Reality Check…Banks can’t shrink themselves to greatness! In other words, just cutting staff and reducing operating expenses isn’t always the best way for banks to be successful. In fact, as in the cartoon suggests, sometimes the bank’s budget cuts and workforce reductions can cause more problems. Not saying some budget cuts aren’t necessary but sometimes banks can cut too deep.
So what should a bank do when facing tough economic times?
1. Make sales your top priority… Stop pretending to care about sales and really get serious about it. If your bank’s President isn’t clear what’s specifically happening down in the branches to improve sales, it’s probably not happening.
2. Establish specific sales actions for everyone…Selling consists of every banker doing specific sales actions over and over again. If your bankers are not clear about what specific sales actions they are required to perform every day, they are probably just "wishing and hoping" for sales results.
3. Confirm that everyone knows how to perform those sales actions correctly…There’s a “right way” and a “wrong way” to do everything. Most bankers have never been shown the “right way” to perform sales actions. Doing a sales action incorrectly is more destructive than not doing it at all.
4. Require that every manager provide regular sales coaching… Selling is tough and bankers must be constantly motivated to keep selling. Motivating bankers is the number one job of their manager.
5. Trust but verify…Trust that bankers are performing the established sales actions correctly but double-check regularly just to make sure. It ain’t “micro-managing” it’s just doing your darn job!
6. Be patient but practical… If a banker is really struggling to make sales, the manager has three choices…Training, Transfer or Terminate. Be patient but don’t wait forever to replace a poor performer.
If your bank is trying to shrink itself to greatness and it’s not working, maybe you should try something else. But don’t wait too long because your ship may be sinking!