Self-Assessment: Time for Bankers to Look in the Mirror

banker sales assessment

Many of my bank clients are asking their relationship managers to reflect on their performance in 2014. It’s usually a worthwhile exercise. But what if such self-assessment occurred on a more frequent basis—weekly, say? Here’s one way it could.

We all know that it’s easy to kid ourselves about how well we’re doing. But when we have to look ourselves in the proverbial mirror, well, it’s another story.

I recently asked a group of business bankers to think about their “mirror questions.” Rather than giving the bankers the questions they should answer—a wily maneuver that consultants use all the time—I suggested that they come up with their own self-assessment. Specifically, I wanted them to devise a list of questions they could ask themselves each week to evaluate how well they had performed. It was, in essence, a personal report card that focused on their own critical sales behaviors.  

Now such introspection is not for everybody. But several of the bankers rose to the occasion. Here’s what one of the high-performers in the group wrote about the task: “The exercise was interesting; it forced me to redefine how I view a successful week.  I say interesting because I have always viewed success based upon what closed or is likely to close, but this exercise made me think more in terms of movement and progress, not just end results.”  

I’m not sure what he or the others will do with their lists of questions. They might forget about them—that’s what happens to a lot of things that fill time in sales workshops. Maybe they’ll pull them out after a long week and see how well they had performed using their own criteria—and get something valuable out of the process.

Or perhaps they’ll do something really bold. What if each banker had a trusted colleague, spouse or friend ask them the questions, holding them accountable each week for their critical behaviors? There would be only one rule: colleagues and friends could only ask the questions. There could be no disapproving glances, no tongue-lashings, no critical comments.

Management guru Marshall Goldsmith has 10 or 12 questions he uses to evaluate his performance each day. Each night he talks on the phone with a friend about his professional pursuits but also about whether he’s done his sit-ups, eaten sensibly, done something nice for his wife and children, etc. It works for him.

Do you want to come up with your own questions? If you do, stop reading here. If you need some inspiration to get started, here are the weekly questions that the banker quoted above came up with:

  • Did I define my specific objectives for the week? 
  • Did I add names to my prospect list? 
  • Did I plan appropriately for each sales call?
  • Did I develop a follow-up plan for each sales call?
  • Did each of my pending deals move forward? 
  • Have I reached out to an existing client this week?
  • Have I reached out to a COI this week?
  • Have I reached out to an internal partner this week?
  • Did I prioritize my time/resources appropriately?
  • Did I learn something about my sales skills?

These are all good questions. But my bet is you could come up with a list that might be more appropriate for you. You could add some questions about other things that are important–exercise, diet, family, etc. And then, if you found a buddy to ask you your own questions, you’d have a simple system to hold yourself accountable.

Is it worth a try? If you’re looking to make changes in 2015, what do you have to lose?

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