Chief Investment Officer
Commercial Loan Automation
BirdsEye Viewprofessional calling
Following up on the comment regarding
the use of first names, I received a flurry of emails. Becky
Vaughn Furlough, EVP at Trustmark, wrote: "In reading your
comments regarding first name usages, I being from the deep south, of
course, am familiar with all the situations listed. We were raised to
call adults and others we didn't know well by Mr. and Mrs. and their
last name, out of respect. Most of us in my general age bracket still
do that until asked by the person to call them by their first name. I
do agree that is truly the best approach. I have taught my children
to do so and my children are teaching my grandchildren the same. They
will often use Mr. or Mrs. with their first name, i.e. Mrs. Anat
instead of Mrs. Bird, just another Southern twist.
Calling on both clients and prospects is an intricate and often difficult activity, yet it is at the core of successful banking relationship development. I recently learned from Bob Jones, President and CEO of Central Trust and Investment Company, an interesting and most effective way to structure your officers' calling efforts, whether they are commercial bankers, wealth management executives or retail professionals.
At the core of the program are four call categories, each with its own point value:
1 point - Internal center of influence
2 points - External center of influence
3 points - Intermediate (second or more) prospect meeting
4 points - Proposal presentation
All calls are expected to take place face-to-face, with the exception of customer or prospect-preferred pre-planned telephone appointment.
Calls involving bringing a colleague from another line of business are worth additional 2 points.
A minimum expectation is 4 calls a day and 24 calls a week. Vacations are not exempt; the officer should plan for them in advance and log in enough additional calls to make the 24 extra points. While this might seem harsh, examine any of your star performers and you'll see that this is what they do naturally. It is an important part of the discipline of call management.
Note that this expectation compels calling officers to make the most out of the 200 or so calls they have the capacity to make every year, since they can't reach their point minimums by logging in countless 1 point calls.
Setting the expectations is but the first step toward a successful calling program. Building in forethought and call planning is another important element to the program. All calls should have three elements:
The pre-call plan involves several aspects:
The call agenda is then built from the pre-planning meeting content.
Before the meeting ends, the lead person should ask the prospect or client two key questions:
Further input should be shared candidly among the calling team: what worked; what didn't; what could we have done better. Brutal candor is essential to get value out of this part of the debrief. In addition, the group needs to agree on next steps and the people responsible for them (without a neck on the line, things fall between the cracks way too often).
Calling on both clients and prospects, whether as an individual or in teams, is the lifeline of client retention and acquisition. Wrapping it with a clear set of expectations and a simple process such as the one described above can facilitate increased call effectiveness, improved teamwork across banking silos, and, ultimately, greater client satisfaction.