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10 Quick Tips on Coaching Branch Managers on Outside Calling

  
  
  

In 25 words or less, what have you learned about coaching branch managers calling on small businesses? Here’s how a group of successful Retail Sales Leaders responded.

  1. Think more about the coaching plans you have for people.
  2. Slow down. Focus on one thing at a time.
  3. Don’t take the same approach with everybody.
  4. Follow a structured agenda in your coaching sessions.
  5. Use sales reports (e.g. pipeline and weekly call planner) to diagnose the problems your people are having.
  6. Assess the skill sets of your team members.
  7.  Make good use of your 1 on 1 time by preparing what you’d like to cover.
  8. Get your biweekly coaching sessions in the calendar. I try to schedule them 12 weeks in advance.
  9. Don’t try to do too much coaching in your weekly sales meetings.
  10. In debriefing a joint call, get the banker to share her impressions first.

If you’d like to listen to Buck Bierly’s tips on how to improve the quality of calls branch managers make, download his 5 minute mp3 file by going to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/how-to-improve-the-quality-of-calls-branch-managers-make

Next Webinar on February 14, 2011 on Small Business Leadership: Tactics for Coaching Branch Managers. For more details go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Whit Midkiff at 727-741-0766.

 

The Best Way to Train Branch Managers on Outside Calling

  
  
  

We are convinced that the best architecture for sales training for branch managers includes a series of short sessions spread out over a 6 to 9 month period. Between workshops branch managers must make calls on their current customers and prospects. At the same time, the first-line Sales Managers should be receiving specific training on how to reinforce the tools and techniques introduced in the sales workshops.

When you put your training plan in motion, Senior Managers have to play a visible role. Why? One of the messages you are delivering is that it’s important. If you take it seriously, they will too. Know what’s being delivered and by whom.

The naysayers in your ranks may be waiting for this to go the way of other initiatives. Senior management can’t let them think that is going to happen. Being there in the initial sessions is a first step.

A second message is that you want to hear people’s feedback. That will be an ongoing effort. You have to keep asking how things are going. And this takes you out of the classroom into the real and sometimes messy world of customers and prospects and branches.

You will want to hear about their business calls. Keep your ears open for successes big and small. Make sure the right ones get circulated.

You will also want to be sure that other branch personnel aren’t being kept in the dark on the new model. They will probably need to step up and assume responsibilities that will free the branch manager for outside calling.

Agree or disagree? Email me your comments at nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

How would you rate the relationship development skills of your branch managers? Many of our bank clients have found a simple chart that describes the four stages in the evolution of outside calling skills to be helpful in assessing their proficiency and confidence level, To download your copy go to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/the-evolution-of-relationship-development-skills-where-are-you-today.

Webinar alert: You might also be interested in checking out our upcoming webinar on January 31, 2011 entitled “Can Branch Managers Be Effective Calling on Small Businesses?” by going to http://www.eventspan.com/event/2011-01-31-can-branch-managers-make-effective-calls-on-small-businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Coaching Mistakes to Avoid When Working with Branch Managers

  
  
  

 

When times are tough, Sales Managers working with Branch Managers and Small Business Bankers often succumb to tactics that can actually undermine their teams’ chances for success. Here are 6 mistakes to avoid:  

  1. Assuming that it’s just about making more calls: Yes, your team has to be on the streets. But be sure that people are calling on the right customers and prospects. Running faster doesn’t always get you where you need to go.
  2. Placing too much attention on the bottom end of the funnel: When opportunities are scarce, it’s natural to do everything you can to close business. Forgetting about lead generation is dangerous. Keep reminding your Branch Managers and Business Bankers  to spend time identifying and cultivating customers, prospects and COIs for the leads that will be next quarter’s (and next year’s) closed business.
  3. Becoming more bureaucratic: Tough environments give rise to more forms. If you have the three essential reporting tools up and running (a weekly call planner, a pipeline, and a closed business report) don’t go crazy with more reports. Spend more time analyzing what the data you’re already collecting tells you about how you can help your salespeople.
  4. Sending too many (often conflicting) messages: Most of us ADD types can only handle a few directives at one time. Beware of message overload. (And it’s OK to repeat yourself.)
  5. Scrapping all sales training: If your professional development budget evaporates, get creative. Pull out the sales workbooks and design something on prospecting. Splurge on a webinar on generating referrals from CPAs. Now more than ever is the time to focus on improving people’s skills (and that includes your own!)
  6. Failing to celebrate the small victories: Did Branch Manager Kevin finally get in to see a prime prospect? Celebrate. Did Business Banker Susan get a chance to bid on a lucrative cash management account with one of her prospects? Celebrate. Was SBA specialist Andy able to get a business customer to move some of his personal accounts to you? Celebrate.  

To receive a copy of an article entitled “Driving the Prospecting Process: 7 Tips for Sales Managers” go to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/coaching-the-prospecting-process-tips-for-sales-managers.   

Webinar Alert: You might also be interested in checking out our upcoming webinar on January 31, 2011 entitled “Can Branch Managers Be Effective Calling on Small Businesses?” by going to http://www.eventspan.com/event/2011-01-31-can-branch-managers-make-effective-calls-on-small-businesses

 

 

 

#1 Reason Why Branch Manager Small Business Calling Programs Flounder

  
  
  

Of all the mistakes that undermine training of branch managers, one stands out: limited or inconsistent coaching (which includes coaching Sales Managers, too!) Banks intent on producing results have to make sure that Sales Managers are teaching branch managers that: 

  • It takes time to become comfortable doing anything new and different.
  • Learning is not always easy.
  • Acting confident can build confidence. (In other words, fake it.)
  • They need to focus on what they want to do on the call and not worry too much about what the customer or prospect may do.
  • It pays to be prepared. Having a plan boosts confidence.
  • They have to use the tools and techniques provided in the training sessions. New approaches take time to work.
  • Poor sales calls are never fatal. Bankers need to learn from them and move on.

Listen to Buck Bierly’s comments on what kinds of things to focus on with inexperienced branch calling officers by going to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/small-business-strategy-coaching-branch-managers.

Webinar Alert: You might also be interested in checking out our upcoming webinar on January 31, 2011 entitled “Can Branch Managers Be Effective Calling on Small Businesses?” by going to http://www.eventspan.com/event/2011-01-31-can-branch-managers-make-effective-calls-on-small-businesses

Have specific questions about coaching branch managers on business development? Send them to nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com or call 610-296-4772.

10 Reasons Why Branch Managers Shouldn't Call on Small Businesses

  
  
  

Have you ever heard any of these reasons why Branch Managers shouldn’t be making calls on small businesses?

  1. You tried it before and it didn’t work.
  2. Most of the Branch Managers would quit.
  3. They’ll never become any good at it.
  4. Your branches will fall apart.
  5. With all the compliance issues you’re facing right now, this is a bad time to have them out of the branch.
  6. You ask too much of them already; this will be the last straw.
  7. They don’t understand commercial credit well enough to be anything but dangerous. You’d get lots of loan requests from businesses that you wouldn’t want to lend to.
  8. Many of your Branch Managers did this when they worked at other banks and they think it’s all about pushing products.
  9. Your branches are staffed thinly as is.
  10. You’d have a hard time establishing fair goals given the differences in your markets.

If you’re still debating this issue—or if you’re struggling with getting your Branch Managers to a higher level of performance building relationships with small business owners—you’re not alone.  There are many sales managers in banks of all sizes who are wrestling with how to get more results out of their branch system.

Can Branch Managers make effective sales calls on small business owners and professionals? Our answer is an emphatic YES. But success depends to a large extent on what Sales Leaders do in three main areas: delivering consistent messaging, providing ongoing coaching and eliminating internal obstacles that can block performance.

Listen to Buck Bierly’s comments on what kinds of things to focus on with inexperienced branch calling officers by going to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/small-business-strategy-coaching-branch-managers.

You might also be interested in checking out our upcoming webinar on January 31, 2011 entitled “Can Branch Managers Be Effective Calling on Small Businesses?” by going to http://www.eventspan.com/event/2011-01-31-can-branch-managers-make-effective-calls-on-small-businesses

 

 

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