It is no surprise to any in the business of financial services that the world of selling, finding and building relationships is evolving. Banks and their relationship managers must find ways to leverage technology, improve effectiveness and uncover new ways to differentiate, attract and serve their clients. The future of selling is here and includes new behaviors that all bankers and managers should reflect on. How effective are we at:
- Confidently and effectively operating in a more remote and digital selling environment
- Becoming more consultative in approach adapting to the state of the informed and empowered client and prospect, who has deep information at their fingertips
- Becoming an Expert in our specialties. Anything less is available online
- Understanding and utilizing many of the new tools available to compliment selling such as our CRM, AI, virtual reality and marketing automation
Success in selling in the future will involve all of these adjustments and remains a viable career if bankers also acquire the Core Sales Competencies needed to be successful.
According to Objective Management Group, the pioneer and leader in sales evaluations, there are 21 Sales Core Competencies that determine the degree of success for every salesperson. Using one of their salesperson evaluations, let's further explore just one of these sales competencies, the prospecting or hunting competency. This is an area that all bankers struggle with.
The Prospector or Hunter competency is a producer’s capabilities for prospecting. Here are the competencies of someone with the Hunter Sales Competency:
- Will Prospect - This is the salesperson that, when held accountable to prospecting activity, will prospect, no matter what and use all business intelligence tools to do so.
- Prospects Consistently - This is the banker who, based on their own internal desire and personal commitment to success in sales, and their sense of responsibility for results, will prospect without direct supervision and will take accountability for their own prospecting activity. It is a consistent part of their calendar every week and they understand how important it is to achieving their goals.
- Prospects via Phone and/or Walk-ins - A skilled prospector knows that the phone call starts the process. It is one thing to get an introduction, to attend a networking event or to get a response to an email invitation, but all of that effort is for naught until they pick up the phone and attempt to reach the prospect. Regardless of tenure in selling, the phone is still very key to starting the sales cycle and the buying/selling relationship.
- Has No or Little Need for Approval - This relationship manager gets past gatekeepers and has a very powerful message to deliver to the prospect. They are not likely to be thrown off by the gatekeepers blocking techniques or the objections of the prospect. They realize that they have a job to do - get the appointment. They build a relationship with the prospect that is mutually beneficial based on the “expert” value they bring to the table and do not take conflict personally.
- Schedules Meetings - The effort of networking, social networking, and asking for introductions turns into meetings. A banker who puts forth the great effort of picking up the phone has one of the necessary characteristics to be a successful hunter, but unless they actually schedule the appointments, then they will continue to struggle to fill their pipelines and meet personal and business goals.
- Recovers from Rejection – The banker faces rejection on a regular basis. The difference between this person and an average producer is that they also understand the formula of SW3N - Some Will, Some Won't, So What? - NEXT. They learn from it and move on to find the next prospect.
- Maintains a Full Pipeline - This is the metric that helps you quantify the strength and skill of hunting skills. Do they have a full pipeline that turns into business? Strong lenders know when to take someone out of the pipeline so that it is not full of pipedreams. They are strong at qualifying if a prospect is in their niche.
- Not a Perfectionist – Super hunters do not delay that call until “the perfect time” and they understand that outreach must happen, regardless. They use the right tech stack tools to prepare, but it does not have to be perfect and the concept of an ideal situation does not distract them from activity that must be done.
- Believes They are Quickly Liked by Customers – Wanting to be liked can work against a relationship manager however, skilled bankers are excellent at building rapport and are easily likeable.
- Reaches Decision Makers – The hunter has developed the ability to get beyond gatekeepers and wastes little time in the process. They know that nothing of substance happens until they are talking to the right person.
- Gets Introductions from Customers and Network - Getting introductions doesn't sound like hunting, but it is a by-product of the hunting activity. They do more than simply suggest their current client ‘think of them’ if they encounter someone who needs their service, they pro-actively ask for names and expect introductions.
- Uses Social Selling Tools – The successful banker uses technology to aid and assist in the traditional methods of prospecting: pre-approach mail, direct mail, social networking, and prospect facing networking opportunities. The key here is to understand that a prospector does not rely solely on social networking and technology to build their pipeline. They do not sit and play catch hoping for when someone responds to a connection request on LinkedIn. They use current technology applications to supplement and enhance their current prospecting efforts.
- Attends Networking Events – A true prospector understands the importance of getting face time with many people that have an affinity of some sort related to their expertise, and also has a consistent strategy and execution plan to attend events and turn events into prospects.
How will you and your bankers survive and thrive in the future of finding and building banking relationships?