Subscribe via E-mail

Your email:

Bank Sales Corner

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Managing Priorities: Tips for Bankers

  
  
  
describe the image

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.

 

The Case for More Sales Calls

  
  
  
bank sales calls

There are a lot of reasons why some bankers won’t make their goals in 2014. But not making enough calls on high potential clients and targeted prospects shouldn’t be one of them.

This was driven home to me recently in a workshop with a team of business bankers at a successful community bank. Midway through the morning a hand shot up in the back of the room. It belonged to one of the senior bankers in attendance, a veteran of many ups and downs in the industry. “We have to make more calls than ever before,” Bill said emphatically. His rationale was blindingly simple, and encompassed both the bank’s business development priorities and credit considerations.

One of Bill’s reasons for increased calling is to stay close to his existing borrowers. He has built strong relationships with most of them but he knows that there are many more competitors on the streets today than there were 2 years ago. And some of these competitors are hungry, offering rates and terms that are designed to tantalize business borrowers.

As data from Barlow and others show, many business customers have become dissatisfied with their current banking relationships over the last 5 years for a variety of reasons (e.g. lack of personal attention, slow turnaround time on loan requests, mounting fees for appraisals, more stringent compliance issues, etc.).

This is not just about BofA or Citibank or RBS Citizens making mistakes that community bankers can feast on. From a customer’s perspective, almost all banks have become increasingly harder to work with over the last decade. The truth is that it’s a time when a prepared and persistent banker could begin the process of taking relationships from anybody.  So as Bill knows, one of the reasons you have to make more calls is to retain your top clients. If you’re MIA for too long, watch out.

I'm not suggesting that business customers are leaving their banks in droves. According to Barlow Research, the percentage of companies under $10 million in sales that definitely plan to leave in the next 12 months is about 7%.The percentage considering moving is about 12%, almost no change from previous surveys that Barlow has conducted in recent years. (Note: Many of the companies in the first group may not be hot prospects for you—some of those “definitely planning to leave” types are really being forced to exit their current banks for credit reasons.)

So why would Bill encourage his Relationship Manager colleagues to be making more prospect calls now? First, his bank does want to continue to grow and there’s only so much additional business he can expect from current customers.

Second, if done properly, it may be easier than ever to get in to see some prospects. (For the short course on doing it properly, download our article on Getting in the Door with Prospects).

Third, it takes time to land a good prospect so if you’re not calling on them now, you can rule out results anytime soon. If you're starting to call on a prospect today who has no immediate need to move, you could be looking at a 12 to 24 month period before you land any subtantive business.

Bill is right about the need to make more calls. It is partly to defend what you have, but it’s also to insure that you meet your business development goals this year and in the future.

Comments? Email nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com or add them below. If you found this article helpful, share it with your colleagues.

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.

For more information on webinars and in-bank workshops, call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at susan.lersch@mzbierkyconsulting.com.

 

Hiring Top Bankers: Questions Before Making an Offer

  
  
  
interviewing, bank sales leaders

Recruiting is part of every Sales Manager’s job description. Getting it right involves a lot of work, usually in conjunction with HR and others whose opinions you value.  But before you make a formal offer, I’d encourage you to hit the pause button and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. If your toughest competitor hired this person, how would you feel?

  2. Is this candidate going to raise the bar on performance for the rest of your team?

  3. Is this individual running away from something or to something?

  4. In the interviews has this person demonstrated a clear understanding of the challenges in the job?

  5. Has he explained convincingly how he would address them?

  6. Is the individual a quick learner?

  7. Are you offering her a chance to accomplish something that she hasn’t done yet?

  8. Does the individual have the potential to be better than 80% of your current team members?

  9. Will you learn something new from this person?

  10. If this person turned down your offer, how disappointed would you be?

Your answers to these questions may help you determine whether you've found the right person and, if you have, how aggressively you should pursue the individual.

Here are two other blog posts that may be of interest on recruiting:

Recruiting High-Performers: Why Bank HR Departments Struggle

Where Bank Sales Managers Can Find High-Performers

Check out the comments that three top Business Banking Sales Leaders made on the importance of getting the right people on the bus in a teleconference we hosted. You can download the mp3 by going to:

http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/building-momentum-in-business-banking-mp3

If you liked this blog post, feel free to share it with your associates.

 

 

 

How’s Your LinkedIn Profile?

  
  
  

LinkedIn, bank sales

 

How’s your LinkedIn profile? Yes, I know, you signed up for LinkedIn with good intentions and you haven’t spent much time working on your profile. But are your customers and prospects going to be impressed when they reach out to you online?  What would a potential COI think based on a quick view?
 
If the thought of somebody evaluating your potential as a partner based solely on what appears on LinkedIn makes you queasy, you can do something up about it.
 
Use our LinkedIn profile checklist to get some objective pointers on your LinkedIn profile. If you put it together in 20 minutes, you can fix it now with the help of the checklist.
 
For starters, it shouldn’t read like a resume—unless of course you’re looking for a job. You can update your summary with some insights into how you actually deliver value to your customers. You could also add some information that might be of interest to people you’d like to impress—articles, presentations, etc.
 
To download the checklist go to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/linkedin-checklist.
 
If you’d like to get more tips on how to incorporate LinkedIn into your prospecting efforts, sign up for our recorded webinar on “How to Use LinkedIn in Prospecting.” You can register for the webinar three ways: (1) Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or (2) email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com or (3) go to the live webinar section of our Webex website at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com  and pay by credit card.
 
Free Bonus Item: Download our article on How to Build a Business Network

All Posts