Guest article by Bobby Martin, CEO & Co-Founder of Vertical IQ
I started my career working as a commercial banking relationship manager back in the 1990s. During my bank tenure, I discovered that if I took the time to learn about my clients’ businesses and industries, I could ask them better questions, have more meaningful conversations, make better recommendations, and greatly improve upon my chances of winning them as a client.
To conduct industry research, I had to comb through information on various websites, review trade journals and newspaper articles, and occasionally even make trips to the library to gather the information I was seeking. But it was worth the effort when I was able to make that personal connection with a client about the unique inner-workings of their industry.
And this is where I got the idea that would eventually evolve into Vertical IQ. With actionable, easy-to-digest content covering more than 500 industries, Vertical IQ quickly turns you into an industry expert, helping you land new business and retain existing clients.
Putting the “relationship” in relationship manager
When you initiate a new banking relationship, you court the prospect, making contact with them on a frequent basis. You develop salient questions in order to gain a better understanding of their operations, goals, and challenges. You create a proposal for products and services you believe would be beneficial to their business. You celebrate when they move their banking relationship to you. But what happens next?
Once you’ve landed the new relationship, maintaining all those different client relationships is no small task. But if you simply move on to the next prospect and fail to nurture the clients you have, eventually your client is going to be wooed by another banker. Never forget: Your best client is your competition’s best prospect.
To keep your best clients, you have to bring your A game. Here are some simple ways you can maintain and grow your existing client relationships by using industry intelligence, like you will find from Vertical IQ, to create a highly personalized client experience.
Offer them new ideas by staying on top of changes within your client’s industry.
Subscribe to Vertical IQ’s Industry News for your clients’ industries to learn about the latest happenings within their niche. Then, ask your client about how they are preparing to face the changes occurring in their industry. Offer new ideas and develop a plan together to ensure their business can persevere and thrive.
Be proactive in sharing industry-specific information with your clients.
During every interaction, be prepared to share relevant industry information with your clients. Vertical IQ makes this process easy. Print and share one-page industry summaries with financial statistics or a particular chapter of the Industry Profile that is relevant to your meeting topic—for example, Capital Financing or Financial Benchmarks. Print a current industry-specific news article and drop it in the mail to your client with some salient points highlighted and a personal note attached. Your clients crave this type of knowledge yet often do not have the time to search for it themselves.
Ask industry-focused questions in every interaction.
Forget the stale, impersonal, “How’s business?” Bankers who really know their clients ask personalized questions on a regular basis about their business operations. For example: “Here’s a trend I saw is occurring within your industry; are you experiencing this within your business?” or “I noticed that the forecast for your industry looks like this; how are you preparing for this change?” Asking this type of industry-specific question will provide you with the necessary insights to recommend the right plan of action for your client and their business.
Tailor your client communications.
We can all tell when an email, letter, or PowerPoint is generic. So can your clients. Communications and presentations written in vague, non-specific language with no details that are relevant to the client are underwhelming to say the least. But by using Vertical IQ, it is quick and easy to incorporate industry-focused content into your marketing pieces and presentations. Add in trends or risks occurring in their industry, and explain how you can help address them. Include some industry financials and discuss how your client’s business stacks up against the competition. You’ll have much more meaningful, value-added client conversations as a result.
Know your client’s customers.
A personalized client experience means you have a big-picture understanding of how their business operates. That’s why it’s valuable to gain an understanding of who your client’s customers are and be able to share insights about those industries as well. For example, are you banking an attorney who has several automobile dealers as clients? Share industry information with him or her relating to the auto dealer industry and how changes in it might impact their clients’ legal needs. You have now helped your client better serve their customer.
Making a personal connection
Maintaining and nurturing existing relationships is just as important as prospecting—perhaps even more important! By asking about and sharing meaningful insights about your client’s industry with every touchpoint, you are going to personalize and improve their banking experience. You’re going to show them that you are a valuable member of their team who brings something unique to the table. This is crucial when your competitor bank comes calling.
Bottomline: As a relationship manager, YOU are the banking expert. Your role in the relationship is to be knowledgeable about your client’s industry and business, develop trust, and offer valuable, personalized solutions throughout the relationship as you continue to arm yourself with industry knowledge. By incorporating the industry-specific knowledge you gain from Vertical IQ into your client interactions, you naturally will become the trusted advisor you strive to be.
Learn more: Join our free webinar
Join The Financial Brand, Seismic, and Vertical IQ on Tuesday, January 28 at 2 p.m. ET to learn more about how business and commercial banks are using personalization and true business advice to create an unmatched client experience that rivals their experiences in their consumer lives.
During the webinar, you’ll get:
- Insight into how banks are evolving to keep up with consumer experiences
- Details on how business and commercial banks are working to keep up
- A playbook on how to enable your bankers to use industry intelligence to provide personalized experiences to clients
About Bobby Martin
Bobby is the CEO and co-founder of Vertical IQ. In addition to his banking expertise, he’s a startup wiz, angel investor, and author of The Hockey Stick Principles. An Appalachian State alumni, Bobby enjoys hiking, sports of all types, questioning authority, and listening to his fav musician, Ryan Adams.