Bank Sales Corner

How to Build a Business Network

Posted by Ned Miller on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 @ 11:51 PM

Are you looking for ways to expand your network? How are you going about it? This ebook was designed to help you identify and cultivate potential referral sources. There are also tips on what you can do to get the most out of networking events.  

To download this ebook, click on the link below.

How to Build a Business Network (ebook)


Looking for more insights into leveraging your network? Check out these articles:

Q&A on Customer Referrals

Getting Referrals from CPAs: 10 Thought-Provoking Questions


Topics: business development, networking

11 Reasons Why You May Be Struggling with Prospecting

Posted by Ned Miller on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 @ 09:35 AM

prospecting, bank sales


  1. You’re not delegating enough of the gruntwork.
  2. You’re not clear who you’re going after (translation: Your prospect list isn’t something you really own.)
  3. You can’t differentiate yourself from your competition—you’re another  boring banker.
  4. You lack product knowledge in key areas outside your specialty.
  5. You’re a mass generalist not an expert specialist – you try to be all things to all people. (Zig Ziglar said it best: “You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.”)
  6. You don’t develop alliances with others in your network, both inside and outside your organization.
  7. You’re not connecting with prospects on their most relevant and important strategic issues. (Question: Do you know what their 5 year strategy is for their business?)
  8. You don’t have a defined sales process and find yourself winging it more often than not.
  9. You’re still waiting for the phone to ring in the age of social selling.  
  10. You’re relying too much on one approach (networking events, CPA referrals, , etc.).
  11. You underestimate the amount of time it will take to grow your book of business successfully. Prospecting is a long term proposition.

What do you think? What can bankers do to improve their success in prospecting? Please share your advice, insights, and experiences in the COMMENTS section below.

Looking for more tools to help you with prospecting? Check out the following resources:

How to Qualify Prospects Quickly

Leveraging Your Network in Prospecting

Keys to an Effective First Call on a Prospect

Go to for a complete list of our recorded webinars on prospecting.

Free Webinar: Alternative Lending and Banks with Charles Wendel

Alternative lending companies continue to focus on the business banking space. Increasingly, banks are evaluating how to cooperate with these players since they offer streamlined processes and enhanced risk management, both of which can turn small business lending into a profitable opportunity for banks.

This webinar will summarize the current state of alternative lending, the different lending approaches, the major players and how they work with banks as well as developing trends. It will also discuss the key criteria that banks need to consider when they evaluate whether and how to work with these new lenders.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)


If you liked this post share it with others on LinkedIn, Twitter and by email.






Topics: prospecting, bank relationship managers, networking, building relationships

6 Tips for Bankers on Making Goals in 2015 (3 words each)

Posted by Ned Miller on Wed, Jun 03, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

3 word sales tips

What is it about the number 3? Some people consider it lucky. It is sacred in many religions. In some traditions 3 is considered the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding.

Heroes are often offered three choices or three tests. Others overcome difficulties on the third try.

Counting to three is common in situations where a group of people wish to perform an act together. (Now, on the count of three, everybody pull!).  

Basketball coaches know that three word commands are easy to remember. See the ball. Slide your feet. Everybody box out.

Well, on 6/3/2015 I’m going to suggest to bankers that 6 things in 3 word snippets might change your business development results this year. Here they are:

  1. Leverage your network
  2. Ask better questions
  3. Assess your performance
  4. Develop internal COIs
  5. Use LinkedIn better
  6. Celebrate small victories

If one of these looks like it will help you make progress in landing more prospects and meeting your sales goals, do something with it—in the next 3 days!

Final tip: Be sure to click on the hyperlinks for more details.

Topics: prospecting, bank sales, LinkedIn, networking

Q&A on Networking Groups (mp3)

Posted by Ned Miller on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 @ 06:37 AM


prospecting for bankers

Question: I am currently considering joining a networking group. This group limits members to one from each industry, however, when I attended the first introductory meeting there were three other bankers who wanted to join. I wonder how this group will approve applications if we all apply? The group appears to be a well-organized one and the leader seems genuine in getting referrals going.

To download a podcast with my answer--or a transcript of it--click on the link below.

Q&A on Networking Groups

Interested in a series of fast-paced refreshers on prospecting? Check out any of our 10 archived webinars on Prospecting Strategies:

Building a Good Prospect List

Leveraging Your Network to Get in the Door

How to Use Your LinkedIn Network in Prospecting

Preparing for First Calls on Prospects

Industry Research as a Differentiator

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving into Financial Operations: Selling to Financial Change

The First 3 Calls on Prospects

Following Up on Proposal – Persistent or Pest?

Getting the Most Out of Networking Events

Go to or contact Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 for more information and team discounts.

Topics: prospecting, bank sales, bank relationship managers, referrals, networking

Help Your Team Get the Most Out of Networking Events

Posted by Ned Miller on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 @ 12:48 PM


The first holiday gift basket just arrived (Thanks, Bobby!) and I can’t wait to dive in to the goodies. There are other things (many) to look forward to in the next month and half. One of them is holiday parties sponsored by your clients and organizations in your community.

Most bankers I know buy in to the importance of attending networking events. Maybe as a result, sales managers don’t place as much emphasis on it as they should in their coaching.

I think they’re making a mistake. They need to help bankers learn how to work a room better, to become better networkers.

Here are five specific things sales managers can do:

  • Get people to go to the right events. What might be right for Jill may not be the best use of Jack’s time.
  • Make sure that people have a plan for each networking event. Maybe it’s a list of customers to talk to. Perhaps the goal is to connect with a particular prospect. Having clear objectives matters. 
  • Follow-up immediately afterward to see what your people got out of the event. Be curious about whom they talked to.
  • Go to some events with them and observe how they operate. You’ll probably have some more things to talk about when you debrief the session.
  • Ask people periodically whether the events they’re attending regularly are providing an appropriate ROI.

You don’t have to be a great networker yourself. But if you believe being active and visible at client functions and community and trade association events is important, you have to walk the talk.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Planning a Sales Conference or offsite meeting in 2015? Our consultants are frequent speakers at banking conferences and bank sales meetings. They have a reputation for delivering sales and sales management "how-to's" in a dynamic, engaging manner. Offering a range of keynote, half-day and full-day programs, their approach helps salespeople and sales managers gain a competitive advantage in every step of the sales process. For more information about how we may be able to assist you at an upcoming sales meeting or conference, call Ned Miller at 610-296-4772 or email him at

Topics: networking, coaching, sales leaders

10 Tips for Bankers on Finishing Strong in 2014

Posted by Ned Miller on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 @ 07:37 AM

bank sales


1. Don’t stop scheduling appointments. If you have clients and prospects who are too busy to meet before year end, get them on the calendar in January. It will be harder to fill your calendar if you wait until after New Year’s.

2. Be nice to your customers, particularly the 10% who probably represent 80% of your profit. Tell them how much you value their business. Schedule time to meet with them (see #1).

3. Show your (short) prospect lists to the VIPs in your network, starting with some of the satisfied clients referenced in #2.

4. If you haven’t done it recently, review your customers’ accounts receivable and accounts payable lists. They could be great additions to your prospect list (and remember to ask for nice introductions from your customers too!)

5. Ask customers about their capital expenditure plans for the coming year. You might actually find a loan opportunity you didn’t know about.

6. Update relationship plans for your High Potential clients—those could be your best opportunities in 2015. (Cross-selling starts with a plan, not a prayer.)

7. Know what your objectives are at each holiday networking event you attend—and it better include some combination of checking the pulse of current customers, planting seeds with COIs, and meeting new people (prospects, potential COIs, etc.)

8. Think about revising your personal marketing plan. Does your LinkedIn profile need a facelift?  Do you need to get more testimonials from happy customers? How about joining a trade association or two to penetrate a niche that you’re targeting?

9. Figure out how to better leverage Senior Managers and product partners in the coming year. It could start with enlisting their support in crafting strategies for some of your key prospects.

10. Discuss with your boss what specific areas you need to focus on in 2015 to improve your selling skills and business acumen.  Options could include: signing up for a course; reading business publications like INC. Magazine, Fortune and any others that help you better understand the day-to-day challenges of your customers and prospects; spending more time with product specialists in your bank (e.g. Wealth Management, Treasury Management, Capital Markets); and delving into one or more industries that hold particular promise.

Bonus tip: Remember the important personal stuff. Spend quality time with loved ones of all ages. Go to the gym, don’t talk about it. Reflect. Count your blessings.

Next Complimentary Webinar on November 24 at 11 AM Eastern: What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball

Moneyball, the 2011 box-office hit, tells the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and how he built a winning baseball team on limited budget using data and analytics. For a baseball franchise, analytics play a vital role in developing strategy, tactics and techniques. In this webinar Ted Triplett, the Chief Marketing Officer of Insight Ecosystems, shows how banks are applying this same approach to small business banking to gain a competitive advantage, improve performance and drive growth and profitability. You need not know anything about baseball to discover how to hit home runs by turning data into insight and insight into results.

Go to to register. If you have questions call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at

Recently recorded complimentary webinars available in the recorded sessions area of our webinar archive:

Q&A on Prospecting

Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?

Topics: bank sales, bank relationship managers, professional skills, referrals, business development, networking

Prospecting Tips for Bankers on Developing a Niche (Video Blog)

Posted by Ned Miller on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 @ 06:49 AM

Can bankers interested in developing new business benefit from developing expertise in one or more segments or niches? I think they can.

Niches can be a springboard to success in banking.  Specialists with strong personal brands often attract quality leads. Their expertise is what separates them from the competition.

But even generalists can benefit from a focused effort to develop more detailed knowledge in 2 or 3 areas for new business development. If your market includes a major medical center, you could devote time to becoming more knowledgeable about what’s going on in health care. If your branch is near the court house, maybe you should be targeting lawyers.

Before settling on any niche, talk to your sales manager. If you have an idea about what you’d like to focus on, that’s great. If you don’t, your boss might have some suggestions.

This short video includes some other thoughts that might be helpful to you. To get my comments, click on the link below.  


Special webinar offer: You can receive a $100 discount when you use coupon code tm5tx8bg31 to sign up for any recorded webinar in the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series. To register for any webinar go to the recorded webinars section at

For more information on the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series, call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at

Building a Good Prospect List

Leveraging Your Network to Get in the Door

How to Use Your LinkedIn Network in Prospecting

Preparing for First Calls on Prospects

Industry Research as a Differentiator

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving into Financial Operations: Selling to Financial Change

The First 3 Calls on Prospects

Following Up on Proposal – Persistent or Pest?

Getting the Most Out of Networking Events (Live session on June 16, 2014)


Topics: prospecting, bank relationship managers, relationship managers, professional skills, referrals, business development, growing loans, networking

25 Questions to Assess Your Prospecting Process

Posted by Ned Miller on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 @ 08:38 AM

Prospecting Assessment

Face it: few bankers are consistently prospecting effectively. Many struggle to get in the door with business prospects. Others can land a first meeting but have difficulty securing a second. Most give up too soon—often after just a few meetings.

Based on our work with commercial and small business banking teams, we’re convinced that sales leaders can help bankers develop better prospecting habits. Diagnosing where RMs need assistance starts with an objective diagnosis of their current approach.

Here are some of the questions bank sales managers should consider:

  • Have you reviewed each team member’s prospect list in the last quarter?

  • Are your bankers blocking out uninterrupted time each week to do research on prospects and schedule appointments with them?

  • Have your subordinates instituted a referral process to gain access to the decision makers on their prospect lists?

For 22 other questions, download our prospecting assessment by clicking here.

Looking for more tips on prospecting? Check out:

Preparing for the First Call on a Prospect

Q&A on Getting in the Door with Prospects

Q&A on Calling on Medical Practices (mp3)

Special webinar on “The State of Middle Market Banking”:

The recorded version of this webinar by Barlow Research is available for a limited time only at the discounted price of $100 (it is normally $325). To register go to

Recent archived webinars from MZ Bierly Consulting:

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving Into Financial Operations: Selling to Change

Negotiating Price: Strategies for Bankers

Building Relationships with CPAs

LinkedIn on 60 Minutes a Week: Parts 1 and 2

Networking in the Age of Social Media

For more information go to or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.



Topics: prospecting, bank sales, bank relationship managers, Sales Manager, referrals, business development, networking, sales leaders

7 Game Changing Plays for Bankers: New eBook

Posted by Ned Miller on Sun, Nov 24, 2013 @ 02:02 PM

sales coaching bankers

Our eBook 7 Game Changing Ideas contains links to blog posts, mp3 files and videos from MZ Bierly Consulting. Each of the 7 ideas includes practical tips for bankers on how to improve their results calling on business customers and prospects. Among the topics covered are:

* How to get business owners to share their vision for the future

* The value of joining training associations

* How to leverage the connections of bank board members

* Why it's critical to demonstrate business acumen

To download the eBook, click on 7 Game Changing Ideas.

Looking for ways to energize your team? If you’re planning a sales meeting or a refresher workshop, contact Ned Miller at 610-296-4771 to discuss how we might help.  Check out our popular prospecting workshop on “Building Prospect Momentum” by clicking here.

Bonus: Download our article “Coaching Prospecting: 7 Tips for Sales Managers” by going to Bank Sales Corner Blog.




Topics: prospecting, bank sales, bank relationship managers, networking, sales results, Board Members

Networking in the Age of Social Media

Posted by Ned Miller on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 01:45 PM

I am frequently asked by bankers to give them feedback on their Linkedin profiles.  It's something I am happy to do.  I find myself repeating the same advice to both novices on socaial media and old hands, many of whom have built sizeable networks.  My recorded message sounds like this:

1.  Your profile reads too much like a resume in my view.  Write a summary for clients and prospects, not headhunters.

2.  You should seek out some current clients for recommendations-- for Linkedin, but also for other uses (e.g. in proposals, as part of leave behind material, etc.)

3.  Think about developing a communication strategy targeting the Linkedin groups your prospects are part of (CRE, manufacturing, law firms, etc.).  It doesn't have to be original content but it does have to be relevant and valuable.

When it comes to Linkedin-- and other social media that more and more bankers are using to network-- it may be time for a reality check.

  • Are you visible online?  If prospects or potential COIs looked for you, what would they find?
  • Does your online profile demonstrate any of your expertise?
  • Are you taking advantage of tools to help you stay current on what's happening that may impact your customers and prospects?

Wherever you are in your career you need to think about your professional brand, and that includes how you appear in cyberspace.

Recorded Webinar Alert: Sign up for our recorded webinar on Networking in the Age of Social Media. Ned Miller and digital marketing guru Eric Cook from WSI Internet looked at how savvy bankers are leveraging social media in networking.

They started by reviewing the most popular social media sites and then examined their usefulness in a business context.  Along the way they showed tools and applications (many free) that will make researching and communicating with prospects and potential COIs easier.  To sign up for the recorded webinar click on the link below:

Networking in the Age of Social Media

Call 610-296-4771 for details on discounts for multiple lines.

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Topics: prospecting, bank sales, bank relationship managers, LinkedIn, professional skills, business development, networking