Bank Sales Corner

How to Impress a Business Owner on a First Call: Buck Bierly's Comments

Posted by Ned Miller on Mon, May 24, 2010 @ 09:43 AM


A survey conducted by Greenwich Research a few years ago revealed that nearly 50% of business customers had not been on the receiving end of an effective sales call from a banker in the preceding 12 months. That had been our experience at MZ Bierly Consulting. The sales calls that bankers had made on us had been uninspiring, unmemorable and unlikely to lead us to move our business. Until last Monday.

Some bankers think that the first call is all about developing rapport with the customer and spend too much time shmoozing. Others think that because business owners are typically pressed for time they need to cut to the chase and start talking business quickly.

Experienced bankers know that taking the time to get to know a prospect is very important. They also realize that by the end of a first meeting they need to find at least one valid business reason for the prospect to agree to see them again in the not too distant future. How do you do both in the first call?

It begins with how you sell the initial meeting. If your normal approach is to say something like "I just want 10 minutes of your time," good luck. Generally speaking, a first meeting with a business prospect takes about 60 minutes. In that amount of time, you can begin to build a relationship and identify possible needs that could provide the basis for a series of follow-up meetings.

Some bankers protest that they could never get an hour with a business customer. "They're too busy to spend time listening to me talk about banking products." Exactly. That is why the first call has to be about them, not about you and your products. Business owners are usually prepared to talk about themselves and their business. You will find that the same folks who have little time for bankers pushing products will spend time answering your questions about how their business works.

Listen to what impressed Buck Bierly about the call that two business bankers made on him last week. It's all true. Click on this mp3 file:  HOW TO IMPRESS A BUSINESS OWNER: BUCK BIERLY

For more information on how to conduct a first call on a prospect, go to

You can also find out more about our recorded webinar series on prospecting by going to or emailing Ned Miller at

Tags: prospecting, sales calls, first calls