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Ted Rosen, EBD's President, has written extensively on the sales process within the financial services industry and his articles have been published in numerous acclaimed financial journals.

Why Bankers Should Treat Their Customers Like Dogs

At last count, almost 45,000,000 US households had at least one dog in residence. The vast majority of these four-legged friends are treated lovingly, affectionately and are looked upon as members of the family. Consequently, these dogs exhibit great loyalty, devotion and go to extraordinary lengths to protect their human family.

To my knowledge very few of these dogs can read or write English or any other language. Their intense loyalty is created by the way they are treated and the actions, not the words, of their owners. Those of us who are dog lovers know how responsive dogs can be even to a look of approval or scorn.

Customers (and prospects) are much the same...

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Why Your Bank Will Fail at Cross-Selling

For banks and financial institutions, cross-selling has become the Holy Grail of the new millennium. Virtually all large institutions have highly organized cross-selling programs in place. Some are into the second and third generations of such programs.Some work well and others just antagonize customers and drive good employees out of the bank.

Most small-to-midsized institutions by now have implemented cross-selling programs or are in the early stages of implementation. No matter what stage of planning or implementation a bank is in, many bankers are not confident that their approach is the right one to meet both their short- and long-term objectives. Their misgivings are well founded...

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What Bankers Can Learn from Baseball's Biggest Blunder

Unless your bank has no humans in the workforce, it’s a good bet that mistakes are going to be made. While you shouldn’t diminish your efforts to eradicate them completely, it’s critically important to develop and implement a plan to give your people, especially those on the front line, the tools to defuse angry feelings, turn mistakes into opportunities to shine, and rebuild relationships that have gone sour.

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Learning to Think Like Your (Small Business) Customers

Community banking today is truly a good news-bad news story. The bad news is that there is a host of new competition, some of it coming from non-traditional service providers and some coming from companies that heretofore had nothing to do with banking products (BMW, UPS, State Farm and Costco to name a few). The good news is that for community banks that can plan well and execute crisply, the world can be their oyster, especially in the world of small business banking.

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Getting Your Bankers to be Warriors Instead of Soldiers

One way to distinguish between a soldier and a warrior is in the way they view themselves. One sees his role as his job or even a career, while the other sees the role as his mission in life (or so their respective actions would imply). This passionate, focused and driven behavior is what creates greatness within individuals and, collectively, within organizations.

So how does an organization, specifically a bank, turn its soldiers into warriors?

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Why Your Bankers Can't, Won't (and Shouldn't) Make Cold Calls

The greatest impediment is time. It takes our professional, senior level, highly-trained agents an average of five hours and 40-70 calls to make one well qualified appointment. Our people are focused, dedicated to the process and not trying to do six other things along the way. In addition, there is a “connectivity” issue. Over 90 percent of the initial calls end up with gatekeepers, assistants or voice mail. If a banker is lucky enough to get a call back, there is a high likelihood that he or she will not be able to take the call, hence another attempt with similar results. After about three attempts back and forth, most games of phone tag die a natural death.

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The Entrepreneurial Banker: Oxymoron or Opportunity Pt 1

This article is devoted to the notion that the world of banking is fundamentally different than it was only a few years ago and that the successful banker of the new millennium will do business differently than he or she did before.

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The Entrepreneurial Banker: Oxymoron or Opportunity Pt 2

In part one of this article, [...] we explored the concept and rationale for creating the entrepreneurial banker and examined some cultural impediments. In part two, we will look at some of the tactical elements and how to execute them for maximum success.

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Remote Capture - A Bank's Secret Weapon

Remote capture is truly the community bank's secret weapon. The problem is, it is so secret, many community banks do not even realize it. Remote capture, simply stated, is the ability to scan and transmit check images from the customer site, thereby eliminating the need to take the physical check to the bank to make a deposit. it is part of the Check 21 regulatory revolution. it is also, arguably, one of the three truly innovative developments in the banking industry in the last four decades, along with ATMs and Internet banking.

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Mistakes Happen, but Good Recoveries are Rarer

People who have been victimized by banks or any other businesses are generally looking for three things in the wake of the mistake: acknowledgment (a straightforward and unambiguous admission that a mistake was made), a sincere apology and taking or, at least, offering action to make it right (crediting fees if incurred, reprinting checks, etc.). For many, doing an exemplary job with the apology eliminates the need for any further action.

So why don't all anks and bankers deliver these obvious remedies?

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Love It, Don't Leave It - Community Banks and the Sales Process

Sales process: Such a cold, threatening—and misunderstood—term. For senior bankers, sales process signals change to the sacred order of their orderly lives. For junior officers and frontline people, sales process translates into intense pressure to sell products to customers who may not need or want them. What’s really at work here? It’s fear of the unknown and fear of change. Change, of course, equals risk, and what group is more risk averse than bankers?

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An Edge in Thinking Like Small-Business Owners

Many bankers do not know what [Small-Business Owners] think of them or what drive their banking decisions. Owners typically take both the bank and the banker into consideration. Branch location can be a factor, but pricing and terms are rarely the prime reasons they change banks. [...]

Differentiation in products, pricing, and terms is virtually impossible to sustain, but you can differentiate your bank by showing customers you understand their needs and can meet them.

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Truly successful practitioners of business development, especially in the world of high-value, relationship-oriented business, almost always use a concept that we call Respectful Persistence™. This subtle skill strikes a delicate balance between diligently pursuing a prospect and always maintaining a high level of respect for their boundaries and wishes.

A significant part of the training that is integral to our agents' preparation focuses on Respectful Persistence™. We teach our agents how to use each contact with the prospect as a way to underscore how important, satisfying and appropriate a relationship between our client and the prospect would be. At the same time, we measure and allow for the wishes of the prospect for time and space between contacts or interactions. This process requires that our agents have a high degree of listening skills, sensitivity and judgment while still being able to be assertive in pursuing an appointment with the prospect. The real key to achieving this state of balance is to be able to quickly engage the prospect on an emotional level and build rapport and trust. When this happens, the prospect is much more likely to let down his or her guard and truly connect with and "get the message" from our agent.

Equally important is the follow-up process. Having the tools to track and manage the follow-up actions is critically important as is the discipline to crisply execute the plan for follow-up.

This philosophical commitment to Respectful Persistence™ is engrained in every service we provide our clients. Whether our agents are calling the prospect or our client's business development team is calling or visiting with the prospect, this same skill set will make the difference between mediocrity and the kind of "best of breed" business development techniques that our clients have come to associate with Expert Business Development, LLC.

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