you have an order-taking culture
It’s not just you. Most financial institutions have an order-taking culture. Bankers are far more comfortable sitting behind a desk waiting for the business to come to them.
They don’t like to make sales calls. It’s scary and maybe they feel it’s a little undignified. “People should know how good we are,” they think to themselves. So they wait.
Your bankers will find every reason to do other “more important” things first.
you're not mining your existing customer base
Calling on current customers is like picking low-hanging fruit.
Your bankers already know them. It’s a lot easier to ask a current customer for a meeting. This must be a priority.
You should be scheduling yearly or twice-yearly consultations with business customers to find out how you can help them with new or future needs. (Please don’t just drop in.)
It’s easy as 1-2-3:
- go to their office with coffee or treats in hand
- ask about how things are going—then listen
- offer suggestions on bank products that will help the customer
Bonus points if you can make suggestions that have nothing to do with your bank, but assist the customer in growing the business.
you're not asking for referrals
Satisfied customers will tell others about your bank. That’s the kind of WOM that’s nice, but passive. If you really want to cultivate new business leads, you must have an intentional effort at developing referrals.
We recommend creating a well-branded 1-page marketing piece. It should explain what kinds of business you’re looking for, and how the referral source can help. It should be specific. Include details about the type of business, its attributes, location, etc.
You absolutely have to ask.
Then be sure to call the people recommended to you, follow up with the referral source and report back. Thank everyone. Then thank them again.
As a leader, you know the passive approach is not enough to take your institution to the next level.
Some people will never overcome their trepidation over making sales calls. Especially cold ones. You may need to hire a hunter to make the cold calls and do the work that brings in new business. But don't do it unless you're also implementing the steps above.
It’s your job to lead. Your current staff can—and should—be able to grow more business through cultivating current customers.
For help growing your financial brand with a strong sales program contact Martha Bartlett Piland direct at 785.969.6203
Tags: high performance banks, selling, employee engagement, financial institutions, business development, marketing and sales strategy, brand