During a big snowstorm, all snowplows are busy – big ones, small ones, even the plow blades on little red pickup trucks. They just answer the phone and take all the jobs their best competitors can’t handle because the demand is so daunting.
The economy has improved and many prospects are ready to change banks. Some have been treated poorly by their big banks, while others were ignored by a community bank that was too busy cleaning up bad loans. Many of your competitors, quite frankly, didn’t make it. It’s like the messy aftermath of a blizzard.
For the survivors, even a small improvement can make for a big shift in demand.
You’re probably getting calls from more prospects asking for quotes than you’ve had in a long, long time. It feels like fun times again.
So now is the time of harvest – to take the orders from those who are calling in and responding to past marketing and positioning that you have place.
Your sales funnels are full…so you think your people are finally “selling.”
Let’s take a closer look…
Quoting rates is not selling. Matching terms is not selling. Negotiating price is not selling. If any of those things are going on, you’re probably seeing “order taking” behaviors.
Yes, there are many prospects coming to you right now and this is a great time to harvest deals. But if you are merely “responding” to their requests, you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sure, go ahead and harvest the opportunities. But don’t think this is the same as selling. Maybe they are coming to you because of the good work you did previously with them. That’s fine – pull in the harvest you planted and cared for. But do it fast and furiously, because you need to get back out there for some real selling. When the economic indicators turn south again – as they always do – you’ll be in the position to win business.
Also, the worst time to talk to a prospect about earning his business is when it is up for renewal. You are sure to have competitors nipping at your heels, offering attractive rates and terms to woo the prospect away. That puts you in a “vendor” position – not good for premium pricing and terrible for your self-esteem, as you’ll be treated like a kicking bag.
It might sound silly when you can fill your day responding to an avalanche of requests, but handling emails and texts and returning phone calls from those who want to buy right now just isn’t enough. It’s time to prospect.
If you don’t, you will be the “lonely Maytag Repairman” when the economic indicators go south again. And they will.
Even more important, the only way to know with a fair amount of certainty that you can win the business on your terms is if you approach the prospect when the loan is NOT due for renewal and you approach it with such differentiation that it is a no-brainer to switch. Now THAT is selling.
It’s not likely that this morning, before heading out the door in a rush, you had a mental debate about how to save time: Should I skip the deodorant, or maybe cut out brushing my teeth?
They are both expected, and there are definite consequences of skipping one or the other.
The same is true in a time of harvest. You must sow the seeds for a better and more prosperous harvest, or you will have consequences.
Not sure if your people are rate matching or actually prospecting? Look to the premium pricing you’re getting and to the number of deals where you have competition. If you have issues in either area, it’s likely that they are only in harvesting mode. That is sure to further compress your margins, and even worse, put you at extreme risk when the next downturn happens.
Most fortunes are made during recessions. Prepare for the next one every day by making sure your people are selling. And while you’re at it, you’ll enjoy the result of premium pricing and twice the growth rate of your competitors who remain “order takers.”