Why Should Customers Do Business With You?
By Aavo A. Reinfeldt
What is crystal clear in our business culture today is that the customer is still the King of the Jungle. They have more choices than ever before and are only willing to provide you with their business if you set yourself apart from the rest of the overwhelming number of service and product providers that dot our New Jersey financial institutional landscape.
Those financial institutions that demand excellence from their employees and require every employee to be accountable for sales as well as the customer experience are those institutions that succeed in growing and winning in the marketplace. Understanding that sales is a very competitive field, plus hiring and retaining the best salespeople (employees) becomes the number one priority. Given the fact that all good sales people already have great jobs makes the acquisition and retention of rainmakers that much more of a challenge.
In order for your financial institution to grow and gain market share, it is absolutely critical that you hire the best rainmakers, and demand and hold them accountable not only for sales results, but also for overall customer growth and satisfaction. Without a strong customer focus, your business will not thrive and, in time, may even die. Customers are the foundation of your business, and having a daily focus on that reality will ensure your chances for continued growth and profitability. Successful financial institutions are those that maintain a 100 percent focus on the customer, assuring every decision regarding new products and services sold are clearly made because the customer needs and wants them.
Customers today have many choices. They are also very intelligent. Customers purchase and use your products and services because they have been convinced by you that the products and services your employees sell have a dollarized value to them for each and every purchase decision.
Your value proposition must stand out from all competitors and be clearly communicated. To be successful in sales, clients and prospects must be convinced that products they purchase from you benefit them in a unique way and improve their ability to run their business more efficiently.
The customer is still more important than any product or service. Understanding that premise and delivering on your value promise – day in and day out – will set you apart from all other choice providers. It will also validate that you have incorporated two critical priorities to your daily focus: specifically, hiring the best salespeople and having a passionate focus on both existing and prospective customers.
Turn each day into an opportunity for you and your organization to rise above the competition. You must often assess your staff, your products and your services and be willing to make changes when the customer demands them. If clients and new prospects do not see the value of your products or they have not been convinced that the services offered by your organization would save them or make them money, they will go to another competitor in a blink of an eye. You must understand that loyalty of a client depends on your daily focus, never assuming for a moment they will be a client for life.
Much has been written in recent years on sales and customer service. One book in particular stands out, which I highly recommend you purchase, read and refer to frequently: “How to Become a Rainmaker – The rules for getting and keeping customers and clients,” by best-selling author Jeffrey J. Fox. It's an easy-to-read, impactful and concise recap of the importance of customers and every organization’s priority that every employee must be a salesperson.
Without a doubt, the banking climate will only become more competitive. Given that all prospective candidates already have jobs and all great customer prospects already have a relationship with one or more competitors, the challenges to execute the winning strategies outlined will only become more intense. In summary, to win today and to ensure success tomorrow is dependent on two factors: profitable customer growth and the quality of the rainmakers (salespeople) on your team. The financial institutions that incorporate these two very important factors into their daily culture have the best chance to survive and grow well into the future.
Aavo Reinfeldt, who joined PNC Bank as senior vice president of business banking in March 2001, has more than 25 years of diversified commercial banking experience. He may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.