Business Banking

Talking Business with Current and Up-Tiered Clients

Situation: A superregional bank’s business bankers needed a stronger grasp on cash flow from the business owner’s perspective. Ultimately, the bank wanted to increase the quality and depth of business bankers’ conversations with clients and prospects, creating deeper relationships and higher needs identification. Current cross-sell of products was significantly below market opportunity and bank goals, particularly in cash management products. In addition, the bank wanted to sharpen business bankers’ skills to proactively call on larger clients in the $5-10MM sales range.

Project Focus:The Business Banking Line of Business was seeking a training solution that would address:

  • Business acumen
  • Matching financing solutions with the appropriate products
  • Understanding cash flow management problems and appropriate solutions
  • Issues faced by larger clients
  • Call preparation
  • High-quality, in-depth sales conversations

Clarity Role: Clarity started with an existing business simulation, customizing the case for a larger business and building a financing scenario that allowed business bankers to brainstorm solutions and discuss with representatives from the bank’s underwriting area. Clarity provided a simple and intuitive questioning model for understanding a business’ cash flow cycle and customized materials around the bank’s products and services. Group work was designed to address the similarities and differences in banking a company with sales below $5MM and sales in the $5 – 10MM range. The class participated in a round-robin table exercise to identify key issues faced by bank-defined industries, allowing bankers to see how research and call planning by industry-type can lead to better strategy development to attain business. As a final classroom activity, bankers spent time preparing for upcoming calls using a partner approach to strategize and plan for questions, opportunities and challenges.

For application and sustainment, Clarity developed a series of emails that was delivered to key managers twice a month for three months following training. Each email had a brief reminder of a key learning, an activity around that learning to be completed in a team sales meeting, and a challenge to coach business bankers on in the coming two weeks.

Improving Small Business Bankers’ Sales Conversation Confidence Levels

Situation: A leading North American bank desired to attract more small business clients and expand existing small business client accounts. Confidence levels of lesser experienced business bankers was boosted by providing 1) a better understanding of how cash flows throughout a business from a business owner’s perspective and 2) a conversation model to enable them to have more consistent and productive conversations with prospects and clients. Some bankers were new to the position and lacked experience, while others had been in their positions for some time but had not been provided the necessary background and skills critical for success.

Project Focus: The Learning Area that partnered with the Small Business Banking Line of Business was seeking a performance improvement solution that would improve banker’s capabilities to:

  • Understand small business cash flow challenges and recommend appropriate solutions
  • Implement a foundational sales conversation model
  • Develop questions to engage customers in deeper, more productive sales conversations
  • Manage resistance encountered in customer conversations
  • Expand customer conversations to sell deeper and capture entire relationships

Clarity Role: Clarity began by using an existing business simulation, customizing as necessary to reflect nuances for this particular client. Clarity provided its flagship workshop Talking Business with Small Business® to help bankers understand how cash flows through a business and customized materials to reflect the bank’s products and services. The company’s corporate value proposition was reviewed and bankers crafted their own individual value propositions that aligned with corporate. Pre-call planning and a four-step sales conversation model were introduced and practiced with the group. Learning occurred as each step of the model was presented and practice opportunities for each component were provided.   Finally, a case study was utilized to model and practice completing an entire sales conversation from inception to close.

For sustainment, Clarity conducted a series of group telephone conversations with small business bankers focused on reinforcing concepts introduced throughout the workshop. A Clarity facilitator led discussions focused on challenges, techniques for implementing recently introduced tools, and successes that bankers were experiencing as a result of the initiative.

Increasing Sales Time, Revenues, Customer Service

Situation: In this major US bank’s Small Business Service group, small-business relationship managers were too busy to generate more sales than they already handled.

Project Focus and Clarity Role: Clarity worked with the bank to create a telephone-based team to support specific managers and named customers. Team members were given manager-level authority and we trained them to handle day-to-day service requests.

Outcome: Relationship managers got 20 percent more time to sell. Revenues went up by 10 percent, cost-to-serve down by 15 percent. And surveys showed business customers rated the service more highly.

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