What’s Your Prospect’s Problem? Why Won’t They Respond?
September 9, 2022
Your Finance Doctor Will See You Now
November 11, 2022
What’s Your Prospect’s Problem? Why Won’t They Respond?
September 9, 2022
Your Finance Doctor Will See You Now
November 11, 2022

Product or Partner: Which One Are You?

What are the differences between your loan products and your competitor’s?


What are the differences between your deposit products and your competitor’s?


Besides some nominal feature benefits, which may or may not appeal to customers, the deciding factor for many customers, in the absence of anything else, is RATES and FEES.


Bank products are largely homogenous – similar in nature. Unless you have the best rates and fees in your market, how are you going to compete and win more business?


Of course your service skills and product knowledge can be a differentiating factor. But is that enough?


Are you simply a competent product provider or are you a valuable finance partner?


Are you diligently giving the customer a product they need at a reasonable price, or are you positioning yourself as a valuable partner that can make your customer’s life better?


Which one are you? Which one do you think your customer really wants?


Despite what you may think, customers are not just looking for a finance product. They are seeking great professional guidance and an amazing experience when solving their financial problem(s).


All consumers (including yourself) and business owners need partners in life to help them more easily achieve their goals. Accountants. Lawyers. Insurance agents. Advisors. Coaches. Family and friends.


Be one of their valuable partners – especially if you want to better differentiate yourself from your competition and win more business at the price you want.


Consider these three critical steps for becoming a PARTNER.

When I made the big scary decision to move from Illinois to Iowa and build my dream home, I approached two banks for a construction loan.


One banker very diligently outlined their solution and how they will provide the loan. I then received a standard term sheet outlining rates and terms.


Another banker explored all the reasons why I wanted the loan and asked many questions about my new construction project and my move to the area. I received a tailored proposal outlining loan details, an invitation to a community meet and greet, and a list of local contacts/services I can leverage to help with my move.


Guess which one I picked?


Customers do not just want a new bank account or loan. Stop focusing on offering a product and start considering ALL the circumstances surrounding the need for these products.


Gather with your local team and review ALL your products as solutions to their problems. Pre-determine all the different problems/goals a customer may have relating to this product.


Consider your answers to these questions:

  1. Why does the customer need this product?
  2. What are their current circumstances and desired future state?
  3. What challenges may they incur gaining your product?
  4. What other challenges could they face achieving their desired goals?
  5. What adjacent products and advice could they need?


It’s hard to become a valuable partner if you don’t know what problems/goals you can help them with.

Now it’s time to get creative. You already have the bank products a customer or prospect will need. But what is your compelling solution that makes you different and more valuable than any other bank.


Consider all the broader problems/goals you identified in Step 1. Group the problems/goals with similar traits/issues – for example: Buying a new home or business, improving personal or business cash flow management, retirement or succession planning, etc.


Now gather with your team and leverage your combined experience and local knowledge to document all the different advice you can give and all the additional ways you can help.


Survey existing loyal customers and seek their feedback/ideas. What did you do well for them beyond the product offering and what else could you have done?


Engage external resources and local experts (COIs) to bolster your compelling solution. Consider creating a partnership with these local experts so you can formally enhance your valuable solution for your customers.


Leverage all your ideas/thoughts and resources to now create a Solution Library that includes:

  1. Detailed Q&A that can be used for all customer/prospect meetings
  2. List of other bank and external contacts that can assist the customer
  3. More comprehensive bank proposals
  4. Topical articles and research you can share
  5. Marketing collateral you can deliver
  6. Existing customer testimonials and stories you can promote
  7. Social media posts you can share
  8. Events you can invite customers to
  9. Presentations (live or pre-recorded) you can give


Clearly your Solution Library will be far more comprehensive and compelling than your existing product term sheets and features/benefits guides.

Now that you have created your compelling Solution Library, it’s time to deliver (share) your expertise with your customers/prospects and demonstrate how you can be their valuable finance partner (for life).


Consider these four key elements to confidently delivering your compelling solution:


(a) Coaching & Confidence

Banks do a good job of educating their staff about products and how to deliver them – i.e. open a bank account, complete a loan application.

Now it’s time to provide coaching on how to offer your compelling solution and be a financial partner. Implement a regular team meeting/coaching cadence and discuss one solution at every meeting.

Like you do with product knowledge, invest time coaching your team to become more confident with your Solution Library.



(b) Conversation

Coach your team to no longer just ask questions and talk about your products, but to ask questions and discuss your broader solution.

Develop a step by step meeting process (script) that ensures better conversations can be had regarding the customer’s broader problems/goals.

A great first conversation with a customer/prospect (leveraging the Q&A you have developed in your Solution Library), with broader advice given, is an excellent initial way to demonstrate you can be a valuable partner.

It’s ok if this first conversation with a target prospect does not lead to an immediate product sale, but it will certainly lead to more opportunities to contact and impress them that you are a better finance partner than their existing product provider.



(c) Cadence

Follow every informative conversation with a customer/prospect with a great summary email and include other items from your Solutions Library.

Schedule a delivery cadence whereby you contact the customer/prospect again 2 – 3 times over the next few weeks and share more information from your Solutions Library (eg. an interesting article, a customer testimonial, an invitation to an event, a link to a pre-recorded presentation).

Successive valuable deliveries will highlight that you are not a “one hit wonder” and in fact you and your bank are committed to becoming an instrumental partner.



(d) Campaign

Many banks create product campaigns or community assistance campaigns.

Consider creating a solution campaign. Focus on a major financial problem (or goal) impacting many customers/prospects and leverage your Solutions Library to highlight all the different ways you can help.


Invite your local expert partners to join the campaign. Underpin your campaign with a presentation and/or event where you can share lots of valuable information and promote yourself as a must-have financial partner.


Of course you can couple your solution campaign with a special product offering.



Yes, the above three steps require effort to get right.


This requires an investment of your time, resources and money.


This requires an investment in training and learning.


But the return on your investment is quite significant as you will now be able to greatly differentiate yourself beyond rates and fees.


I encourage you to establish a working group (project team) to review and develop each of the above three steps for each of your products and target customers/prospects.


Become the valuable finance partner your clients NEED at the price you want, rather than simply the product they WANT at the price they prefer.


Click the link below to watch my 4 minute training video that highlights the differences between a service provider and finance professional with tips on how you can pivot.



Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For more advice on how to create more compelling solutions please email joe@growupsales.com or visit the webpage www.growupsales.com

If you found the content valuable then please feel free to share this article with your broader network. Let’s help more bankers and sales people become life-long learners.