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BirdsEye View

the 80 sales behaviors

 At the last Treasury Management Forum, my good friend Larry Selnick from Webster Bank and I were bantering.  Larry said, as he usually does, that his sales process entails 80+ behaviors; he was convinced that the list is not too long, and that it puts himself and his team on a single, fully shared track.  As usual, I poo-pooed the concept; too many items, too confusing, etc. etc.  It was easy to do as the list of 80 was put on a single page, which made it illegible to all.

When I returned home I asked Larry to email me the list.  Printing it didn’t work (same results as the list he shared at the forum).  But, once I pored over it on Excel, my eyes were opened to the possibilities.  This list is not a compilation of activities that result in “filling in the blanks”, but rather a thoughtful assembly of behaviors that will lead to goal attainment, as well as improved personal development and brand building.  I was sold.

Larry gave me permission to share many of the list’s elements with you.  While every element can be viewed and implemented literally, it can also be customized into your own environment and product set.  I didn’t include any of the Treasury Management-specific aspects of the list, but focused on the overall approach to sales, self-development elements and some of the evaluation criteria that can help you align yourself with your team.

LOOK FOR CHANGES

Attitudinally and logically, exploring what changed for the customer or prospect is your “wedge” – the door opener for solutions and recommendations.  The change could be substantive – opening a new store; losing a key sales person etc. – or more formative – staffing changes, for example.  Both present opportunities to match your product set to the new customer needs as well as further reflection on the state of their business today and tomorrow.  Focusing on change yields understanding and value-add to the customer, who typically doesn’t fully focus on the changes as they occur.

OWN THE SALE

This is an attitude, not a process.  Too many of us, especially in support sales forces, believe the sale should come from another line of business at the bank.  And when the lead is generated from outside your sales unit, we often expect the referring group to help close the sale to the point of abdication.  Tenacity is essential in sales.  You personally should care about it more than anyone else in your bank; it’s a prerequisite to stellar results.  Own that sale.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

·                     Calls and joint calls

o   We all manage to calls; they are the underlying foundation for all sales.  Goaling contacts, opportunities, leads, calls, proposals and closed sales is par for the course.  Joint calls are equally important as they bring the entire bank to bear, and make the process easier when good partnerships exist between you and other lines of business.

·                     Blogger or speaker

o   Help build your own brand by creating value through bringing content to customers and prospects alike.  Write something and share it with others.  A splendid example of this is Centerstate Bank’s correspondent banking division write-ups.  Check them out.

·                     Partner presentation

o   Present with others from the bank or COIs, thereby cementing the partnerships both within and outside the bank, as well as improve the call experience and value.

·                     Customer events

o   Participate in customer events and develop contacts and leads from them.  Too many events fail to create that value for the bank.  Each sales person must own the opportunity and generate leads from every event they attend.

·                     Event lead or coordination

o   An integral part of the salesperson’s goals is to lead or coordinate at least one business development event per evaluation period.  It’s great experience, solid personal development and is only fair to the rest of the team; everyone needs to pull together toward the end result – the team making its goals.

·                     Detailed competitive intelligence

o   This is another way to improve sales effectiveness by better understanding who you compete against and what their strengths and vulnerabilities are.  When a salesperson develops that intelligence it serves the entire team.

·                     COI and contact development

o   Sales Management 101 calls for contact and Centers Of Influence (COI) development.  It’s all about networking, both internally within the bank and externally.

·                     Effective sales technique

o   All too often the sale fizzles out due to poor sales technique.  Listening first is essential, and assures that, instead of a “canned” solution, you differentiate yourself by better understanding the customer first.

·                     Pre-call planning

o   Knowing as much as possible in advance of the call not only builds your credibility with the prospect or client but also separates you from the less-prepared sales people against whom you compete.  You can have a solution in your pocket based upon what you learned before the meeting, and then, after careful listening, you either pull it out or adjust it as needed.

·                     Improve fee realization from existing customers

o   Many sales involve discounted fees upfront in order to snag the deal.  The problem is, the discount remains forever.  Improving yield relative to the nominal fee or rate is a tremendous opportunity for all sales people.  You can often make your goals without selling a single additional client (not recommended but doable) simply by increasing the rate/fee for your discounted clients by a few basis points.

·                     Proactive self-calling

o   Cultivating your own leads and calling on self-generated prospects is a key sales activity.

SALES PROCESS

Below is a list of some sales process components you should consider as you evaluate your sales people.  Adjust the list to reflect your own unique process, and use the list as a communication device to share your expectations and perceptions of what’s important and most likely to lead to sales.

·                     Timely, compliant and quality call reports

·                     Effective pre-call planning and post-call debrief

·                     Weekly pipeline review

·                     Timely updated of sales management system (e.g. Salesforce, Microsoft dynamics)

·                     Timely and effective relationship reviews

·                     Offer customer three options with a recommendation

·                     Timely newsletter sharing and on-point commentary

·                     Consider the four “W”s:

o   Who is transacting/paying/buying

o   Why are they transacting/paying/buying

o   How are they transacting/paying/buying

o   What opportunities and challenges does their current process present to the bank? 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

This, again, is a partial list of possible personal development and personal rand-building activities.  Your bank might have a more robust personal development menu; this list is purely for illustration purposes.

·                     Blogger or speaker

·                     Partner presentation

·                     Lead on project

·                     Customer events

·                     Lead or coordinate a topic-specific event e.g. fraud awareness

·                     Professional accreditation classes

·                     Job shadow day

·                     Team meeting lead (internal)

·                     Challenger mindset

PERSONAL ASSESSMENT

This is the place where you include non-sales behaviors that are still critical to the success of an effective sales person.  Getting the right sale to the right customer is the priority, but doing it the right way matters greatly as well.  Elements such as too many customer complaints, peer issues or compliance problems are unacceptable in any position.  Even the best sales people must be collegial, law-abiding and respectful of the organization’s culture and rules of engagement.

·                     Customer complaints

·                     Compliance issues

·                     Self-sourced deals

·                     Effectively represented the bank

·                     Effective listening skills

·                     Seek post-call feedback

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Every bank evaluates their team members according to their unique culture and expectations.  The key is to ensure that every employee knows how they are being evaluated.  The list below is a “starter kit” for the sales force.  IT’s a subset of the 80 behaviors.  You should pick your own and adjust both the list and the behaviors to match your organization’s uniqueness.

·                     Self-sourced deals

·                     Consultative sales

·                     COI and contact development

·                     Representing the bank

·                     Effective sales technique

·                     Pre-call planning

·                     Seek and capture product fees

In summary, spelling out in great detail what behaviors a sales officer needs to engage in to achieve success is the first step toward their success, and a critical element of building a shared understanding of expectations, critical success factors and rewards across the system.