Info

BankBosun Podcast | Banking Risk Management | Banking Executive Podcast

BankBosun is a biweekly syndicated audio program that provides the multi-tasking bank C-suite officers ideas and solutions from key executives from all types of businesses operating in the banking ecosystem. BankBosun provides relevant ideas and solutions clearly, concisely and credibly to better enable them to navigate risk and discover reward. Kelly Coughlin is a CPA and CEO of BankBosun, a management consulting firm helping bank C Level Officers navigate risk and discover reward. He is the host of the syndicated audio podcast, BankBosun.com. Kelly brings over 25 years of experience with companies like PWC, Lloyds Bank, and Merrill Lynch. On the podcast Kelly interviews key executives in the banking ecosystem to provide bank C suite officers, risk management, technology, and investment ideas and solutions to help them navigate risks and discover rewards. Kelly earned his undergraduate degree (BA) from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. Kelly lives in Edina, MN.
RSS Feed
BankBosun Podcast | Banking Risk Management | Banking Executive Podcast
2017
September
August
July
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
September
August
July
June
May


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: April, 2017
Apr 28, 2017

Once there was this lion who had many friends, big and small. One day the lion got trapped in a net. Help, yelled the lion. I’m coming, said the elephant and with a swing of his trunk he missed the net holding the lion and got trapped in a different net. Help, yelled both the animals and all their large friends came to help, and also got trapped in nets. Help!, they all yelled and then 1,000,000 ants, mice, rats, bees, wasps bit through the net and didn't get caught.

Aesop: Many small friends can be the best of friends.

Announcer:

And now your host. Kelly Coughlin is a CPA and CEO of BankBosun, a management consulting firm helping bank C Level Officers navigate risk and discover reward. He is the host of the syndicated audio podcast, BankBosun.com. Kelly brings over 25 years of experience with companies like PWC, Lloyds Bank, and Merrill Lynch. On the podcast, Kelly interviews key executives in the banking ecosystem to provide bank C suite officers, risk management, technology, and investment ideas and solutions to help them navigate risks and discover reward. And now your host, Kelly Coughlin.

Kelly Coughlin:

Greetings. This is Kelly Coughlin, CPA and CEO of Bank Bosun, helping C-suite bank executives manage risk, regulation, and revenue creation in a sea of opportunities and threats. Today, we're going to talk about a tactic that can without any doubt generate new customers and create new revenues for a bank. But first some background. I started my business career back in 1982 at Merrill Lynch selling mortgage backed securities and municipal bonds to banks and credit unions. In those days, I kept a 3” by 5” card box of contacts filed two ways, alphabetically and chronologically by next date of contact. I would staple a new business card of a banker to the 3” by 5” card with all the contact information on the alpha card. On the chronological card I would have the name of the individual and the company and the contact history with dates I met with them, calls I made, information I sent, and the next future contact date.

Looking back now, I don't see how I was able to manage that system. Very inefficient, but very effective, provided you recorded all activities and filed each card correctly. There was frequently a panic if a call came in from a contact and you had to scramble around to identify the contact in the alpha box and then locate the contact history in the chronological box. In 1986, I bought one the very first personal computers by Compaq. This is a couple of years before Windows. I think I paid about $8000. Got a long term five-year lease for it. I bought some software that had a very primitive contact management system. It was called Exsell, spelled E-X-S-E-L-L, not related to the spreadsheet software. I don't know what happened to that company, but as primitive as that software was, it changed my life. At least my life in terms of sales marketing. That one simple software reduced my contact management maintenance time by 90%. It was more effective in that there were fewer errors and now more efficient, and that I only had to maintain one record in which the contact info and the past and future contact info was maintained on that contact record.

The reason I tell you that story is, in today's podcast we're going to learn about a sales and marketing tactic that will have as great an impact on how you identify new business relationships, develop those relationships, and convert those relationships to new customers. But this podcast isn't for everybody. Specifically, it's only three types of bankers interested in growing revenues. One, they are using LinkedIn now but really don't do much with it in terms of generating new clients. Number two, they are using LinkedIn now to generate new clients but spend more than 45 minutes per day on it. And three, they're not using LinkedIn now because they haven't really seen the benefits of it but would like to see the benefits. You will notice the common word in these three categories is LinkedIn. Why is LinkedIn so important? Because LinkedIn provides a platform that enables people to cost effectively connect with over 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories. No other platform allows that. Please note I did not say efficiently. I said cost effectively. In my accounting world, effectively implies accuracy and functionality, and efficiency implies time and effort, which for many of us equates to cost.

Most of you use some sort of spreadsheet software. Excel is the most popular. On my first computer, I used Lotus 1-2-3. Remember the backslash you had to use before you entered anything in that program? Painful. I've been a power user of Excel for many, many years, yet I estimate I only utilize about 15% of Excel’s total functionality. The same is true with LinkedIn. In today's podcast, we're going to focus a little bit on a more effective use of some of the hidden functionality of LinkedIn, kind of like that moment when I discovered the pivot table function in Excel. That was a brilliant moment. More importantly, though, we're going to talk about a more efficient use of LinkedIn. Then you can rest assured this is not some theoretical podcast on the benefits of social media, nor is it on the benefits of advertising on LinkedIn. This is focused exclusively on using LinkedIn to identify target customers, develop a relationship with them, and convert them to new customers, all within a minimal amount of time. So, if you're in category number two, spending over 45 minutes a day on LinkedIn will show you how to reduce that to 12 minutes per day, max.

If you are in category number one, only using LinkedIn to maintain your profile, we'll show you how to uncover a couple of hidden functions and use your profile to identify new customers and new revenues. If you are in category number three and aren't using LinkedIn at all but are curious about it, this might be the perfect thing for you, because one is probably kept you away from LinkedIn is you perceive it as a waste of time. For many, it is just that, a complete waste of time. I know this firsthand. I was in category number one. I used LinkedIn mainly as a way for people to find me, and somewhat, I was in category number three. I didn't use it very much. I frankly was never in category number two, spending over 45 minutes a day on it, because I never saw the value of doing that. But I'm in a whole new category now. I'm going to call it Category AAA. I spend less than 10 minutes a day and generate new contacts and new relationships every single day, and frankly love it. All because I'm a software as a service solution created by Don Brailsford, the CEO of Social Leverage Venture, Inc. It delivers revenues. It's inexpensive. In fact, I can make it cost $0 for certain banks, but that's a separate discussion. With all that said, I want to introduce Don Brailsford, the CEO of Social Leverage Ventures, Inc., located in Wilmington, North Carolina. Don, are you on the line?

Don Brailsford:

I am. Thanks so much Kelly. Thanks for having me.

Kelly Coughlin:

Thank you, Don. I hope you're having a great morning. It's Saturday morning. Why don't we start out with just a real short introduction of who you are, what you're doing? Family, that sort of thing. Give us some context of who Don Brailsford is.

Don Brailsford:

Sure. I've been in the financial services space and the marketing space and a serial entrepreneur basically my whole life. I've done real estate development. Grew up in Connecticut. Came out of a traditional business education. Next, I ended up teaching some classes at the University of Connecticut, but my real love is marketing. I love to talk to people. It's my life. I enjoy it, and I'm always fascinated by how hard it is to get good ideas and quality people together. The friction between getting the right person to the right idea just amazes me because it seems like we've built so many bad ways of “selling” or marketing that there's more resistance than there is acceptance. I'm 59 years old. I live in a little town just north of Wilmington of the water called Hampstead. I have a 20- and a 21-year-old son, and I've got a beautiful Catahoula. I think the most telling time in our history was when the immigrants came to America.

The immigrants came in and most of them were destitute. They had nothing, but the first thing they did was they formed networks. Those are the neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods, all those people did was everything they could for each other. If someone knew where there was a good place to buy food or a good place to live or there was a job, or anything they could do. Those groups, despite having absolutely nothing, very quickly prospered, and it wasn't to the detriment of anybody. It was to the benefit of everybody. That rising tide lifted all ships. That's what great networking does. It's not, I'll do this for you Kelly if you do it for me. It's, Kelly, if I can help you in any way, let me know. I'll be looking for ways to help you, and it would be great if you did that for me too. If we both did that we got 20 other or 30 other or 40 other people to do that, we'd be unlike everybody else in the business industry, where very few people have anyone trying to help them succeed. If you can become one of those rare few who can put a team together where everybody is trying to help everybody succeed, your life becomes infinitely easier. You have fellow travelers in your journey, and it's much more enjoyable, and life becomes just much, much sweeter. I just love facilitating that for people. 

Kelly Coughlin:

Yeah, that's well said. You use the term immigrant networking. I use the term ecosystem. We're now all part of a similar ecosystem. We're talking to community and regional banks, and everyone participating in that ecosystem. That is our audience for this podcast, and that's the audience for Bank Bosun as well. Catahoula? Is Catahoula a boat? Or is that an animal.

Don Brailsford:

Catahoula is C-A-T-A-H-O-U-L-A. Catahoula is a dog. It's the oldest cur in the United States. It's actually the state dog for Louisiana. Your listeners down in the Deep South will be familiar with the dog. It's a dog bred for hunting wild boar and bear, which makes it sound ferocious, but the fact is they're incredibly sweet, amazingly fast, and beautiful, gentle animals.

 Kelly Coughlin:

You've used the term immigrant networking. I use the term ecosystem. So, let's stick with the term ecosystem for our purposes. When we look at an ecosystem, many organizations currently use LinkedIn as a way to connect to their ecosystem. In the subject of this podcast and my discussion with you, is a more efficient use of LinkedIn. You listened to my introduction. I talked about the primitive version of my sales and marketing experience at Merrill Lynch, where it was a 3x5 card system. This is free technology. Then, there is some CRM software that was available for nothing. At that time, nothing really enabled us to connect to a network or an ecosystem, but LinkedIn is kind of the first one to do that. How do you see most organizations use LinkedIn? I know you have a more efficient way of using LinkedIn, but before we get into that, let's describe what's the state of the state before you guys are involved with it.

Don Brailsford:

Honestly, LinkedIn, nine years ago the marketing that I was doing was much more conventional. I had a mail center and a call center, and we did a lot of work doing seminars. We'd set up seminars for our clients in their communities and created the idea of having online sign ups. We did online sign ups, which is a whole novel thing. Did automated phone follow ups to follow mail that we sent. We'd call up and tell people that we were writing to them about the letter that we'd sent them to and invite them. That was all kind of novel, but it was also slow and you could see the costs just spiraling out of control, and you could see this this nascent social media coming on, Facebook coming on. Back then, it was Myspace. Nine years ago, I switched. I just couldn't do the seminars anymore because I just felt like so many guys were spending so much money and it was such a huge risk for them. A lot of people showing up just because they were planning their weeks around where their free food was I looked at the different social media spaces, and LinkedIn was a few years earlier—I don't remember exactly when it was, but I joined LinkedIn because I always like to check out the new stuff. It had a couple hundred thousand people. I think it was seven or eight hundred thousand when I first got into it.

I didn't pay attention for a bit, but then I started paying attention, and nine years ago, they were in the millions. They started to make sense, and I found out about the groups and things and I said, gosh, there's an opportunity. Never mind the seminar. If I put 2,000 or 3,000 people with someone, that's a lifetime supply. We started going into LinkedIn, and LinkedIn back then, everything was free because they used either the crack cocaine sales model where you give everything away until everybody is hooked and then they can't go away because they're so addicted to it. They've built an amazing, one of the most valuable databases in the world, honestly. Everybody worth knowing has dumped their information into LinkedIn and has presented themselves on LinkedIn. It's amazing that people on LinkedIn who might not ever take your phone call or an e-mail or anything from you will connect with you on LinkedIn and then you can send them a message. One of the hardest things we had to do when we started out was just convince people. They'd say, well why will they connect with me?

I said, because they just do, because people are social, because we're pack animals. That's what they want. A lot of times I had to spend 30 minutes convincing people. I promise you they will. They just will. We want to be connected even if we're wealthy and important and famous. We still want to have connections. It's such a small world when you have relationships. Going back to the immigrant thing, you'd be amazed at who knows who and who meets who. If you treat people right and if they know what you have to offer and what you're trying to accomplish, and they know that you're trying to help them with theirs, reciprocity is incredibly powerful. LinkedIn as it started out was just basically they started off thinking, okay, we're going to get people jobs. Then, they quickly realized that they had this massive database of all these people. I frankly believe they can say whatever story they want, but I believe that their users created the idea that actually it's even better as a sales and marketing and partnering and affiliating and joint venturing tool than it is hiring tool. I think the biggest part is, they do more business as a result of trying to find prospects and clients than they do trying to find employees.

Kelly Coughlin:

How does one go from category number one, using LinkedIn mainly as a way for people to find each other, to category two and three? Especially number two which is using it as a way to more actively do business with each other? Connecting with clients that might be looking to do a business loan or looking for wealth management services or looking for trust services or looking for bank cards or services? How do they go from passive use to active use?

Don Brailsford:

One word, systematically. Nike said, just do it. It's right. You sit down and on a daily basis, LinkedIn gives you these great tools for searching. You can search for exactly the kind of people you want to work with. I would submit to you that unlike in the financial services of the life insurance industry where everybody is a sales person, bankers aren't viewed that way, so they have a big advantage. When their banker reaches out to connect you, you're like, sure. I'll connect with a banker, because I might need a bank. The thing I didn't get to say in the beginning, or I didn't think to say it, I'm a huge proponent of community banks. I so much prefer a local bank that understands the community and is invested in the community and cares about the community. The way that you work is you sit down and you take LinkedIn and you say, all right, we what are the people we can best help? What kind of people are we looking for?

You do a search, and they have these great search tools. Basically, you pick what industries you want to work with. Who is the person in the business? Do you have specific businesses? You can target anything you want almost. Then, you just reach out and you send them a contact request and it has to be personalized. Kelly, if it was you and you were the client I wanted to reach, I'd reach out to you and I'd identify you as the CEO and I sort of manufacturing company that I would certainly love to make a loan to and get deposits and things from. I would say, hey Kelly, we're a local community bank and we always like to connect with local business leaders with the opportunity of perhaps helping each other out. We're also involved in many local events and things. Let's connect and hopefully get coffee and just get an introduction and see if there's ways we can help each other. I'd sign it, Don, and that's all I would say.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's take an example. Let's say I'm a bank down in St. Petersburg, Florida. My footprint is in a 120-mile radius of St. Pete. I do a search on LinkedIn and find all businesses roughly within that radius, and then I could even refine it further by look for manufacturers or look for whatever target profile.

Don Brailsford:

Absolutely. The way you do it is as you would do—it's not exactly 120. So, it would do a 100-mile radius, is their biggest radius. You can always move your center, so you can move your radius around. Do 100-mile radius and then you just search what kind of business you want. It tells you what industry you want to get and you can search for particular businesses if you want if you know them, but if you don't know the business but you just know, we work well with manufacturers or we work well with service companies or we work well with professionals or doctors, attorneys and people like that, the kind of people that can bring you business. You reach out and you say, here's all the people. Again, I would submit to you that for bankers, it is a target-rich environment because they're not viewed as salespeople they have to be defended against even though there is a sales function, very definitely a sales function, in it. It's just not viewed that way. They're going to be pretty well received, and they're going to get an opportunity to at least get to the door and create a relationship and do that.

You could so easily keep your marketing or your business development staff could be steadily building on a daily basis. You could have two or three new introductions and meetings and get togethers. You could have 20 or 30 people a day coming into your ecosystem where you connected to them and you can start communicating with them. Reach out to connect with them, and then on your connection message you could say, I'd love to get together and have coffee. There's two ways they can respond. They can just accept your connection request and become connected to you, which is a win because now the door is open. Or, they can respond and say, yeah Kelly, I'd love to have coffee. If they say, I'd love to have coffee, hey you're in dialogue. There you go. Now you're off where you wanted to be. If they don't respond, I would send another message to you.

If I'd sent that to you and all you said was, yeah, I'll accept your connection, but you didn't respond to me, I'd send you another message a couple days later. Hey, Kelly. Thanks so much for connecting with me. I love to get together and just get an opportunity to at least buy you a coffee and hear about your business and tell you about the kinds of things we're doing in the community. Would you be available for coffee sometime next week? Then, I would wait and I would wait another week to 10 days. Ten days later I'm like, hey, Kelly. Hope you're having a great week. Just wanted to put this back on the top of your inbox. I'm sure you're very, very busy and you may not get to LinkedIn very often, but I am still very interested in getting together. Hopefully we can work that out. If you're available any time next week, please let me know one or the other. That would be great.

Kelly Coughlin:

Or, if they've done say a podcast, you could send a link to a podcast that say, hey we just did this podcast on estate planning and trust work, and have a listen. Tell me what you think.

Don Brailsford:

Absolutely. That's the great thing. It's a win when they connect. As soon as someone connects with you, you can go to their profile. You get all their information about them. Their titles. A lot of times they'll have addresses and phone numbers and Twitter handles and their websites that they use. You'll know who they know, and that's huge, because it might be that I get to you, but who I really wanted to get to is the guy that you know. The guy that you know, the guy who's the CEO of the company that I desperately want to work with because there's a huge opportunity they're going to build a big building and I want to make them a loan. I'm going to sit down with you and say, hey, Kelly. I was really impressed with your profile and the connections you've got are spectacular. You've got a great reputation in town. I see you know Bob Jones over at Dewey, Reitman, Howe.

I'd love to meet with Bob. I know they're starting a big project and I'd love to chat with him about that. Would you be kind enough to make an introduction? Introductions are better than just connection requests because obviously, they're a third-person endorsement, basically. It's an opportunity to get in there. Most of the guys I work with are identified as, and are in fact, salespeople. Bankers aren't viewed that way. So, when a banker asked to be introduced to somebody, you're like, oh yeah. Nobody's afraid to introduce a banker. Again, target-rich environment. Just an unbelievable opportunity. I know the banking business is very tough, but the connections and the opportunities to get to the door and make your pitch and create the relationships are absolutely there.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's back up for a moment. In the webinar when I first got introduced to you, I believe you had a five-step process that you envisioned.

Don Brailsford:

Yeah. You target the people you want. You do your searches. You try to niche it down as much as you can. I actually think the biggest problem banks are going to have, they'll have too many responses. You want to make sure that all your responses are as close to exactly what you want as you can get, because you could keep a business development office busy constantly. My gut feeling, because I know the reaction that bankers get, so that's what I think. You target first and then you contact. You target and then you send out your connection request. Then you connect and you nurture, and you nurture that by keep prodding it along. If they don't respond to you, just keep prodding it along, that nurturing. As you said brilliantly, establish value in the relationship. Show people that it's not just about, I don’t view you as a commission or you're not just an automatic sale. This is a relationship. I want to be helpful. How can I help you? Who can I introduce you to? Is there anything else?

That, by the way, is one of the most powerful things you can do. As you build these connections, you're going to start having the ability to connect people, make some powerful connections for other people. So, it's target, contact, connect, then nurture. The nurturing is, you share information with them, you take the opportunity, you keep pushing them along towards having a meeting or invite them to a webinar, invite them to lunch and learn. Send them podcasts. Ideally, here's a podcast that covers this, whatever it is. Anything you have of value, and just show people that I'm a go giver, as they say. That's a great book by the way, Go Giver. Then, after that is, just sell. The great thing about it is, when you do it like that, they're not a transaction. They're a relationship, and that sales lead to not only more sales because they'll keep working with you, but it also leads to referrals.

The referrals are automatic. They just keep coming. People want to feel good about what they did. If I refer someone to someone who can help them, it makes me feel good. I think that you're the kind of person who makes people feel good and does things that help them. I'm going to refer you actively because it benefits me. It makes me look good. It makes me feel important. It validates me as a person. That's how referrals work. They don't do it because it's good for you. Human beings don't work that way. Mother Teresa was self-centered, and I say that tongue in cheek, but the fact is she did what she did. It made her feel good. Thank God, she was an amazing person and did the most unbelievable things. Human beings act in self interest at all times, and one of those things are when we feel good about helping someone else, it's still self-centered although it's altruistic in that way.

Kelly Coughlin:

I wrote down five things. Identify, contact, connect, nurture, and sell. That can take an extraordinary amount of time. I did a certain amount of that every day for the entire ecosystem before I got involved with your software solution. Frankly, it was quite painful. It just takes up an inordinate amount of time. But what got me interested in your deal is you reduce that by 80%. Let's talk about that.

Don Brailsford:

Sure. You send me home and tell me here's 15 pieces of paper you got to fill out, and you get to make an entry over here, and don't forget to write this letter, don’t forget that spreadsheet. I'm like, oh please, shoot me now. I don't want to spend 20 minutes doing that because that's awful. That's painful. It's just too time consuming to sit down and execute. Our system does 50 initial outreaches a day. Then, it also does up to four follow ups for all of them from all the ones that have gone back a month. It's talking about literally thousands of communications over the course of a month, which just fills the pipeline. If you do that yourself, you're going to spend four hours a day. You're going to sit there for four hours a day cutting and pasting and personalizing, and cutting and pasting and personalizing so that people get something from you that doesn't look like, we're both on LinkedIn. We should connect. Don. That's not a connection request that's going to get anybody to work with you.

Kelly Coughlin:

Congratulations on your anniversary. I hope you have a good day.

Don Brailsford:

Exactly. People like a lot of things. I'm sorry. I've been in social media for nine years. I never even noticed when somebody like my stuff. To me it's like, okay. Good, I've got some likes, but I didn't chase the guy down. Hey, thanks for liking my stuff. Another thing that LinkedIn or social media experts like to say is, you should post articles. That's great. Questions under that. Talk about taking time. Oh, my God. It's really very, very simple. Honestly. It's very simple but it's very time consuming, and it requires discipline and consistency. I found in my brief history on the planet earth that I'm a lot more consistent when the machine is doing my consistency. It does a lot better job of showing up every day and never getting bored and never getting tired and executing when it's a piece of software or it's a machine and it's not me.

I seem to have these problems of getting distracted, having to chase my dogs because he got out. I have a better idea. Not feeling like it that day. When you have a system where you know every day, every day out there, your work's getting done, and the sole thing that we say for the clients is the things that human beings have to do. You get to pick who you want to go after. Then, once they start communicating with you, once you get into dialogue and it's interpersonal communication which we all love, that gets handed off. All of the, keep nudging, keep nudging, keep nudging, keep nudging, keep delivering, keep nudging. That's all automated.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's take the five categories. Identification first. Does your system reduce the time involved in that?

Don Brailsford:

We use all the same things for searching that LinkedIn does, but ours is sort of easier to do. It's just a few clicks. I wouldn't really look at it as time saving so much as setting it up. Once you set it up where you really saved a bunch of time, it's because it's not the initial figuring out how you want to go after, and that search comes up and there's 283 them. Well, now I've got to sit there and by hand put together 283 messages that say Kelly and then Bob and then Mary and then Eric and then whatever. Then, putting some information in it about them and then changing the message and putting my signature. Our system, you write the message that you want. If I'm writing to a whole bunch of manufacturing executives I'm going to say something about the manufacturing field, let's say something about our firm. We're very active in manufacturing industry locally. Heard great things about you. Love to get together and have coffee and meet and discuss ways that we might be able to assist you. Then, our system will go through and just deliver all those for you.

Then, it's not just that message. It's the follow up message. When people connect with you, if they don't respond, basically you just go, okay, and you wait, and the system will send out the follow up. Hey, when we connected a couple days ago, as I mentioned we'd love to get together for coffee. Still serious about that. Would you be available sometime next week? Oh, and by the way, here's an interesting article you might like about tax breaks for manufacturing concerns that were created this year. Whatever it is. I'm making that up, obviously. Then, the third message and the fourth, all the way to an email. You sent three messages by LinkedIn, and then the last one you should send by e-mail because you do have your e-mail.

Some people don't spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, and some people don't have that LinkedIn messages forwarded to their e-mail. So, try them a couple three times on LinkedIn and then you say, well, I'm just going to reach out to you on e-mail. The last message to you might have said, hey Kelly. We connected a while back. I mentioned I want to meet with you and reached out to you a couple of times and haven't heard anything. It occurred to me you might not be on LinkedIn very often. Is this a better way to communicate? What I said to you was, I'd love to get together and have coffee. I've got this, this, and this to offer. If you can let me know one way or another. I certainly don't want to waste your time, and I hope you're having a great week. At that point, you're going to get a response sometime. You can't ignore four communications.

If they do, at that point, who cares? It's nice to be able to say, some will, some won't. So what? Someone's waiting. As long as you always have someone ready to go to, you don't feel like you're ready to starve. It's awful exciting to know that every day I've got this long list of people to see, and my biggest problem is I don't have enough time for all my new meetings and new opportunities, versus I don't know how I'm going to get to see that guy. I don’t have anything going on. My boss wants a report of my activities. Not real happy about that. 

Kelly Coughlin:

What kind of time reduction do you see users would experience?

Don Brailsford:

It does what would take a human being, some nights it could be four hours. Some nights, you might be able to knock it out in one or one and a half if you just put your head down and just went like a maniac. Bottom line is, on a daily basis, your responsibility is open up your inbox and see if there's anybody who responded to you, who you need to talk to, and tag them that they did that so the system knows, okay, you got this. We're done with our sequence, and that's it. Fifteen, 20 minutes to do what needs to be done versus an hour and a half to four hours is, I think, a pretty substantial time savings. I think you'd be a superstar in the banking industry with this. I really do. 

Kelly Coughlin:

That covers what I wanted to cover, Don. one of the things I always end with—I didn't give you a heads up on this, but this might be a little bit of a curve ball. I'll give you the choice of giving us one of your favorite quotes, or tell us one of the dumbest, stupidest things you've ever done in your business career.

Don Brailsford:

My favorite quote is, I've learned so much from my mistakes, I'm thinking of making a few more.

Kelly Coughlin:

Don, thanks again for your time, and we'll be in touch.

That concludes my interview with Don Brailsford, a LinkedIn marketing guru. I have negotiated a discounted fee with Don for community banks only. He shares my commitment to helping community banks succeed, and he's offered us a great program at $97 a month with the final two months at no charge. You should know that in order to use his LinkedIn marketing application, you need to subscribe to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator program, and that is around $75 a month. LinkedIn is free if you just want to post your own profile, but if you want to use it to really help get business, you need Navigator. If you use Navigator, you absolutely need this application. $97 a month to save two to four hours per day. That is a savings of about 60 hours per month. So, if your time is worth at least $1.60 per hour, then you need this. I use it and I love it. That's it for me. I'm Kelly Coughlin, CPA and CEO of Bank Bosun. Thank you.

Announcer:

We want to thank you for listening to the syndicated audio program, BankBosun.com The audio content is produced and syndicated by Seth Greene, Market Domination. Video content is produced by The Guildmaster Studio, Keenan Bobson Boyle. The voice introduction is me, Karim Kronfli. The program is hosted by Kelly Coughlin. If you like this program, please tell us. If you don’t, please tell us how we can improve it. Now, some disclaimers. Kelly is licensed with the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy as a Certified Public Accountant. The views expressed here are solely those of Kelly Coughlin and his guests in their private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of any other agent, principal, employer, employee, vendor or supplier.

Apr 28, 2017

Announcer:

And now your host. He thinks his uncle, Father Bernard Coughlin, SJ, is a saint. Kelly Coughlin. Kelly Coughlin is a CPA and CEO of BankBosun, a management consulting firm helping bank C Level Officers navigate risk and discover reward. He is the host of the syndicated audio podcast, BankBosun.com. Kelly brings over 25 years of experience with companies like PWC, Lloyds Bank, and Merrill Lynch. On the podcast, Kelly interviews key executives in the banking ecosystem to provide bank C suite officers, risk management, technology, and investment ideas and solutions to help them navigate risks and discover reward. And now your host, Kelly Coughlin.

Kelly Coughlin:

The name of the book I read is Sell with the Story, and this is part two of my interview with Paul Smith, who’s the writer of that book. Paul, how about you and I do some play acting now? I'll be the banker offering traditional commercial banking which are depository and lending services. I know you've deposited your wealth of money in your bank there and you've probably borrowed money for your home. I've produced two sales pitches that are in my mind clear, concise, and credible. That's been my mantra as you've heard me saw a couple times in the previous podcast. I want it clear, concise, and credible. Now, I have not focused on it being interesting, attention getting, and memorable, and that's where you come into the picture. I'm the banker. You're going to be the prospective client whom I've never met. This is just a sales introductory presentation. I'm going to give the initial pitch, and you just make some comments on how I could juice this up a little bit. It probably doesn't lend itself perfectly for a story, but if you can't get this introductory piece down where it's interesting, attention getting, and memorable, I never get a chance at telling the story. All right?

Paul Smith:

Yeah. That would be great.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's give it a shot. Hello, Paul. My name is Kelly Coughlin. Paul, I'm a vice president and commercial loan officer at Bank Bosun in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love to work with companies to help them succeed and grow by offering high-quality, competitively-priced cash management and lending services. We've been around since 1960. I was hoping I could come by your office and get to better understand your business and the banking services you currently utilize and maybe identify any services we have that might help you better manage your business. Would that be okay?

Paul Smith:

At this point, there's a couple of different types of stories that you might tell instead of what you just said. By the way, that was just first two or three sentences. If you and I really had a conversation, it would last three or four or five minutes. You'd have time to say more stuff than just that. A couple of types of stories you might tell there. One is, once they know that you're a commercial banker, they're used to getting phone calls from commercial bankers. They'll know what a commercial bank is and the kind of things that you might offer. What they're wondering at that point is, how are you any different than the other five commercial banks in this county, four of whom have already called me? That's what they're wondering. Why should I even bother meeting with you if you're going to be the same as all of them? What you need at this point is a how we're different from our competitors’ story. Let me give you an example of one of those from a different industry, the industry of the commercial cleaning business.

 

These are the folks that literally come in at night and clean your offices. You've got these companies. One of them is United Building Maintenance. I think they're in New York. The owner of that, Sharad Madison, when he's at that stage and he's got to convince people that his company is different than the others. Instead of listing, here are the four reasons why we're better than our competitors. He tells them a story about the last new client that he got. He said, when we get a new client, I always go in before the old cleaning company has stopped so I can observe them working because I typically end up inheriting the contract labor that comes with these cleaning services and I want to see how they're doing their job now because I'm going to have to get them to do it better, because I want to do better. He says, we go in, in the middle of the night, and we come across this guy. He's shampooing the carpet. He’s shampooing with one of those shampooers that you'd use at your home, a residential style shampooer. But there's a half a mile of carpet just on one floor of this building.

 

It's going to take this guy weeks to get through shampooing all of these carpets. What I did, as soon as we took over the contract I put him in a commercial-grade riding shampooer that you can sit on. It's three times as wide. It goes twice as fast. He can get the whole building done in one night. He said, then we went over to the offices where they were cleaning the cabinets. I looked on top of all the file cabinets and there were these half moons swiped out in the dust. I know exactly what that means. What that means is, the person cleaning the cabinets isn't tall enough to reach the back, and they're just reaching up and they're swiping out a little half-moon shape. The truth is, it would be better if they didn't even clean it, because it's the contrast between the dusty part and the clean part that makes it obvious that it's dusty. He said, I went to find the people that are cleaning those cabinets. Sure enough, I was right. Most of them were about 5’4” tall and these cabinets are 6’ tall.

 

They just can't reach the back of them. I gave them these simple, little plastic 2.5’ extension wands on their dusters so they can reach the back. That solves the problem. He just told these little simple stories like that. Now, you know the difference between the way he does business and the way his competitors do business. For you, I would come up with a story like that that explains in a very concrete way how doing business with you as a commercial bank is different than the bank across the street. Now, if you're calling on somebody who doesn't know all the basics, then it's a different story you need. It's one of those introducing yourself stories that explains in a very simple way what it is you do. But it's not going to be radically different from what anybody in your industry does, because you're just explaining the basics. That's a different kind of story that you would use.

Kelly Coughlin:

Yeah. That's terrific, Paul. There's a story I remember reading in your book about, I think it was Andy Smith and these relocation bonds I thought was pretty interesting. Why don’t you share that with us?

Paul Smith:

This is a guy who works in investment banking, I guess you would say. His job, he's a bond dealer who sells bonds to banks, to other banks. You know how these Fannie Maes and Freddie Macs will aggregate a bunch of home loans and put them together into a big multimillion-dollar asset that they can sell to banks. All of them are essentially the same, depending on what the number. It would be, these are 30-year mortgage bonds with 3% coupon and they're trading at 30 basis points below par or something. If it's another package of loans and it's got the same numbers, 30 years, 3% coupon, 40 basis points below par, it's going to be almost identical in terms of an asset. What he wants to do is differentiate the ones that he's putting together or the ones that he's selling from the others. One of his favorite ones to sell he calls relocation bonds. The way he explains that is he says, these are bonds that are almost identical to all the others that are 30-year 3% coupon 40 basis points below par, except all of the borrowers, all the homeowners that have all these mortgages are people who have recently been relocated with their company.

 

You know how that works. You get a big company, a General Electric, a Ford Motor Company, a Procter & Gamble, whatever, and they want to send their senior managers to a new location to run the new office here and then move them around somewhere else because they're grooming them for senior management positions. Every three years, they pick up and they move somewhere else. The company literally buys out their mortgage, pays to relocate them to a new city, they buy a new house, they get a new mortgage. Then, three years later, it happens again. The company is buying out that mortgage and moving them somewhere else. What you've got, the numbers sound the same, but the truth is, the underlying riskiness of these bonds is way different because instead of being Paul Smith that's on the line to pay off this mortgage over the next 30 years on month at a time, the truth is in three months, some multibillion-dollar company is going to pay of the mortgage, which is a guaranteed thing. General Electric is not going to go bankrupt tomorrow, but Paul Smith might.

 

The risk profile is really different, even though the numbers all sound the same. Even if he's not getting relocated, these relocation people, they're so upwardly mobile that they're going to get promoted soon and they're going to want to buy a bigger house. They're going to cash out this loan and get a new one. This thing is going to turn so much faster than a regular loan that has the exact same financial statistics attached to it. He would tell a story like that about these people moving from house to house, from city to city, getting promoted. He'd pick one person. He actually tells a story about his brother, which turns out to be me, by the way, going through that career that way. That's his story that sells the bonds that helps the bankers see that this set of bonds is different than the others. It's a story that that banker can then tell the bank president, and the bank president can tell that story to the shareholders of the bank. It will give all of them comfort that, oh yeah, we're investing smarter than just your average banker who’s buying bonds just based on the numbers.

Kelly Coughlin:

Okay. That's terrific. I want to finish with just a restatement of your perspective on story structure, because I think that's what I want the bankers to come away with. Can you talk about selling with the story structure, the steps, the transition in explaining the hook again? Context, challenge, conflict resolution. I show you have transitioned out. I'm not sure what that means. Lessons, and then recommended actions. Do you mind spending some time on those?

Paul Smith:

Yeah. The main four parts of the story are the context, the challenge, the conflict, and the resolution. Those four parts, that’s the real story. I'm often asked by people, how do I transition into my story? How do I kick off my story and get into the storytelling from whatever else I was saying before? That's what the hook does for you. It gets your audience’s attention and lets them know that if you will pay attention for the next two minutes, I'm going to tell you something that's very important to you. It's going to be a story, but they don’t need to know that. It gets their attention and forces them to be interested in listening to your story.

Kelly Coughlin:

That would be the why.

Paul Smith:

Yes. That's that first question that you need to answer, which is in the hook, which is why should I listen to this story? It's a half a sentence. It sounds like, the best example of that I've seen was, and then you start into your story. If somebody asks you, why do customers come to your bank instead of other banks? Your answer could be, I think the best example of that was, a customer of mine named Bob that we just had start last week. Let me tell you about him. That's your hook. All the hook does is, it tells them, I'm going to tell you a story about a guy named Bob who’s like you, but that's the hook. It's, oh, good, because that's exactly the kind of thing that I want to hear right now. I don’t want to hear some sales pitch. I want to hear about somebody real. So, that's the hook.

Kelly Coughlin:

If it's a millennial that's coming that's coming into your bank and, why should I go with you versus Rocket Mortgage? You don’t pull out, I had an 80-year-old woman in here.

Paul Smith:

Remember we said three most important parts of the story is get a relatable main character, a hero they care about? People will care about a hero that's like them.

Kelly Coughlin:

Like them, okay.

Paul Smith:

Yeah. That's the first question. Then, you're into the context, and two questions you've got to answer in that part. Where and when did it take place? And who’s the main character and what did they want? That sounds like, back a few years ago at this other bank, there was one of these customers who was trying to get a loan. That's it. That's the context. The next thing, the challenge. What was the problem they ran into or the opportunity they ran into? The problem was, it was too hard to get a loan at that bank and they couldn't get a loan. They couldn't buy the car or the house or whatever. Their wife divorced him because he couldn't provide for the family. That's the context is, some guy two or three years ago, at this other bank, trying to get a loan. That's the context. Then, like I said, the challenge or opportunity is what good or bad happened that created the whole need for the story to happen? Question five gets you into the conflict.

 

Question five is, what did they do about it? This is where you show that honest struggle between the hero and the villain. You've got to see them. You'll say, he did this and then the banker did this and then he tried this and then the banker did that. This is the longest part of the story, by the way. The conflict. Answering question number five could be half of the story. Half of the words in the story. Half of the time is this conflict about the back and forth between the hero and the villain, the struggle they had. When you're done with that, then you've got to answer question number six, and this is the resolution of the story. It's, how did it turn out in the end? How are the things or the characters in the story changed as a result of this? A made-up story it might be, he got so fed up that he took all his money out of that bank and came across the street to deal with me. That's how the story was resolved at the end.

Kelly Coughlin:

I assume that you like to do consulting with banks and other companies, obviously. What do you do, training sessions with them and public speaking? That sort of thing? Is that part of your business model, too?

Paul Smith:

Yeah. It's specifically training on using storytelling to either help them be a better leader or help them be a better sales person. I do half day and full day training sessions with their whole team, usually not one-on-one. I can do that as well, but the most effective ones are a full day, in a conference room with their whole leadership team or their whole sales staff on how to craft better stories to be more effective in their job.

Kelly Coughlin:

I want to know how people can find out more about you and your work and get in touch with you. Is there anything else that I missed that you feel need to be communicated?

Paul Smith:

For now, folks can find me, the easiest way is on my website which is LeadWithAStory.com, which is the name of my first book. They can find out about my books and the coaching and training I do on storytelling for leaders and sales folks.

Kelly Coughlin:

Paul, thank you very much. That's terrific. I enjoyed talking to you. Thanks.

Announcer:

We want to thank you for listening to the syndicated audio program, BankBosun.com The audio content is produced and syndicated by Seth Greene, Market Domination. Video content is produced by The Guildmaster Studio, Keenan Bobson Boyle. The voice introduction is me, Karim Kronfli. The program is hosted by Kelly Coughlin. If you like this program, please tell us. If you don’t, please tell us how we can improve it. Now, some disclaimers. Kelly is licensed with the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy as a Certified Public Accountant. The views expressed here are solely those of Kelly Coughlin and his guests in their private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of any other agent, principal, employer, employee, vendor or supplier.

Apr 28, 2017

An old Native American Proverb: “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn them. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

Announcer:

And now your host. Kelly Coughlin. Kelly Coughlin is a CPA and CEO of BankBosun, a management consulting firm helping bank C Level Officers navigate risk and discover reward. He is the host of the syndicated audio podcast, BankBosun.com. Kelly brings over 25 years of experience with companies like PWC, Lloyds Bank, and Merrill Lynch. On the podcast, Kelly interviews key executives in the banking ecosystem to provide bank C suite officers, risk management, technology, and investment ideas and solutions to help them navigate risks and discover reward. And now your host, Kelly Coughlin.

Kelly Coughlin:

Greetings. This is Kelly Coughlin, CPA and CEO of BankBosun. As most of you listeners know, BankBosun and I as CEO are committed to helping community banks navigate risk and discover reward in a sea of risk, regulation, and revenue threats. While risk and regulation threats are key and critical forces to consider when managing your bank, revenue threats and revenue opportunities are what really gets me excited and jazzed. Absent high-quality revenues and revenue growth, it becomes very challenging to deal with the other two. I like using the term creating revenue. Some have asked me, why the word creating? Well, it's simple. Revenues really are the only thing that businesses create, like an artist from Greenfield. More blank canvas. Sometimes from nothing, sometimes from just an idea or a vision. We have an idea. We put some packaging on the idea. We offer it to others, some purchase the idea, and shazam. We've created a revenue. Expenses on the other hand, are revenue ideas created by others.

 

If we like those ideas, we have to pay for them. Those are expenses to us and revenues to them. In my mind, the creation of revenues is first and foremost the primary duty of the chief executive of a company. Everybody else is responsible for ensuring that these revenues generate profits for the company. Consequently, creating revenues is becoming my singular purpose with BankBosun, whether it be through improving your public speaking with help from my actor colleague Chris Carlson at Narrative Pros or using our tactical ecosystem marketing strategy to produce your own syndicated podcast and develop new customers and centers of influence, guaranteed. Or developing fine-tuned sales messaging that is clear, concise, and credible. It is our mission and goal to help community bankers create and grow revenues through the utilization and implementation of some key practical tools. Today, we are going to talk about sales messaging.

 

To be clear, sales messaging includes sales phone scripts, one-on-one personal visits, emails, and presentations. For years, my mantra on sales messages has been that they must be clear, concise, and credible. To me, sales messages are a bit like poetry. I like to say, you have small words to communicate big thoughts effectively and efficiently. However, the one thing I had missed was to ensure not only your message was clear, concise, and credible, but interesting, attention-grabbing, and memorable. My accounting background is one that tends to lead me to believe that simplicity, clarity, and accuracy are all you really need, but the reality is, if your message isn't interesting, your audience will never really hear how clear, concise, and credible it is. This leads me to my daughter, Cara. I have four daughters. Two months ago, Cara started selling drugs. Marijuana. How do you think I felt about that? Actually, terrific. Cara took a job communicating to medical doctors the benefits of medical marijuana for certain types of patients with chronic pain or seizures. Totally legit, totally legal.

 

She works for one of the highly regulated medical cannabis distributors in the state of Minnesota. In the course of talking to Cara about her sales job, I learned that she and apparently many millennials refer to sales as outreaching, not sales. Outreaching. Apparently, sales is a bad word. As we started talking about how and what to communicate to the doctors and clinics to whom she was outreaching, we started working on her outreaching phone call script and her outreaching office visit messaging script. I started to research ways and methods I could help her with her outreaching script, and I started coming across the works of Paul Smith. Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on organizational storytelling. He's a bestselling author of the books Sell with a Story, Lead with a Story, and Parenting with a Story. I purchased the audio book version of Sell with the Story, and I must say I loved it so much. I didn't buy the whole company. Rather, I bought the printed book as well. I told Cara to listen to it and read the book. I thought it would help her with her outreaching script. It did help her.

 

It helped Cara convert a sales script that needed to quickly overcome the inherent skepticism medical doctors had about what was once an illegal drug to an effective outreaching story about how medical cannabis helped a 14-year-old boy who had repetitive seizures and was teased by classmates to now live a happy and healthy life. Today, we're going to focus on sales messaging because today, I'm going to interview the author of that book, Paul Smith. I'm going to divide this interview into two podcasts. Part one we are going to focus on the general perspective on what storytelling is. Why is it important? And the theory behind his work. In part two, we're going to focus on specifics related to the financial services and community banking space so our listeners can come away with some clear and specific ideas to help structure clear, concise, and credible messaging that is interesting, attention-grabbing, and memorable.

As part of his research on the effectiveness of storytelling, Paul has personally interviewed over 250 CEOs, executives, leaders, sales people in 25 countries, documented over 2,000 individual stories. Leveraging those stories in interviews, Paul has identified the components of effective storytelling and has developed templates and tools to apply them in practice. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, The Washington Post, PR News, and Success Magazine, among others. Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio. With that background and context, let's get Paul here. Paul, are you on the line?

Paul Smith:

Yes, I am, Kelly. It's good to be here.

Kelly Coughlin:

Great. Did I mess up anything in that introduction?

Paul Smith:

No, that was great. I'm pretty sure that was me you were talking about. So, that's good.

Kelly Coughlin:

More importantly, how bad was my storytelling in that introduction? Be honest. I can handle it.

Paul Smith:

No, no. That's good. I liked hearing about your daughter and a very nice surprising beginning to that with the marijuana sales. I didn't see exactly what twist that was going to take, but it clearly took an interesting one. So, well done right off the bat.

Kelly Coughlin:

To be honest with you, I put that in there after having read your book. I thought, I think that's what you're talking about, is get something that is interesting and personal. I got a specific time, person, event, and that's what you're all about, aren't you?

Paul Smith:

You did, and you got a nice surprise at the beginning to grab attention. Well done. Something must have worked in the book. I'm glad to hear that.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's talk about the book that I read, Sell with a Story. Tell us what exactly is a sales story. Let's start with the very basic thing.

Paul Smith:

That’s a great place to start, because I think a lot of people have a very different idea about what the word story means, especially when attached to the word sales. Imagine it's Monday morning and you're in a meeting with a number of your peers and comrades and you're preparing for a big sales pitch that you've got to make in a week or so and the boss comes in and maybe that's you and leans out over the table and says, all right, people. What's our story? Now, do you think for a minute that what that boss means by story is an actual story? A narrative about something that happened to somebody sometime. The answer is almost certainly no. What they mean is, what is the series of facts and data and arguments that we can put together in a logical sequence probably in a Power Point presentation that we're going to walk the prospect through such that by the end of the meeting, we've got the highest odds of successfully making a sale? That's what they mean by, what's our story? In other words, what's our sales pitch? But that's not the kind of thing that anybody would have called the story 20 years ago. They would have called it a sales pitch or talking points or a message track or presentation slides, or something.

 

Today, people use the word story for all kind of things that was really never originally intended to mean. When I talk about a sales story, I do not mean another word for a sales pitch. I mean actual stories about things that happen to somebody. The indicators of that are the things that you mentioned earlier. There's a time, a place. There's a main character like your daughter. That main character has a goal. There's usually someone or something getting in the way of that goal. There are events that transpire throughout the story that hopefully by the end resolve themselves nicely in either the main character achieving their goal or not achieving their goal, and generally some lessons to be learned from it. That's a story, an actual story. As opposed to a sales pitch, which is, Kelly, let me tell you the three reasons why you should hire me as your sales consultant. Then, I give you my list. That's not a story. That's a list, or that's a sales pitch. That's what a sales pitch is, essentially. It's a list of reasons why you should buy what I'm selling.

 

One of the uses of sales stories is contained within the sales pitch itself. You may have 30 minutes that your prospect has agreed to meet with you face-to-face or on the phone. So, you've got 30 minutes to make your sales pitch. You've got 30 minutes on the phone and you're going to spend five minutes of it building rapport and then 25 minutes of it on your actual sales pitch. Of that 25 minutes, you might spend five minutes actually telling a story. You might tell two, two and a half minute stories within that 25 minutes of well-structured logical sales pitch. The rest of it is the normal kind of thing as you would do when you're making a sales pitch. You're giving people reasons why they should hire you. You can also use these stories at other places in the sales process that is not the sales pitch. The whole sales process is a much longer thing. It starts with introducing yourself and building rapport and yes, making the sales pitch itself, but also handling objections and closing the sale, and even managing customer relationships after the sale. So, there are sales stories that you will use throughout all of those phases of the sales process and only one of those phases is the actual sales pitch itself. Does that make sense?

Kelly Coughlin:

Okay, I got it.

Paul Smith:

In fact, can I share an example with you? I think that’ll make it even more clear.

Kelly Coughlin:

Okay.

Paul Smith:

May, a year ago, we were at an art fair. It was actually something that happened to me and wife. She was looking for some art for our kids’ bathroom at home. We're going booth to booth. We get to this one booth of this underwater photographer. He just takes these mesmerizing pictures of underwater life like sea anemones and coral reefs and sea turtles and things like that. She gets emotionally attached to this one picture that to me just looked about as out of place as a pig in the ocean. The reason is because it literally was a picture of a pig in the ocean. I just thought that was a craziest thing. Pigs don’t live in the ocean. They generally, you don’t find them swimming around. When I finally got a chance to ask the artist himself, I said, dude. What's with the pig in the ocean? That is when the magic started. He said, it was the craziest thing. That picture was taken in the Bahamas off the coast of this uninhabited island called Big Major Cay.

 

Apparently, what happened is a few years earlier some local entrepreneur decided he wanted to raise a pig farm for bacon, I suppose. He bought all these pigs and he throws them out on this uninhabited island so he can keep them for free. The problem was that there wasn’t much on the island for them to eat other than cactus. Apparently, pigs don’t like cactus. He said they weren't thriving. They got lucky in that they noticed that there was some local restaurant owner on a neighboring island who would boat his kitchen refuse every night over to Big Major Cay and dump it a few dozen yards offshore, just literally over the side of the boat. Pretty soon, these pigs get hungry enough that they're like, I'm going to swim out there and get that food, even though they generally aren't known to be native swimmers. So, one pig braves the waters and then two pigs brave the waters. Here it is, several generations later and all the pigs on Big Major Cay can swim. He said, that's what it made it so easy for me to get this picture is because they've just been trained that any time a boat comes near shore, they assume they're going to get fed. They think it's the guy from the restaurant. He said, I boated up to this island and these pigs swam out to my boat.

 

I didn't even have to get out of the boat. I just leaned over and stuck my camera in the water. Boom. Easiest picture I ever took. Of course, at that point, I got my credit card out and I'm like, okay. We'll take it. Why was that? Two minutes earlier, that picture was worth nothing to me. It was barely worth the paper that it was printed on, but after hearing that short, two-minute story, all of the sudden, I had to have that picture. It was literally worth more money to me now because I wasn't just buying a picture. I was buying a story that had a picture with it. Every time somebody comes to my house and goes to the bathroom, I can tell them that story, and I like telling the story. It's this history lesson and geography lesson and animal psychology lesson all rolled into one. That's an example of a sales story as opposed to a sales pitch, because what that guy could have done is said, look, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, here are the three reasons why you need to buy this picture. First of all, it's the right size to fit in your bathroom. Second of all, it's got the right color palette to match your towels and the pain on the walls. And third, it's in the right price range that your wife already told me. So, don’t you need to just buy this right now? That's a sales pitch. They're logical, rational reasons why I should buy it, but the story is very different. It was far more effective at getting me to buy that picture.

Kelly Coughlin:

That's a great story. I love that one. Why do you think stories are so effective?

Paul Smith:

Probably my top three reasons are, first of all, this storytelling speaks to the part of the brain where decisions are actually made. There's been a number of studies lately that show that human beings make subconscious emotional, sometimes irrational decisions in one place in their brain. Then, they rationalize those decisions a few nanoseconds later in the logical conscious part of the brain. We think that we're making these rational, logical decisions, but the truth is, we're really making emotional subconscious decisions a few nanoseconds earlier. The second one is, it literally makes things easier to remember. Right now, I'm giving you a list of three things. My guess is that by this time tomorrow, you and most of your audience members are not going to remember these three things. I'm telling you right now. And it's okay. I'm not going to be insulted.

 

My guess is also that by this time tomorrow, you and everybody listening to this will remember the story of pig island. A week from now and a month from now and even a year from now, most of you listening to this will be able to tell the story of pig island and get most of the facts right, but there is nobody that a year from now is going to remember this list of three things that I'm giving you right now. It's just a list of three things. Storytelling literally makes things easier to remember. I guess the last reason I'd give you is that stories inspire. Slides don’t. When’s the last time you heard somebody say, wow, you'll never believe the Power Point presentation I just saw? Nobody says that. But they will say that about a great story. I think that's what you want your communication to have that kind of an impact on people.

Kelly Coughlin:

What makes a great story from simply a good or average one? Or do we need great stories?

Paul Smith:

The worst time to tell a story is when you don’t have a good story to tell. In fact, I'd even say, if you don’t have a great story to tell, don’t tell a story at all. What makes the difference between a great story and just an average story, I think, is three things. This could be any story. A movie, a novel that you'd read. Any kind of storytelling really centers around having a hero you care about, a villain you're afraid of, and an epic battle between them. Think Star Wars. You've got your Luke Skywalker, you've got your Darth Vader, and you've got this epic battle between them. That's what great storytelling is at its core. I admit that sounds rather Hollywood. If you translate that into business relevant language, what that means is, a relatable hero, a main character your audience can relate to. A relevant challenge. So, the villain becomes a relevant challenge, which could be a business situation. It doesn't have to be a human being they're fighting with. Then, that epic battle just becomes an honest struggle. You need to see your main character struggling with this challenge that they're faced with. If there's no real struggle, it's just not an interesting story. I've got to add one thing to that since it's a business story and that is, there's got be a worthy lesson or an actionable recommendation that comes out of it. Or you've just entertained people. Those are the four things, I guess. A relatable hero, a relevant challenge, an honest struggle, and a worthy lesson at the end.

Kelly Coughlin:

I recall in your book you said there is, I think, about 20 or 25 stories that every sales person should have in his or her repertoire. Tell us about that.

Paul Smith:

As I mentioned earlier, what I found when I was interviewing people for this book and by the way, I interviewed professional sales people and professional buyers at over 50 different companies just for this last book. I was looking for where in the whole sales process are great sales people telling stories. Real stories like I'm talking about stories. I was surprised to find out it was throughout the entire sales process all the way from introducing yourself to the buyer to preparing for the sales call. Even stories they told themselves prior to the call just to motivate themselves for the sales call, then to building rapport with the buyer, making the actual sales pitch, handling objections in the call, closing the sale. That never occurred to me that somebody would tell a story to actually make the final closing of the sale. I thought that would be a very fact-based, handshaking type moment. Even managing customer relationships after the sale. In those one, two, three, four, five, six, seven phases of the sales process, there's three or four specific types of stories that I found great sales people using in each of those phases. That's what the first third of the book does. It just documents, here are the seven phases and the 25 stories that you probably need to have at your disposal. It's throughout that entire process.

Kelly Coughlin:

You'd probably agree that the stories have to be authentic, real stories.

Paul Smith:

Yes, stories definitely need to be genuine and authentic. Actually, that's one of the things that most stories are. Just telling a story in general, especially if it's a story about yourself, is going to almost always come across as genuine because, I was there. I'm telling you something that actually happened to me as opposed to, I'm reading you a script that my marketing department told me to read over the phone to you. That is going to come away not genuine. In fact, this is where I think I learned more from the professional buyers, professional procurement managers than I did sales people. One of the questions I asked them was, what is it that makes a sales pitch sound like a sales pitch? They had a lot of really interesting answers to that. In fact, most of them described how it made them feel when they could tell that they sales pitch had officially started. They said, basically, it just made me want to throw up. One of them said it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I would get very defensive. I just thought, oh, God. It's started.  

 

It's not a feeling they want to have, and it's not a feeling you want them to have that they can tell exactly when your sales pitch has started. It turns out, and I asked them, what is it that makes you know that the sales pitch has started? Most of them said when the tone of the conversation changes from something that sounds conversational and extemporaneous to something that sounds memorized and scripted. That's when I know the sales pitch has started. If you don’t want your sales pitch to sound like a sales pitch, don’t tell it to people in a fashion that sounds memorized. The best way to make sure that it doesn't sound memorized is quite frankly, don’t memorize it. Don’t memorize every word of your sales story or your sales pitch. Memorize the general ideas and the general flow of it and then every time you tell it, it’ll be slightly unique because you're going to choose different words to craft your sentences. Now, they'll mean the same thing, but it will sound like it's the first time you've ever told that particular story before, because it will be the first time that you've ever told that precise story because you're having to make a little bit of it up as you go along. Or at least make up the words that you use because you didn't memorize word for word.

Kelly Coughlin:

Yeah. Fair enough, but I think you would agree that it's good to at least memorialize the script so that you're not wasting words. I look at it like writing business poetry. Try to get big ideas in small words. In today’s environment where you've the attention span has probably been cut by 70% in this whole culture, you don’t have much time. So, don’t be rambling on with the big, long sales pitch. Fine-tune it, work it, use precise, concise words. Otherwise, you're going to lose them.

Paul Smith:

Yeah, I agree. That's just a little different than memorize the whole—I think you said memorialize, and I think that's a good word for it. You're memorizing the major concepts and the order in which you're going to deliver them. You've probably thought through some of the key words that are going to help you deliver it, but that's different than memorizing a script. If you do that, you're going to deliver a memorized script. Then, it won't sound authentic.

Kelly Coughlin:

How long do you think the sales story should be?

Paul Smith:

Of all the sales stories that I documented in the book, the average length was about 300 words, which was about two minutes to tell. They ranged from as short as 50 or 60 words, which is like 30 seconds, to as long as three and a half minutes, maybe four minutes. The average was about two minutes. I found that interesting because in my first book Lead with a Story, which about storytelling for leadership purposes, the stories were twice that long. Four minutes on average. I think that makes sense, because leadership stories oftentimes, you're telling it to the people that report to you. People will listen to the boss longer than they'll listen to a sales person. They're your boss. You have to listen to them and show some respect and deference and all that. When a sales person is telling a story, they're telling it to the buyer. The buyer is the boss. Your time is cut down. We're not talking about five or 10 or 20 minute stories. We're talking about two-minute stories that you might use to punctuate a 15-minute sales call. They're very short things.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's talk about story structure. I've always been schooled in this presentation formula of, tell them what you're going to tell them. You tell them, and then you tell them what you just told them. Then, you have the journalist’s approach where you give the meat first, the lead, I think they call it at the very beginning. You do that to get their attention or the reader won't ever get past to the remainder of the piece. Now, I think you recommend a bit of a modified approach to this where you focus on context, action, result. Then, you also then talk about seven steps including the hook for business. For business and banking pitches, what structure would you recommend?

Paul Smith:

Those other two that you mentioned, the tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them what you told them, then the journalist one, those are good structures but not for storytelling. The first one is the one that you learned in the third grade, and it's the structure of a presentation. If you're going to stand up and give an oral presentation about the book you just read, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. It's introduction, body, conclusion. That's not a story. That's a presentation. That's a speech. That's the structure of a speech. The journalist one is not a structure for stories, either. It's a structure for a newspaper article. I know some people say it's a newspaper story, but it's not. It's a newspaper article. It's not a story unless it really is a story about something that happened to somebody. They have to write in that inverted pyramid, and for lots of good reasons that we probably don’t have to go into today. That's not the structure of a story, either. Real storytelling structure is the structure that you would use when you're writing a novel or a screenplay for a movie or something like that.

 

Those are real stories. People like that follow very complicated, very complex story structures like Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey story structure, which is 17 steps long. I don’t recommend using that simply because it's too long to use for a two-minute story. What I recommend is a four-step process. It's context, challenge, conflict, and resolution. That's the main body of the story. Now, what I've found is that people need a little bit more help than that. How do I get into the story? Then, how do I get out of the story and do some business with the story? I've added the hook at the beginning, which is how you get your audience to pay attention and listen to your story. Then, when you're done, the lesson that you learned and the recommended action are two extra steps after the story is told. The main body of the story is just this context, challenge, conflict, and resolution. Probably the best way to think about it, Kelly, is not in terms of these steps, but in terms of the questions that your story answers.

 

In fact, there are eight questions your story’s got to answer. I'm just going to give you all eight of them right now. This is the order in which it should answer them. Number one, why should I listen to this story? That's the hook. If you can't answer that question, then they might not listen to you story. Then, you get into the main body. It's, where and when did the story take place? Who’s the hero and what did they want? What was the problem or opportunity they ran into? What did they do about it? And how did it turn out in the end? That's the first six. Now, you're done with the story, technically. The remaining two questions are, what did you learn from that story? And what do you think I should do now? That's your opportunity to make a recommendation. If your story answers those eight questions in that order, you've got the story structure right. It doesn't matter if you call the first part the context, the challenge, the conflict. That's less relevant than getting those questions answered and in that order.

 

Every time he or she tells the story, that's the structure that it should be in. If he or she is actually telling a story, if what they're doing at that moment is, I just want to tell you a little bit about my bank. There are three reasons why we're different than our competitors across the street. Let me tell you about those three things. He's not telling a story. He's giving you a list of reasons why they're different, and that's fine. You need those things. You don’t need a context, a challenge, a conflict, and a resolution if you're going to give somebody a list. But if you're going to tell them a story about one of your bank customers who came in and said, look, I used to bank across the street and I've had it with them. I can't stand it anymore. Let me tell you what happened. I went there and I tried to open up a checking account. I had this problem and then in finally got it resolved. I went back and then I needed to get a car loan. They made me fill out 500 sheets of paper, and it was ridiculous. Then, they told me I wasn't qualified because of some silly thing that was wrong on their part. Now, you're telling a story. That story needs a context, a challenge, a conflict, and a resolution if you're going to do it well. If you're just going to ramble on, you can say whatever you want. If you want an effective story, you'll answer those eight questions in that order. The conflict is simply the struggle that the main character is having achieving their goal.

Kelly Coughlin:

In the banking world, you can pick a new customer that you've got because they had a bad experience with a competitor. You can tell that story around how you were able to get this customer and solve their problems because the competitor had created these problems. That's the conflict part. Or, a customer that you took care of as a sample case study on, here's how we take care of our customers on a recurring basis. There's no real conflict with that, right?

Paul Smith:

What you're describing is one of the type of the 25 stories. It's a customer success story. It's story number 14, by the way, in the book. There's still conflict in a customer success story because the customer has to have a problem that needs to be solved. They struggle with that problem, and the solution they decide to settle on is hiring you. The other type of story you just mentioned is called a problem story. That's story number thirteen. It's a customer having all these problems but not having a good solution. Hopefully, that's with one of your competitors and not with you. The customer success story is hopefully when they come to you, they have a better experience. Those are two of the 25 types of stories, but your banker, your hypothetical banker we're talking about might tell a story that's story number 10, which is the story of the founding of their company. Who founded this community bank? And why did they found it?

 

What made them quit their day job? Because nobody ever quit their day job for a boring reason. It's always because they're fed up with the boss. They hate their job. They hate the industry they're in, whatever. I'm going to go become a restaurant owner. I've always had a passion for cooking or whatever. It kills me that all these farmers around here can never get loans at the big city banks. My dad was a farmer and his dad was a farmer. I'm going to go start a local bank. That can be a fabulously important story for a banker to have in their repertoire is their founding story, because that tells you a lot about the bank. Why was it started? That will have the same structure. A context, a challenge, a conflict, and a resolution. The main character is going to be the founder of the bank. That's three of the 25 types of stories, but they all follow the same structure.

Kelly Coughlin:

Give us the 25 story categories so that we've got a good feel for those if you can.

Paul Smith:

I'll mention a few of them, and I'll send you a list and you can put that on your website. The seven categories are the ones I mentioned earlier. Introducing yourself, that's where you'll tell a story about what you do for a living in an interesting way as opposed to just reading your job description. You tell a short story about somebody that you've helped and how you helped them. Then, in the building rapport part, that's where you tell a story about the founding of the company is an example of one of them that would be in that building rapport. Or you might tell a story about yourself, why you decided to do what you do for a living. Why did you decide to be the CEO of a bank? What attracted you to banking? That’ll tell somebody some important about you. In the main sales pitch itself, we've talked about two of those types already. The explaining the problem story and the customer success story. There's other types there, as well. The pig island story is an example of a value-adding story. That's a story where the story actually adds value to the product that you're selling. I've actually got an example from a bank there on that one that I can tell you shortly if you're interested. The next phase is handling objections. Somebody always says, oh yeah, I like what you're selling, but the price is too high or I don’t like your quality or you're too far away or whatever.

 

So, stories to help resolve those objections. Sometimes even before they're brought up with a story about somebody else who had the same objections, and it turned out not to be a problem after all. You just thought that was going to be a problem, and it turned out not. Then, in closing the sale, there are stories that will help you create a sense of urgency on the part of the buyer to become my customer now instead of waiting six months. That can help you close the sale. An example of one in the last phase which is managing customer relationships is a loyalty building story. This would be stories that you tell your customers about other customers of yourself who love you and why they love you. Let me tell you what we did for this customer that lives six blocks away from here, and what we did for her. Let me tell me what we did for this other guy that lives in the next county but he drives all the way to our bank because we do this for him that nobody else does. The reason you're telling those stories about other happy, loyal customers is because you want this customer to be a happy, loyal customer and know, wow. I'm never leaving this bank. If you do all that for other people, you'll probably do that for me when it's my turn to need that kind of thing. Those are examples of the 25.

Kelly Coughlin:

I want to know how people can find out more about you and your work and get in touch with you. Is there anything that I missed that you feel needs to be communicated?

Paul Smith:

No, that's good. I think we're going to do the second podcast, and I can share one or two of those banking stories then. For now, I guess folks can find me, the easiest way is on my website, which is LeadWithAStory.com, which is the name of my first book. They can find out about my books and the coaching and training I do on storytelling for leaders and sales folks.

Kelly Coughlin:

Paul, thank you very much. That's terrific. I enjoyed talking to you. Then, we'll continue with part two of this. Thanks.

Announcer:

We want to thank you for listening to the syndicated audio program, BankBosun.com The audio content is produced and syndicated by Seth Greene, Market Domination. Video content is produced by The Guildmaster Studio, Keenan Bobson Boyle. The voice introduction is me, Karim Kronfli. The program is hosted by Kelly Coughlin. If you like this program, please tell us. If you don’t, please tell us how we can improve it. Now, some disclaimers. Kelly is licensed with the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy as a Certified Public Accountant. The views expressed here are solely those of Kelly Coughlin and his guests in their private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of any other agent, principal, employer, employee, vendor or supplier.

1