Commercial clients are a bank or credit union's bread and butter. So when it comes to generating fresh leads and landing new business customers, a financial institution's marketing team has their work cut out for them. But there are several ways you can improve your chances of landing the next big (or future big) business owner.
Here are four useful tips to take back to your bank or credit union's commercial banking team.
It's time to strike while the iron is hot—commercial lending continues to swell, but 2019 could bring back rate volatility that could dissuade your big fish from investing more in their businesses. That's where niche markets come in. Keep an eye out for region-specific and industry-specific opportunities throughout the areas your bank or credit union serves. Consider smaller or more agile healthcare systems, such as urgent-care clinics; demographically inclined housing, such as senior living or millennial-friendly rentals; and infotech office spaces. These are paths of least resistance when targeting niche investors and entrepreneurs.
Let's embrace that kindergarten adage—sharing is caring. It rings true when it comes to bolstering both your commercial portfolio and your consumer retail brand. Your financial brand can capitalize on resource-sharing and risk-splitting with startups to forge a stronger connection with its communities. After all, brick-and-mortar retail is rebounding and Amazon has taught consumers to expect convenience. Look for opportunities with businesses like breweries, coffee roasters or boutique-style retail—these are great opportunities to fill out your unused branch space and incubate some future booming business clients.
How are your commercial banking products and services looking? Could they stand to be updated or added to? Take the opportunity to dust off some aging tactics and bring them into a Gen-Y/Gen-Z-business-owner era. Expand your options—the modern business owner shops around and has ample alternatives to what you offer. Consider streamlining your mobile app, for example, so that it better pertains to the day-to-day needs of a business customer. Or, better yet, offer your bank or credit union clients their own app exclusive to business banking. And while you're at it, consider expanding those loyalty and rewards programs you offer your consumer credit cardholders to your business clients—just don't forget to ensure the rewards are truly useful to the audience (i.e., gas, travel, office supplies, etc.).
The days of 9-to-5 customer service are gone—no matter how badly your administration may want to cling to them. After all, live chat, 24/7 phone service and bots have made it possible for retailers to ensure the highest-quality customer service at all times of day. One way to amp up your bank or credit union's performance in the service arena is to specialize your staff. Make your team members experts in more than just commercial banking—make them experts in industries and the technologies and trends that relate to said industries. Then promote these experts—make them content creators and promote them in your marketing.