Financial Institutions have continual needs to increase customers, loan requests, and deposits. Here are five ways in which this can be done and which will provide significant results in 2018. Now is the time to implement these activities.
1. Take a deeper dive into current relationships. Relationship Managers (RM) should dust off the closed loan files and take a look at the history of current and past customer relationships. Within the files are clues to what may be needed now even though a loan is closed. For example, if a piece of equipment has been paid off and the loan closed, a natural question is whether or not the customer needs more of the same, a replacement because of age, or if growth from the deployment of the equipment means an increase in a line of credit. This can be evaluated in a like manner when it comes to other historic credit facilities. Also, in current relationship files, may be located, opportunities to supplement current activities. Some of the needs may be outside of an RM’s particular discipline, notwithstanding this, other resources from the bank should be captured to provide better service and relationship growth for the customer.
2. Relationship Managers (RM) should be the point of contact. Customers do not seek confusing cross messaging from multiple departments. Let the RM manage the various services of the bank and allow for proper relationships to develop in other areas before a customer is transitioned to Trust Services or other departments. The RM should be able to identify the needs of the customer in the course of a plant visit. Preparation for a plant tour becomes evident to the customer based on the questions asked and the depth of understanding displayed by an RM. (Download, for free, 105 questions in preparation for a plant tour at hightouchleadership.com) At the end of the tour, the RM should be able to identify not only commercial lending needs but also the need for Mortgages, Credit Cards, Trust Services etc. This is the step that increases loan requests and cross sell opportunities.
3. It’s not over after the plant tour. Time is of the essence. The customer has to feel a sense of return on time. Time invested in a plant tour should yield something of value for the customer. This can take the form of a term-sheet to propose new credit facilities, it can be the introduction of other bank personnel to fill other needs, Private Banking, Wealth Management, etc. The quicker a customer receives communication after a plant visit the higher the propensity of keeping existing customers and the higher the probability of converting new customers.
4. Cross sell opportunities abound. When an RM conducts file reviews, past and present, has various conversations, conducts plant tours, and otherwise becomes more familiar with the customer and the company’s needs, cross-sale identification becomes second nature. This also deepens the relationship and creates increased difficulty for customers to leave the institution. Cross-sale goals should be consistent and should not follow a product promotion. This merely looks like product peddling or selling the flavor of the month. Remember this is the cultivation of a lasting relationship with the goal in mind to support the business while deepening the relationship.
5. Stay connected. Use a mix of contact methods including traditional means and by leveraging technology. This could incorporate messaging, mobile banking, and statement tracking. Today’s customers have adapted themselves to technology and leveraging this platform can reduce branch FTE’s, which contributes further to bank efficiency measures. Tracking customers activities, particularly within mobile banking, yields “Big Data” that can be converted into highly targeted messaging that increases the likelihood of accepting invitations for bank products.
Remember that customers like to find value in their bank relationships and offering value in exchange for the relationship is key. This can come in the form of relationship pricing, product discounts, or other value within product campaigns executed outside of the RM responsibilities. Preservation of the relationships has a higher profitability measure than losing and replacing relationships. A premium should be placed on maintaining the current customer base while growing customer acquisition activities.
Larry Friis is the Principal of High-touch Leadership, an advisory services firm for the financial services industry. He has served on the Board of Directors of two financial institutions and is a professional speaker, a Doctoral Candidate, and an Adjunct Professor. He was a banker for more than 20 years and has developed a program for bankers called T to the Fifth Power. Larry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org