What You Do Speaks So Loudly (Issue 887)

In which we are reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation, “What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

A friend, knowing that I focus in the financial services industry, sent me one of his Saturday morning rants about how his bank treats him badly.  I look forward to these; he is SO ANGRY when he writes to me that I almost always laugh aloud.  He’s an entrepreneur; he has been successful over a long period of time.  He keeps significant (high-six figures) balances at his primary bank. This morning, he wrote about a “canned” generic email received from his bank:

Subject line: A Special Invitation to Join Private Banking.

Under a fancy graphic, the gist of which was, “This is the next step for you…”, came the following:

“Congratulations!  Because of your relationship with us, I’d like to invite you to join our Private Banking program.  As a member, you’ll gain exclusive access to….” followed by a list of services available only to Private Banking clients.

“As your dedicated advisor, I’m part of a team of specialists who…” followed by a list of services they provide.

“If you’d like to learn more about the personalized financial advice I can provide, let’s set up a meeting to talk about what matters to you most.  You can reach me at….” followed by a phone number and a link.

The link connects to a page with another nice graphic followed by the words, “Advice is best when it’s personal….”   followed somewhat later by the words “…benefit from personal attention from your dedicated Private Banker….”

The email finished with the text, “Sincerely,” the Private Banker’s name, and his title, “Private Banker.” 

My friend wrote to me, “Nick, you know this industry. Am I missing something?   This bank is pitching me with a “special invitation” to a service that is “personal” and “dedicated” by sending me a generic email that was sent to, probably, several thousand people without even a hint of personalization, like,  “Dear Frank” at the beginning. Do I feel warm and fuzzy?  ******, no!   Do I trust they’d really give me personal attention?  ******, no!   This is TONE DEAF.”

If we’re pitching services we position as personal (consulting, investment advisory, commercial banking, accounting, personal shopping, and so on), and personal is an important part of the offer, we’ll get better responses from our clients and prospects if our communications demonstrate “personal.”

What we do speaks so loudly that people can’t hear what we’re saying.

Align “promise” and “presentation” so people can hear the message.  

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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