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CPA Referrals: Tips on Turn Downs

  
  
  

Question: What advice do you have about turning down a CPA’s client? What should I say to the CPA?

Answer:  Few bank Relationship Managers look forward to bearing bad news. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Do it quickly. A quick “no” may score you points. Show specific reasons why you are passing on the deal. Discuss what the CPA’s client would have to do differently to improve the chances of approval.

2. Anticipate how the CPA will react. Generally speaking, CPAs are rarely surprised if you have taken the time to explain what you’re looking for before you ever see a referral.

3. Don’t pass the buck. Blaming others is not a winning strategy. Even if you feel like the messenger, don’t play that role. Use “we” not “they” in explaining your organization’s position.

4. If you think another financial institution might be willing to help the CPA’s client, say so. If not, say that too.

5. Make sure to take some time to reeducate the CPA about what you’re looking for. A quick review of your target profile might be appropriate.

6. Ask for another opportunity to work with one of the CPA’s other clients.

For more insights on how to work constructively with accountants, sign up for our next live webinar on January 9 at 11 AM Eastern on “Getting Referrals from CPAs.” Joining Buck Bierly will be August Aquila, President of Aquila Global Advisors, who was named one of the 100 Most Influential Figures in the Accounting Industry by the AICPA.

You can register for the session three ways: (1) Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or (2) email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com or (3) go to the Training Center section of our secure Webex website at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com and pay the $225 fee for the webinar by credit card.

For more details on the webinar go to http://www.eventspan.com/event/2012-01-09-getting-referrals-from-cpas

 

Coaching Draftees: Tips for Bank Sales Leaders

  
  
  

Army drill sergeant resized 600

Were you drafted into a sales role? You might have been a credit analyst in the commercial lending area who was asked to become a Relationship Manager. You could have been a Branch Manager overseeing the operations of a busy branch and are now tasked with developing relationships with small businesses.

Maybe you welcomed the change in your responsibilities. For some bankers the transition from a technical support or service role to a sales role is relatively easy.  For others, though, it can be a daunting and sometimes dispiriting challenge. Some of the draftees recruited into sales positions struggle with the demands of the new job.

One of the underlying tensions for some bankers is the service to sales dilemma. Some branch managers who have grown up in a strong customer service culture—and more than a few commercial bankers—view sales as unsavory, dishonest and manipulative. They fear that adopting a “sales approach” will threaten their relationships with their customers, creating ill-will and distrust. In some extreme instances their aversion to anything smacking of “sales” makes it impossible for them to become comfortable in their new role.

One task for bank sales leaders is explaining why sales and service are not in conflict. Some have chosen to define sales as the highest form of customer service. Their logic sounds like this: If you take the initiative and proactively introduce something of benefit to a client, you can only strengthen the relationship you have.

Not everybody buys it. Bankers are wary—appropriately in my view—of selling something their customers don’t need. If they are encouraged to put the needs of the client first—ahead of sales goals, for example—their fears about pushing products may be allayed.

But in some organizations the pressure to perform translates into hawking bank products and services.  This can turn well-intentioned but inexperienced salespeople into robots or worse.  In the attempt to “sell” they lose the critical human touch needed to connect with customers.  

Bank sales leaders do well to remind draftees that the goal is to build profitable long-term relationships. The research on the behaviors that drive customer loyalty is clear; successful relationship bankers demonstrate the following:

  • Integrity—Are you trustworthy?
  • Business acumen—Do you take time to understand the specific business challenges of your customers and prospects? Do you provide them with relevant ideas that will help their businesses?
  • Good listening skills—Are you paying attention?
  • Advocacy skills—Can you effectively represent the needs of the customer to the bank? Are you skilled at presenting the bank’s position to your customer?
  • Passion—Do you wake up excited about what you do? Are you engaged at work? Are you able to communicate that to the people you meet?

For draftees—and for veterans—success comes if you care about the customer. If you forget that and place your own needs first, you’ll inevitably have problems. 

 

Next Live Webinar: “Getting Referrals from CPAs” on January 9, 2012 focuses on building relationships with CPAs to generate referrals. You will learn:  

  • Which CPAs you should target for referrals
  • Why your Value Proposition matters
  • What the research shows about referrals
  • How to plan for your initial meeting with the accountant
  • What you should accomplish in the first appointment
  • Strategies for staying in touch with CPAs

Special Guest: August Aquila, President of Aquila Global Advisors, who was named one of the 100 Most Influential Figures in the Accounting Industry by the AICPA

Time: 11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 AM Central, 9:00 AM Mountain, 8:00 AM Pacific)

Registration: You can register for the session three ways: (1) Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or (2) email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com or (3) go to the Training Center section of our secure Webex website at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com and pay the $225 fee for the webinar by credit card.

Upcoming Webinars:

January 30, 2012 “Branch Manager as lnside Sales Coach and Outside Business Developer” with David Kerstein

February 13, 2012 “Opportunities in Health Care” with Jim Unland

 

 

 

 

Customer Referrals: Coaching Tips for Bank Sales Leaders

  
  
  

In a recent webinar on “Developing an Effective Referral Network,” Buck Bierly discussed how bankers can leverage their customer base for introductions and testimonials.

Here are 10 things Sales Managers can do to support their teams in getting more customer referrals:

 

  1. Share with people the research on customer referrals. Greenwich Research says that 67% of business owners are prepared to refer their banker to a friend.
  2. Make sure everyone has a list of satisfied customers to approach for referrals.
  3. Identify the right times to ask for referrals-- after they’ve closed a transaction, when the customer expresses satisfaction with the relationship, if they haven’t asked recently, etc.
  4. Discuss how to position the request. It should be a big deal, not just a throw-away line at the end of a call.
  5. Share with your team a plan for a typical call to ask for referrals.
  6. Review the pros and cons of talking about actual prospect names (Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, etc.) versus a broad description of a target segment (dentists).
  7. Go over the reasons why a customer might not be prepared to give referrals. Rehearse the responses to common objections.
  8. Get people to commit to one “satisfied customer” referral call per week for the next 8 weeks.
  9. Talk about the calls in your weekly sales meetings. Give people a chance to talk about what’s working and what’s not. Publicize any victories.
  10. Don’t let people give up to soon.  They need to ask at least 15 or 20 customers to determine whether this works or not.

 You can register for the archived webinar on “Building an Effective Referral Network” three ways: (1) Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or (2) email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com or (3) go to the Training Center section of our secure Webex website at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com and pay by credit card.

Next Live Webinar: “Getting Referrals from CPAs” on January 9, 2012 focuses on building relationships with CPAs to generate referrals. You will learn:  

* Which CPAs you should target for referrals

*Why your Value Proposition matters

*What the research shows about referrals

*How to plan for your initial meeting with the accountant

*What you should accomplish in the first appointment

*Strategies for staying in touch with CPAs

For more information go to http://www.eventspan.com/event/2012-01-09-getting-referrals-from-cpas

Upcoming Webinars:

January 30, 2012 “Branch Manager as lnside Sales Coach and Outside Business Developer” with David Kerstein

February 13, 2012 “Opportunities in Health Care” with Jim Unland

 

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