How one round of golf changed everything and triggered one CEO’s “war against being average”…
It was a typical Friday, but this day was going to be a little better for Michael.
His CLO had put together a round of golf with a couple top prospects and felt that THIS had always been the best recipe for more sales.
His community bank had low numbers across the board: unimpressive NIM, low cross sales and was undifferentiated but a lot of other banks in the area were in the same boat. He was playing the same “match rate” game as many others. It wasn’t like he was suffering by comparison… was he?
He knew it was on his list of things he’d like to change, but it wasn’t very urgent until 3 things came to a head in a perfect storm. First, his low metrics were on his mind and his top lender had just quit. But what happened next was the biggest catalyst for his “war against being average.”
Joining them for golf that day included their #1 bank prospect Mark (that also happens to be the CLO’s father-in-law) and a scratch player in his own right.
As CEO, Michael’s golf sales strategy was tried and true. The round started like any other: handshakes, introductions and smiles all around.
As they played, Michael sensed the respect and could tell that the other prospect in the foursome was going to follow Mark’s lead.
He figured, when Mark becomes a customer, the other guy would do the same.
Around the 3rd hole, he felt like it was a good time to start talking shop and then the rest of the day, build the relationship knowing the sale was inevitable.
But things weren’t going as planned.
The usual sales phrases like “we have great people that’ll really take care of you” weren’t working. He even worked in some sales tricks from the five previous sales trainings his bank had paid for over the years with no measurable long-term results.
Nothing was working.
Finally, Mark turns to Michael and says:
“Mike, I like you, but to be totally honest with you, I doubt you could provide me with what I need to help my business. Whadaya say we just golf…”
He quickly looked over at his CLO who gave a confused shrug of his shoulders.
It was like a dagger to his heart. Had the rules changed without him realizing it? This was supposed to be a slam dunk: father-in-law, built-in relationships, his tired and true sales methods…
Michael felt like a dismissed child, essentially being patted on the head.
His frame was completely crushed and everyone knew it.
Just like that, it became just another golf game with grown men banter instead of ending with an intrigued prospect sold on choosing HIM as their exclusive banker.
About half way through the day, Michael had a rough go on one of the holes. He knew that Mark’s comment had rattled his golf game and not once but twice heard the words no golfer wants to hear:
“You’re still out.”
Worst of all, the one who kept saying it was Mark.
Unfortunately, nepotism—and even friendship only goes so far and he knew then he needed a secret weapon; an entirely new system for attracting, closing more business and demanding premium pricing.
The rest of the day, Mark’s words kept haunting him: “You’re still out” meant much more than just being the last one with your ball still not on the green.
Michael needed a proven way for his bank’s ball to be the first on the green. He needed “banking holes-in-one.”; for prospects to seek him out, to turn the tables.
He wanted to become a Category of ONE kind of bank, to be in the top 5% of banks. He had just declared war on “being an average bank.”
Some say being in a category of one is just a fantasy for a bank or that it takes decades to accomplish…
Considered by older CEOs as a daydream among bankers but not that realistic to get in the top 5%…
Michael didn’t care. This went from the bottom of his to-do list to his most urgent #1 initiative. He had to figure this out.
A story like this plays out every single day with various bank CEOs and executives waking up to the new rules of banking.
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