Follow-up to win business

Follow-up to win business

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

tagged: banks, customerinteraction, mortgages, sales, stories

Photo Credit: bluemodern

I was evaluating some marketing automation software recently. I saw a couple of demos and also had some brief email interaction with one salesperson.

Here's the sequence:

  1. @ Morning demo (in-person)
    sales guy: "One of our competitors is Leadlander."
    me (thinks): "I guess I better check out their offering as well."
  2. @ Office, online: I check out Lead Lander's website and submit a request for information.
    Email Response: immediate, automated
    Me: quick skim and then trash
  3. Actual email answer with demo link
    Me: Interesting. Looks ok.
  4. Post-demo automated followup: "What did you think?"
    Me: Interesting... I wasn't going to ask, but since you emailed and this email looks compelling (and comes from a real person's email address), what is the price?
  5. Real email answer

What surprised me was my choice @ step 4. I was interacting with a website and getting automated emails, and that automated nurturing (as it's called) caused me to ask an important question along the buying path. A question that I probably wouldn't have asked otherwise.

In my mind, I was done evaluating but, seeing the real person's name on the follow-up email, encouraged me to ask my question that I otherwise wouldn't have asked. Leadlender earned its chance to continue that sales conversation.

Flipside: Not conversing

A co-worker recently bought his 2nd home. He used a different mortgage provider this time than last. He liked the first mortgage provider - it was his bank. He's still with the same bank and likes them. So why the switch? They wouldn't talk to him.

I mean, they provided a mortgage quote to him, but he got a better quote elsewhere. Today, he mentioned to me (not to his bank) that he had tried to negotiate on his mortgage with his first home - and got a flat "no."

That "no" cost them a future conversation. Maybe that is policy, but it seems to me that a sales conversation is a good way to build the relationship with a loyal customer. Let's assume* that the bank can't make money at the alternate rate and that it would be a bad business idea to match it. Here are some ways that first conversation could have gone, in my mind (that would have changed today's path, if not outcome):

Starting with "That seems like a pretty good deal that they are offering. Let me check with my manager." later:

  • "We can't match it. What I can do: I'll throw in _____ for sticking with us. It's not much and, personally, I'd take the other deal, but we do appreciate you as a customer."
  • "We can't match it - but I can lower the rate by 1 point. I can also remove all your banking fees for a year. Does that work for you?"
  • "That's an amazing deal. Let me show you what rates I've handed out to other customers in the last few months: I can give you the best rate that you see here, but as you can see it doesn't match what you have on the table."
  • "We can't do it. But I can offer a reduced rate that isn't as good. The things I'd watch for is ____, _____, and ____ with the other guys: those wouldn't be an issue with us. But, if you're comfortable with those, then that deal is clearly the way to go."

He would have left trusting the bank. Whether or not he went with them, his loyalty would have increased and the bank would have been part of the future sales conversation. That's how you acquire brand equity and sales: conversing with customers.


  • For the sake of argument, I'll put aside my belief that a good mortgage risk investment is worth "earning" at a lower interest rate than losing (since the marginal cost on that business is dramatically lower than acquisition costs on new business) and instead, just take for granted that the bank should say "no" (which I think is unlikely the right choice).
  • Aaron Hoos' tip 14 (and others) in 88 strategies for 2008:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 12:00 AM

tagged: banks, customerinteraction, mortgages, sales, stories