Why do bankers give up on a potential sale so easily? If someone says, “I will think about it,” does this mean you should call them back or would you treat it as a dead opportunity? Too often, we leave valuable sales on the table just because we don’t follow-up like a bloodhound.
Years ago, I lived in England where they still have traditional fox hunts. There is one thing I learned by watching a fox hunt – the dog does not give up! The dog keeps on running and trying to find the fox until the fox is found.
Too often we stop our chase before it even gets started. Let me give you a real life example. A few weeks ago, I stopped into my bank. I have had a home equity line of credit for more than 10 years with this bank. I thought it might be good to see if I could do a bit better from a rate perspective now that rates have dropped significantly. Here is exactly what happened.
I sat down with the branch manager. She was pleasant in her greeting however she did not introduce herself by name or do any type of formal introduction. The branch manager was very polite. She answered each of my questions about the account, rate, and refinancing procedure. After all of my questions were answered, I said that I would discuss it with my wife and we would make a final decision. That was more than 5 weeks ago!
Never once did the branch manager ask for any of my contact details to verify if they still had the correct phone number. Never once did the branch manager ask for my email address. Never once did she hand me her business card so I would know who to call should I have more questions. Never once did she call me back to follow-up on my visit.
If a customer takes valuable time out their day to stop into the branch to ask questions, does that not qualify them as having interest in your product or service? It is time to stop leaving good business on the table and start following-up with every opportunity.
Here is what a banker sales bloodhound should have done:
1) Know your customer. Before a potential customer leaves your office you should know who they are, what relationships they have with you, and make sure you verify their phone number and email address. It is sad to say but phone numbers and email addresses change frequently and most likely your records are old or inaccurate.
2) Hand out a business card. Before they leave your office, hand them your business card. In fact hand them two business cards just in case they need one for their spouse. This is why you have business cards. This year your goal should be to go through as many boxes as possible.
3) Send an email. Directly after the customer leaves your office, send an email! You just verified the email address, so send them a quick email and say thank you for stopping in and you look forward to talking with them in a few days. If the email bounces, call them up and re-check the email address. You must have written it down incorrectly.
4) Follow-up like a bloodhound. Don’t stop until you get a final answer. Maybe is not a final answer. We will think about it is not a final answer. Yes, I would like to make an appointment or No, we are no longer interested is a final answer.
5) Follow-up again. Lastly, let’s say a few days go by and you do not hear from the potential customer. Now is the time to be creative in your approach. Call them back and this time, use a servicing approach. Here is an example:
Hi Mr. Smith, this is Jane from Your Bank. We talked a few days ago about refinancing your home equity line of credit. The reason I am calling is that I may have forgotten to provide you with one other important piece of information about refinancing your loan. I noticed that you do not use our mobile banking product. Well, with your new line of credit account, you will be able to access this account from our mobile banking application.
This simple follow-up call provides one new nugget of information for your prospect but it also provides you with a valid reason to talk with them to gain commitment.
Don't let a week go by without contacting them again. Bloodhounds don’t give up. Bloodhounds want to win. Don’t you want to win? Sure you do. Stop letting business go to your competitor and start following up like the banking sales professional you really are.