Do your lenders provide your prospects and clients with the consultative financial and business advice that establishes value and makes you rate-resistant?
One of the areas where we are spending a significant amount of training time in 2022 is on sales negotiation strategies, value-based selling, as well as sales negotiation techniques.
As a 29-year-old sales training company dedicated to serving the needs of financial institutions, we have learned much about the challenges that confront those institutions on an almost daily basis. From concerns around regulations to concerns around declining net interest margins to concerns around intense competition, it is fair to say that times have been quite challenging. And now in 2022, we are likely to see several rounds of rate increases that will provide another challenge to profitable loan growth.
One of the areas where we are spending a significant amount of training time in 2022 is on sales negotiation strategies as well as sales negotiation techniques. And based upon my numerous conversations with CEOs and Presidents, the ability to sell value has become quite a conundrum. The leader gathers his or her lenders together for a meeting and says the following with passion: “We are better than our competition so stop cutting rates to get deals done.”
The reaction to this is almost always the same. The lenders smile and nod their heads in tacit agreement. Then after the CEO walks out of the room, the lenders have the meeting after the meeting where they commiserate and ask each other how long their CEO is going to spend on Fantasy Island. After all, it is brutal out there in the field. And the thinking goes if they don’t match or beat rates then it will be all but impossible to win deals.
All of that leads me to want to talk about working the “right end of the problem.” The knee-jerk reaction is to focus on negotiation training and that is not a bad thing. But the right end of the problem means recognizing where the problem is really starting and that is during the very first sales call or conversation. What’s the problem? Simple – the lender is not providing any value as they speed through the process with the prize being able to send the prospect a term sheet. And since the prospect does not see or experience any value…because the prospect is not taken through a differentiated experience…and because rates are easy to understand and compare, the prospect simply decides to use rate as their yardstick in comparing the difference between the available options.
The key is to add value early in the sales process by tailoring your message for resonance. Differentiate yourself from your competition by taking a consultative sales approach. Get the prospect to wonder why other banks have never asked them the questions you are asking them.
After all, the main reason why lenders don’t do a very good job of defending value is quite simple. It is hard to defend something that was never provided in the first place. Time to start working on the right end of the problem – how your bank and your lenders can differentiate and provide your prospects and client with the consultative financial and business advice that makes you “rate-resistant.”