Magazine article American Banker

Focus on Coaching Kills Sales at Branches

Magazine article American Banker

Focus on Coaching Kills Sales at Branches

Article excerpt

Byline: Darryl Demos

My firm recently surveyed banks about how branch managers spend their time. The survey covered more than 13,000 branches. The punch line: Banks whose managers spend more time on direct selling than on coaching outsell other banks by more than 30%.

The details get more interesting. The bank that recorded the highest percentage of time on direct selling by managers outsells the average by a good 50%. In average-size branches, this bank's managers allocated 40% of their time to direct selling, 15% to coaching. In practical terms, that is two days a week of direct selling versus one day every two weeks on coaching.

By contrast the banks with the lowest sales productivity allocate 30% to 65% to coaching, and 5% to 10% to direct selling, almost the exact opposite.

This is a profound finding and one that banks need to address quickly.

While coaching is important, it would appear that leading by example is significantly more important. We are sure this finding will get a lot of scrutiny in the coming months as many banks have made huge and continuing investments in the coaching arena.

But on a practical level these results should not be surprising, for three major reasons.

First, branches are small places. What the manager does is more influential than what he or she says. The average number of full-time employees in a branch across the entire 13,000 branch survey was 6.5, and nearly 90% of bank branches had fewer than 10 full-timers. Any manager worth their salt should be able to drive performance out of such a small cohort through sheer will, determination and drive. One can see how the skills of a natural sales and service leader could be far more influential than the day-in-and-day-out routines of most coaching programs - especially with such small work teams. It gets even more absurd. If you develop a program where a manager is supposed to spend 40% of her time coaching and an average branch has six full-time employees (not counting the manager), that adds up to almost 2 hours and 45 minutes of coaching per person per week. …

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