assuming that because you’re always available for quick informal coaching, you don’t need to schedule 1 on 1 coaching sessions.
  9. Not coordinating with your line of business partners to keep conversations moving forward on non-credit products and services (e.g. Treasury Management,  Trust and Investments, Capital Markets, etc.)
  10. Not maintaining contact with bankers whom you would like to hire, even if they’re happy where they are.

What do you think? What can banks do to improve the performance of sales leaders? Please share your advice, insights, and experiences in the COMMENTS area below...

Free Webinar: Alternative Lending and Banks with Charles Wendel

Alternative lending companies continue to focus on the business banking space. Increasingly, banks are evaluating how to cooperate with these players since they offer streamlined processes and enhanced risk management, both of which can turn small business lending into a profitable opportunity for banks.

This webinar will summarize the current state of alternative lending, the different lending approaches, the major players and how they work with banks as well as developing trends. It will also discuss the key criteria that banks need to consider when they evaluate whether and how to work with these new lenders.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

REGISTER HERE

If you liked this post share it with others on LinkedIn, Twitter and by email.



Suffering from Cold Call Reluctance? (Video)

  
  
  

Cold calling is sometimes a banker's best option. For some inexperienced branch managers and business bankers that can lead to cold call reluctance. Here's what to do if you find yourself procrastinating or dreading the thought of making a cold call to a prospect.

If you would like to download a transcript of this video, click on the link below.

Cold Call Reluctance

Free Resource for Bank Sales Managers: Download your copy of "Coaching the Prospecting Process: Tips for Sales Managers" by going here.

Archived Webinars on Prospecting: Go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com for a complete list of our recorded webinars on prospecting.

What do you think? Please share your advice, insights, and experiences in the COMMENTS area below...

If you liked this post, share it with your colleagues by email and on LinkedIn.

cold calling, prospecting

6 Tips for Bankers on Making Goals in 2015 (3 words each)

  
  
  
3 word sales tips

What is it about the number 3? Some people consider it lucky. It is sacred in many religions. In some traditions 3 is considered the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding.

Heroes are often offered three choices or three tests. Others overcome difficulties on the third try.

Counting to three is common in situations where a group of people wish to perform an act together. (Now, on the count of three, everybody pull!).  

Basketball coaches know that three word commands are easy to remember. See the ball. Slide your feet. Everybody box out.

Well, on 6/3/2015 I’m going to suggest to bankers that 6 things in 3 word snippets might change your business development results this year. Here they are:

  1. Leverage your network
  2. Ask better questions
  3. Assess your performance
  4. Develop internal COIs
  5. Use LinkedIn better
  6. Celebrate small victories

If one of these looks like it will help you make progress in landing more prospects and meeting your sales goals, do something with it—in the next 3 days!

Final tip: Be sure to click on the hyperlinks for more details.

10 Secrets of Successful Bank Sales Leaders

  
  
  
describe the image

The novel Anna Karenina begins with the observation that “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own particular way.” That’s probably true of sales teams as well, whether they’re composed of bankers or pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Having spent time recently with both happy and unhappy bankers, though, I’ve been struck by how the mood of teams is determined to a large degree by their leaders.  Bank sales managers can have a huge impact on the morale and performance of front-line personnel.

What specifically do the best sales leaders do? What are the secrets to their success? Here’s a partial list:

  1. They show up. Managing remotely is tricky, but frequent visits interspersed with regular communication by phone and email make a difference.
  2. They’re engaged in the day-to-day activities of their team.  They know what calls people are going on this week. They stay on top of pipelines.  They’re always asking questions.
  3. They see themselves as coaches. They want to make everybody on their teams better, not just the people who are behind on their goals.  They have one-on- one coaching sessions on a regular basis with all team members, usually at least every two weeks.
  4. They’re big on strategy, particularly regarding lead generation. They devote time to analyzing how to pursue opportunities in a market and how to identify and approach prospects.
  5. They’re comfortable sharing their expertise. They are quick to tap into their own personal networks to help their teams acquire new clients.
  6. They’re consistent in their messaging. You always know what their priorities are.   
  7. They go on a lot of joint calls. You can coach them on what you want them to do and (usually) they do a pretty good job following your guidance. (Note to all Relationship Managers:  Make sure that you brief them in advance of the meeting. They don’t like to wing it. And be prepared to debrief every call you go on—it’s a chance to get some great coaching.)
  8. They’re always looking for ways to recognize good performance. They also know how to celebrate big and small victories at the individual and team level.
  9. They invest in people.  Providing training is one of their priorities.  They’re also constantly on the lookout for things that will enhance productivity.

10. They keep things in perspective. They know that their attitude has a huge impact on the success of their team. 

Post Script: I shared this list with two sales leaders who have been successful building what I would call happy (and successful) commercial teams. Here are their comments:

Bank Sales Leader #1: “I would add that joint calling lets the managers demonstrate that they are also using the sales tools which they profess are so important. Additionally, this simple activity can reinforce that the program works.  I also believe that this demonstrates that the manager is not afraid to get into the action, specifically if you are calling on prospects or customers with opportunities in the pipeline.  Sales teams need to know that we do what we preach as managers.

Lastly, if the manager demonstrates energy and positive attitude, this can “rub off” on the RM. I’ve found that the manager’s perspective becomes the RM’s perspective rather quickly. If the manger is down, the staff is down. If the manager believes “we can do it”, the staff generally responds in kind.”

Bank Sales Leader #2: “I absolutely agree with this article. One very key component that is missing and I would add is that the sales leader must always be positive. Even in difficult times, challenging credit criteria and demanding customers and prospects the leader needs to be a partial spin doctor and always see the light at the end of the tunnel for the team. The positive attitude and confidence of a leader are contagious.”

OK, sales leaders, what else would you add? Share your thoughts in the space provided below or email me at nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

 

 

Q&A on Networking Groups (mp3)

  
  
  

 

prospecting for bankers

Question: I am currently considering joining a networking group. This group limits members to one from each industry, however, when I attended the first introductory meeting there were three other bankers who wanted to join. I wonder how this group will approve applications if we all apply? The group appears to be a well-organized one and the leader seems genuine in getting referrals going.

To download a podcast with my answer--or a transcript of it--click on the link below.

Q&A on Networking Groups

Interested in a series of fast-paced refreshers on prospecting? Check out any of our 10 archived webinars on Prospecting Strategies:

Building a Good Prospect List

Leveraging Your Network to Get in the Door

How to Use Your LinkedIn Network in Prospecting

Preparing for First Calls on Prospects

Industry Research as a Differentiator

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving into Financial Operations: Selling to Financial Change

The First 3 Calls on Prospects

Following Up on Proposal – Persistent or Pest?

Getting the Most Out of Networking Events

Go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or contact Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 for more information and team discounts.

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