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March Madness 1964: More Mistakes = More Wins?


Bobby Wanzer

March Madness always gives me a chance to quote the late John Wooden, the college basketball coaching legend. During his tenure at UCLA, the Bruins won ten national championships in twelve years, establishing a record for excellence that will probably never be rivaled in college basketball.

As a skinny sixth grader competing in the CYO leagues of Upstate New York (not exactly the same as New York or Philadelphia basketball to be sure) I played for a grizzled former NBA player named Bobby Wanzer. Mr. Wanzer was also the basketball coach and Athletic Director at a local college, which made me wonder then what he was doing spending Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons with us. I can only guess that Father Maloney must have twisted his arm after Mass and so for a year the Our Lady of Lourdes basketball team benefited from the wisdom of a man who was later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. (No, I’m not making that up; you can check it out at

I don’t remember much about Mr. Wanzer’s coaching philosophy. It’s probably because we didn’t have that many practices (his paying job often took him on the road during the basketball season) and most of our games were routs. I recall losing one of the first games of the season by the score of 44 to 9 to perennial power Sacred Heart, but the details of that and other defeats have vanished (thankfully) from my memory.

What I do remember was a comment that Mr. Wanzer made to my Dad about all the mistakes we made on the court. He said that he expected us to make bad passes and take bad shots and that it was OK as long as we kept trying. Now, that might have been Dad’s spin, but I don’t ever recall Mr. Wanzer scolding us for a basketball blunder.

Which brings me to Coach Wooden. It was about that time that I read an article about Coach Wooden in Look Magazine.  He said that his college coach at Purdue, Ward “Piggy” Lambert (no, I’m not making that up either), constantly reminded players that, “The team that makes the most mistakes will probably win.”piggy lambert

That sounded bizarre to me—we made lots of mistakes and we never won—but Coach Wooden went on to explain that “mistakes come from doing, but so does success.” If you didn’t make mistakes, you probably weren’t trying hard enough.

That bit of coaching wisdom helped me through a long basketball season in 1964-65. And when I read it now in a compilation of Coach Wooden’s thoughts on basketball I have to think that both he and Bobby Wanzer were sending a profound message to all of us on what it takes to succeed.

John Wooden 1960See whether any of Coach Wooden’s “Eight Suggestions for Succeeding” apply to your team’s current sales efforts:

1.    Fear no opponent. Respect every opponent.
2.    Remember, it’s the perfection of the smallest details that make big things happen.
3.    Keep in mind that hustle makes up for many a mistake.
4.    Be more interested in character than reputation.
5.    Be quick, but don’t hurry.
6.    Understand that the harder you work, the more luck you will have.
7.    Know that valid self-analysis is crucial for improvement.
8.    Remember that there is no substitute for hard work and careful planning. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Want more of my recent thoughts on March Madness? Check out:

March Madness 2015: What You Can Learn from Larry Brown

March Madness 1983: More 3 Pointers on Winning at Sales

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to share it with others. If you would like to read my regular posts on bank sales and sales leadership then please sign up at Bank Sales Corner Blog.

March Madness 2015: What You Can Learn from Larry Brown

coaching sales leaders

My wife does not like Larry Brown. When he was the coach of the New Jersey Nets and decided to depart for a coaching position at UCLA in 1983, leaving Buck Williams and the rest of the Nets in the lurch, Carol developed a lasting dislike for him.

When he ended up in Philadelphia in 1997, my wife's opinion did not change. Even after his success leading the Sixers to the NBA finals in 2001 he was still in Carol's dog house.  And when the sportswriters in Philly began speculating in 2010 that Larry might return to lead the Sixers again Carol rolled her eyes in disgust.

I don’t think she knows that Larry Brown is back in the tourney hunt this year as head coach of the SMU Mustangs. The Mustangs are a number 6 seed in the NCAA South Regional and do battle with UCLA today at 3:15 PM EDT.

Now after being married for 37 years I am smart enough not to pick fights with my long-suffering spouse over stuff like March Madness. But I do really like Larry Brown and believe that he deserves his place in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. (For what it’s worth, Allen Iversen—remember him? The “We’re talking about practice, man” NBA great-- agrees with me: he called Brown “the best coach in the world.”)

 There are many things that bank sales leaders can learn from him. Here’s my list:

  1. Get the right players. Brown's last NBA team, the Charlotte Bobcats, was an unlikely combination of NBA castoffs and aging veterans. In the first year he made trades involving over 20 players. While generally perceived to be a player's coach, Brown wants his kind of players, and isn't reluctant to make changes to get them.
  2. Start with the basics. One of the first things that Brown realized when he took over the Bobcats in 2009 was that they did not know how to play team defense. Even the pros can learn new things. Coach Brown does not assume that professionals know it all.
  3. Don't look back. Brown's success with Charlotte—he took the team to the playoffs in 2010-- followed a disastrous stint with the New York Knicks in 2005-2006. If your team isn't performing well, it may not be entirely your fault. Brown was able to move on after his experience with the Knicks.
  4. Balance perfectionism and realism. Brown is known as a master teacher, capable of taking his players to a higher level. He stresses playing the game the right way, and attaches great significance to developing the right skills and habits in practice. His biggest fear is:  “I haven't done enough as a coach where these guys encounter something I haven't prepared them for."


This last point is something all sales managers should consider. What kinds of things do you have to prepare your team for? What's the best way to do that? In our busy schedules when can we run the practices that will make our bankers better?

One last favor: Don’t show this piece to my wife.

Who is your favorite in this year’s NCAA basketball tourney? Root for your favorite in the space below.

If you liked this post, share it with other sales leaders.

Check out our blog for tips for coaching sales performance in banks.









March Madness 1983: More 3 Pointers on Winning at Sales



March Madness bankers

I recently saw the ESPN 30 by 30 documentary "Survive and Advance" about North Carolina State’s improbable road to the 1983 NCAA mens' basketball championship. I had forgotten how many last minute comebacks the Wolfpack made en route to the title. (Sports Illustrated magazine called the championship game the greatest moment in college basketball history.)

The film has many unforgettable scenes as players, coaches and fans reminisce about their opponents, the games themselves and their late coach, Jim Valvano. Footage from post-game interviews and press conferences provides ample evidence of how engaging Jimmy V was in front of an audience. (If you’ve never seen his ESPY speech, stop reading now and go to

At the end of the documentary, his wife recalls how he wrote short, motivational messages to himself on 3x5 cards, which he carried around with him. “Win NCAA Championship.” “Never give up.” “Beat cancer.”

With March Madness upon us once again and in memory of Jimmy V, here are some things that you might consider as you tackle this week’s business development challenges. (The fact that they are in fortune cookie 3 word messages—what I’ll call 3 pointers for those who perfected  their outside shot before there was such a thing—is of no real importance.)3 point sales tips

• Ask for referrals
• Do relationship reviews
• Share prospect lists
• Learn new techniques
• Follow financial press
• Build deeper relationships
• Join trade associations
• Assess your COIs
• Network with purpose
• Introduce your partners
• Leverage senior management
• Get a coach
• Attend training sessions
• Schedule prospecting time

Any you would like to add? Fill them in the space below.

Looking for something to jumpstart your team's business development efforts? Check out our recorded webinars on prospecting, COI development and referrals. You can sign up for sessions three ways: (1) Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or (2) email her at or (3) go to the Training Center section of our secure Webex website at

What's your LinkedIn strategy to generate opportunities?


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95% of the bankers I know don't have a clear idea of how to integrate LinkedIn into their overall business development strategy.  Here are some people who do.

1.) In the last 6 months since joining my new employer, I positioned my summary to demonstrate my "consultative approach" to helping commercial business owners and why the TowneBank  culture and value proposition make for a great combination to deliver financial solutions to my friends and neighbors in my hometown of Richmond. This has led to numerous connection requests from COIs, some business owners, and a wealth of banking talent at other banks obviously looking for an employment opportunity.

Patrick Collins TowneBank Richmond


2.) My LinkedIn strategy to generate opportunities is to build my connections (I have over 1200) so I have a wide ranging network of contacts to tap into for warm introductions to prospects. I also use InMails to contact prospects directly and find they have a higher response rate than regular messages.

Roberta Bastow First Niagara Bank


3.) One way to generate opportunities that I recently discussed with others was to be visible and engaged with prospects when there aren't any apparent near term opportunities. You will always be aware of potential developments on a more timely basis and have a better understanding. The prospect will also think of you as a potential partner since calling efforts were consistent. I think it means a lot to a prospect to have someone genuinely interested in them when there isn't a near term opportunity and takes that into consideration when something becomes available. Show interest at all times and you will set yourself apart from the "fair weather" bankers.

Victor W. Capozzolo First Niagara Bank


4.)Connect to everyone I know and then work 2nd level connections. I use LinkedIn as a virtual Rolodex to easily reach people I want to contact. I find folks are pretty willing to connect with a banker, especially those who lend money and manage a team of lenders. It's also useful to connect with various groups and key people - Jack Welch for example - and read their pearls of wisdom.

Jeffrey Carstens Bank Leumi USA


5.) To share meaningful and "what's it in for me" articles that not only are beneficial for people but generate awareness of who I am. It gives me another tool to keep my name out there for banking opportunites.

Lisa DeCoste Fulton Bank


6.) When I meet someone at an event or am interested in an industry, I simply do a search on LinkedIn to see if I know anyone and I try to connect via that avenue. It isn't rocket science.

Vic Calonder Colorado Business Bank


7.) I saw Jill Rowley speak at the LinkedIn Sales Connect conference in September last year. She has 5 pillars of social selling and I have been using those (nothing original - just copying!).

Bob Newman Chatham Financial


8.) Knowing the industries to call in yields targeted prospects. LinkedIn means you never have to cold call again.

Talley Clower Regions Financial Corporation


9.) My LinkedIn strategy is to post once a week on the newsfeed a business item or some other topic of interest.  I post to my tagged groups at least once every other week a specific topic related to the industry or to the bank.

Kelly Condon Colorado Business Bank


10.) I use LinkedIn as a branding tool. Visitors can learn my areas of specialty, read testimonial letters of recommendation written by current clients, and learn which industry groups I’ve been active with and what speaking engagements I've had. The goal is to enhance my professional credibility in the eyes of the viewer.

Doug Holtrop Mercantile Bank of Michigan


11.) The simplest and most effective way of getting in with clients is to compliment them on a work anniversary, remember their birthday or (yes!) a new profile photo. We are all, after all, vain creatures in need of acceptance by our peers.

Susan Eick Right Management (former Head of Retail Banking at community bank)

12.) I use LinkedIn to see who is connected to people I am targeting. I do use it to follow up as connections change positions and prompt meetings, congratulations, etc. I also use it to follow company pages. I am increasingly using it to keep up to date on industry trends.

Jeff Hultman, Illinois Bank& Trust


13.) LinkedIn has helped me with clients, prospects, and COI's. I use it as a tool for my credibility statement. With the banker turnover in our industry and clients getting a new RM every year, it helps build some trust early in the relationship and creates a sense of stability. It also gives them some confidence that they working with a true banking professional.

Ted Mossman Wells Fargo

What's your strategy? Share it in the space below along with any questions you have about getting more out of LinkedIn in prospecting.

Bonus: Here’s a link to more information on our website about LinkedIn.


5 Uncomfortable (?) Questions for Bank Sales Managers


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Barry Trailer, co-founder of CSO Insights: “Our research shows the average B2B sale involves 4.5 buying influences and, more than likely, each of them touches base with at least one other person for buy-in, approval, etc. “

Question for Bank Sales Managers: Do your bankers have major pieces of business today that hinge on 1 or 2 personal relationships? 


Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor: “Once they are hired, teachers in Finland are required to devote two hours a week to professional development throughout their careers.”

Question for Bank Sales Managers: How many hours a week are you devoting to improving the skills of your bankers?


Daniel Birke, David Sprengel, Jochen Ulrich and Michael Viertier:“Top performing sales organizations have the same percentage of sales staff in sales management roles—around 8%--as lower-performing companies. However, they have about 30% more sales staff in support roles. While this may seem counterintuitive, this approach frees up sales reps from more administrative devote more of their time to customers. The result is that front line sales reps are three times more productive than their peers.”

Question for Bank Sales Managers: What are you doing to improve the administrative support for your bankers?


Dan Perry, Sales Benchmark International: “87% of Sales Managers tell me they want to spend more time with their ‘A’ players Yet Sales Manager selling time is hovering around 48%. SMs don’t have the time to spend with their ‘A’ reps (or any reps like they should). In comparison, World Class selling time is around 77% for SMs. And part of this time must be spent with those ‘A’ players.”

Question for Bank Sales Managers: Are you spending enough time with your top performers?


Terence Roche, Cornerstone Advisors: “An astounding 97% of recruiters recently surveyed said LinkedIn is the most common in-house recruiting platform. Everybody at our meeting said they use it almost daily.”

Question for Bank Sales Managers: How are you using LinkedIn in recruiting?  (Bonus question: How are your bankers using LinkedIn to improve their results in prospecting?)

Looking for more resources on sales management? Check out these blog posts:

4 Weekly Tasks for Sales Managers (video)

6 Questions for Bank Sales Leaders about Process

20 Questions Bank Sales Leaders Should Ask Themselves


Why Producing Bank Sales Managers Struggle

bank sales manager

The number one issue in the bank peer data on improving banker sales performance is coaching. Most banks today have a reasonable level of accountability (goals, incentives, reporting) but are behind other industries in sales coaching.
The majority of commercial and business bankers still see themselves as "loan officers" and when they make the time to coach they primarily coach the credit process (getting the deal approved and closed). Sustainable growth in sales performance begins with the front end of the sales process (focusing on the right businesses, not wasting time with the wrong opportunities, using effective value propositions rather than price and structure, etc.). These skills take time, energy, and coaching to develop. A higher level of coaching significantly decreases the amount of time it takes a banker to become competent in these key skills.
Many community and regional banks use a Producing Manager sales leadership model. A Producing Manager typically carries a loan portfolio of between $40 and $70 million and manages 2 to 5 sales team members. A promotion from Commercial Lender to Producing Manager is often a clear signal that the bank values the individual’s credit and sales skills and can often lead to greater management opportunities in the organization.
The rationale for having them continue to manage their portfolios (“We have to take excellent care of the customers and you’re the best person to do that”) makes sense to the Producing Managers on another level; while it may be in the best interests of their customers, it’s also often perceived to be in their interest to hold on to their “meal ticket.” Many lenders see their customer relationships as a form of equity so they’re not averse to holding on to their book of business.
This model is common in banks where sales goals are relatively modest and where real estate-related transactions predominate. In banks where the sales performance expectations are higher the Producing Manager model can have a long-term negative effect on the sales performance of sales team members. Here are several of the problems:

  1. When Producing Managers carry more than a $10 million portfolio, the amount of time they spend coaching the front end of the sales process (lead generation and qualifying) is generally limited.
  2. They spend most of their time working their own portfolios and coaching credit (not sales) issues with their team members.
  3. They can compensate for the lack of sales coaching (growing team members’ sales skills) by "feeding" them deals and consequently helping them to make their goals.
  4. Producing Managers continue to build their own reputations in the community while their team members are less visible and less prepared for building their own network and customer following.
  5. Since Producing Managers spend less time coaching sales process (specifically the front end of the sales process) they don't fully develop competency in their skills as coaches and sales managers. This is especially true when they only manage 1 or 2 team members.
  6. The Producing Manager model is tenable in some situations but it significantly affects sales results when the number of sales team members reaches 4 or more. (If, however, the portfolio is reduced to less than $10 million and fewer than 5 relationships there is some increase in sales coaching.)
  7. Sales team members in Producing Manager teams grow their sales skills more slowly than those team members with "full-time" Sales Managers.

A common use of Producing Managers is in geographically dispersed teams (sales team members are 50 to 100 miles away). Yet there are many banks that have been able to build effective coaching processes with sales team members who are not in the same location. Sales Managers learn to use the phone, make regularly scheduled visits, and provide electronic delivery of reports and data (sales reports, underwriting information, etc.) to provide the coaching that team members need.
How do banks deal with the need for credit coaching in smaller or more remote markets? In some organizations, senior lenders take on a mentoring role for credit only, acting as advisors on deal structuring. The mentor is not the Sales Manager, though, and is not asked to coach on anything but credit. Regional Senior Credit Officers can also provide the needed guidance on complicated credit matters.
The data show that “full-time” Sales Managers with 6 to 12 sales team members (not including support staff) produce better long-term sales performance. (The number is lower [6 to 8] in commercial banking and higher in business banking and branch teams selling to businesses [8-12].)
It takes time and effort to build sustainable sales performance. Coaching is the key and full-time Sales Managers flat out are better coaches.
Do you agree or disagree? Send me your thoughts at
Interested in more insights on sales leadership? Check out our Sales Leadership Blog Posts.


12 Questions on the Minds of Bank Sales Leaders


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Here are 12 questions that are vexing bank Sales Leaders today, with some links to previous blog posts that discuss the challenge in some way:

  1. Why did upwards of 45% of Commercial and Business Banking Relationship Managers (RMs) fail to make all their sales goals (not just loan goals) last year?
  2. Why do producing Sales Managers struggle in developing their teams? 
  3. Is it unrealistic to expect Relationship Managers to make 6 to 8 scheduled face-to-face calls a week? (See The Case for More Sales Calls.)
  4. How can generalist RMs develop expertise in niches that will help them differentiate themselves from the competition? (View our video on Prospecting Tips for Bankers on Developing a Niche.)
  5. How can I get my Board more engaged in business development? (Read Are your board members bringing in the right business?)
  6. What level of support can Marketing provide to front-line sales teams?
  7. Do branch managers have the ability to bring in new business from outside calling on microbusinesses and professionals? (See Buck Bierly’s thoughts in an Interview in the Branch Managers' Letter.)
  8. How should banks segment the small business market (by size, credit, industry, complexity of cash management needs, etc.)?
  9. What can you do to break down the walls between commercial and retail and wealth management and insurance? (Check out our complimentary webinar  “Is Cross-Selling the Secret Sauce?” at
  10. How easy is it to get an average performer to the next level in terms of sales skills? (To see the Progression of Relationship Development Skills chart, click on this link.)
  11. Are there “non-negotiables” for all bank Sales Leaders? (For more insights go to 4 Weekly Tasks for Bank Sales Managers (video))
  12. What tools are available to raise the “business acumen” of line bankers? (Listen to this mp3 file on Business Acumen vs. Product Acumen.)

Are there any questions that are on your mind? If so, add them in the space below or send them to

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



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"I always advise people never to give advice," wrote P.G. Wodehouse, the English humorist. Recognizing that wisdom is often in short supply, here is the second installment of practical advice on sales from banking veterans. (If you missed the first part, go to our December 22, 2014 blog post here.)

1.) Be likeable.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Friendships trump price, structure and stand the test of time.  

Mark Augustyn Mercantile Bank of Michigan

2.) Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Rosary Falero Coconut Grove Bank

3.) Everything I have received from MZ Bierly Consulting!

Rick Miller First Savings (PA)

4.) Bring value to the table.

Steve Epping M&T Bank

5.) Be persistent, consistent and honest. But above all listen!!! Also try to find a bond of same nature with your target. People like to deal with people they like.

Dave Hammer First Niagara Bank

6.) When the sale is over and you have the order, stop talking! Nothing good can happen. So many times giddy bankers go on and on about how the purchase will help the customer only to reveal something which leads to an objection...and the unwinding begins.

David Swoyer Santander Bank

7.) Be genuine. Also, the true rainmakers always have at least one prospect in each stage of the sales cycle.

Kevin S. Meade Valley Bank

8.) Listen to the person sitting across from you.  Understand their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.  Follow through as promised.

Laura  Calvert Old Point National Bank

9.) Target your prospects, research the business and industry, plan the talking points/questions, listen and don’t leave without asking for a commitment for a follow-up meeting.

Burt Blacksher WestStar Bank

10.) The first rule of sales:  Be somebody – always take the time to establish credibility and respect. I have found that to be helpful advice for most endeavors.

Rob Shuford, Jr. Old Point National Bank

11.) Look at each client/prospect interaction as an opportunity to listen, ask open-ended questions, and continue to provide solutions. The numbers will follow.

Jeffrey Orner Santander Bank

12.) Besides doing your homework beforehand, the best advice was not to give solutions on the spot. Take back all of the information, and schedule the next meeting to explore more. It is still one of the toughest points to convince young calling officers not to respond immediately.

Jon Levine S&T Bank

13.)  Persistence is more important than brilliance. No means, "Not yet."

Mike Comer Citizens National Bank (TN)

 14.) Understand your customer before you sell.  Ask questions and listen.  Only then will you offer solutions that meet their needs. 

Joe Witt Old Point National Bank

15.) Two qualities are predictors of successful selling: a strong ego and genuine empathy. You need a strong, healthy ego to manage sales resistance and rejection, and genuine empathy to connect to clients and build lasting relationships. High performers recognize the need to keep the ego in check and allow empathy to flourish.

Catherine Flynn The Bluestar Group

16.) Be positive, be persistent and add always add value.

Gail Letts C&F Bank

Looking for tips on improving your team’s prospecting results? Ned Miller will be leading a live webinar for bank sales leaders on prospecting on Monday, February 9 at 2:30 PM Eastern. If you can't make the live webinar, you can sign up to receive a recorded vserion. To find more information and register go the Graduate School of Banking's website: Leading the Prospecting Effort.

7 Rules for Building a Proactive Bank Sales Culture

sales culture, bank sales

I recently stumbled across a short article  written almost 10 years ago by sales guru Dave Kurlan on 10 rules for developing a sales culture.

Whether you’re trying to get your commercial team out from behind their desks or promote more teamwork between RMs and specialists or equip branch bankers to proactively develop relationships with small business owners, all of Kurlan’s rules ring true. Here’s my slightly edited list of the most relevant observations with some editorial comments thrown in:

  1. The culture won't change without someone in management driving that change. That usually means the bank president in a community bank or line of business heads in a regional or mega-bank.
  2. Your people need to hear what you expect—and it better be simple, consistent with what your organization values and ultimately doable. Notice I didn’t say “easy.”
  3. You will have to show people what to do. And that means giving them the necessary skills and tools (e.g. templates, access to industry information, sales refreshers, etc.)
  4. Coaching is critical. After working with hundreds of banks over the last 25 years, my partner Buck Bierly says that coaching from first-line managers is the single most factor in a sales change initiative.
  5. You probably will benefit from expert advice. That is admittedly self-serving but it’s hard for most bankers to do this alone.
  6. Start with low-risk concepts. At the outset emphasize things like calling inactive clients as outreach, meeting with current customers to learn more about their business and asking your most satisfied clients for referrals. I know people need to acquire new relationships but don’t ask inexperienced calling officers to start there.
  7. The culture won't change unless you hold people accountable.

Are there any other “rules” you’d add? Feel free to include your comments in the space below or email them to me at

Check out our recorded webinars on building momentum in prospecting. Go to to sample the complimentary Q&A on Prospecting webinar that Buck Bierly led recently.

Tip for Branch Managers: Team Up with Business Partners

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“Business partners can help you look at a relationship and strategize where to take the relationship. A credit partner, for instance, can help you strategize from a credit angle,” explains Buck Bierly, President of MZ BIERLY Consulting, Inc. (Malvern, PA). “Business partners can also be people that when you get an opportunity, you run it by them and say, ‘How can we best do this?’”

Most Branch Managers are not experts in everything. You do, however, need confidence talking about your products. While you should be conversationally competent in all the products you represent, management usually doesn’t expect you to be the hands-on person for everything. For example, Branch Managers are usually not expected to write proposals, install products and service products that belong to treasury management.

“You should understand enough about how the treasury products work that if somebody mentions, ‘I’d like to speed up my receivables. It’s really driving me crazy here,’ to dig a little bit into that. Find out where the receivables process is breaking down. Then come back to a treasury partner and say, ‘Hey look, this is what my client said to me. Do you have some ideas that might be helpful?’”  

Use Client Profiles

When working with clients, MZ BIERLY uses client profiles. “Before you can actually talk to a business partner, we ask you to fill out a client profile that talks about the business, the industry sector, and where the business is going,” Bierly says. “You then show the profile to your business partner as you’re discussing the client’s needs.”

EXAMPLE:  You’re working with a stand-alone veterinarian. They want to collect their receivables faster. The client profile gives the treasury management office (TMO) a better idea of what these people do and how they do it.  

“So now the TMO can engage you a little bit more by asking, ‘Have you thought about this? Well, maybe we can try that, and so on,’” says Bierly. In other words, the TMO is helping you strategize and plan the relationship. Inviting them to go with you, because you think they can do a better job than you would, is the “team selling” part. 

“After you make the call or joint call, you come back and say, ‘Hey, do you see any additional areas we want to explore further?’. Let’s figure out the next step and then the process begins again,” Bierly says. “From that debriefing, you uncover additional things. You start to take a look at that same business partner or another business partner in order to take the next step with that relationship.”

Real World Examples

The following are some examples of how and when you need to team up with a business partner:

*A business owner wants to buy a building. You may not have the credit skills to really understand some of the ins and outs of owner occupied property purchases and all the required documentation. “You need to engage a credit partner who may be a small business banker or somebody who’s assigned as a credit support person that is actually part of the centralized underwriting team,” Bierly says. “These partners can help you look at the relationship and strategize from a credit angle.”  

*With very wealthy business owners. You’ve got a private banking group and you’ve got an owner who would qualify as a private banking candidate.

*The business gets a little larger. It starts to use what we’ll call low level treasury management services.

The Right Knowledge and Support

“The future of the financial services industry is selling as a team. The day of sole executors is coming to an end in the best financial institutions,” Bierly says. “Selling is a team effort, because nobody has enough product experience to understand every single product and how it relates to the client’s life. Engaging your business partners before, during and after meetings with clients becomes the ideal way to acquire the knowledge and support you need.”

This article by Lana Chandler originally appeared in the Branch Manager’s Letter (


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