Banks sell very similar products. Of course each bank has its own special sauce, but overall, the products are similar-enough to lull prospective buyers into believing that it doesn’t matter which bank they buy from, or which solution they choose.
PROBLEMS SELLING A BANKING SOLUTION
Bankers therefore encounter a few problems when selling: if solutions seem the same, how does a prospect choose one over the other? or why should a person change banks?
Then there is the matter of the sales process bankers use: the focus is on getting an appointment – not on getting a sale. The overriding industry belief is that it is only with an appointment that a sale can be made, forgetting that a focus on getting an appointment is making a double sale, the first sale being the appointment, which is declined by over 90% of good leads before you even get to discuss needs or solutions.
The problem is that because the lead believes they are already taken care of, they don’t need to see you (whether they might need you or not). Not only do you leave behind a huge majority of people who might buy from you, but you are wasting humongous amounts of time. You end up meeting only a fraction of the people on the Buying Decision Team, and may need further meetings (wasting a whole lotta time) IF the original group you met with are able to convince others to meet with you again.
Read some of my earlier posts on the problems involved with seeking appointments first.
Your next major hurdle is your focus on getting strangers to change bankers and banks. Given they can’t differentiate you, and don’t want an appointment, you only have a fraction of your available prospect universe to work with. When you finally get interest, you’re attempting to get someone to get rid of the person they’ve been using for X amount of time. What you are saying, effectively, is:
Hi Mr. Jones. So nice to meet you. Say, I’d love to find out what your needs are, and what your current banking relationship is like, so I can figure out where the holes in the service are so I can get you to leave them and choose me instead. Now. That’s right. I’d like you to do it now – or once I get you to like me better than the person you’ve been banking with for the past 5 years even though you think our solutions are similar and you’re happy with them.
WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE
Using Buying Facilitation, it’s possible to start the conversations by entering as a decision facilitator rather than a Trusted Advisor or Relationship Manager or whatever nicey nicey term you’re using so a stranger will think you care and aren’t just trying to sell something.
Your conversation would begin by you helping the prospect ‘look around’ their environment and see what the difference is between where they are at, and where they need to be, and see if they can figure out how to get to Excellence with their current resources (Yes, including their current banker. They will go to him/her first anyway.)
And, btw, give up the need to ‘understand’ your prospect at the beginning of your relationship you will never, ever, understand what is ‘going on’ for them, in re the internal politics of changing bankers, as an outsider! Of course, when it’s time to place the proper solution you will need to understand everything. That comes later. Your first job is to lead them much like a GPS system knows how to get you to your destination without understanding the nature of your journey.
A couple of Facilitative Questions to use midway down the Buying Facilitation funnel might be:
What is stopping you from achieving the full range of banking support you might need over time?
How would you and your Buying Decision Team know when/if it were time to add new banking services to the ones you are currently using?
It is only when, or if, their current banking relationship has something missing – something they hadn’t noticed until you taught them how to look around (by facilitating a journey of discovery – read Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it to understand this discovery) – and gotten buy-in from all of the people – ALL of the people – that will touch a solution, that they can consider changing providers.
Stop attempting to sell. Stop pushing solution. Your solution is viable. You first need to help buyers recognize and manage all of the back-end decisions they must address on their way to Excellence. Then you’ll be a true Trusted Advisor and Relationship Manager. It’s not about your solution: it’s about when or how or if they buy.
By Daniel Blare