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Mark Trinkle

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5 Keys to Fixing Prospect Indifference

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Oct 20, 2023

Every time we onboard a new client, we have a kickoff event where we lay the foundation of the sales process we teach at Anthony Cole Training Group. Inevitably, at some point during that kickoff event we talk about dealing with the competition, specifically how to differentiate yourself from the competition you will face.

But to me, it is important to back up the bus just a few stops and ask the question – who is your competition? Most training participants would say the name of another service provider that their prospect could choose at the conclusion of the sales process. Some other introspective training participants would say their greatest competition is themselves, meaning they need to stay out of their own way and deal with some head trash that interferes with them doing some of the harder things in sales. They recognize that they must become “comfortable with being uncomfortable” in order to be more assertive and ask more questions (and some of those questions need to be tough questions).

I can’t argue any of the above – they are all valid points. It is just that I believe something is missing. I have long held a deep conviction that the fiercest competition you will face in selling is what I refer to as “prospect indifference.” This is the dreaded moment at the conclusion of the sales process when they prospect says “we are just going to hold tight for the time being.”

Sometimes this is caused by fear of the unknown – with the prospect concluding maybe it is better to deal with the devil they know (the flawed incumbent provider) than to roll the dice with the devil they don’t know (you and your solution). Other times prospect indifference is the resistive inertia or the gravitational pull back to the incumbent. Regardless of why it occurs it is stiff competition.

Here are five keys to dealing with prospect indifference:

  1. You better be bold in your approach and your conversations. You must be willing to rattle the windows a little bit as you probe for the impact of the problem the prospect is dealing with.
  2. You better be sure that you know the difference between a problem that is just a problem and a problem that has become a priority that must be addressed.
  3. You must be in front of all the decision makers – and one of those decision makers must be the person who is feeling the deepest impact of the problem.
  4. You must provide “emotional transportation” to your prospect by using a story to move them to a future point where the problem has been solved to measure their reaction to that future state.
  5. You can’t be afraid to lose….and you must recognize that the best time to lose is early rather than late.

So, know your competition. And deal with your competition – even if it is you!


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Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips, prospect indifference

Three Immutable Truths About How Your Salespeople Should Respond to Rate Reduction Requests

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Jun 30, 2023

How should you coach your salespeople on how to respond to rate reduction requests from clients? Share this article or the information you've learned from it with them. These three immutable truths will help guide them to the best response. 

There are three immutable truths about rate reduction requests.

#1: It doesn’t cost a client anything to ask for a better deal. The worst thing that can happen to the prospect is that somebody will tell them no. It doesn’t cost anything to ask. In fact, you’ve probably been trained as a consumer to ask.

#2: Your attitude and your response to the request that your prospects and clients are making will have everything to do with setting the tone for future negotiations.

#3: Probably the most important of the three immutable truths; If you don’t move the conversation away from rate towards value, you will always be negotiating on rate for the rest of your relationship with that client.

Here’s the truth: What you win them with, is what you win them to. If you've used a very aggressive pricing model to win the business, then you have won them to that. And you have also created the expectation that is what the relationship is going to look like. You have created the reality for yourself that you’ll have them for a customer up until the point that somebody comes behind you that is just a little bit more aggressive. And they cut the rate. I mean, stop and think about that. The reality is what you win them with, how you win the business, is exactly what you’re winning them to.

So you have a decision to make on the front end, and you have a decision to make on the back end when they come and ask about these different requests. If you want to be good at responding, you need to be assertive. Why not use the word aggressive? It’s a fight to grow business. Don’t we need to be aggressive?

No, I want you to be assertive. The difference between an assertive and aggressive is emotion. Assertive people are under emotional control. Aggressive people are not, their emotions are in control of them. We want you to be assertive, standing up for what you believe is right. Asking all of the right questions, but with your emotions under control.

Number two is no surprise. You need to be skilled at asking questions and listening. We believe at Anthony Cole Training Group that the two most important attributes for a salesperson is that they are:

  • Great at asking questions
  • Great listeners
Let’s talk about listening for just a moment. Here’s the problem today. Most people (and particularly sales people) do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intention or desire to interrupt.

Great sales people are great listeners.

Number three, you have to be able to sell value.  You must believe that your offering has value, that you have value, that your institution has value. You must believe it. You have to be willing to walk away if the prospect doesn’t believe it.


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Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips

Just Keep Running: What Bankers Can Learn from the Navy Seals

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Jun 08, 2023

I am an admirer of all the brave men and women who serve in the armed forces. Their service and their sacrifice make them the best our nation has to offer. Lately, I have had the extreme honor to meet a few Navy Seals. Those meetings have propelled me to learn as much as I can about how they think and how they build the discipline that is necessary to do what they do.

While physical strength and endurance are obviously key requirements to become a Seal, it turns out what really makes them unique is their mental strength, specifically their ability to process information quickly and under extremely adverse circumstances. They build an incredibly strong and resilient mindset – and that term is defined as how they see and process the world around them. 

One of things I have discovered really resonated with me.  I have always known that “Hell Week” is one of the times that cause many in the training program to quit. The attrition rate for Navy Seal training is about 80%. The training is designed to make you quit…to sort those people out and to sort them out early. What I find fascinating is that many of the trainees quit on day 1 over a fairly simply running exercise. 

Think about it for just a minute. If you go to Seal training, you are certainly in excellent physical condition, so running should not be much of a challenge. But here is the catch – the instructors don’t tell the trainees how far they are running, nor do they tell them how long they will be running. Not knowing those answers causes many to quit. They can’t deal with that uncertainty. And one more thing – the run is not timed. You don’t have to run fast…you just can’t quit running.

This makes me think of the incredible challenges that bankers have had to deal with in recent months. It has been far from easy. And your mindset has been tested like perhaps no other time in recent years. This applies to selling as well. Selling is a tough lonely road to travel.  Selling is a process and if you fall in love with the process, (making calls, asking for referrals, attending networking events) the process will always love you back. But the challenge is you don’t know when it will love you back. And that uncertainty, just like the uncertainty of an indefinite run, can cause great discouragement. Some even quit.

My encouragement to you today is simple – just keep running. Maybe even keep walking. Skip if you want or crawl if you must.  Just keep moving because the process (if loved) will eventually love you back.

It will not be easy.  But as the Seals say…the only easy day was yesterday.


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Topics: Sales Process, sales skills assessment

Four Activities of Top-Performing Banks

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Wed, Jun 07, 2023

There are four critical things that separate high-performing banks from others in the industry in terms of their sales and revenue growth.


We know that there are four things that separate high-performing banks from their peers in terms of their sales and revenue growth.  Banks who embrace these four things will almost always outperform their peers. These activities are validated by the Objective Management Group's 30-year stats history of sales assessments across the country. 

First, top-performing banks assess the skills sets of the existing lenders and relationship managers. They do this because it is really hard to change that which you cannot see. There are a set of specific 21 core sales competencies that drive success in selling, and CEOs across the country are accessing this information to understand and improve the skills of their current teams as well as hire new high-performing lenders and relationship managers.

Free eBook Download: Find Out if Your  Bankers Can and Will SELL

Secondly, top-performing banks don’t make the mistake of hiring new lenders without assessing them using a sales skills assessment that is both sales-specific and also predictively valid. Sure, there are plenty of assessments out there but the vast majority are personality-based and do not uncover if a salesperson can and will sell for your bank. When looking at sales skills assessments, make sure that it comes with a proven history of working as well as a recommendation to hire or not hire.

Third, top-performing banks adopt a sales process that is both stage-based and milestone-centric. Then they hold their lenders and relationship managers accountable to following that process.  On average, this step alone generates a 15% increase in loan production. This focus on stage-based allows a leader and sales coach to see where in the sales process a lender may need help and targeted coaching. It is a fact that “elite salespeople”, those in the top 7% of all salespeople, follow a consistent sales process.

Fourth and finally, top-performing banks make an investment in sales leader and sales management training before they even think about training their salesperson.  They equip their leaders with skills in setting standards and accountability, coaching, recruiting, and motivation. These are the top four skills that sales managers should be spending 85% of their time doing. Since most sales managers typically are promoted up through their specialty area in banking, the sales management skills assessment consistently shows that sales leaders do not have the skills or a process needed to drive consistent sales growth with their teams.

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Topics: Sales Process, sales skills assessment

I Would Sell More and Increase Sales If Only I Would....

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, May 26, 2023

In this blog post, we present a question that may force you to look yourself in the mirror and ask, "What can I do better as a salesperson to increase my sales in 2023 and beyond?" 

This question, although difficult to admit and analyze, is necessary in your evolution as a salesperson.  


I've got a fill-in-the blank for you.  Are you ready?

"I Would Sell More If Only I Would __________"

What comes after would? We had the chance to ask that question around the country with a variety of companies both large and small, and it's interesting to hear how salespeople respond when you ask them to fill in this particular blank.

Sometimes, you'll hear excuses.

Sometimes, you'll hear valid reasons for why they're not selling as much as they would like or their manager would like. When we hear these valid reasons, we immediately think about the core steps in the sales process.  

First, you have to call on your prospects.  Then, you have to go see them.  You must set meetings, you must qualify prospects, deliver presentations, and of course, you have to win your fair share. 

If you're not where you want to be in 2023, ask yourself,

  1. Why are you there?
  2. How long have you been there?
  3. Are you fully committed to getting back on track?
  4. What's going to be required to get back on track?
  5. Do you have to get there?
  6. What happens if you don't?
  7. What is the problem costing you?
  8. Do you have to fix it?

If you know anything about our organization, you know that is how we encourage the unveiling of the sales process. 

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Asking your prospects questions like:

  • What is going on?
  • What do you have to fix this problem?
  • How long has it been a problem?
  • What have you done to try and fix it?
  • Do you have to fix it?
  • What happens if you don't fix it?
  • What's this problem costing you? 

All of that fits into one of two categories: Excuses or reasons

Just remember as you answer the question, "I could sell more if only I could ____."  If your answer is an excuse...

"Excuses are the nails used to build houses of failure."

Now go out there and get it done!

To learn more about our organization and services, click the link below: 

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

Topics: Sales Training, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, train the trainer, driving sales growth 2020, sales training workshops, sales training seminars


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    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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