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The 10 Commandments of Kick-Butt Profitable Growth for 2005 Planning
…the path to the Promised Land.

by Roxanne Emmerich

  1. Thou Shalt Never See Marketing as a Department
    Marketing is a mindset and everybody, everybody, everybody in your organization must own this mindset. Every employee must understand why customers should come to you and not your competitors and which customers and prospects you are targeting. Every function, from how the receptionist answers the phone to how the back office handles a customer that just had an overdraft, must know that every customer contact is an opportunity to expand and solidify the relationship-and each function must know how.

  2. Thou Shalt Differentiate
    There is no reason for a customer to pay you any pricing but the lowest UNLESS there is a good reason to pay you more. And there must be. If there's no story to tell, there's no reason to come to your party-and there certainly isn't any reason to pay up. Every product must have a Unique Selling Proposition that spells out its dramatic difference defined as an overt benefit and said in such a way that it compels prospects to turn away from your competition's alternatives.

  3. Thou Shalt Not Cut Marketing Investments during Tough Years
    McGraw-Hill researched 600 company's marketing spending patterns from 1980-1985. They observed that companies that maintained their marketing investing during the 1981-1982 recession boasted an average sales increase of 275 percent over the next 5 years. Those companies that cut their advertising saw paltry sales growth over the next 5 years of just 19 percent. As my economics professor repeated incessantly, "Always invest your most important dollars in marketing first."

  4. Thou Shalt Understand That Marketing Is NOT Advertising
    The best return on your marketing dollars comes from investing in your employees' learning and then incentives followed by investing in marketing to your best customers. Prospecting high-potential clients follows. Advertising to the masses offers the worst return on investment.

  5. Thou Shalt Be a Giver-Not a Taker
    Your relationship with clients, prospects, and centers of influence should be based on giving. They should hear from you every 90 days-lest they forget you and acquaint themselves with your competition. No, sending a statement DOES NOT count. Information mailings like a "Top 10 Tips for Preparing for the Tax Season" sheet and free tickets or coupons from one of your retail clients are great ways to add value to the correspondence. As opposed to a "taker" approach-sending "buy me," four-color, glossy brochures- that will create almost no response. Givers always get better results than takers.

  6. Thou Shalt Love Your Top 100 List-and Let Them Know It
    While 80 percent of profits come from the top 20 percent of clients, why wouldn't you create a rock-solid "contact every month" plan for your top 100 prospects and clients? Not only will those clients appreciate your constant information sharing, small gifts, and special invitations, they will buy more from you, "sneeze" about you to others, and become evangelists with their friends. What better way to bring in more profitable accounts than to recruit your profitable accounts to be on your "sales team?"

  7. Thou Shalt Hire the Best and Free Up the Future of Those Who Aren't
    It is far more important to hire those who have the right emotional intelligence than those who have the pedigree or credentials. This is the number one hiring mistake in banking. With the ZERORISK Hiring tool, a 15-minute Internet test reveals if a candidate is at high risk for the position-which incidentally benchmarks to have only a 10 percent chance of being in that position 1 year later. Contrast that to a low-risk candidate who has a 90 percent chance of being in that position with productive results. With embezzlement opportunities, work-ethic issues, and over 30 percent of people falsifying their resumes, who can afford to hire without an emotional intelligence test that can predict work ethic, ability to sell, likelihood to steal, ability to work with others, as well as many other things?

  8. Thou Shalt Start All Marketing Efforts with a Goal
    It is amazing how many marketing campaigns are run with NO reflection about the goal. Even if it as simple as, "We want ABC demographic to contact us about attending our estate-transfer seminar" or "We want to target current mortgage customers to have them take advantage of a one-time special, no-cost to set up home-equity line," spell out the result you wish to accomplish so all efforts can align with that vision.

  9. Thou Shalt Understand the Game Is about Winning Hearts
    …those of your employees and your customers. No greatness has ever been accomplished with a rational presentation. ALL people buy for emotional reasons, and you must start first by winning over the hearts of your employees. Once they believe you are the best and the ONLY choice for prospects, the prospects' hearts will quickly be won over.

  10. Thou Shalt Teach Your Employees the Discipline of Winning Behaviors
    Do your employees have the disciplines and skills to compete against your toughest competitors? From knowing how to flip a client from a conversation of rate to one of value to having the disciplines of how to move clients through the sales funnel process and how to target high-profit accounts, the days of bankers who wait for money to fall in the door are over. Winners of the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award benchmarked that for every dollar they invested in training their people, they received a 30-1 return. When one banker remarked that he didn't train his people because they might leave, he didn't think of the worse nightmare-what if they aren't trained…and they stay? Now, that's a scary thought.
The 10 Commandments of Kick-Butt Profitable Growth are not cast in stone…but they should be posted at your desk. We all know what happens when we break them.

Roxanne Emmerich is the author of Profit-Growth Banking: How to Master 7 Breakthrough Strategies of Top-Performing Banks. She is renowned for her work with helping many of the top-performing banks in the country stay miles ahead of their competitors.

Copyright Roxanne Emmerich. All Rights Reserved.

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