I’ve had the privilege of doing a significant amount of sales training and coaching with bankers over the past four decades, and, 67,000 bankers later, I have come to the conclusion that the best of breed separate themselves from the pack by doing less, not more. World class sales bankers act on five key concepts. These five behaviors when done well together, build trust and loyalty, maximize the customer experience and optimize bottom-line results. I call these the five C’s:
No. 1: Conversations, the Ultimate Differentiator
Recent data indicates 10 to 12 touches are needed (phone, e-mail, voice mail) before a cold pre-client agrees to see a banker. Data also indicates that 54 percent of bankers stop touching after the first rejection. A recent study from the sales research organization CSO Insights also suggests that it takes an average of seven calls for a pre-client to become a client. Given those statistics, how can sales professionals create differentiation?
It’s in the conversation.
Conversations that are well planned and targeted to the needs of the client tend to help move the process forward faster and in a trust-based manner. And, while the conversations may actually slow the process down some, since there is more dialogue than simply “how much do you want to borrow and when do you need the loan,” the fact the more early cycle calls are made actually helps get deeper and wider in the relationship in the long run. I call it, slow down to go fast. When we have analyzed why their bankers do not get in the door for a second call with pre-clients we have found bankers are too eager to talk—and not as focused on listening. Here are some things successful commercial Resource Managers (the next level of relationship management) have done to optimize the conversation.
As this month’s article from Mark Cook at LinkedIn indicates, technology allows you to have more conversations virtually than at any other time in our history. It’s unfortunate that more financial services professionals have not taken better advantage of the power of LinkedIn.
No. 2: Curiosity, the Sales Cliffhanger
How do Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol or any recurring series keep viewers hooked week after week? They always leave them wanting more. Premature product presentations have always been a challenge for sales associates. This happens for several reasons: (1) because the customer forces us into it, and we don’t know how to extricate ourselves, and (2) bankers have goals and, if there is a “hot one” in front of us, we don’t want to let them get away—and certainly a quarter over quarter revenue mentality has made matters worse (3) when the banker returns to their office and interacts with the sales manager, the first thing the manager wants to know is “what did you sell today.” If we want to change the behavior of bankers on calls, the manager needs to change theirs after the call (more on coaching next month). This conflict of results now, juxtaposed against banking’s stated desire to build trust-based partnerships, has caused consternation on each side of the desk and certainly stifles curiosity.
Curiosity is controlled by the sales associate. The banker determines the high-impact questions to ask. He/she decides what is brought along as a leave-behind on an initial call. Let’s get our terms right. There is a difference between building curiosity and manipulating the situation. It is critical for the salesperson to be transparent. To build curiosity the banker can:
When a banker starts the conversation, the entrepreneur is imaging “Do I see myself banking with this person?” When the salesperson always leaves the call on a WOW note, the pre-client will think “I wonder what the next conversation with this banker might sound like?” When the salesperson sets that tone, he or she will always have a better than average chance to get back in for call after call, which may lead to a new relationship.
Curious about the other three Cs? Come back next month when my column addresses Customization, Collaboration and Coaching.
Widely known as the "Professor of Prospecting," Jack Hubbard has shared his passion for what it takes to build trust-based sales initiatives for more than three decades. He has helped build more than 100 Performance Management Cultures from Maine to Florida, Texas to California and all points in between. With more than 67,000 bankers personally trained and coached, Hubbard is one of America's most sought after facilitators. An author, lecturer and classroom instructor, Hubbard's expertise and out-of-the-box thinking put him in great demand when the subject matter is sales and sales management in business and commercial banking.