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?


About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

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