What is it you wanted to sell me?

One of my favorite print ads of all time has a picture of a businessman in a suit, sitting in an office chair, with the headline:

I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.

I don’t know your company’s product.

I don’t know what your company stands for.

I don’t know your company’s customers.

I don’t know your company’s record.

I don’t know your company’s reputation.

Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?

Do your best prospects know the answers to these questions – or are you putting your bankers in the awkward position of having to introduce the bank to everyone they meet?

For many of you, you probably have name awareness – so when a new prospect hears the name of your institution they may think they’ve heard of you but not much more comes to mind. The challenge for you is to make sure your employees are operating in an environment where prospects know the bank’s reputation, what you stand for, who runs the bank and maybe even who your individual bankers are and their reputations.

There isn’t a magic pill for creating awareness but here are a few suggestions to think about before you spend any more money.

  1. Remember that every point of contact your employees and bankers have with their friends, family and business associates is an opportunity to create awareness and done correctly, spread the right messages. This is your least expensive way to gain awareness with simple message development and coaching.
  2. You may find it worthwhile to find out what messages your bankers share at every communication portal. How do you and your team describe your bank – in writing and verbally? Do these communications say the right things about your reputation, your customers, what you stand for? Are they consistent? Are they up to par with market expectations?
  3. Review the many ways you think you’re creating awareness now – make a list. Then evaluate the results of what you’re doing now – how are you measuring success – can you? For example, if you have bankers involved in a community association or chamber, determine how much business has been generated and if it’s not what you’d expect, dig a little deeper to determine why. Are any prospects in the pipeline? Evaluate the strategy separately from the execution. In this example you may be in the right place, with the wrong person or you may have the right person, but not the right effort.
  4. Next define who you really really want to know about your financial institution, the group that you’re willing to invest in. Sure, in a perfect world with an unlimited marketing budget, everyone would know about you and what makes you a great place to bank. In reality, you may get universal name awareness (I’ve heard of your bank) but not everyone will know why you’re special and why they should do business with you. Prioritize your prospects and the market by industry, proximity to bank, relationships with current customers, etc., and focus your marketing dollars there.

With just a little investment you can find out what your customers and referral sources say and think about you. Customers usually won’t be entirely truthful with you given their perception of your power to impact the relationship – but they will tell an objective interviewer under the right circumstances. Don’t guess what they’ll say – you’ll usually miss something important that you can improve upon.

So do your homework on awareness and how you’re seen and what you stand for in your markets. And contact me if you need help.

PS click here for the full ad – it’s from 1958!

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