Business Bankers and the “howdy doody” call

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, howdy doody calls are an age-old practice of relationship managers where business clients are called on an arbitrary schedule (monthly, quarterly?) and asked “how’s business?” This, of course, is a thinly veiled attempt to uncover the need for a banking product, which the banker will heroically offer!

To be fair, this is a slightly cynical take on the howdy doody call! Many bankers have great relationships with their clients, are genuinely interested in the trajectories of their businesses and rightly see themselves as trusted advisors to their clients…so a periodic check-in is entirely understandable.

However, the howdy doody call is generally a waste of time for both parties. Business owners are notoriously stretched for time and rarely start their day with the thought “I need to open a new line of credit — I hope my banker calls!” Likewise, bankers are tasked with tending ever-increasing portfolios with ever-expanding sales targets, so their time is quite precious as well.

But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater! Bankers should still call their clients. However, they should use data to optimize the timing and message of the outreach. Broadly speaking, there are two opportune times to speak with a client about new products:

  1. When a business owner is intending an action that might require a new financial product, for example, buying a new piece of machinery indicates the need for an equipment loan.
  2. When the business should be contemplating a financial product. For example, a steep rent increase is weighing down cash flow which may indicate the need for an OOCRE or SBA 504 loan.

Absent a crystal ball, bankers have been relying on howdy doody calls to elicit #1 and #2 above. The crystal ball exists — it’s data! Oftentimes, the bank’s own data can reveal key trends. For instance, a careful analysis of transaction data could reveal #2 above, though historically many banks have struggled with operationalizing data-driven insights. In other cases, analytics partners — such as Monit — offer platforms to elucidate key data points and present actionable ideas to the banker. For example, Monit continuously monitors a business’ financials and detects events like a rent hike…or, when a business has created a scenario to purchase new equipment. In both cases, the banker can make a well-timed call to discuss an imminent opportunity.

The benefits of data-driven sales are easy to imagine, but worth enumerating:

  • Prioritizes daily activities for front-line bankers/RMs — which clients to call and why
  • Demonstrate value — as a trusted advisor — to clients by providing timely insights that can materially improve their finances
  • Increase banker productivity and shorten time to hitting sales goals
  • Deepen relationships across the portfolio to drive profitability for the line of business
  • Avoid wandering howdy doody calls!

If you’d like to learn more about how Monit helps banks drive deeper relationships, LOB profitability and how to kill the ineffective howdy doody call, please reach out to Max Koenig at max [at] monitapp.io

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