Sales: Spread Offense

Spread OffenseWhen it comes to sales, everyone in your organization is a player. This especially rings true if you represent a small organization.  Regardless of your position at work, everyone has an opportunity to sale.  In a small community bank, the same rules apply.  A small community bank may not have the huge sales team of Bank of America or Wells Fargo, but they do have several people who work and live in the communities they serve.

Think of it like a spread offense in football.

For those who are not up on their football terminology, the spread offense is when your quarterback is in the shotgun formation and you stack the line with as many receivers as possible.  In addition to wide receivers, this also includes tight ends and placing a running back as a receiver.

Here are some examples of how everyone can be in sales.  Though these examples reference situations in the community banking world, they can be applied in other industries.

Sales Force: Wide Receivers

Jerry Rice

To me it was never about what I accomplished on the football field, it was about the way I played the game. – Jerry Rice

Just like wide receivers are the life blood to the spread offense, your sales staff is the life blood to your sales strategy.  Your sales team should know the offensive playbook, know the defense and be able to catch the pass.

  • Route Patterns: Your sales team should know what steps are needed to take a prospect and make them a customer.  They should know what services the company offers, how to effectively work through the company’s sales pipeline and what document are needed from the customer before closing the sale.
  • Study the Defense: A great receiver knows the defense they are playing against.  They study tapes and find ways to outsmart their opponent.  Likewise a great sales person needs to know who they are competing against when calling on a prospect.  This way they can find out what sets them apart and use it to their advantage.
  • Catch the Ball:  When the time comes, a great receiver catches the ball.  A good sales person can get to know a prospect and pitch a sales plan; however a great sales person must be able to “catch the ball” and close the sale.

Service Team: Running Back

Walter Payton

When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you. – Walter Payton

In banking, customer service is what causes a customer to stay or leave a business.  In order to keep customers happy, tellers and other customer service bankers have to be quick on their feet and be able to weave their way through roadblocks to exceed customer expectations.  They basically have to mentally maneuver like a running back does during a big game.

Bankers on the customer service side are also asked to cross sell when dealing with customers.  Being able to cross sell requires developing a certain skill set:

  • Find the gap: Running backs must have good vision in order to find the right gap to choose.  In banking, the customer service staff must be able to ask the right questions and listen for opportunities in order to effectively cross sell.  By engaging in meaningful conversation with customers, bankers will be able to find out what their customers needs and wants; thus finding the right gap to run through.
  • Ball Handling: If a running back is unable to hold on to the football, they will continuously fumble and their career will be ended very quickly.  Bankers are no different.  If you are unable to give your customers great service and “drop the ball” then you will lose trust (and value) with your customers and not be able to cross sell.
  • Get in the weight room: Great running backs are constantly in the weight room working out and training.  They work their muscles to the limit and push themselves to the next level every day.  Bankers should use this concept when learning about their business.  Learning about bank services, studying bank regulations and staying informed about your customer base are just three ways bankers can be pushing themselves to the next level.

Back Office: The Tight End

Tony Gonzalez

He makes big plays for us in different situations when we need him. – Matt Ryan (on Tony Gonzalez)

The tight end position is a hybrid position that is part offensive lineman and receiver.  When they are not protecting the quarterback or blocking defenders, they are moving up the field getting in position to receive the ball.  Your back office people are no different.  They spend the majority of their time focusing on protecting the company, but may find an opportunity to refer business to the company.

In banking, compliance officers are seen as back office only individuals, but just because they are not on the sales team doesn’t mean they don’t have interaction with other humans.  Think of all the people they interact with on a weekly, if not daily, basis:

  • They socialize with family members
  • They volunteer in the community
  • Their children participate in school activities

These are just three examples of how back office people can be placed in a moment where they can promote your business.  What that in mind, are your back office people aware of the services you offer?  Do they know your sales staff well enough to refer business to them?  If not, you are missing out on opportunities to grow your business.

So, is your company set up in a spread offense?  Do you have a star wide receiver, a high performing running back, and/or a skilled tight end?


Creating Fans

Ali BabaWhat makes a business build a strong following?  Here’s one great example

If you live in Knoxville, by now you have heard about Ali Baba’s Time Out Deli and hopefully you were able to experience it before the owners decided to close the deli.  Every visit was an experience and no two visits were alike.  The two men who ran the establishment had a passion for what they did.  They loved talking to people, took pride in their work; and it created a strong fan base.  Here are three basic rules the owners of Ali Baba’s stood by:

Create a Great Product

Sounds simple, but many businesses fail because their product is too bland.  In the case of Ali Baba’s, they decided to have a menu that offered different items.

  • Traditional Deli Sandwiches: Pastrami sandwiches, roast beef and many more deli sliced awesome sandwiches.
  • Burgers and Such:  The Vol Burger, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches.
  • Middle Eastern Dishes: Falafel options, hummus and the infamous King Solomon Chicken plate.

By no means did I try everything on the menu, but the items I did eat, I loved.  They made the best pastrami sandwich in town and the King Solomon Chicken was a great dinner any day of the week.

Provide Excellent Service

A company can have the offer the best product every made, but without focusing on service, it is destined for failure.  The two men who worked at Ali Baba’s were always happy to see customers and went out of their way to show their appreciation.  They never made their customers feel like an inconvenience and were always willing to share suggestions to customers when customers were debating what they wanted to eat.

While waiting for the meals to be prepared, the guys would either be going on with some kind of banter, make you laugh at a quick joke or would have a conversation about what was on their television. There were a few winter nights I would walk in there tired and cold, but because of their warm personalities, I always walked out happy and feeling good.

Be Different

Ali Baba’s wasn’t for everybody.  It was a vibe that was all its own.  They didn’t try to be all things to all people.  It was a deli in East Tennessee with a Middle Eastern twist.  You couldn’t order a beer with you Vol Burger; though you could purchase a hookah.  They didn’t have fountain drinks with unlimited refills, but you could purchase exotic canned sodas.  People chose to eat at Ali Baba’s because they knew it was something they couldn’t get anywhere else in town.

These three basic principles helped sustain Ali Baba’s Time Out Deli for 40 years. It created a loyal fan base of people who flocked there on a regular basis.  For those loyal individuals who lived outside of Knoxville, they would always make sure to stop by when passing through town.  It was a deli, but more importantly it was an experience.

What was your experience at Ali Baba’s Time Out Deli?

Never been, then what experience have you had with a business that left you wanting more?

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