Do You Want Relationship Managers Who Are Chickens or Pigs?

October 26, 2016 Maria Abbe


Ever heard the fable of the chicken and the pig? It’s used in the business world as a metaphor for commitment to a project or cause.

We’ll share our version of the story:

There once was a chicken and a pig and they lived together on a farm. One day, the chicken shared a proposition with the pig. He said, “Hey, I love food. You love food. Let’s start a restaurant.”

Taking a minute to let the idea sink in a bit, the pig responded with a tactical question, “Okay, what would we serve?” The chicken replied, “I’ll provide the eggs and you can provide the bacon.” With a chagrined look on his face, the pig said, “No thank you. You’d only be involved, but I’d be committed.”

It’s short. It’s a bit cute. And you walk away wondering, “Am I a chicken or a pig?”

How Do You Get Your Relationship Managers Committed?

We’ve recently written about the importance of building a pricing ecosystem at your bank and about the best way to approach the difficult process of innovation. Implementing new solutions can become an even more daunting task when there is hesitation from those who will be using the new solution every day.

Over the years, we’ve implemented hundreds of solutions, and our best advice: Bring your relationship managers into the buying process early on. In other words, turn them from chickens into pigs.

Having their input at the early stages means not only an easier buying process, but also an easier implementation.

When relationship managers feel like they helped choose the product and that their opinions mattered, they will be far more likely to rally excitement throughout the organization during the implementation process. They’ll also be familiar with the solution, so when the vendor comes in to train they won’t be blindsided by what’s being presented. They’ll ask the right questions and the time will be spent digging deeper on what matters to them, as opposed to recapping what should’ve already been discussed.

Dan’s Story

Yes, in theory early buy-in sounds great. But how do you get it done? A client of ours went about it in a way that we’ve now built into our own sales process. Here’s his story:

Dan, head of commercial banking at a $7B bank, wanted to replace the outdated model his bank was using. The bank hated the model, but at the time it was better than nothing at all.

Dan knew he needed something to replace the outdated system and he needed something quick. However, there were major concerns that the relationship managers wouldn’t be open to a new pricing system, because they had such a bad taste in their mouths from the one they’d been using. Also, they’d been working in a culture where the back of the bank wanted full control of pricing and the RMs were wary that management might bring in another way to keep them corralled.

In order to get the RMs’ approval, Dan set up a demo and only brought his top relationship managers into the room (hoping that the 80/20 rule would play out).

Dan left the room while the demo was in session and when he came back he asked his relationship managers these two questions:

1. Will you use this?
2. Will it help you improve your deals?

To which, there was a resounding, “Yes.” Dan said, “Great, now go back to your desks and send me that, verbatim, in an email.”

Dan used their input in multiple ways. One, as a means to get the organization to buy into the solution. He could show that the relationship managers wanted it, and would use it to improve their deals.

Second, to get his once leery RMs committed. But it was commitment through empowerment, because his RMs helped make the choice to add the pricing solution.

Dan and his bank went on to enjoy success and growth. The relationship managers were happy with the solution and were using it to win more profitable deals – just as the bank had hoped.

Interested in learning more on this topic? This post stems from a two-part series by Dallas Wells on how to create meaningful change within your bank: Instigating Change Part I and Part II

About the Author

Maria Abbe

As a Content Manager here at PrecisionLender, Maria develops the messaging, stories and content pieces for prospects and current clients – showing them the value in PrecisionLender. Her passion for serving others is evident as she leads the volunteer program here at PrecisionLender. Maria’s ability to be organized and constructive, along with her ability to be practical makes her an exceptional addition to our team.

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