If your top 100 customers do account for 50 to 140 percent of your profits, like they do for most every bank with under $2 billion in assets, you have to ask yourself: Do you really know how to identify your next top 100 potential customers?
Can you get an appointment and create a relationship with them, even though they love their current bank? Do you know that you can predictably have an 85% close rate with that prospect after that first appointment, even though they have lower pricing someplace else?
Sounds difficult. In fact, it sounds impossible.
And it is impossible if you’re doing things the way I used to back when I was a lender.
I used to do what all the guys did. I got the briefcase that looked like their briefcases. Check. I got the car and drove to the locations of prospect businesses. Check. I had the same kind of conversations like “what’s keeping you up at night?” and other “salesy” questions I learned in the extremely inadequate sales training we were required to take.
And… I always got myself into the same situation, where we could get the deal as long as we matched the pricing. I simply didn’t know how to do it differently. Because there was a mountain of evidence that said that if we didn’t match pricing, we would lose the deal. Look at all those lenders across America who come back every time and walk in front of their credit committee saying I can do the deal as long as we match the pricing.
Well, in fact, that’s true at that stage most of the time. Most salespeople do not know how to differentiate and stop the game-playing immediately within the first few minutes of the conversation. So they put themselves in a position where they are absolutely right—they now have to match pricing.
But wouldn’t it be nice to not have to grovel? In fact, that’s the game we have to figure out—not how to get out of that trap, but how to avoid stepping in it to begin with.
When I teach the Sales and Marketing Bootcamp, we show elite and ambitious bank executives how to create extreme differentiation along with what’s necessary to identify their top 100 next-best customers. Suppose you don’t identify those desirable prospects. In that case, you’re wasting all your energy and time on the wrong folks, and your results will be a small fraction of the profit-boosting impact of creating a sales culture system in your bank that systematically closes the best, most profitable prospects.
From selecting the right list of prospects to knowing how to engage and build reputational equity with them, to making sure that you have the right system to get the appointment, to making sure you have the right system to create the sale—ALL of it needs to be thought through and institutionalized as your franchise revenue system.
THAT is what a successful and sustainable bank sales culture takes.
There is no room for guessing—this system must be A/B split-tested to make sure it is the optimal system. If your close rate is 85 percent or above of the identified top 100 prospects that you call on, you are an elite bank, and you have the right franchise revenue system in place.
So, throw out the old belief that sales training is the answer. It has failed repeatedly. It is inadequate.
You need to implement a comprehensive, sustainable system that works. In my next Sales and Marketing Bootcamp, I’m going to talk about building that system impeccably and making sure you have the right visibility and auditing systems.
As a bank executive or board member, you have a fiduciary obligation to your shareholders to ensure that you remain independent and at the top of your game, even though the economy is doing funky things. Your stockholders don’t want to hear a sad story about the economy or desperate competitors offering low-ball rates. All they say is: “Show me the money.”
Your job as an executive is to alter your response to those inputs to create a predictable output—more profit and safety.
I’d be delighted to talk with you about how to improve your franchise revenue system. It works, it’s doable, and many great banks across this country have withstood good times and bad while remaining in the top 5 percent of their peers—elite, high-performing, results-oriented banks. If they can do it, you can do it too!
– Roxanne Emmerich
Please watch the video above and share it with your exec team and board.