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Q2: Your Most Critical Quarter Of The Year
April 4, 2024
Banking Is a Team Sport: Be a Captain, Coach & Cheerleader
June 20, 2024

You’re a Finance Professional, NOT a Lender.

Why do certain bankers insist on calling themselves Commercial Lenders or Mortgage Officers or Treasury Management Officers?  

I understand that you specialize in providing loans and cash management solutions to business owners and consumers, but is that all you really offer? And is that all they really need?

When you present yourself as a specialist, you become highly transactional and ultimately offer very little point of differentiation. Consequently, you largely win and lose new opportunities based on rates, fees and product features.

Instead, position yourself as a Finance Professional or a Relationship Manager committed to building a valuable “financial” relationship with your customers. Be their financial adviser and their “go to” person for ALL their financial needs.

“Cross Selling” and “One Stop Shop” are seemingly daunting terms that petrify many bankers, yet these concepts are ultimately the key to your success. 

Business owners and consumers have a wide range of financial challenges and goals. While you may think they only need assistance with a loan or paying bills, they in fact want assistance with ALL their financial needs.

The majority of business owners and consumers choose a bank that makes it EASY for them to manage their finances and achieve their financial goals. There are many surveys that report business owners and consumers prefer to deal with one person for all their financial needs.

Why are you sharing your customers with your competitors? 

I am confident that your bank offers a wide range of products and solutions that can satisfy ALL of your customer’s needs.

It’s time to think beyond your role and embrace concepts of “Cross Selling” and “One Stop Shop”. It’s time to stop simply offering your specialized solutions and start offering wholistic solutions.

Here are FOUR simple tips to help you become a Finance Professional and build better “wholistic financial relationships” with your customers.

1. Change Your Job Title

Your job title describes what you do and essentially conveys to your customers how you can assist them.

A commercial lender clearly provides business loans. A mortgage officer clearly provides home loans. So why would a customer think you do anything else?  

Dispense with traditional bank functional titles, and consider broader titles that let customers know you can help them with all their needs – such as Relationship Manager, Client Relations Coordinator, Client Assistant or Universal Banker.

2. Build Your Internal Banking Relationships

To be clear, it is good to develop a specialized level of knowledge about a particular area of finance and banking. Specialists provide significant value to clients needing these specific solutions. So I am not proposing you stop specializing.

What I am proposing is that you build strong working relationships with key specialists across your bank. Create a local “One Stop Shop” or “Cross Selling” team – or preferably call it your local “Market Team”.  

Meet regularly to educate each other about your solutions, review specific client opportunities, and agree on how to collectively better engage your clients about their broader needs and your solutions.

3. Expand Your List of Questions

I have always professed that you do not need to know details about every solution the bank offers, you simply need to know 2 or 3 questions you can ask. Once you uncover that a customer has a specific need / challenge / goal, then all you need to know is WHO to refer them to. 

Whilst product knowledge and education is important, I encourage your local “Market Team” to also focus on developing a broader list of customer questions that everyone can leverage to better position themselves as Finance Professionals.   

It’s easy for a commercial lender or mortgage officer to become a finance professional by simply asking a few more broader questions beyond the immediate customer need.

4. Create More Wholistic Processes & Proposals

Each specialized team at the bank has a loan application process or account / product opening process with term sheets and other specific product information / guides.

These processes and information are essential for giving the customer what they want, but consider expanding them to include guidance about how you can help them with their broader needs.

Please note that I am not suggesting you simply drown your customer with marketing material about all your other solutions. Don’t be a “used car salesman” …… ugh!?!    

Develop more engaging customer meeting processes that enable every banker to uncover broader customer needs and create more wholistic, compelling and customized bank proposals.

This requires development and training, but once you get this right you will have a highly impressive team of finance professionals at your bank.


If you truly want to build a great “wholistic” relationship with your customers, then it is time to think beyond your role otherwise you are simply building a good “commercial lending” relationship or a good “mortgage” relationship. 

Stop proclaiming that you have a good relationship with your bank customers if all you offer is a limited number of specialized solutions.  

Please remember that your customers and prospects have a broad range of financial needs, challenges and goals. You may be a specialist in one area of finance, but your customers expect you to know more. They want your help, so the easier you make it for them to gain access to ALL your solutions, the easier it will be to grow your bank, your portfolio, and your career.

No matter what your area of specialization, be a Finance Professional that builds wholistic financial relationships with their clients. 

“Stop Sharing Your Clients With Your Competitors” (8 minutes)

Click the above picture to watch Joe’s video blog.

Joe Micallef outlines why this happens and highlights the benefits of becoming the only Finance Professional your clients will ever need.

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


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