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5 Keys to Coaching Bankers on Getting Referrals

  
  
  

1. Make sure the Relationship Managers know which individuals in their network to ask for referrals.

Start by helping your RMs construct a list of at least 10-15 satisfied customers. Have them think about anybody who has thanked them for their efforts. Include any business customer who has referred them business in the past. You can encourage them to add others to the list in subsequent sessions, including former customers, people they know through business and community organizations, and professionals like CPAs and attorneys.

2. Help the RMs build a Short Prospect List for a Satisfied Client to be sure they understand the concept.

Don’t assume  that all of your RMs will make the right connections without your guidance. Help them identify which of their prospects their network contacts are likely to know.

3. Strategize with them about when they’re going to ask.

Is it better to do it over a meal? Should they wait for a high point in a relationship—after they’ve closed a loan or resolved a problem, for example?

Get your RMs to schedule a face to face meeting with each person on their network list to talk about referrals. Waiting for high points can take longer than many RMs think. Lunches (and breakfasts and late afternoon beverages) are all good ideas, partly because people may be more relaxed and less likely to be interrupted than in the office.

4. Make sure your RMs know how to ask for the referral.

Rehearsing this in advance with your RMs can help boost their confidence and improve their chances of success. Things to go over in your coaching include the following:

  • Make sure there are no relationship problems or unresolved customer service issues simmering.
  • Position this as a big favor.
  • When they show their short prospect list, encourage them to think about how much assistance they can ask for. This is obviously a function of how well a contact knows a prospect, and how comfortable he is interceding on their behalf. Some may be prepared to pick up the phone and call a prospect personally to set things in motion. Others may be willing to provide a written testimonial; some people may agree to letting them use their names when calling.

5. Get your RMs to make a commitment to asking for referrals.

This isn’t magic. You can help your bankers from getting discouraged if their calls don’t produce immediate results by setting some realistic expectations. They need to ask at least 15 or 20 customers to determine whether this works or not. Get them to agree to set up a minimum of one call a week for the next 10 to 12 weeks to ask for referrals. Your job is to insure that they don’t give up too soon.

Did you miss our recent webinar on Getting in the Door with Prospects? If you did, you can view it in our archive of recorded webinars.

Here are some of the things that Buck Bierly covered:

  • What to do if you don’t have a warm lead
  • Is cold calling your best option
  • Referrals from satisfied clients, your business network and COIs…where to start
  • Reasons why bankers avoid asking for referrals
  • Why customers give referrals
  • Anticipating referral reluctance
  • When to ask and how to ask your network for referrals
  • Value statements, value propositions and value drivers

You can register for the recorded 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 fee for the webinar by credit card.

Live Webinar Alert:

August 13 The First 3 Calls on a Prospect

 

Cathy Flynn on Coaching: It's The How, not The What

  
  
  

Most Sales Managers accept the premise that the majority of salespeople will achieve their sales goals if they follow a focused and disciplined sales process combined with flawlessly executed consultative sales skills. Unfortunately, based on our experience working with hundreds of sales professionals, there isn’t a lot of evidence to suggest that Sales Managers are providing direction and feedback on anything but the sales process (“what to do/not to do” - goals, priorities, reports, etc.), leaving salespeople isolated to figure out “the how to” using their own sales strategies and skills.

We’ve often heard the argument that “experienced” salespeople don’t need to be coached on “the how” because they are hired and paid for their experience. This way of thinking can lead to not only frustrated salespeople, but also average results with salespeople stuck in the “comfort zone”, unable to adapt to changing goals and new market forces.

A recent conversation with a bank Sales Manager highlights the nature of the problem and his lack of understanding of how salespeople develop, refine their skills and achieve breakthrough sales results:

How are you coaching your salespeople?

Sales Manager: I have weekly meetings.

What happens at the meetings?

I put up the results, you know the pipeline, and everyone gets to see how well they are doing relative to each other. The salesperson who’s at the bottom knows where he stands; can see that his performance is “light.”

It is true that some “peer pressure” can motivate, but what do you think he’ll do differently as a result of his ranking at the bottom?

I’m hoping he’ll fill his pipeline.

How do you think he’ll do that?

He’s got to get better on execution.

What type of execution?

Prospecting. We are unknown in this marketplace and he’s not very good at getting in the door with prospects.

Have you coached him on how to do this?

Yes, I told him he needs to see at least five prospects per week.

In the above example the sales manager tells the salesperson “what to do” (make five prospect calls per week), but fails to address the more likely underlying problem: the salesperson’s struggle with the same old obstacles, using old habits and ineffective skills. Obviously, the salesperson will try harder because he is under greater pressure to fill the pipeline, but he may not succeed if he doesn’t have the skills to gain meetings with prospects, ask the right questions to learn about the prospect’s goals, operations, values, priorities and needs or gain the next appointment, all skills needed to close business and succeed.

It is not surprising to hear salespeople report that the only time they receive any developmental coaching feedback is during performance reviews or sales training workshops.

If you are a Sales Manager, you need to hear this! The “what to do” is not the “how to do it”. Salespeople are starving for developmental skills coaching! Of course they need feedback on sales goals, results, wins, losses, etc. but you already provide enough of that. Salespeople are hungry for direct, specific and practical coaching on what they are doing that’s effective, and what they ought to be doing to increase effectiveness.

Success in today’s dynamic marketplace requires a greater focus on skills, effectively persuading prospects to meet, determining needs and priorities, focused listening, differentiating the organization beyond price, sales planning and negotiation skills. Sales Managers who can help their salespeople develop these skills accept their full responsibility to ensure salespeople have the focus, discipline, and highly refined strategies and skills to thrive.

Catherine Flynn is the owner of The Bluestar Group, a skill-intensive sales development and coaching company for relationship-focused selling. She can be reached at cflynn@thebluestargroup.biz

Webinar Update

If you’re looking for more how tos, join Buck Bierly for new live webinars on Getting in the Door with Prospects and  The First Three Calls on a Prospect.

If you can’t make the live sessions, the archived versions will be available in the recorded section of our website at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

Questions about our live and recorded webinars? Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

 

 

Upcoming Webinar on Getting in the Door with Prospects

  
  
  

Date/Time: July 16 at 11 AM Eastern, 10 AM Central, 9 AM Mountain, 8 AM Pacific

Audience: Commercial and Business Bankers, Branch Managers, specialists in areas like Treasury Management and Wealth Management who are calling on businesses and professionals and their Sales Managers

Overview: Are you looking for help getting in the door with prospects? Join Buck Bierly for a fast-paced tour of the referral strategies that high-performing bankers are using to schedule first (and second) meetings with targeted prospects.

 

  • What to do if you don't have a warm lead
  • Is cold calling your best option?
  • Referrals from satisfied clients, your business network and COIs…where to start
  • Reasons why bankers avoid asking for referrals
  • Why customers give referrals
  • Anticipating referral reluctance
  • When to ask and how to ask your network for referrals
  • Value statements, value propositions and value drivers

Registration: You can register for the live 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 fee for the webinar by credit card.

If you can’t make the live webinar, the recorded version will be available in our archive within 24 hours of the live session. You can also contact Susan Lersch to find out more information about discounts for multiple lines for the same webinar. Her number is 610-296-4771.

Looking for a sampling of the ideas that will be covered? Go to Tips on Getting in the Door.

Live Webinar Alert: 

August 13 The First 3 Calls on a Prospect

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