It’s a fact that change comes easier to some versus others. While some embrace change as a chance for a new beginning, others look at it as a departure from the norm, extra work, and a chance of failure. Some want to forge ahead, and others want the status quo to remain until they are gone.
Take retiring CEOs and department heads, often relatable to second-term presidents, as examples; they can be reluctant to change. However, incoming CEOs and new department heads more often see the stagnation with "fresh eyes" and often breathe new life into an organization. Still, fearful managers don’t take chances and are replaced in short order. Others invest the time to know the options, make educated recommendations, and move ahead successfully.
A few weeks ago at the Iowa CUES, I presented a small, inexpensive marketing piece. On the front of the piece in red letters it shouted, “WATCH OUT FOR THE MOOSE!” Then, I told the audience a brief story about a financial institution executive who was driving down a forested road late in the evening. His seatback was adjusted just right, the temperature inside the car was perfect, and he had a relaxing radio station playing.
He kept thinking what a nice ride it was as he meandered up and down hills while his headlights bounced off the trees. Then, suddenly he heard a voice at the side of the road shouting at him, “WATCH OUT FOR THE MOOSE!”
His response, surprisingly, was, “It’s okay; everything is under control. If I need anything, I will reach out to you.”
That response sounds familiar, wouldn't you say? Unless there is an existing relationship already in place, an executive may have no idea what upgrades/information/challenges are around the corner, and he’s, essentially, riding blind. Likewise, responding to a vendor making an effort to call on your organization that there is no time available to meet, places you in the same "riding blind" metaphorical situation, perhaps cheating yourself out of knowing what may lie ahead.
Inside the small marketing piece was a picture of a moose standing on a highway. On its body were the words, “Outdated services, older generation products, high prices, and poor service.”
What I was asking the crowd was, “Are you open to change?”
Financial institutions have a variety of vendors calling on them—constantly. No one can expect them to have time to meet with every vendor to hear every sales pitch. However, in any area (Collections, Lending, Risk Management, etc.), there are a few major vendors providing most products and services.
Having a relationship with only one major vendor is like the financial institution executive ignoring the warning of a moose on the road. It’s inevitable the products and services being used will become stale, inefficient, and expensive.
Your major vendors may be similar in many ways, but they also purposefully differentiate themselves. Understanding, knowing, and using these differences are ways to improve your performance, streamline your operations, add value to your customer, and create additional positive financial impact for your institution.
My advice is to WATCH OUT FOR THE MOOSE!
Make a list of your major vendors and ask yourself the question: do you have a relationship with each vendor’s salesperson to ensure you are aware of and up-to-date on what they have to offer? Make a call to those that you do not know and invite them in for a meeting. Your financial institution will benefit from your efforts! Be open to change!