I got a call from the retail sales and service training manager of a smallish and well-known bank in the Boston area, a bank that consistently advertises their interest in small business relationships. Someone on his team had recommended that he call me. He was looking for information about our small business banking sales training.
“Sure!,” I said, “we’re very strong in that area” and I asked him some questions about their plans for small business at the bank, what kind of strategies they were using, branch managers’ roles, etc. He knew answers to some of the questions, not to others.
So, I described some of our capabilities in the small business area. “Thanks,” he said, “That’s great. I’ll share this information with my retail director and I’ll call you if I’m interested.”
And, then. I got an inexplicable case of “run on at the mouth.”
In an effort to communicate that I was familiar with his bank and interested in working with his team, I said, “I have a checking account and home equity loan with your bank” … and then my mouth wouldn’t stop…
“…and it wasn’t a great experience,” I said. “We learned a lot about the branch manager’s son’s upcoming wedding while we were working through the loan application. When we showed up for the loan closing, I found several mistakes in the documents, including the loan amount. We had to come back a week later to sign the documents. The branch manager walked us through the documents, we signed, we shook her hand, and we left. That was it. She never asked me about my business or, really, very much about our family or financial situation. And I haven’t heard from her since.”
Silence for a few moments.
“OK,” he said. “I’m going to share the information about your training programs with my manager and, if we are interested, I will give you a call back.”
Yep, that’s what “terminal run on at the mouth” attacks will do for you.
But, wait a minute. This was the head of SALES AND SERVICE TRAINING I was speaking with. You would think that, upon hearing that one of his teammates had not expanded her conversation with me, he might have said something like, “Oh, may I have one of my colleagues call you? I’d like to make sure they talk to you about your business.” Or, “Oh, sounds like we dropped the ball a little. Would you be open to picking up the conversation about your business and family with one of my team mates?”
Something that would have started a conversation. But, no.
Sales opportunities don’t always come to the people designated as sales representatives on our teams. They show up at the oddest times with operations team members, colleagues in human resources, and even directors of retail sales training.
It’s useful to make sure that everybody on the team is prepared to position the company and encourage a conversation when those opportunities show up.
Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.
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