The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Friday, October 15, 2021
Volume 27 | # 634
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"Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create." » Roy T. Bennett

Don't Undersell Sales Roles

A recent experience with a young car salesman had me reflecting on a piece of advice I’ve repeated to hundreds of young people over the years.

Now, as soon as I say, “car salesman”, I have no doubt that most have negative thoughts begin running through their minds.

Over hundreds of seminars, I’ve asked folks to share who they believe are the scariest salespeople in the world.

Car salesman (particularly used car salesman) is the first thing called out. Always.

I’ll sometimes ask if anyone had purchased a car recently. If so, what was the experience like?

Almost always, people say, “They were actually pretty nice.”

Our experience with Luis was great. His product knowledge was fantastic, and his respectful demeanor and helpful advice were stellar. 

That piece of advice I’ve often given to young people is that when they consider what they’d like to do for a living, they should look for things that are not easy.

Beyond that, and especially early on, look for jobs that will help you develop marketable skills.

Strive to become exceptional at that hard job, knowing that it may take a stretch of struggling before you hit your stride. (Luis was 26 and had been in sales for five years.) 

Most of the better paying jobs out there are not jobs folks are simply born great at.

You can be the smartest person in the room and yet struggle when working on becoming a great doctor or engineer or musician or programmer or manager…or salesperson.

The cost of entry into those professions may vary, but the time and effort involved to become exceptional at any of them is similar.

I realize some folks may think “salesperson” seems like the oddball category on that list. It’s not.

I know more than a few individuals whose primary jobs are sales and/or leading teams of salespeople who make more than cardiologists – the highest average salaried profession in the US.

Now, job fulfillment is obviously not just about money. But the idea that a “sales” position is not a vital professional job is incredibly mistaken.

The best salespeople understand their businesses better than anyone and use their knowledge and skills to identify customers’ needs and generate business. 

The ability to connect with other humans is one of the more vital and coveted skills in any line of business.

How will you polish those skills today?


Not Shopping Around

There’s a suggestion I frequently share with bankers that I warn them might sound discouraging, but it shouldn’t be.

I tell them that an incredibly low percentage of their target market gave them a moment’s thought today.

Seriously…not one second. 

They spend all day focused on customers and potential customers.

Customers spend all day thinking about 100 different things…none of which include them.

(Okay, I admit that sounds harsh.)

An even tinier percentage of that target market have any idea of the ways these bankers might be able to make banking a little easier, more convenient, or more pleasant for them. 

To bankers who operate in established branches, this sounds especially disheartening.

We tend to assume that an established location is well known to people in its service area.

Many bankers also seem to believe that people in their market(s) who are not presently doing business with them choose other banks for clear reasons.

Surely, these folks regularly evaluate their options and make informed decisions accordingly.

Well, it’s possible they do. It’s far more likely, however, that they chose a bank based on branch location some time back and have not seriously considered other options since.

In short, most folks in our target markets are not regularly reevaluating their banking relationships.

A choice was made long ago and has seldom or never been revisited.

I tell bankers that they aren’t coming up short by comparison. It’s far more probable that they aren’t being compared at all.

That’s as true for an established brick-and-mortar branch in “an old part of town” as it is to an in-store location in a new development.

Continual marketing – both “official” corporate marketing and personal outreach efforts – remains as critical for the 20-year-old location as the 20-day-old one.

Most regular folks have never had a banker personally ask them to be their banker.

Doubt that? Ask around. Most have a bank.

Very few were ever individually asked for their business. 

Banking is an incredibly competitive industry. Consumers in our target markets have more options than at any time in history.

Yet, most aren’t thinking about options - until you show them new and better ones.

A team will seldom win a competition it isn’t fully in. Strive this week to make sure that yours is.


"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." » Marcus Aurelius

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any affiliated entities or sponsors.
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Dave Martin

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Dave Martin has become one of the most prolific writers in the banking industry. His columns and newsletters are read in thousands of financial institutions each month. His keynote presentations, seminars, and podcasts have an authenticity and humor that brings teams of all sizes and seniority levels together.

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