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Jun 5, 2008 11:26 am

Question to anyone in the bank end of the business. How do you structure your travel to the branches?

Do you only go there “by appt”, do you go and sit for the day or half day at each of your branches?

Do you train the staff while you are there and how do you do that when they are busy waiting on clients, or does your bank allow people to be pulled from their jobs in order to do training - i.e. referral training?

Jun 5, 2008 4:01 pm

I have a set schedule, but will only travel for a minimum number of appointments.  If they give you flexibility on how you do it, be careful about letting the branches set appointments at times other than their scheduled day (or whatever schedule you determine).  I have a buddy that has created a monster, because he has several branches that schedule him whenever there is an opening in the schedule.  He spends 1/2 of his day driving across town from branch to branch.

Jun 5, 2008 5:14 pm

I agree with EDJ4now.  I was a bank broker, long long ago, and some of my branches were even in different towns.  I would have a set scheduled day to visit at each branch for client meetings and for branch training meetings.  You need to coordinate branch training with the Manager so you don’t interrupt operations.  You might need to stay at the location until after the branch closes the lobby to the public to have an effective meeting.  Branch training is very important to make sure that you get good referrals and to educate the staff on what you do.  If they don’t buy into the program, you are screwed.

  Do stick to your scheduled days or you will be running your wheels off going from place to place and never have time to get anything done.  And like EDJ4now says have a minimum number of appointments scheduled or make sure you have something productive like branch training scheduled before going out to the various branches.  After a while, I realized that some of my branches were essentially a waste of time and I told the Manager that I would not be coming unless they had productive appointments  for me.  They were scheduling appointments for me just so they could say they were making referrals  without any attempt to pre qualify the customer. Obviously they can't guaranteed that the appointment will result in a sale. However, driving over and meeting with people who had $500 to invest or just hanging out at the branch wasn't getting it for me AND it wasn't generating any revenue for their branch.  
Jun 6, 2008 1:46 am

I’ve been traveling to different branches daily - just to “sit” - which I feel is totally unproductive. Management feels, however, if I am not there to show my face, I won’t get referrals. I’ve never had an introduction while I am at any of the branches.

The bank won’t allow branch training during the day and doesn’t want to make the staff stay after hours to train. This is a constant battle. With alot of new people, there is little understanding of the program.

Wouldn’t I be better off just going when the branches have appts. scheduled for me? Or doing a quick 1/2 hour chit chat session each week and not a four-hour visit?

I’m putting off valid appts at my home branch to visit these branches to sit - doesn’t it make sense to go where the business is? - i.e, Monday I am at branch “X”, so branch “X” books as many appts as it can for me on Mondays, Tuesday I am at branch “B”, so they book appts for me. But if Monday branch “X” has NO appts for me, and someone wants to come to my home branch for an appt., I take it and don’t go to branch “X”. This seems to make alot more sense to me.

Jun 6, 2008 2:13 am

You don’t have a branch scheduling problem.  You have a DISCONNECT between your agenda and the branches agenda. 

And it’s your fault.

Here’s how you fix it:  (my post from another forum)

[quote]Many of these ideas are adaptations of concepts from Bob Cobb - from

My approach to working with banking employees for EXCEPTIONAL REFERRAL HABITS:

Meet with each team member INDIVIDUALLY. (This process can take weeks to finally meet with all team members.)

These are the questions that I ask – in this order: Tell me about your
previous banking experience? Did you give the investment advisor there
any referrals? How did those work out? Have you ever given an
investment referral here? How did that work out?

Have them tell you about the last time they made a sale. Here’s what
they usually do: They take a FEATURE, turn it into a BENEFIT and
encouraged the customer to TAKE ACTION.

This is what I call “transactional sales” that take very little (if any) follow up.

We need to teach the banking staff RELATIONSHIP sales. Is there a difference? YES.

If you take the “transactional sales” approach to referrals, you’ll have tellers who think these thoughts:

• What am I referring my customers to?

• I don’t know anything about their products?

• I’m not licensed to talk about their products?

• I don’t know what I’m talking about, so it’s better to not say anything.

• I don’t want to RISK anything on my clients.

• I’ve been taught to AVOID RISK.

This is how your tellers and bankers feel if they don’t know about
Otherwise it just won’t work. (Which means that you had better
communicate BACK to the referrer so they know what happened with their
customer - and get you’ll get more referrals!)

Here’s the ideal “script” for relationship sales: “Have you met skippy?
He’s a great guy! He helps out a lot of our clients with different
types of accounts. He can have your money work harder for you (or
accelerate your plans). If you know what your schedule is, I can help
you set an appointment for you today.”

Notice what I didn’t say: Financial Advisor, Financial Planner,
Investments, Insurance – all those terms (in banking) bring about an
uncomfortable image of a sales presentation. While we may not care as
much – the client can be dreading such an interaction. Let’s not plant
those thoughts in their minds (or the minds of the tellers).

We didn’t describe investments, insurance – nothing. Just the
opportunity to have the client’s money work harder through DIFFERENT

If your client presses, just say that it can involve investments IF
IT’S RIGHT FOR THEM. If it’s not right for them, he’ll refer you back
to us for CDs or money market accounts.

Step 2: Inspect what you expect!

It’s time to have a contest! Here are the parameters: Divide up the day into 2 segments. For example: 9am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm.

Whoever introduces you to the most customers between either of those 2
time frames wins! Also, whoever gets the most “No’s” during the entire
day – wins! All they need to do is mention you and they can have a
greater chance to win!

They should introduce you to ANYBODY – regardless of balances.
Especially if you’re in a “secondary financial institution” – like a
credit union or community bank.

When running this contest, it is best to run the contest on either the
beginning or end of month, the Friday nearest the 15th of the month, or
the Friday before a 3-day weekend. The institution will be at it’s
busiest time then – and greater exposure for you.

What should they win? Some kind of token item – or even just a $5 gift
card. If you’ve got the right culture in the institution, the
COMPETITION should be enough to get you introduced to a good amount of
people that day.

Now, when you introduce yourself, you can mention whatever you want. I
usually stick to 4 subjects: Insurance, investments, financial planning
and retirement planning.

The purpose of this contest is to just GET THE TELLERS AND BANKERS TO
they’re in the practice of talking about you, they’ll find it easier
and easier – and better referrals will come your way.

I have run this contest at multiple branch locations and have had
varying results. One branch, I talked to 23 people, found 4 qualified
referrals with a combined total net worth over $1 million.

Another branch, I just finished a contest today - I talked to 43
people, found 5 qualified referrals, and set up 1 appointment on the
spot. Of the remaining 4, 3 of them have insurance needs that need to
be reviewed.

BUT I GOT THE TELLERS TALKING!!! Remember that 7 out of 10 people that
walk through the doors of a bank branch, go to the teller line. TAKE

Other things to keep in mind: You’ve GOT to have the branch manager on your side and supporting you.

When a teller gets a big check, the first things that they think about are:

is this fraudulent?
will I lose my job?
is it made payable correctly to the account?
do the written amounts and dollar amounts match?
is there a memo in the memo section?
is there a perforation on one side?
is it endorsed properly?
how long has the account been open?
etc., etc., etc.,

They are NOT thinking that this could be a referral opportunity.

After explaining that there could be a hold placed on the check, this
is a great time for the manager to ask what the customer’s plans are
for the money. The branch manager should say (as appropriate) “I
recommend you talk to skippy. He can help you in ways that I wouldn’t
be able to. Can I have him give you a call to set an appointment?”

Once you’ve got the branch manager on your side and representing you
well, you’ll see more quality referrals come from your banking branches.[/quote]
Jun 6, 2008 2:20 am

You bank guys actually have people booking appointments for you?

Jun 6, 2008 4:30 pm

One of the downsides to the bank gig is having too many people to try to keep happy.  However, you need to get the people above you to realize that the more $$ you make, the more they make, and by sitting on your thumb in branch X, you are losing sales in branch Y.  That may make branch X unhappy, but they need to schedule more appointments for you, then you will be there and everyone is happy.  Fortunately for me, my bank is very supportive of the investment reps, and when branches bitch to my boss or his boss that I don't go see them often enough (and they do complain), the response they get from the higher ups is to set more appointments, then they will see me more.

I recognize the importance of some face time, but going every week to no appointments is a waste of your time.  I'm pretty happy with my system, I have a set schedule, but no appointments generally means I stay in my home branch.
Jun 6, 2008 5:52 pm

Skippy is right. You don’t have a connection with the branch managers.  They need to buy into the program and see that if you are successful they are successful.  I assume (since it has been a long time for me to be in a bank) that any commissions you generate from their clients, the branch gets a portion of it credited to their P&L?  Perhaps some examples of the revenue you can bring to their bottom line.  “Mr Pinhead (branch manager) if I sell this annuity or sell this mutual fund in this amount…here is what will be credited to your branch profitability.$$$$”  

  Some of the managers,when I was in the system ,were afraid that they would be losing deposits to the investment platform and actively discouraged the program. If that is the case you want to assure them that your investment customers who most likely bank at other institutions would be more likely to bring their other deposits over to their branch and that you will encourage this in your sales presentations.  The money that goes to you can be replaced by drawing from other institutions.   You need to 1. Stress the bottom line benefits $$$ to the branch by  them getting you good referrals that will generate sales. 2. In order to get good referrals you MUST be able to train the tellers and othe platform personnel.  If they don't buy into the program you are screwed. 3. If you get no cooperation from the branch managers you need to go to your supervisor or someone higher up and get them to crack the whip on the branch managers.   You might want to go and get face time in the branches for a while, especially if you are new to the system or the entire investment program is new to the bank branches.  BUT after a while I would do like EDJ4now and quit going to the branches that are a waste of your time.
Jun 10, 2008 10:32 am

Thanks for the suggestions.

On a different matter, what are the rules as they apply to bank clients and the DNC list?

The bank supplied a list of all their new clients who had opened accounts this past month. We sent a letter introducing the Investment Services.

Does the DNC list apply here in that the list must be scrubbed because they are not Investment Clients?

I checked with compliance, and their answer was fuzzy - “Best practice, yes, however we know of no one who has ever had a problem calling bank clients. Low risk.”

Jun 10, 2008 3:46 pm

My non-legal opinion is that if you are a bank employee, then there is no conflict.  I think it depends on how you are set up.  If you are a completely different entity, different answer.  If you are a related company, then unless they opt out you are ok (very few people should be opting out unless you have the bank encouraging them to opt out).