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8 Reasons Why Branch Managers Should Call on Small Businesses

  
  
  
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  1. Many Branch Managers know their communities and can find opportunities.
  2. Feet on the street matter.
  3. Some Branch Managers are pretty good at this. Others can be too.
  4. They don’t need to become commercial lenders to call on small businesses. You want your Branch Managers to become “conversationally competent” discussing credit and other business products.
  5. This isn’t just about identifying business loans and deposits—you’re trying to find consumer loans (and deposits and investments, etc.)
  6. You can get a lot of traction by coaching your coaches; if your Branch Managers get consistently good feedback and guidance from their Sales Managers, big things can happen.
  7. Small business owners want to talk to bankers.
  8. With all the revenue challenges you’re facing, what do you have to lose?
Looking for more ideas on how to engage your branch team in calling on businesses? Download a copy of a presentation on “Building Momentum with Small Businesses” by clicking here. You might also be interested in checking out our webinars on coaching branch managers. For more information email nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com

 

 

Are Quarterly Reviews Micromanagement? (Podcast)

  
  
  

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Your team is behind budget. Pipelines aren't exactly where you think they should be. So what do you do? Regular quarterly reviews give Sales Managers a chance to determine what mid-course corrections are needed. They are another opportunity to drive home the important message that top-line revenue growth is critical to the bank's success.

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

Are Quarterly Reviews Micromanagement?

Managing Priorities: Feedback from Bank Sales Leaders

  
  
  
sales manager feedback

Last week’s article on Managing Priorities: Tips for Bankers  prompted several interesting comments from senior managers:

Market President for a regional bank:

“This should be directed at NEWER EMPLOYEES. If you are a veteran and still having these issues then no article or coaching is going to get you out of it. Time Management is a choice (it’s 100 choices a day). Either you run your calendar or it runs you – it’s just that simple.

It’s become too easy for RMs to blame their inefficiency on others – too many requirements, tasks, reporting. Not enough hours in the day. I agree – for those who continue to run their businesses today the way they ran them 10 years ago, there is no way to keep up. They spurn checklists, ridicule time blocking and reject help from others (because no-one can do a good enough job).

There are successful bankers out there – and they are not unicorns. Here is what they are:
  • They are creatures of routine and discipline (yeah, nothing sexy there).
  • They make 20-or so good calls a month. They plan for these calls and have action oriented follow-up with deadlines.
  • They delegate as much work as possible so that everyone can practice at the highest end of their license.
  • They routinely bring in partners and then let them do their work.
  • They block administrative times to days when customers prefer not to be met (oh, yeah, sometimes they work Saturdays or evenings).
  • They don’t overcommit (they say no when it doesn’t serve success).
  • They are not obsessed with being liked and being nice.
  • They invest in their industry knowledge.

Frankly, they never spend any time reading time management articles, because they DO IT.

Holy cow, Ned, some of these bankers have had a different version of the same complaint for 20+ years! If this sounds harsh, sorry – for some reason, I just would like to see people start doing more and talking less.”

Community Bank CEO:

“Sales folks are often weak in time management and administrative things, and sometimes are supported in this by sales managers because “they are revenue drivers.” It is accepted at many banks to just assume commercial lenders won’t adhere to deadlines for administrative items, will try to get out of group training that does not directly relate to lending, etc. We all have some degree of administrative tasks, email responding, etc. to deal with.”

Head of Commercial Lending at a regional bank:

“All great points and very useful. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in today. A few observations:

  • The 2 week tracking of an RM’s activities sounds like a great idea but its very time consuming and may be viewed as an exercise of time (something RMs don’t have).
  • If you’re running a meeting and have allocated one hour, stick to one hour whether the agenda has been completed or not.  You will get better participation and engagement if committee members know you are staying within a defined timeframe.
  • Consider working from home if you have a time sensitive task to complete…no disruptions (unless you can’t handle the home work environment).
  • RM use of AAs (Administrative Assistants) or LAs (Loan Assistants) is key to time management.  Challenge your AAs. I’ll bet they are both capable and willing to take on more responsibility."

Head of Retail Banking at a community bank:

1) Schedule time to perform certain tasks - This is the most critical and beneficial behavior for me so everything you say here is true. Aside from an actual appointment, people tend to only schedule operational tasks or busy work and do not schedule tasks that ultimately result in a sale (letter writing, phone calls, proposal writing, etc.). This is a biggie...

2) I keep my email audio notifications off – so agreed and important.

3) Conducting a time audit - Excellent idea, particularly when taking on new people, to help all (including the Sales Manager) become aware of exactly what they are spending their time on and how much of it, which leads to a discussion and plan on how to make changes. If you are not aware of what's broken you cannot / will not fix it so this is imperative.

4) Shifting non-customer activities to others – There’s a fine line here between delegating true non-customer activities vs. not being there for existing clients, so I would caution folks to be careful here as you run the risk of being perceived by clients as ‘just a sales person’ vs. a relationship manager.”

Comments? Feel free to send your thoughts by email to nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com or put them in the space below.

Live Webinar Alert: “Q&A on Prospecting” on September 15 at 11 AM Eastern, 10 AM Central, 9 AM Mountain, 8 AM Pacific. To register go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com, email susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com  or call 610-296-4771. If you can’t make the live webinar sign up for the recorded version.

Managing Priorities: Tips for Bankers

  
  
  
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I read recently that community bank CEOs are spending almost half of their time dealing with regulatory compliance issues. Sales leaders talk about how their days are crammed full of meetings, so much so that coaching and calling on customers often get crowded out of their schedules. Many Relationship Managers, who are bombarded daily by internal requests to provide updates on everything that involves their customers (and some things that don’t), estimate that they spend less than 20% of their week on business development.

This is a big issue and is taking a toll on productivity, morale and results. Teresa Amabile of the Harvard Business School has concluded that interruptions—meetings, emails, administrivia—make it easy to lose focus on priorities.

Held hostage by our technological tools, buried under daily avalanches of email and juggling an increasing array of administrative and compliance issues, many bankers are understandably frazzled.

So short of ingesting massive quantities of Ritalin, what’s a busy banker to do? Here are some techniques to stay on track:

  1. Schedule time to perform certain tasks. Figure out your peak times for certain important activities. If you write more fluidly at 6 AM, that’s when you should do your credit memos. Determine the best time to call your customers and prospects to schedule appointments. Put it in your calendar. View it like a meeting that you’ve scheduled with an important client and you’ll show up.
  2. Limit distractions. Disable that noise that lets you know another email has arrived.  If you need to concentrate, close your door or find a place where you won’t be interrupted.
  3. Concentrate on one thing at a time—no multi-tasking! If you’re on a phone call, don’t be scrolling through your email inbox or sending text messages. Some bankers delude themselves into thinking that they can juggle 5 tasks at once—it’s not possible!
  4. Take notes in meetings. Ask questions. Summarize what you’ve heard. (These are all things that good listeners do.)
  5. Take breaks. A quick walk around the block or 50 sit-ups might just resuscitate you. 
  6. Apply the STOP technique.  Step back; think; select the best option; and proceed.

Sales Managers have a role to play here too. You have to ask yourself whether there are things you can do to free people up to spend more time with customer and prospects. Possibilities include:

  • Conducting a time audit: I can hear the groans—“But that’s going to take time.” Yes, but having several of your team members keep track of how they are spending their time over a two week period may help you pinpoint problems. Bankers who have done this are often horrified to discover how little time is devoted to business development. As one team leader told me, “If you aren’t aware of what’s broken, you can’t fix it.”
  • Shifting non-customer activities to others: One bank I know found a way to free up 3 hours a week per RM by reassigning responsibility for certain customer service and administrative tasks to support staff. That worked out to about 1.5 more face-to-face calls a week. That adds up!
  • Assessing your own routines: Start by looking in the mirror. Look closely at your schedule.  Are you losing sight of the things that you can do to drive revenue? Are there questionable “priorities” you have to drop? (Management guru Peter Drucker once said identifying “posteriorities” or things that should not be done is much harder than establishing priorities.) If you’re not thinking about ways to improve your weekly meetings and coaching sessions—not necessarily to make them more efficient, but to make them more valuable to your team—you could be short-changing your team. Get some feedback from them. Have a peer observe what you’re doing.

Busy isn’t bad if you’re productive. It’s when you lose control of your time that you need to regroup.

Comments? Let me know what you think.

If you like what you see on this blog, share it with others in your organization.

Webinar alert: Q&A on Prospecting, September 15 and October 20 at 11 AM Eastern. Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 for more details.

Where Does the Prospecting Process Break Down for Bankers?

  
  
  

prospecting, banking sales70% of the prospecting calls made in this country begin with questions like these:

  • “Where are you banking?”
  • “What products are you using?”
  • “Do you have a loan at Wells Fargo?...Oh, no kidding, tell me about the price and structure on that loan.”
  • “What are two things Wells Fargo hasn’t done for you that you wish they had?”
  • “Can I have a copy of your statements to consider how we would handle your borrowing relationship?”

We are often leading with loans, but the client is not.

Many bankers are used to trying to lead with loans when prospecting. Bankers also lead with Treasury Services. They also lead with Institutional Trust.

We do surveys with all of our clients to help them analyze where they stand with their business prospects. Our conversations go something like this:

“Let’s look at your top prospects.”

  • “What was the source of that lead?”
  • “How many telephone attempts did it take you to get the first appointment?”
  • “Did you get the first appointment?”
  • “If you got the first meeting, did you get the second meeting?”
  • “Did you get a third meeting?”

When we asked those kinds of questions with thousands of bankers here is what we saw:

  1. The first place the process breaks down is getting that first meeting. That is certainly understandable.
  2. The second place it breaks down is after the second meeting.

Typically, we hear that the first meeting went pretty well. We did a good job on this conversation and found a way to get back in the door a second time. During the second meeting we found out that the prospect is happy with their current financial institution. The prospect really appreciated the conversations in the last two meetings.

However, they end up saying, “I’ll tell you what; we'll keep you in mind. You stay in touch and we'll see what happens. We may be buying some new equipment and we may be looking for some additional treasury services down the road and we would love to keep you in mind.”

At the end of the second meeting, the banker walks away and starts to wait for an event. They are not creating an event; they begin to wait for an event. And while they may "check in" periodically, nothing really materializes.

Note: This is an excerpt from a recently recorded Q&A on Prospecting webinar. To download this excerpt of the podcast, click on the link below.

Where does the Prospecting Process Break Down?

Next live webinar: “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on September 15, 2014 at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.

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

What If Your Prospect Stops Returning Your Calls

  
  
  

prospecting, bank sales

Imagine that you have submitted a great proposal. On several occasions your prospect has told you he is not happy with their current banking relationship. You have even told your boss you think the deal will close in the next 30 days. All of a sudden the prospect goes dark and stops returning your calls. What do you do next?

In this video Ned Miller discusses how to handle this all too familiar challenge. 

To view the video, click on the link below.

What If Your Prospect Goes Dark

 

Next live webinar: “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on September 15, 2014 at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.

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

Special webinar offer: You can receive a $100 discount when you use coupon code tm5tx8bg31 to sign up for any recorded webinar in the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series. To register for any webinar go to the recorded webinars section at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

 

Q&A on Getting in the Door with Prospects

  
  
  
cold calling

Question: Is it harder to get somebody’s attention the old fashioned way by calling them on the phone?

Buck Bierly: Cold calling was a mainstay in this industry for a while. We saw it particularly in certain geographic locations like California. Everyone became fascinated with cold calling. The mantra was “Stick with it.” People knew there would be rejection. Rejection was a part of the process and the goal was to move quickly on to the next call. The thinking was, “If I dial fifteen businesses or twenty-five businesses every day or every other day or every week if I stick with it I will reach my goals. Persevere and you will do fine."

Then the idea of two degrees of separation came on the scene. Most people in smaller markets, where you might not be able to build a niche, know each other in some way and the question became, “How can I get someone to introduce me to a prospect?”

Most people have a hard time with cold calling. That is normal. Recently I met a California banker. He said, “We keep getting stuck with the gatekeeper. How do we get around that?”

My response was, “What do you think LinkedIn is all about? It is about two degrees of separation.”

A veterinarian client of yours calls another veterinarian she knows and introduces you. A beverage distributor client calls their friend in the business and introduces you. Your client gives a testimonial referral and it gets you right past the gatekeeper. What is the result of meeting somebody in this scenario? We have created a favorable opportunity to create a satisfied client relationship in our target market.

Interested in concrete ideas on how to get more appointments? Download our eBook Q&A on Getting in the Door with Prospects. You can also check out our archive of recorded webinars on prospecting at http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

Next Live Webinar: "Q&A on Prospecting" with Buck Bierly and Ned Miller, September 15 at 11 AM Eastern. If you have questions about discounts for multiple lines, call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.

Bank Sales Leaders: Are You Worrying More About Deposits?

  
  
  
low cost bank deposits

For a number of years commercial and business bankers have focused their energies on generating loans. With many banks flush with deposits, bringing in new DDAs and Money Market accounts has taken a back seat to booking loans.

But that may be starting to change. With fears about whether low-cost business deposits are at risk in a rising rate environment, some bank leaders are asking their commercial and business banking teams to take a more balanced approach to business development, one that places more emphasis on retaining and acquiring deposits.

What steps can sales leaders take to refocus attention on deposits? Here’s a list of 25 ideas for growing your business deposits. See how many you are currently doing.

  1. Start with current customers: Look at loan only customers, low deposit customers (who may have operating accounts elsewhere), high deposit/ no loan customers serviced by branches. Call on them.
  2. Compile a list of high deposit SICs and niches (e.g. not-for-profits, attorneys needing escrow accounts, homeowners and condominium associations, insurance, professional practices, funeral homes, etc.)
  3. Recognize deposit and treasury management successes in meetings.
  1. Encourage your branch personnel to examine checks to identify business deposits elsewhere.
  2. Hold commercial lenders and business bankers accountable for retention and acquisition of deposits.
  3. Talk to current and prospective COIs about deposits and treasury management issues.
  4. Make the deposit pipeline as important as the loan pipeline.
  5. Emphasize teamwork with Treasury Management and branch partners.
  6. Use deposits in negotiations with borrowers. Provide incentives for customers to move operating accounts when pricing loans.
  7. Provide ongoing product training/ updates on deposit and treasury management products.
  8. Periodically focus only on the deposit pipeline in weekly sales meetings.
  9. Institutionalize an onboarding process for new business accounts.
  10. Make sure people can show clients how easy it is to move deposit accounts.
  11. Encourage your team to get bank statements from prospects showing balances.
  12. Provide coaching on deposit-only calls emphasizing how cash moves through the business.
  13. Have team members develop deposit prospect lists.
  14. Target new companies moving to the area to get local deposit accounts.
  15. Quiz commercial and business bankers about current rates on consumer deposit products to be sure they are knowledgeable about retail product offerings.
  16. Encourage your Executive Management team to highlight the importance of business deposits.
  17.  Involve sales assistants in reviewing customer accounts, following up on opportunities, monitoring balance fluctuation accounts, etc.
  18.  Make deposits a part of every sales meeting.
  19.  Go on joint calls that have a deposit focus.
  20.  Circulate bank best practices to your team.
  21.  Assign a banker to any deposit-only business customers.
  22.  Keep adding to this list!

What else would you suggest? Add your comments in the space below or email me at nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

Next live webinar: “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on September 15, 2014 at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.

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

 

Special webinar offer: You can receive a $100 discount when you use coupon code tm5tx8bg31 to sign up for any recorded webinar in the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series. To register for any webinar go to the recorded webinars section at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

 

Negative Self-Talk to Avoid While Prospecting

  
  
  

It's easy to rationalize, to come up with excuses, to talk ourselves out of doing things we know we should really do. It's a habit that many of us have been perfecting for a lifetime.

But when it comes to prospecting, here are 5 things to never say to yourself:

1. My customers know what I can do. If they know someone who needs a banker, they'll call me.

2. It is not a good time to prospect.

3. I don't want to seem pushy.

4. There is not enough time to prospect.

5. They will never leave their bank.

To hear why each of these things can be dangerous for bank relationship managers pursuing new business opportunities, click on the link below to view the video.

Webinar Alert: Sign up for one of the new webinars on prospecting to get your questions answered by Buck Bierly. The Q&A on Prospecting sessions are on August 4, September 15 and October 20 at 11 AM Eastern. If you miss a live webinar, you can sign up for the recording and play it at your convenience. To register go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4773.

 

 

A Checklist for Evaluating a Prospect: 20 Questions for Bankers

  
  
  

prospecting for bankers

Are you broadly conversant in the prospect's industry (market changes, major players, regulatory issues, etc.)?

Does the prospect value long-term relationships for their financial needs?

Does the prospect fit the target profile for the services you are recommending?

Do you have a relationship with any of the prospect's centers of influence?

Do the decision makers know your story and the bank’s story ?

Has this prospect had a successful experience with the bank?

Does the prospect appear to meet our credit and cash flow requirements?

Do you know what drives the prospect's financing needs?

Do you know what is preventing the prospect from achieving their long- and short-term business objectives?

Is there a compelling event that will drive the timing of the buying decisions?

Does the prospect have a relationship with anybody at this bank (previous or current employee)?

Have you identified a value-added service for this prospect above and beyond the immediate opportunity?

Have you identified the ultimate decision maker/buyer?

Is the prospect dissatisfied with the financial services other institutions provide?

Do the decision makers share private information with you or seek advice on their strategy?

Can you articulate to the prospect what differentiates us from our competitors?

Have you customized your sales approach to the decision maker type [e.g., relationship shopper vs. price shopper, driver vs. analytical, etc.]?

Does the decision maker understand your strategy to add value to their business with the proposed solution?

Do the prospect's priorities (e.g., price, structure, flexibility) align with our proposed solution?

Have you introduced a senior bank manager/decision maker to the prospect?

 If you found this checklist helpful, share it with your colleagues.

Next live webinar: “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on August 4, 2014 at 11 AM Eastern. Summer special rate of $99. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.

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

Special webinar offer: You can receive a $100 discount when you use coupon code tm5tx8bg31 to sign up for any recorded webinar in the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series. To register for any webinar go to the recorded webinars section at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

 

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