The Secret of the Top 10% of Sales Reps

What separates the top 10% of sales personnel from the bottom 90%?

They are diligent about how they spend their time.

In banking, and likely many other fields, there is always something to do to take care of your customer. When you place your focus on always serving, the marketing function doesn’t happen. And when you stop marketing, your pipeline flatlines! I don’t know about you, but I hate waking up a 3 a.m., staring at the ceiling, wondering where my next deal is coming from. Read more

Center of Influence

How Pruning Your Traditional COIs Spurs Growth

Banking landscapes for the last twenty-five years have been extremely favorable for the industry. The economy has been strong and vital. The stock market has reached highs never experienced before, and interest rates have been at historical lows.

It’s safe to say that the financial services industry has benefited from a tailwind. We’ve enjoyed a good run.

And yet… Read more

Ton Brady Coaching

Coaching Employees Is A Far Less Costly (and More Effective) Solution Than Replacing Them

Tom Brady is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of football; however, Tom Brady strives continuously to improve his performance by working with a coach – namely the Patriots tight-end coach Nick Caley, who also serves as Tom Brady’s “broken-play” coach.

Banking isn’t much different than football. There are always broken-plays to adjust to, and a bank’s sales team needs to be receptive to coaching or it’s all for naught. If a seasoned veteran like Tom Brady is receptive to coaching and making small improvements, there’s no reason why bankers of any tenure shouldn’t be open to refining and honing their strategies, processes and behaviors. Read more

culture happiness

Building a High-Functioning Culture Takes Planning

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, famously said, “If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.” It’s apparent that they’ve gotten something right.

Recently, Eric Chester, who is described as “The Expert on Finding, Engaging, and Keeping Great Employees” visited Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas. Here’s what he discovered –– aside from what he describes as an atmosphere that “radiates individuality and personality with a spattering of controlled chaos thrown in for good measure,” which he wrote in his blog I Got Zapped!  3 Surprising Facts About the Culture of Zappos.”

  1. There are no walls or silos. Top executives are accessible and sit at the same style of desks as employees in the call center –– even Hsieh himself.
  2. Feeling depleted and need a nap? Rather than sitting at a desk, employees are encouraged to slip off to a hammock. That way they’ll be refreshed and bring the best to the customer experience.
  3. The “Customer Loyalty Team is encouraged to transform a faceless point-and-click sale into a warm and friendly experience.” How? By sending handwritten, personalized notes to customers –– a novel idea in this digital age.

Chester says, “It’s what you do for your people that goes beyond what they expect that ultimately determines the level of their engagement. Great cultures never stop evolving.”

Essentially, it takes an intentional leader to create a strong culture –– one with vision and the ability to share that vision across the board –– and one who is always willing to change what needs to be changed. Read more

recession preparation

Preparing to Win In Advance of a Recession

While our economy is still strong, most media outlets today are talking about a looming recession.  Maybe it will happen in 2020, 2021, or 2022––no one really knows for sure. However, whenever it happens, that is not the time for your relationship managers, BDOs, and lenders to employ new strategies and tactics in an effort to adapt to a recession.  That’s too late! Read more

Stellar Employees –Your Best Bet for Success

All the big successful companies––like Apple, Google, Starbucks and others––know that the key to success is having stellar front-line staff who can actively and positively engage with clients. First impressions are important and could mean the difference between success and failure in your business. To attract these key individuals, you’ll need to consider your culture, collaboration, and communication.

Create an Attractive Culture

Good salaries are important, but first employees must want to jump out of bed in the morning, eager to begin their day at the office. This is where the culture of your organization must be considered.

“If you’ve created an environment where employees are heard, valued, and respected, you’ve got a clear competitive advantage to tout. Go beyond vetting candidates to selling them on a genuine culture you’ve established,” says Peggy Shell, founder and CEO of Creative Alignments. Employees want to know their work matters. They want to be challenged and learn with a great team of collaborators who are passionate. They want to work for someone who cares and gives back.”

Effective Collaborations

It’s also important that you think of in terms of the whole. Each employee should be aware of the offerings in other departments. At Apple, it’s common place for everyone to be on the sales floor selling before they move into other positions such as training and technical repairs. The company also provides opportunities for employees to do short assignments in other positions within the stores (such as leadership) or even transfer short-term to other stores, even those in foreign countries. This provides the employees with an overarching knowledge of the company’s functions and renewed enthusiasm for working for the company. They are less likely to stagnate and feel isolated by knowing they are part of a greater whole.

Empower Your Team

Training is key to empowering your team. In the banking world, training and in-house universities have fallen by the wayside. While your older employees may have benefited initially from additional training, younger employees are often wandering around in the dark and hitting plateaus that might send them searching for adventure elsewhere. Employees need to be supported in growing and expanding their contribution to the organization. Stagnation and inertia lead to low morale, disillusionment, and eventually high levels of turnover. Training new people often is more costly than providing avenues of learning for your current employees.


Imperative above all else is communication. Leadership must be open to listening to the concerns and contributions of their entire team––especially those on the front lines. Customer relationships are formed here first. Very often those employees who interact with the customer initially may find solutions to customer service issues––or be able to enhance the relationship with that customer by providing solutions to their problems.

So if you and your leadership team wish to make even one small change that will ensure a brighter future for your organization, Stop, Look, and Listen.

  • Stop thinking that you know it all and that the way it’s been done is the way it should be done forever.
  • Look for opportunities to change the way your business is done.
  • Listen to your team. They may know more than you give them credit for.

Then be prepared to take action on suggestions that while they might be a little innovative, they might just mean setting the stage for your organization to stand out among others.

To your success!


If bringing in quality new deposit and C&I customers is a priority in 2019, call me at (760) 720-9270.  Let’s discuss your options and how to remain successful in a rising rate environment. Also click here to see my Sales Honing Academy website for more info.  

Are you Open to Change?

One of the things that can keep you from going away is an openness to change.
— Doug McMillon, CEO & President of Walmart

Almost everywhere I turn, successful CEOs from a wide variety of fields are spouting the same advice: If your business or organization is going to survive, you’ve got to be willing to change.

That calls for innovation. Read more

A Rising Rate Environment Isn’t All Bad!

Just four months after the Federal Reserve raised the target interest rate to above the rate of inflation, interest rates were hiked again. With three more rate hikes projected next year and more talk of a bear market mid-2019, the strong economic tailwinds that have made bank growth relatively easy seem to be subsiding.  As we’ve seen before, in a rising rate environment, the volume of deals declines as demand declines. Read more

change for banking

Making Way for Change

Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, once said, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

It’s no secret there is a lot of change in the air for the banking industry from new regulations, a marketplace being squeezed by a bevy of online lenders, and the most recent Fed hikes (which I will address in subsequent blogs). Obviously, this is outside change. My observation is that even with recent changes, bankers are still playing the same game they’ve been playing for decades.

Many bankers and board of directors appear to be digging in their heels and doing business as usual. To their credit, many are successful and have adopted the attitude of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That can only work for just so long.

My fear is that the banking industry is distracted by its own performance, driven in large part by demand. I believe this is a mistake ––one that could be costly on a number of levels. Read more

How Many More Sales Opportunities Are You Going To Miss?

Three Reasons to Build a Successful Touch Program

Have you ever called a prospect whom you met with 10 or 12 months prior only to discover that they already changed banks? Scratching your head, you remember the connection you had with that prospect. You wonder “why didn’t they call me, we had such a great meeting?” The truth is you were forgotten. And the reason you were forgotten and you missed a perfect sales opportunity is you lacked a disciplined follow-up process. One that enabled you to add value and would keep your name top of mind for the prospect until they were ready to switch banks.

Because it’s hard to know when the “buying window” will open and a prospect is considering switching banks, we need a process to help ensure we stop missing sales opportunities… Constructing a disciplined process for maintaining contact with prospects will minimize the very real risk of being forgotten. In your touch program, you must build a disciplined process for:

  • Build trust and name recognition. This can be achieved through repetitive “touches” or communications. We recommend you alternate between email, phone call and maybe a handwritten note. Mix it up a little. Consistency is key.
  • Add value. Adding value by being a facilitator of introductions as well as that of a consultant or advisor positions yourself uniquely in the marketplace while providing a wealth of contacts, and subsequently, value for your customer. We recommend you send a monthly email with an article attached for two consecutive months, then on the third month make a phone call to the prospect and invite them to a breakfast or lunch meeting. Repeat this process every quarter.
  • Establish yourself as an Expert: Finding and sharing quality business content is fast and easy, plus it makes you look more knowledgeable. Keep in mind, the article doesn’t have to be the “perfect”; just by sharing the knowledge you get credit.

Residential Realtors are some of the best at developing “touch programs” for consistent exposure. Realtors systematically leave reminders: a door hanger, a flyer on the front door, a flag with their business card on 4th of July. They’re disciplined with their communications (“touches”) because they never know when “the buying window” as a result of some event occurring and a homeowner is now ready to sell their home.

Stop missing sales opportunities due to disorganization, lack of discipline and not having a process. A touch program can be built in a couple hours time which isn’t much when weighed against the time required to create a quality sales appointment.