Top of the Charts | By Roxanne Emmerich
Do your commercial lenders lack the skills and mindsets to effectively prospect? As a result, is your net interest margin squeezed, and squeezed, and squeezed, with no hope of a turnaround?
Do your lenders compete for the “Most Creative Too-Busy Excuse for Not Prospecting” Award?
You’re not alone.
A recurring theme I hear when talking with hundreds of bank executives each month is, “My lenders aren’t prospecting.” If they have lenders who are prospecting, their scattered and non-systematic efforts are ineffective at best. At worst, they position your bank as a vendor instead of the desirable trusted advisor.
As a result, they mumble those nasty words, “Loan demand has dried up,” thinking that’s an adequate response to the fact that good prospects rarely walk in the front door these days.
It’s time to stop the waiting game. The fact that prospects ever strolled in the front door was a miracle. Now we as an industry need to figure out what every other person in professional sales figured out years ago – if you want quality new business and premium pricing, you’re going to need to attract those high-quality prospects. And that means smart, well-thought-out attraction strategies delivered in a systematic way to create predictable revenue growth.
Refining Your Approach
Top 100 prospects need an elevated level of targeted attraction strategies that build reputational excellence. And based on the “segment” of your Top 100 list, those strategies must make sense for that market.
Start by creating a buzz that you are a bank that’s up to a different game. Relationships are solidified during adversity. That’s when you have the best opportunity to be the hero, the one who keeps clients informed and finds solutions that will help them save their businesses and prosper in tough times. Instead of using old school marketing methods, contact top prospects and clients alike through personalized and value-added mail, calls, seminars and the like to position your bank as an expert and advocate for them. That will create referrals and enduring relationships for decades ahead.
There are hundreds of potential attraction strategies. The ones you choose for each niche must be varied, properly timed, and tested to make sure the sequencing, headlines, value and process are optimized. But step one is to get your lenders out of the waiting game, once and for all, and working hard to determine exactly what bait will attract the best and hungriest fish.■