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Buck Bierly on Branch Manager Calling Efforts



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Some of our clients believe that Branch Managers should take the lead in managing the top small business relationships in their branches. Others think that the Branch Managers should also allocate a percentage of their time to prospecting in the microbusiness and professional segments. That strategy can work, but only after addressing a number of issues:

* Many Branch Managers have a limited understanding of how businesses operate. In their meetings they tend to shift the conversation too quickly toward bank products and services.

* Most of their interactions with business owners have been reactive; they are not as comfortable proactively calling on companies where there may be no immediate need for their products or services.

* Branch Managers have limited knowledge about business products, outside of DDAs, cash management and merchant services.

* They don’t get enough “practice” calling on businesses. (In our opinion, unless a Branch Manager is making at least 4 or 5 scheduled business calls a week, he probably isn’t going to get either comfortable or effective.)

* Their bosses often have the same background and aren’t particularly adept at coaching outside business calls. They often defer to business partners to coach their teams in that area.

* Branch Managers often get mixed and conflicting messages about priorities. (Is my job to sell products or build relationships with business customers? Should I spend more time in the branch or make more calls?)

For insights into how banks are addressing these and other issues, visit our website to download a recent presentation on “Guiding Branches to Small Business Relationships” at

Growing Loans: 4 Tips for Generating More Leads


Almost every banker I know is behind on his loan goals. Here are four things you can do to improve your chances of booking more assets in 2010:

Differentiate between Sales Strategy and Credit Strategy.

  • Credit is a solution to a need. How the solution is positioned, discussed, and matched to both short-term and long-term needs is selling.
  • A high-performing salesperson does two things:(1) Ensures that what a decision maker “says” is his need “really is” his need and (2) Shows how the approved loan really is a match for the determined need.
  • Determine your sales strategy before you begin the term sheet, not after it languishes: To whom am I selling? What are their jobs? What are their needs/interests/values? How do I change my sales approach to meet their value systems?

Discuss regularly with your Sales Manager the types of business that match your bank's credit quality and profitability objectives.

  • Study your market. Focus on the businesses that best match your business objectives. Be clear about your bank’s credit appetite for certain types of business. If you’re unsure how a credit opportunity will be received, have a pre-flight discussion with your credit partners.
  • Before you push out a term sheet talk through your pricing strategy with your manager. How aggressive can you be?

 Manage Your Market, not Just Relationships.

  • You are a market manager, managing growth in all sources of business from customers, prospects and COIs.
  • Your objective is to grow wallet share and market share.
  • Face-to-face is the best way to sell. Get out from behind your desk.
  • Behind great bank Relationship Managers are great administrative support people. Get the support you need.

 Think Like a Business Owner.

  • Your job is to understand the owner and his business and anticipate his needs. Write RFPs, don’t respond to them.  
  • Educate your customers and prospects. Share ideas and recommendations. Be a resource to your customers and prospects.
  • Sell at the right level. Decision makers and influencers have different value systems. Get in front of decision-makers early in the process.

If you have questions about how we help commercial and business banking sales teams through onsite sales training, webinars and consulting, call Ned Miller at 610-296-4772. Check out our website for more ideas on how to generate more loan opportunities. You can sign up for our blog at  Recent topics include:

  • Business Development Doesn’t Take a Vacation: 9 Ideas for Bankers
  • Preparing for a First Call
  • The Five Mistakes Bankers Make on Sales Calls
  • How to Ask Customers for Referrals





8 Nutty(?) Ideas for Bankers on Managing E-Mail


Have you just returned from a short vacation and found 630 e-mail messages waiting for you? You might just be interested in these eight suggestions on how to cut down on e-mail from a recent book entitled The Tyranny of E-Mail:

  1. Think before you send it. Is it really necessary?
  2. Don’t check it first thing in the morning or late at night.  Who are you trying to impress? There are enough workaholics out there.
  3. Check your e-mail twice a day. OK, that may not be possible in your current job. But how about once an hour?
  4. Keep a written to-do list that includes e-mail messages you need to send. Do it all at once.
  5. Give good e-mail. Keep them short. Use the subject line. No silly “Thank you” messages.
  6. Read the entire incoming e-mail before replying.
  7. Do not debate complex or sensitive matters by e-mail. Call or better yet, walk down the hall and talk face-to-face.
  8. Schedule media-free time every day. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, e-mail—there are other ways to connect with people. And other things to do with your life.

Agree or disagree? Let me know any ways you’re coping with the deluge of e-mail at

If you’re interested in tips on how bankers are using letters and e-mails to get in the door with prospects, check out a recent article by Ned Miller at



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