02/13/14

I’m a Banker, Not a Salesperson

“Bankers don’t want to be salespeople,” he said.

We were talking about small business lending and the influx of alternative lenders and how it’s created more of a “sales” atmosphere around small business lending in particular and banking in general. Having spent a fair amount of time marketing financial services, I know tellers, loan officers, and other banking executives don’t like the idea of “selling” banking services the same way they perceive a used car salesman pushes a “super-clean” late-model sedan.

My Dad, a small business owner and professional salesperson his entire life, hated being associated with guys who could “sell ice cubes to Eskimos.” He felt like manipulating people into buying something they didn’t need or coercing them into paying more for something than they should because they were uninformed, was not professional sales. He despised smooth talkers and called them “peddlers.” A pejorative designation in his mind.

He considered himself a problem solver and offered products to his customers from that paradigm. He never convinced a customer to purchase something they didn’t need or pay more for it than they should have. Had he been a banker, he would never have been considered a salesperson in the ice cubes and Eskimo sense—although he would have been an incredible banker.

Many of the “sales” skills I have, I originally learned from him. Here are just a few:

Although he did occasionally wear a pair of white shoes (it was the 70s after all), I don’t think I ever saw him in a plaid jacket and I never heard him say “What’s it gonna take to close this deal today.” He would have hated being called a peddler, but was very proud to be a professional salesman.

I think there’s a thing or two we all can learn from great salespeople. Bankers might not think of themselves as salespeople—but they are often problem solvers.

It takes a little cash to change the world.

So what are you waiting for?

About the author

Ty Kiisel
Small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty makes small business financing and trends accessible in common sense language devoid of the jargon.

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