As an avid sport enthusiast, I have grown to appreciate the high quality of game play in BOTH the minor leagues and the majors. Be it baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey or any national sport – everyone plays with the same conviction and devotion to being the best.
As a sales coach, I have grown equally appreciative of the commitment my clients make to pursue sales excellence.
Despite that, many Community Bankers or Independent Financial Service Providers or Insurance Agents regularly grieve over the challenges they face when trying to “compete” with major national providers.
The common cry is that the majors have more marketing resources, a broader offering and greater price advantage. That may appear to be technically correct, but you have a significant local market advantage that clients are willing to buy if you invest in that belief and take proactive steps to secure your position at the top of the table.
The major league players may get more national exposure and TV coverage (sound familiar) but the quality of performance and excitement value on display at a minor league game can be equally as engaging.
I am certainly not subscribing to the “if you can’t beat them, join them” theory, but I do profess that there is no reason why you can’t be the MAJOR player in your local market. Start by overcoming any limiting beliefs that you are simply a minor league player and act like you are the best player in your field.
Let’s consider some key elements of that game play.
Like any major league team, you need to develop a game plan for success. Every game plan requires a detailed analysis of the local market to identify the opportunities available for success and the solutions you have available to effectively leverage these opportunities.
Your intimate knowledge of your local market is the strategic advantage you hold over any major competition. This knowledge enables you to better understand and more readily identify what major targets can benefit from your offering, how you can engage them and why that is your competitive advantage.
A clear and specific local game plan that is collaboratively developed and reviewed with your local team / resources will enable you to outplay any major national competitor.
Many community bankers or independent service providers complain about their “limited” offering – or are quick to highlight what they don’t / can’t offer. Accordingly, by aiming to dutifully manage their client’s expectations they are inadvertently reaffirming their minor league status.
Whilst your specific product offering may be somewhat limited, your network of local specialists who can provide other services that the client may be seeking is quite broad – and in fact may be relatively greater than the majors who are so focused on ring fencing their clients with their own suite of products.
Build your bench strength by developing strategic partnerships with other local providers and become a holistic service provider to your clients – or better yet – become a trusted adviser. You can now build authority and credibility whilst still managing their expectations.
Everyday is game day. Leverage your specific game plan and proactively perform business development activities everyday – call clients, meet prospects, send emails, post valuable content on social media, attend a function.
Do not expect your phone to ring or for clients to walk into your door. Many of the major players “travel” regularly, so stop assuming local businesses know where you are and/or will come to you. Proactively seek and meet them. Your regional presence is only an advantage if you are seen and heard.
Also consider leveraging the strategic partners on your bench for referrals. Or building an online business profile to “socially” connect with prospects in your local community … and the next community and the next.
Proactive and consistent business development activity in your local market will help you overcome any perceived limitations from lack of marketing resources.
In order to maximize your business development efforts it is important that you also focus on consistently developing your sales skills, behaviors and beliefs.
Major players generally have learning and development teams that provide regular compliance and technical training plus some broad business development workshops.
Community based organizations make the mistake of hiring experienced practitioners and assuming little training is required beyond regulatory commitments.
To be a successful player in any league, coaching is essential. You can absolutely outperform any major league player with the continued development of your sales skills, behaviors and beliefs.
No matter how experienced you are, the pursuit of sales excellence by your local team through specific sales skill training, best practice conversations and regular field application will have you consistently scoring better than any major player.
Stop thinking you can’t compete on price and start acting like the only player your clients should be coming to see.
Overcome your limiting belief that the major players have a price advantage due to scale by identifying the “other costs” that your clients may incur from their big league experiences.
Prospects / clients recognize the value of the services from a skilled trusted adviser who understands their local business and can provide a broad range of solutions that solve their problems and help them grow.
Remember, you may think you’re playing in the minors but you can absolutely compete with the majors by:
That is worth the price of admission any day.
Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For sales leadership coaching and guidance contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the webpage www.growupsales.com