If you don’t care about premium pricing, you can stop listening right now. This is for bank executives who want to figure out how to command premium pricing despite the too-common assumption that banking is a commodity. Therefore, they cannot command premium pricing—or, at best, maybe 25 basis points more on the loan side.
Well, here’s the problem with that. Any bank that can only command 25 basis points of premium pricing will probably not have its name on the front door five years from now.
Our industry is now in a significantly disrupted environment. Just because your bank has been in business for 120 years doesn’t mean that you will still be standing five years from now.
If you’re not paranoid, you’re not paying attention to how quickly the disruptors are becoming sophisticated and are about to target your best customers.
Implementing a proven sales culture system is the only way to lift yourself above your competitors to be the only bank that a prospect would consider. Your customers should be telling you: “This is worth a million to me, and that is worth $500,000 to me, and you’re only charging an extra $10,000—it’s a no brainer.”
If your people don’t know how to get that, and if you don’t give them the differentiation to do that, you send them out set up to lose.
You can’t expect to fix this by asking them to make more calls. We’ve all been there. We’ve all called on people when we didn’t really have anything unique and different to offer, and our good looks and charm just weren’t enough. So they sent us packing.
Every time we have another loss, our self-esteem goes down, so the next time we go out, we anticipate rejection: “Yeah, you’re probably going to say no, but would it be okay if we talked for five minutes anyway before you throw me out?”
When would be a good time to figure out that extreme differentiation?
When I talk about unique selling propositions—those differentiators that help you get paid more—I don’t mean getting one of those slogans that most branding companies will charge you half a million dollars for. I’m talking about having a plethora of differentiators that fit different industries. When you do your pre-call plans, your people will know: “I’m going to use these three because they will resonate with the prospect in front of me. And they’re going to tell me we’re worth at least half a million dollars of financial impact here and $200,000 there. So, when I say to them, “we’re $10,000 more,” they’re going to say, ‘that’s a bargain!’—because it is!”
Mastering how to do that is a vital part of the equation, but most banks just don’t get the verbiage right. This is not a game where “close enough” wins. This is a game where getting it right wins.
It’s not rocket science. So why do banks still keep paying branding firms to solve this for them? And why do branding firms never deliver premium pricing opportunities when that is what they’re hired to do?
Set the intention that this is the year when you create extreme differentiation. But know that that’s not enough. You also have to figure out how to use it in your sales process, which means your team must know how to use it. They can’t just talk about their stuff like a traveling salesman opening his tattered suitcase. They have to know how to get the person to say what the financial value and impact is to them. That’s a game to be mastered, and that’s something where sales training has failed the banking industry miserably.
Most sales training feels icky. But when done correctly, differentiating yourself and knowing how to use that differentiation feels like the greatest gift you’re giving that prospect or customer in front of you. That’s a game-changer because, as a community banker, your job is to be a source of wisdom, honesty, integrity, and authenticity. That’s what relationships should be built on.
When we bring differentiation to that relationship, that changes everything. We bring significant financial impact to our customers.
As challenging times continue, we know one thing for sure: Whatever is happening on the outside, you can change your approach in response.
One of the best things you can do is to create differentiators that are extreme enough to stimulate your prospects to say: “Whoa, you’re playing a different game. Why don’t all banks do this? I don’t want anyone else.”
– Roxanne Emmerich
Please watch the video above and share it with your exec team and board.