There’s an old saying that “defense wins championships.” As I reflect on some of the demographical changes within the banking industry, however, it occurs to me that reactive, slow, or defensive strategies will likely lead to the demise of many financial institutions. The business environment and customer expectations are changing at a pace never seen before. In fact, I believe that tomorrow’s winners in the financial services industry will excel at playing offense.
Most people consider the best and most well-respected financial institutions to be those that are out and about in their communities and that have a reputation of being hungry to put deals together. Is that your organization?
Over the last several years, many financial institutions have become overwhelmed with the day-to-day operations of the business, and they have fallen into the trap of “playing defense” more than proactively attacking the opportunities within their markets. In our work with financial institutions across the country, we have identified four ways the highest performers play offense in their communities. Those that practice the following strategies are typically more profitable, they attract and retain the best talent, and they have the most fun.
- They deploy a growth culture and a customer-centric mentality that focuses on providing outstanding customer service. The best organizations know that aggressive business development activity is merely an effort to provide proactive customer service. Since most customers and prospects no longer need to come into your branches, bankers must focus their activity on making proactive and in-person calls to identify how best to provide appropriate products and services.
- They build an organizational structure focused on business development. Cutting-edge organizations build their front room (the growth engine) as the primary focus of the organization, while their back room provides the operational efficiencies, credit discipline, and compliance expertise for the organization to run smoothly.
- They hire “happy people.” Winners make a habit of winning. And happy, energetic people almost always provide an immediate boost to your sales efforts and your team’s overall morale and spirit.
- They coach their team members to success. The best athletes, the best producers, and the best leaders all thrive on being coached to success. In fact, winners in nearly every profession know that without effective coaching, they won’t perform at their peak.
With 2017 upon us, playing offense through aggressive customer service and acquisition strategies is critical to profitable growth and survival. Simply put, good things happen when financial institutions play offense in their communities.