Editor’s note: This blog post is one of our most read. It may be a stretch to compare it to a classic Mustang, but that’s a chance we’ll take.

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With apologies to Stephen Covey, here are my “7 Habits of Highly Unproductive Salespeople (banker version)”:
1.    Be reactive. Wait for what walks in the door. Don’t ask your satisfied customers for referrals—they know you provide great service and will send you any leads they have.

2.    Put (anything other than customers) first. Problem loan reports. Compliance issues. Operational matters. No experienced banker gets canned for failing to make his sales goals.

3.    Don’t worry about preparing for calls. Industry research–who has time for that? Developing specific questions for a first meeting with a prospect? Just ask ‘em to tell you about their business.

4.    Strategize alone. Your Sales Manager (a) doesn’t know your customers/ prospects well; (b) doesn’t have time; and/ or (c) probably wouldn’t add much value if you talked about your strategy.

5.    Think about what you need to sell first, not what your customers and prospects need. You’ve got goals to make.

6.    Don’t make time for professional development. Training is for “junior” people, not veterans like you. Heck, if you’re like most commercial bankers, you believe that you’re in the top 20% of your peer group when it comes to business development skills. This is known in some circles as the Lake Wobegon effect—where all the children are above average. (Special offer: If you’d like to assess which stage your relationship building skills are in, go to The Progression of Relationship Development Skills )

7.    Keep reminding yourself that knowing how to do something (like prospecting, say) is the same thing as doing it. And, if anybody questions your current results, you can come up with any number of excuses (“Our credit policy is too restrictive.” “We’re not even close to market pricing today.” “We need to do more advertising/ build more branches/get more creative on structuring deals, etc.”)

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