Concord, MA, December 15, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Banks that want to grow more profitable small business relationships must focus more deeply on their customers. According to the 2009 Small Business Banking Satisfaction StudySM conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, customer satisfaction increases when an account manager demonstrates a complete understanding of a small business customer’s business. High levels of satisfaction (over 800 on a 1,000 point scale) can result in a 20 percent increase in revenue.
Clarity Advantage, a firm that helps banks generate more profitable small business relationships, offers these impact-boosting tips for account managers:
· Focus on the business and owner, not your products. Engage small business owners with conversations that focus on their personal and company goals and operations challenges rather than on products the bank is promoting. They want to bank with people who understand them and care about them.
· Conduct research. Learn about critical industry trends or challenges that targeted small business owners are facing. Use this information to anticipate customer challenges and guide conversation to issues that matter to the customer.
· Use business and financial acumen small business owners use. Understand and use accounting terms like “depreciation,” financial concepts such as “impact of growth on cash flow,” and tax issues like “the implications of leasing a piece of equipment versus buying it” to demonstrate knowledge.
· Understand cash flow. Know how business owners collect, pay out, invest, and withdraw cash from their businesses. Make connections to bank products.
· Know the value of the bank’s solutions. Understand how and when bank products solve customer operations challenges and the value that products create when implemented. Use this knowledge to recommend the right products at the right time.
· Pay more attention to small business customers after they open accounts. Check in with customers during the first 90-180 days after account opening to broaden conversations to include personal and employee financial needs. This requires that account managers ask a prescribed set of questions during the account opening process to identify likely future conversation topics, take notes so they can remember what was said, carve out the time to make the calls to continue the conversation, and complete a thorough check of the business’s payment cycle methods if this conversation wasn’t completed during the account opening process.
· Call existing small business customers at least once a year for an annual check-up. Lead a 15-minute to 30-minute discussion covering the business’s goals, performance, challenges, and plans; a review of the business’s payment cycle methods; the owner’s personal and family financial goals and challenges including deposit, investment, and retirement strategies and resources; and employee financial goals and challenges. Twice a year is better than once a year. For profitable and expandable customers, touch at least quarterly.
To learn more and see how Clarity Advantage has helped numerous banks focus on their small business customers and increase results, visit www.clarityadvantage.com.
About Clarity Advantage: Clarity Advantage helps banks generate more profitable relationships faster with small and medium-sized companies, their owners, and employees. Clarity consulting, communications, sales tools and training help banks recruit and deploy sales team members, choose their best business and consumer prospects and clients, then approach, engage, sell, expand, and retain relationships. Clarity also assists banks with consumer sales and cash management sales. Clarity clients have posted increases in household penetration, cross-sells, deposit volume, and loan volume. Visitors to Clarity’s website, www.clarityadvantage.com, can subscribe to “The Weekly Sales Thought,” a free eNewsletter focused on business-to-business selling and sales management.