When a bank's business development team gets charged up and ready to call on prospects, they’re often so eager to talk, they forget to find out about what’s keeping the prospect up at night. "Me, me, me!", they say. Don't be that guy.
you need to be a valued partner, not a commodity
When you can start a conversation that’s about them, you have the basis for a valuable, significant discussion. That positions you from the start as an expert who can help, instead of a commodity. (Read part 1 of our Heartburn article here.)
Social media can offer huge insights into what’s happening in a business if you take some time to pay attention, and to read between the lines. Here are some ways you can use it to learn a lot before you go into a meeting:
social media they completely control
Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of my favorites for clues about what’s keeping them up at night. Take a look:
- Do you see a lot of discounting or clearance sales? This could be a clue that the business needs cash flow or has excess inventory they need to offload. You might be able to offer a better line of credit or a way to help them process and receive their payments faster.
- Do you see a large number of employees? This could mean they have plenty of HR headaches. A pay card solution could help them streamline their administrative costs for employees.
- Are they hiring a lot of people, or are open positions unfilled? Workforce is a challenge for many companies. Offering better benefits may set them apart. Could you offer Health Savings Accounts or financial education for their employees?
- What about online selling? Companies who are selling services or products online are probably growing fast. Observing their social media posts and customer interactions can give you a peek inside. Could they use a better credit card or a better system for receiving customer funds?
- Do they have multiple facilities that are aging? Photos they share may offer clues about expensive capital improvements on the horizon. What kinds of financing can you offer to help? What else might they need?
social media they partly control
Listing and review sites like Yellow Pages online, Trip Advisor, Glass Door and Yelp! also offer insights into what headaches a company might be experiencing–and that you can solve.
These sites should have content the businesses have posted, with staff and location photos, product/service listings and staff information. You’ll also see customer reviews, payment types accepted and the competitive landscape.
Notice what’s listed and what isn’t. Can you provide financial services and products to help them thrive?
don’t tell me you can’t
Some bankers have told me they’re too old to get into social media so they’re staying off of social media completely. I’m calling you out on this: if your customers and prospects are there, you should be there, too.
Using social media as part of your homework before trying to set an appointment is a certain way to help position yourself as a valued consultant instead of a commodity.
Leading with what you have to offer is wasting that precious appointment you finally booked. Establish your value by starting with your prospect's pain and you'll have the foundation for a meaningful, strategic relationship. Like, Love or better yet WOW!!
If you need help with a better business development protocol, contact Martha Bartlett Piland direct at 785.969.6203