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Essential database marketing primer for banks

Book Review: Guide aids structuring, sustaining ongoing client acquisition 

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  • Written by  Nahum Goldmann
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  • Comments:   DISQUS_COMMENTS
Winning More Business in Financial Services. By Michael Salmon. McGraw-Hill, 224 pp. Winning More Business in Financial Services. By Michael Salmon. McGraw-Hill, 224 pp.

The banking industry faces many new challenges worldwide. In the U.S., for instance, heavy compliance burdens and demanding regulatory enforcements could cause disappearance of numerous banks. It's a tough time that will separate the players from the played out.

Clearly, the future is with banks that can rapidly and radically reengineer their profitability models.

To achieve this, they need to ensure the level of client acquisition--and retention--required for the profitability of every business line and find new ways to monetize value-added services. Unrelenting pressure to ensure profitability of transactional banking often imposes a good deal of austerity on banks.

Yet some bankers see current economic environment as an opportunity, not just a challenge. They reject regimes of unimpeded cost cutting across all the service lines, in the belief that with a reemphasis on proactive selling, it is possible to achieve new growth by providing high-margin value-added financial services.

Michael Salmon's excellent book should appeal to such bankers. He focuses on how to conduct individualized database marketing in the financial industry and can help readers to focus on profitability improvement at their banks. Salmon covers sustainable and repeatable methods of structuring client acquisition. What he discusses are techniques that have been successfully used by leading financial institutions all over the United States. An encouraging early word from his book:

"Bringing in new clients is actually as easy as asking--if you ask the right people in the right way."

Drilling down into the guide

This pragmatic primer introduces step-by-step procedures, forms, and scripts effective for setting up principal client acquisition tasks, ranging from setting goals for sales staff to qualifying the prospects to closing the sale.

Chapter 1, "Setting Objectives and Preparing Your Strategy," illustrates the need for such a step-by-step methodology of structuring client acquisition in banking. The book emphasizes making objectives focused, quantifiable, and measurable. And Salmon stresses the need for incorporating accountability with timelines. Salmon provides chapter-end summaries, a useful tool for the readers to implement what they have just learned.

Chapters 2-7 are full of practical advice, forms, and voice scripts. Among the matters dealt with:  helping to qualify and categorize prospects; finding ways to become introduced to them; obtaining necessary background information; getting referrals from influential attorneys and accountants (also known as "centers of influence"); demonstrating leadership and conducting effective communications campaigns, especially during the challenging times when the financial news frequently remains stubbornly negative.

Chapter 5--in my view the core of Salmon's methodology--encompasses how to build working relationships through voice calls and meetings; how to effectively describe features, benefits, and proof sources for the bank's solution; and how to close the sale.

Chapter 8, "Improving Your Efficiency and Effectiveness," is dedicated to the importance and use of workflow management when organizing an effective sales function. Among other facets of this section is a critical one: selection of and interaction with a coach--a critical undertaking for a sales executive's development and success.

Making sales happen in your bank

Of course, theory is wonderful, but we all work in the real world. Salmon accounts for this. His Chapter 9 covers dealing with the "what-ifs," such as "What if I need to leave voice mail?  Most people never call me back ..."

Overall, this book is an indispensable client acquisition primer, highly useful to all bank managers involved in marketing activities and sales. It should help bankers in monetization of new services, or with improving profitability of the existing service lines.

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