True confession…I often find time in my busy consulting schedule to play golf. And since most of my banker friends are working, my regular golf partners are small business owners. Since they know I work with banks, I get to hear a lot of their complaints about banks. By the way, there’s nothing more exciting than sitting in a golf cart for over four hours listening to someone complaining about banks!
So what are my small business golfing buddies complaining about? I know you don’t have four hours to kill so I’ll give you the “Reader’s Digest” version… “They think the large banks really don’t want their business and the small community banks really can’t help them!” My golfing buddies are basing their complaints on the following…
1. Banks never make sales calls on them. I am always shocked to hear one of my business golfing buddies tell me they have “Never had a banker call on them!” In this competitive world of banking, how is it possible that banks are not calling on every small business in their market? And when these bankers do venture out of their offices, they make sales calls on the “usual suspects”… high-profile growing businesses in the community. The same high-profile growing businesses that every bank within a 20-mile radius are calling on!
In the age of the internet, there is no excuse for not identifying and calling on more small businesses. And although they may not be the answer to the bank’s loan growth needs, they will have valuable deposits most banks would love to have.
2. The bank's staff doesn’t understand business. Most bankers in the branches understand the bank’s retail products but are uncomfortable talking with small businesses about cash flow and accounts receivables. And if there are commercial bankers in the branch, they are calling on the larger revenue businesses, not the small business owners.
This is a little tougher problem to solve. Banks have got to either hire more bankers in the branches that understand small businesses or provide them with training on how to understand small businesses.
3. Banks make it tough on them to get a loan. To the small business, the bank’s loan process is too complex and slow. Now you can’t blame banks for having established loan standards but often the whole loan process appears to be designed to discourage the small business owner. To a lot of my business golfing buddies, they believe the bank makes its loan process onerous just to get rid of them!
I don’t plan on changing golf buddies so I’m hoping banks will change how they deal with small businesses. If they do, it will drastically improve my level of satisfaction on the golf course and I’m certain it will help the banks improve their loan and deposit results.
If you want help improving your bank's small business sales and marketing effort, please contact me. I have fully researched these issues with my small business golfing buddies and I have some very effective solutions.
Sales Performance Coach