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5 Behaviors of Effective Banking Sales Leaders

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 19, 2023

The sales management activities that we are performing today are creating the results we are achieving today. Many or few, consistent or irregular, planned or impromptu, the behaviors and activities that we, as sales managers, use to motivate, train and hold our relationship managers accountable are at least partly responsible for the success of those we manage. In other words, what activities are you doing now that are creating your current unsatisfactory results?

The old adage, “If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten” comes to mind. It is up to us as sales leaders to set higher standards for the behaviors and activities and hold people accountable so that we get better results. So, in the interest of bettering your bankers, we hope you will approach the following discussion with an open mind. A characteristic of truly successful individuals is that they welcome the opportunity to explore and implement new ideas and practices.

  1. Hiring

Great sales managers understand hiring lenders, for example, requires a different process than hiring support or admin personnel. No other role in a company faces the same challenges and deals with the same performance pressures as the lenders. No one faces greater scrutiny and is on a shorter leash than those tasked with developing and bringing in new relationships. The hiring behaviors of great sales managers include: 

  • Writing a great job attraction post – specific skills exhibited by top lenders
  • Utilizing a pre-hire, sales specific, evaluation is the only way to know
  • Having an initial phone interview to discover how good the banker is on the phone
  • Conducting interviews like auditions – make it as tough as a prospect will
  1. Offer and On-boarding

When the manager finally selects the candidate based on the above steps, the final step in the hiring is to have an effective offer meeting that includes the following:

  • They make sure the candidate is prepared to make a decision when the offer is made to avoid using the offer to get a better deal from the current bank
  • They lay out all the expectations for sales activity, sales goals, sales meetings, use of CRM, and define being a good citizen and how they will be managed and coached
  • They gain agreement on all the conditions of taking the role, and then to solidify the agreement they ask this question: “Are you sure?” To which the candidate will say yes. They then explain that it’s ‘going to be hard’ and then don’t say another word to let that statement sink in and see what they say. Ask them, “Will you allow me to coach you?”

The three behaviors are critical. The reason they are critical is that many candidates that become 'new hires' fail especially in the execution area of sales activity - hitting goals, attending sales meetings, using your CRM and responding to your managing style and culture.

  1. They Manage

Great banking sales managers understand what Jim Collins means when he states: “There is no such thing as micro – managing. You are either managing or you are not managing.” Effective Sales Managed Environments must include managing behavior. The behavior goals must be introduced in the very beginning of the new relationship manager’s career, and then yearly at least 1 sales cycle before the end of the sales year. The following discussions must take place:

  • What sales results are attached to the words extraordinary, excellent, good, poor, and failing results? Setting goals.
  • What activities and success formula will they need to arrive at the outcome the banker has committed to?
  • Making sure they are committed to the activity by asking: Are you sure? And then stating: 'This is going to be hard."
  • Discussing what happens when the data is telling you that your new hire is off track. Great managers get permission to coach salespeople when they are failing.
  1. They Coach

As stated by Henry Kissinger; “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” Great leaders reap their rewards by gaining success through others and by developing others to be their absolute best selves. Sales coaching includes:

  • 1-on-1 coaching sessions to improve skill and change behaviors
  • Pre- and post-call strategy sessions to improve the probability of success of each opportunity the lender is calling on
  • Meeting quarterly to review activity numbers against actual results to discuss success, where they are headed and gaining discrepancy between the behavior numbers and the sales results
  1. They Verify

A strong sales leader has Healthy Skepticism. This doesn’t mean that they don’t believe what their bankers are telling them or what they are reporting. They have a Ronald Reagan approach: Trust but verify. Great sales managers stay off the “They’re going to make it because they have a big deal that is about to close” bandwagon.

If you and your bank must drive better sales performance, consider these 5 behaviors. You can also pull down our eBook The Extraordinary Sales Manager for more ideas.


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Topics: Sales Management Training, Leadership Skills, banking sales training


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    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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