When I was a student at Illinois Banking School in 1976, I met someone who would become a great influencer and mentor to me and a man would change the lives of bankers everywhere. His name is Kent Sticker. Kent is the CEO of Stickler Learning, www.stickler-learning.com. Kent was one of my instructors at IBA School and was so gracious to spend lots of one on one time with me. His mantra from a young age was always to give more than you take and to always have an attitude of gratitude.
I had the privilege of making presentations in 11 cities during the month of October. The programs dealt primarily with my idea that a Relationship Manager is outmoded and that Resource Management is what bankers should consider going forward. This is due to the massive changes in buying behavior which causes the banker to provide much more value and intimacy – a constant attitude of gratitude. One specific issue we discussed at these sessions is the folly of sending out Christmas/Holiday greeting cards. When I asked how many in the audience had abandoned this foolish, time consuming endeavor, not one person in any of the four time zones responded that they had changed their practices in this area. Amazing.
It’s that time of year when someone in marketing, a key executive or someone at the bank is pulled off a vital, revenue centric project to take on the arduous task of getting the Christmas cards out the door. Maybe it’s easier now but when I was a banker it took days, weeks even, to scrub the list, add new names to the roster and in general be certain we didn’t miss anyone important. We always did. What card to select? Well, we bought the one from the girl scouts last year so we have to give equal funding to the boy scouts this time. Then we had to get the right cards to the right group of senior managers to sign and “personalize” the message (oh sure they did) and find someone good at calligraphy to address the envelopes. Add to that the hassle and expense of working with the US Postal Service…
You get it and even worse you live it each and every holiday season. There is a solution to this madness and it is no farther away than your laptop. Go to www.americangreetings.com, www.hallmark.com, www.bluemountain.com or a plethora of others and send Thanksgiving Cards this year – and EVERY year. It’s is easy to do, can be totally free and the effort is truly appreciated by recipients because it is customized for them. Cards can be completed from home in the evening and on the weekends to optimize belly to belly time with clients and prospects during your sales week. They won’t be opened, glanced at and thrown away. You know when recipients read them. When the card is opened an e-mail is generated back to you to let you know they have seen it. If it’s that easy, why don’t more than an handful of bankers do it?
How would you deal with these issues if you were an entrepreneur and your clients and prospects caused you to eat or not, pay your bills or not, have a balance in your check book or not? Most important, how would you feel if someone sent a tailored card to you?
I am far from proposing that your organization completely stop sending Christmas or Holiday cards to the masses (although if it was my bank that’s what would happen). What I am suggesting is that each of your Resource Managers select a few of their top clients, prospects and referral sources and thank them for their business in a unique, one-to-one way.
Bankers don’t have time or the inclination to do it but banker-preneurs do. Thanks Kent for all you have done for the industry and I am ever grateful for helping me understand the attitude of gratitude.
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.