In the 21st century, commercial banking is all about one thing: sales. Gone are the days of telling stories over coffee while schmoozing prospective clients. Nowadays, service only exists, in large part, as an extension of sales. In other words, serve someone to help him or her help you make money and not because sensational service should exist for its own sake. This philosophy goes from management down to the lowest, least-experienced teller.
Tellers don’t just perform transactions anymore. They are trained to ask pertinent questions while performing their transactions and listen for cues that indicate sales opportunities. Some commercial banks have the tellers act as de facto bankers themselves, and others require the tellers to refer them to other people, with the referrals acting as the teller’s “sales.” An example would be when the customer says something like, “Man, I’m running a little short of cash these days.” The teller would then mention applicable available loans or lines of credit to the customer and push for a referral.
Licensed investment counselors, mortgage professionals, NMLS-qualified bankers and tellers, and all other employees of a commercial bank are responsible to make sure every sales opportunity is acted upon. That means a team-oriented approach: Sell if you can, refer if you cannot. Such is the challenge of banking in the 21st century.
In addition to listening for sales opportunities in the branch, the manager’s duties include going afield to speak with business owners in an area around his or her branch. Cold calling is part of the job. The manager must acquire new clients continuously and also farm additional opportunities from existing clients. To do so, the manager must remain up-to-date with every customer. Some of the ways that the manager can do this include:
- Reviewing clients’ accounts for usage patterns to make sure the clients’ products fit their needs
- Researching clients’ businesses to determine trends in the marketplace, ebbs and flows in clients’ cash flows, and other opportunities
- Advising clients on their best courses of action based on the research results
- Maintaining a regular schedule of phone calls, in-person visits, and emails with every client who has an account or is on a list of leads
- Developing leads by gathering information from every reliable and available source
If that weren’t enough, the manager must also sometimes be a teller, a loan officer, an investment counselor, if licensed, and every other job within the bank. He or she must also ensure all employees are meeting goals and sales quotas. When the employees fall short, the manager must also train and motivate them to improve.
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Commercial banking is a demanding industry. There are competitors our there who are looking to do the same thing to your bank as you are to theirs. There are complex laws and reporting requirements in all aspects of the industry. Still, there are diverse job opportunities in the industry for individuals who have the proper mindset, outlook, and motivation to succeed.