We just concluded our annual Bank Management Conference at the Ritz-Carlton at Amelia Island. In our breakout sessions and conversations with attending bankers, one of the hot topics was how community banks can become better sales organizations. We shared our journey and collected some great feedback on ideas and tactics that have worked for other banks. In this article, we share the top 10 ideas that bankers expressed at our conference related to how community banks can become better at building relationships and driving sales.
If you want to know if your bank has an alignment problem, try this – Ask ten co-workers, ”What is it that your bank is selling? If 80% or more say close to the same thing – that is fantastic, and you are likely in the top 1% of bank performance. If 60% of your co-workers say about the same thing, then move on as that is good enough not to make bank alignment a priority.
Let’s be honest, banks currently struggle turning themselves into sales organization. We know we can improve. The good news is that most bankers really care about the customer and strive to do the best by them. However, when it comes to understanding the sales process, there is much to be desired. Part of the issue is training bankers not to be sales people, but to be true financial advisors.
Anybody that finds your bank through a Google search, social media page or another site’s link (like a state banking association) isn’t looking to bank with you. They are looking to gather information, research options or get educated about a particular banking product. If they were interested in banking with you, they would have come directly into a branch or your website. This is an important distinction as banks should be looking at this subset as one of their best sources of leads.
In bank sales training, one of the most talked about concepts today is the “trigger event.” A trigger event is a notable event that has occurred in a customer’s or potential customer’s world that has them more open to a change or to using a product. For example, a customer’s competitor announced a major acquisition. This causes your customer to think about why they aren’t looking for an acquisition.