Question: How can you tell if a CPA is a rainmaker in the firm? I’ve read articles that suggest that only a small percentage of accountants actually are in a position to refer business to bankers.
Answer: You’re right. According to August Aquila of Aquila Global Advisors, probably no more than 25% of accountants refer opportunities to bank relationship managers. He suggests asking whether the individual enjoys more serving clients or getting new clients. You might also inquire about how important landing new relationships is for him personally. Do your homework: checking out an accountant's LinkedIn page and asking your colleagues and other COIs can also give you an idea of whether you're wasting time and money courting a particular individual.
To download an article that recently appeared in the ABA’s Commercial Insights Newsletter with 9 more frequently asked questions go to CPA Referrals: 10 FAQs.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to provide quality sales and sales leadership materials to your team, check out our recorded webinars. From refreshers on face-to-face calls to in-depth discussions on prospecting we have topical programs for experienced bankers and new hires alike. Find out how you can use our recorded webinars in sales meetings or training sessions by calling Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or emailing her at email@example.com. You can also find out more about our webinars at http://mzbierlyconsulting.com/webinars.html.
- Overemphasizing prospecting… “Don’t forget your High Potential and Key Clients”
- Not providing direction on which prospects to target. . . “Build a list of the prospects you want to do business with”
- Not coaching bankers on how to leverage their network (and that includes senior management, directors, etc.). . . “Use client referrals and testimonials to get appointments”
- Not having a process for generating leads. . . “Coach the top of the funnel”
- Seeing yourself as the Super-Rep…. “Teach them all to fish”
- Not understanding your bankers’ default value propositions . . . “Coach to the value proposition that you believe in”
- Defining success too narrowly… “Celebrate the small victories”
Looking for more resources on prospecting? Check out the following:
Q&A on Getting in the Door with Prospects
Coaching the Prospecting Process: Tips for Sales Managers
Leveraging Your Network in Prospecting
Call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 to find out more about our new archived webinars on prospecting.
All the good customers are taken. And in many cases the owner of that business has some degree of loyalty to his current bank. That creates a challenge for any prospector.
Should you focus on differentiating your bank's products in the initial meetings? If you do, it's likely that the prospect will take your ideas and recommendations back to his bank. It's also possible that a product emphasis will lead to a price discussion--before you've built a relationship.
To listen to Buck's comments, download this mp3 on Overcoming Loyalty.
Are your Sales Managers dinosaurs? To find out, answer these questions objectively:
- Do they spend more time handling administrative matters than coaching?
- Are they more likely to be at their desk than out with their team?
- Do they think weekly sales meetings are too frequent?
- Are their sales meetings mostly pipeline discussions?
- Do they only coach low performers and “junior” people?
- Do they wait to be asked to go on joint calls with their team members?
- Are they reluctant to require people to use the bank’s CRM system?
- Are they concerned about being perceived as micromanagers when it comes to reinforcing the bank’s sales process?
- Do they focus primarily on closed business reports?
- Are they skeptical about sending experienced people—including themselves--to sales training refreshers?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be dealing with a dinosaur. Download our diagnostic tool The Progression of Sales Leadership Skills to assess what stage your sales leaders are in.
For more insights into the new world of leading bank sales teams, check out our blog posts on Sales Leadership or view our archived webinars on coaching at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary 30 minute phone consultation to discuss ways to improve your team’s results.
What kind of preparation do you need to do to get a second appointment with a prospect?
The truth is that most prospects you call on are not expecting to be bowled over. A few years ago a poll revealed that over 50% of the decision-makers in small and medium-sized businesses had not been on the receiving end of an effective sales call in the previous 12 months. When asked what the most memorable topics discussed were in the meetings, nearly half of the customers replied “nothing.”
What then would this same group like to talk about? The list isn’t going to surprise you:
* Ideas that would help them improve their bottom line
* New products that might benefit them
* Information about what other similar companies are doing
* Ways to save money on banking services
Most business owners realize that in order for you to talk about something that would help them you need to know something about their business model and strategy. On a first call most are willing to share that information with you—if you ask in an intelligent way.
That requires planning. At a minimum prospectors need to do the following five things:
1. Build a prospect folder.
2. Research trends in the industry.
3. Analyze the firm’s website.
4. Anticipate the needs of the prospect.
5. Develop a plan for the first and second calls.
To read the complete article go to Preparing for the First Call on a Prospect
Webinar Alert: Join us for our webinar on August 13 on The First Three Calls on a Prospect. If you can’t make the live session, the archived version will be available in the recorded section of our website at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.