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Business Development Doesn't Take a Vacation: 9 Ideas for Bankers




Heading to Italy for two weeks in August? Working on getting in beach shape for your vacation? Trying to get your golf handicap below 10? Reading the complete works of John Updike?


Whatever you plan to do this summer outside of work, here are some business development ideas for bankers:


  1. Do something nice for your best customers. I'm not talking about sending them tickets to a baseball game or a concert, although that's not a bad thing to do. Let them know you're thinking about their business. If you have something specific in mind-maybe something that would improve the way they manage their cash-visit them. If you don't, visit them anyway.


  1. Bone up on the competition. Mystery shopping is not just for branches. Use your network of customers and prospects and COIs to find out what your top competitors are doing with their business customers. Share your insights with your colleagues.


  1. Take a product partner to lunch. Get to know your Cash Management rep better. See if he knows anybody on your prospect list. Pick your Wealth Management contact's brain about what she's seeing in the market.


  1. Do some industry research. Not the First Research or RMA kind-everybody does that. Visit some trade association websites to see whether you can learn some things that will make you more knowledgeable about the issues facing your customers and prospects. Attend a trade association meeting. 


  1. Meet some friendly accountants. Review all the financial statements you have received this year and see whether you know all the CPAs who prepared them. If you don't, ask your customers to set up a lunch so you can meet them.


  1. Write an article for a local business publication on a topic that would be of interest to your prospects. Milk it for all it's worth. Before mailing it to the editor, send it to your customers and prospects for comments. After it's published, get a PDF of the file and share it with everybody you know who might be interested.


  1. Review your relationship plans with your Sales Manager. What, no relationship plans? Send me an email at and I'll get you a template that you can use.


  1. Keep improving your professional skills. Be honest with yourself about what you need to work on. If you're a credit wiz who struggles with selling, sign up for a webinar or buy a book on prospecting. If your product knowledge is sub-par, get some tutoring from one of your colleagues. Lousy at negotiating? Take a course.


  1. Show your prospect list to your satisfied customers. And to your COI buddies. You might be surprised how inclined they are to help you with your business development efforts. According to a Greenwich survey a few years back, over 65% of business customers would be willing to refer their bankers to others. Most are never asked to do that.


Summer is a time to recharge your batteries. But it's also a time to refocus your energies on how to retain your customers and acquire new ones.


Looking for a suggestion on how to jumpstart your prospecting efforts this summer? Check out our archive of recorded webinars on prospecting at or call Whit Midkiff at 727-741-0766.


Sales Mastery: It's About Practice


If you want to read magazines on most domestic plane flights, you better bring them on board yourself. That is, of course, with the exception of your complimentary, monthly in-flight infomercial.

The May 2010 issue of USAirways' journal touts itself as "the magazine that connects you." It's not clear to what-maybe the guy who filled out the crossword on page 100.

I confess to skimming these things in search of a laugh. More often than not the chuckles these days come from advertisements. No matter how often I see it, I always read the one for the Rosetta Stone language course that entices a Midwestern farm boy to study Italian to be able to seduce a movie starlet on the Via Venetto. OK, anything that gets Americans studying foreign languages is a good thing, but really, guys...

Then there's Quickgym. Four minutes on this contraption (a value at $14,618) will get the same results as:

  • 25 to 45 minutes of cardio training
  • 45 minutes of lifting weights
  • 20 minutes of stretching

The ad always lists how a typical buyer passes from total skepticism to a near religious conversion in less than 30 days.

If only it were so easy. Mastering anything-a sport, a second language, sales-is hard work. It may start with a dream-6 pack abs, fluency in another tongue, big commissions-but it always takes time.

In his book Talent Is Overrated Geoff Colvin says that 10,000 hours is the ticket to virtuoso performance in the arts or sports.  In his view the difference between great performers and the rest of us is time and deliberate practice.

What does this mean for bankers interested in improving their sales results? Quite simply, don't be duped by the ads promising easy paths to success. If you want to master the techniques in a sales course, be prepared to use them over and over. Four minutes a day isn't enough: by my count it'll take about 417 years for you to become great using Colvin's measure.

Our next webinar is on June 28 and is on Negotiating Price. You can register by going to  Or for a complimentary consultation on how we may be able to assist your sales teams, call Whit Midkiff at 727-741-0766.

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