Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 9 months ago

154) #ClarityCalls: How to Drag Financial Brand Leaders Out of the Past

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How can we get financial brands and their leadership teams comfortable with actually opening accounts online?

It’s an important question that I’ll be answering in the latest Clarity Calls.

And joining me to discuss the answer is the man who asked the question — Eric Cook, Founder & Chief Mentor at The LinkedBanker.

In this episode:

- The mentality trapping financial brand leaders in the past

- The COVID wake up call

- The value of cataloging your concerns and addressing them directly

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts , on Spotify , or here .

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.

...all of the things that you are worried about, what freaks you out and be totally honest just let your mind flow right to your paper and and I think just getting it out on paper is one where you can actually see it and then when you see it on paper you might look at it and go really, that's that's what I'm worried about, you're listening to banking on digital growth. With James robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the clarity call series where James robert sits down for a conversation with someone in the digital growth community To provide clarity into the biggest digital marketing, sales and leadership questions others have. If you'd like to join James Robert for a future conversation, text your question right now, (283) 254 95792 and remember the only bad question is the question that goes unasked. Let's get into today's clarity calls conversation Yeah, greetings and hello I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 154th episode of the banking on digital growth podcast and today's episode is part of the clarity call series and I'm excited to welcome back eric Cooke to the show. Eric is a 15 year recovering banker who since 2000 and seven has been running a digital agency focused on helping community banks navigate the complexities of a digital world now erIC and I had a great conversation going back to episode number 81 that I recommend you take a listen to where eric and I dove deep into sharing social media secrets and how financial brands can build relationships in a digital world, but today we're going to mix things up a bit as eric asked me a great question that I thought would be helpful that we talked through together to provide you the dear listener with clarity so that we can both guide you...

...forward along your own digital growth journey. Welcome to the show ERIC, it is so good to have you back, it's awesome to be back. Thanks for inviting me before we get to your question which is a really important one that you had asked me always want to start off on a positive note, what is good for you personally, professionally, what's well for you right now? I think the last time we talked I was bragging about my new mountain bike and I walked out this morning as the date of this recording is uh in late november approaching thanksgiving the ice is starting to form on the lake right out my back door, which has got me excited for my studded fat bike tires and some ice mountain biking this winter. So, I know most people that prefer doing their bike riding in shorts and t shirts are probably listening to this going, are you crazy? But I did it last year for the first time and I am getting really excited to slap on the old studded tires and go out and I see ice fisherman sitting on flipped over five gallon buckets and they look at me like I'm weird and I'm like, you're sitting in the middle of a frozen lake with a line and a whole, at least I'm sweating and working up a little bit of body heat, but it's probably a mutual look of disbelief on both of our parts, but I'm looking forward to that. I believe it or not. Yeah, well, you know, it's funny, you know, being down here in Houston, I'm not really feeling it because you're giving me the chills right now. We get down to about 40 degrees and I'm like, I'm good. Give me that. He'd give me that humidity, but 40 degrees, 45 50 degrees low humidity. That is perfect winter running weather, which is where marathon season starts to heat up. We go pun intended down here. So definitely you and me, we'll both, we'll both stay active instead of hibernating and well and you, you may not feel the cold or the chill, but you'll be with me podcast wise and you know that I'm a big, big fan of listening to your voice, keeping motivated while I'm peddling or running or paddling or whatever I'm doing outdoors. So what you're doing great...

...things yourself and you had a great question that I think, you know, we will be able to talk through to provide the dear listener with some clarity because it's a question that I've heard before? It's a question I know others are thinking about particularly if they're on say, the marketing or the cells side of the house. And the question that you asked me, how how can we get financial brands and their leadership teams to a comfort level of actually opening accounts online and and then digitally onboarding those accounts to grow share of wallet before I provide my take on this, I want to get some clarity from you about where is this this question rooted? Why ask this may be, what are you, what are you seeing? What are you hearing here? Well? And and it hadn't been asked of me prior to me asking you the question, but just recently had a conversation with the Director of Marketing for a bank who got a new ceo that came from internal and the Ceos directive to that Marketing Director and her team was I need you to get more people back in the office. And the Marketing Director kind of said, okay, and the ceo said because we've got all these employees, we've got all this office space and nobody is here. I need people to come into my office subtitled to justify the expense, the infrastructure, the environment that we created many, many, many, many, many, many years ago. And the Marketing Director just kind of told me the whole story and she says, okay now what do you think is running through my head and I said, has she heard about digital, you know, where is that mentality that ok? The solution isn't you know, how do we repurpose retrain re educate, re empower our employees to be able to connect and engage with our customers digitally and maybe change our office environment so that when people do come...

...in we've got more privacy, so if somebody does decide they want to come into the office, they've got more of a need that can't be satisfied through a digital channel so they deserve more privacy and attention and we train our employees to take better care for longer periods of time. None of that was even in this Ceo's mindset and I've heard others where you know, we don't want to get our customers using our online applications because if they're applying for mortgage loans online then what do they need me for as a lender? My job is at risk. There is very much an intimidation around this and it doesn't happen a lot. But the fear is still there that to a lot of traditional bankers and those may not be the ones that are listening to this podcast, so maybe I'm preaching to the choir, but if that exists within your organization and you're listening to this, I want to talk about how do we get traditional managers? Traditional executives over the hump of the fear of they don't understand it, they wouldn't open an account online, they wouldn't do it. So if they're not going to do it, they're not familiar with it, they're afraid of it and they're going to resist it and and that that can't be the case and I understand the experience in some platforms maybe isn't as ideal as what it could be, but technology and the trickle down economics of technology is making it affordable to provide awesome experiences and you think of you know, platforms like plaid that do instantaneous funding and accounting connectivity and you might have to spend a little bit of extra money and go outside of the free or the low cost option that your core is providing you. But you can provide a very personal, very comfortable, very effective way of digitally bringing your clients into your organization and then thinking about once they're there, I'm not gonna see him, I'm not going to shake their hands, I'm not going to give them cookies insider at thanksgiving time. How do I welcome them into my...

...organization? So they understand everything that I can do is an F. I. And they stick around long term, so they're not just there for the $500 bonus on the checking account that they got when they opened their, when they open their checking. So I've got three thoughts that popped into my mind as you're downloading this to me. Number one, you said the word mindset, this is definitely a mindset opportunity to transform hearts to transform minds internally? That's number one. Number two, it's the idea this, this probably happens more than many people. No, I actually see that on my side over here and it typically is at a leadership level, It even might be at a lender level, it could be at a branch manager level because we attach our self worth to what we do or to what we have done. Therefore, if in my mind, I think online application, I think irrelevance, well I'm going to do everything possible to fight that progress and then number three and this is really what I call heart centered thinking, which is part of human centered growth. It's putting the account holder, the perspective account holder at the center of our thinking, at the center of our doing because if we're really trying to throw up roadblocks or challenges to force them literally to come into the branch, it's almost like being at a fast food restaurant and closing down the drive through because we want people to walk inside, in my opinion, they're probably going to maybe do it once. But then when they see the line and the friction and the frustration that comes from it, they're like next time they're driving by, they're like, I'm gonna go to the next place that has the open drive thru because it's there's that much more convenient. And so the question if you're facing this type of a challenge,...

...are we trying to make things easier for us or to justify our reason for being quote unquote or are we putting ourselves to the side and putting the account holder, prospective account holder at the middle of our thinking, which that's, there's two different ways of operations here. What's your take man? Well, I'm I'm reminded you talk a lot about putting the customer is the hero and putting them at the center of the story and focusing on and I and I here still, I mean the resistance because it's going to create an inconvenience within the organization. We can't have people doing this because that's not the way our process works. And I gently push back because if you want to keep your clients for any extended period of time, you have to make sure even when you're delivering bad news, you do it with tact and courtesy. But I push back and I say, you know, are we really in this to try to make things as easy for our employees or are we in this to make things as easy for our customers and the people that want to do business with us And those don't always have to be in opposition of one another. But if you take an organization that doesn't have the ability to take an online application quite yet because they haven't felt there is a definite market need or they haven't secured budget for it? Well then let's build a more sophisticated secure form on your website to collect the information. The customer doesn't necessarily need to know that it's not an automated platform with bells and whistles and automated underwriting and a soft pull on the credit and it automatically sends all the data into your dock prep. It might be a bit of a hall on your end. Is an employee at the bank to take that information to download it to manually enter it. But to the customer to the visitor to the person that's on your website filling the form out. It's as...

...slick as anything else and it allows for them to get the information to you. And if you find that it creates operational efficiencies buying the scenes and it's inconvenient. You've just made your business case that you need to go out and invest in technology. It's funny because you two things popped to the top of my mind number one it's a quote and had to pull this up here was from head of I. T. At an asian pacific bank and the quote is this we are focused on customers and serving them as best we can. If that means we have to disrupt the way we operate. So be it. Digital growth is a journey from good to great but sometimes this journey can feel confusing frustrating and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to take this journey alone because now you can join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs who are all learning, collaborating and growing together visit digital growth dot com slash insider to learn more about how you can join the digital growth insider community to maximize your future digital growth potential. Now back to the show. The second thing is to this point of a use case, it's almost like demand generation but its internal demand generation. Because I always get the question of well what comes first? Do we build for example like a digital sells team or do we create the demand to prove that we need a digital sells team? I say always create the demand knowing that there's gonna be some growing pains in the in term until you kind of get that team staffed and ready because otherwise you build the digital sales team and they're sitting there twiddling their thumbs. What are we supposed to do? I want to come back to the human condition on this a little bit because you mentioned this idea of fear before, when you think about leadership alone officer, a branch manager, digital digital is like literally transform the world is it is...

Flipped people's worlds upside down when it comes to growth because before people you'd have some type of marketing, broadcast, TV radio print and it would drive people into the physical branch location, we conduct the transaction boom life is good but now there's so much more complexity and what is it uh 92% from the studies that we've conducted, 92% of people are starting Their shopping journey for financial product online. The other 8% you're like what are they doing walking to the branch? no they're actually having conversations with friends, with family, asking and then going online to validate. So therefore it's like 100% of people, you know, are at least doing some type of exploratory research and then you know what happens next. It could be in the branch, it could be over the phone, it could be online, but you have to consider people that have built a career around growth in the physical world. They built their entire career on brick and mortar. It's normal. It is the human condition for people to one fear what they don't know and to fear change and all of this is really getting Amplified at an exponential rate where we're at a tipping point because things have moved so quickly over the last 18 months, you know, through the COVID experience, it's going to get quicker. And and so like I want to get your take on this, if it's going to get faster, if it's going to get quicker before I get my perspective, what's the opportunity here, What's the next best step you mentioned, for example, you could maybe build something out to bridge the gap. While it might not be, you know fully automated and fully funded to do the decision checks and the credit pools and the K. Y. C. At least it's better than having nothing which we have found through secret shopping studies is detrimental because it does create friction in that buying journey. What's your take, what's the opportunity? Well a bunch of stuff is rattling in my...

...noggin right now because I mean it always happens whenever you and I talk, it's like okay where do I start first? I think going back to the shift that took place thanks to that sneaky little virus that interrupted everybody's lives 20 so months ago while everybody understood maybe at a philosophical level that digital innovation was something that was needed. The reality was nobody really got the choice to jump in the pool. Everybody was standing there kind of going, yeah I probably should get in there and do some swimming but I'm not sure. And then all of a sudden big bully Covid shows up and shoves everybody in the deep end and says okay figure out how to swim how to tread water and you're not getting out for a while. And some people instantly didn't like the cold water. They didn't they didn't want to be there, they wouldn't have gone. They never would have gone. Others may be would have gone there. But you know what? It had been nice to be able to walk down the stairs to get into the shallow to get comfortable a little bit and then make my way into the deep end so that I get comfortable with the experience. So now it's just not all of a sudden boom, I can't touch you know oh my gosh I'm gonna die kind of thing and so like it or not. We've been thrust into the deep end and you have to figure this out. I think the empathetic position for some of these senior managers is to to figure out and I don't know who's the right person to do this but to figure out what the organization to go back and acknowledge that fact and to provide some basis of okay I know we probably should have done this but we didn't have a choice. We had to keep open. We had to take care of our customers. We had to collect documents for P. P. P. We had to we had to we had to now that we can come back and do a little breathing room, let's do a little digital culture training. Let's talk about how your job is not at risk. Let's reassure our employees that the world Is not coming to an end as we know it because 20...

...years as a banker has gone out the window and now everybody's applying online. Where is my sense of worth and value and relevancy in the organization. We need to have that discussion and to come back and we need the right person to be able to lead those conversations with people to make sure them and put a little hug around them and say it's going to be okay, we're gonna train you on how to do stuff. We're going to show you why it's not a threat. And if anything it's going to give you more time to take care of the people that you really need to take care of. So you don't feel so pressured. And that is the is one of the big thoughts that jumps into my head and I'm curious what you think about that because I when I mentioned empathy, I know the listeners can't see us but I saw your eyes light up because I know empathy is a is a topic that you're pretty passionate about. Eq plus A Q. Is going to be greater than I. Q. Over the next 3 to 5 years. Like its Intelligence, where have I heard that before? Yeah, intelligence alone is like, yeah, you can be smart but unless you're overlaying it contextually. Like I understand where you're at. I I really feel for you and that's why like we we really over the last 18 months have tried to codify this into what I call the three teas for transformative growth and there's a I'm not surprised 60 to 85% when you look at like Bane and BCG and all the big consulting firms, they're coming back with the same number 60 to 85% of all transformation projects fail, not because of technology, They failed because of the human factor, the human element. I am so excited to be writing banking on change as the next book in the series. And here are the three T. S. Number one all change. All transformation must begin by telling the truth about where you've been, where you're at and where you can grow next. And that is the honest, hard, difficult conversations and it's and if...

...you don't know something admitted it doesn't mean that you're a failure. You're not a good leader. It just means that you just don't know what you don't know. And that brings to the second T. Which is the training to help the unaware become aware of what the opportunities are to begin with in the first place because it's that awareness that you begin to overcome the fear of the unknown. I'll never forget this. There's a couple months ago I was leading a board strap session for $2 billion institution up in the northwest. It was the second strap session. It was about 30 individuals. So the first one we did, it was remote. The second one that we did, it was board and executive team and it was in person and we're on a break, it was in the bathroom and washing my hands and their senior vice president of retail because over the branches comes up next to me. He said, hey I said, yeah, he said, I just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed the conversation today so far and how much I've enjoyed your book. I said, well I appreciate that. He said, whenever I was told that I had to read your book and I saw the title, I don't want to read it like he said, but you've given me some hope for like my team. I said, exactly. And I said, if you can now take that and then deliver that back to your team, put their minds at ease that we need people, you know, it might not be contextually through the branch experience because that then brings me to my 30 you've got to tell the truth, number one, you've got to get the training number two, but number three, Taking time to think about the next best steps forward, which requires us to what to break free from the doing, which is a very dangerous place to be. It's a very dangerous place to get stuck because when you're constantly on this hamster wheel of just continuous doing and digital almost creates an environment to where you can be doing literally 24-7365. Like the problem with that is is we're not robots yet,...

...you know, we were, our computer is built a little bit differently than you know what, but even then like you still have to plug your phone into recharge, we have to do the same thing as human beings as leadership team to step away To create space and time to review what we've done learned from that experience, think about what we can do next and then apply that to our next iteration, that whole process. We call that the 90 day growth method. That whole process is a, it's a new concept in a new idea within leader. It's very common in like the software development world to work in agile and sprints and whatnot. Even marketing is becoming more commonplace for an agile marketing department. But then if you take that thinking applied to other areas of the organization, they're like, whoa What about what about the 3-5 year horizon line and like not applicable anymore. 12 18 months, 24 if you're lucky. Yeah exactly, that's my take man like you know it's it's it's it's telling the truth, having the honest conversations, the difficult conversations which takes courage but remove remove the emotion out of it, its objective, we're not here to hurt people's feelings were here absolutely just grow together. Yeah, given the perspective of what's really going on and yeah, so those three steps that basically is exactly what's going on in my head when I think of that is getting them excited about what lies ahead not intimidated by you know the demise of their role, their demise of their job and you know letting them acknowledge that it's okay to feel this way your, your world, our world, the world was turned upside down and and so we we've got to acknowledge that but we also see that there's opportunities here and and those are the ones that I think are are right for the organization that gets it. Just...

...like I write and speak and teach a lot about giving account holders and perspective account holders give them some help, give them some hope but hope often has to come before help. The same is true in here but it's now it's an internal conversation eric as we wrap this up, there's been a great, great back and forth here with you today. What would you recommend to the dear listener to give them some help but I even say more importantly give them some hope as they look ahead forward towards, towards the future that they can create, what what would you you say on this point here? So we wrap up, you know, if you're someone that's struggling with this transformation concept, I would say gold school get pen and paper and just just let your brain dump right all of the things that you are worried about, what freaks you out and be totally honest, just let your mind flow right to your paper and and I think just getting it out on paper is one where you can actually see it and then when you see it on paper you might look at it and go really? That's that's what I'm worried about and if there are things that are legitimate, that you still are concerned about, once you have it documented, then you know, maybe lead a discussion within the organization or find somebody. A colleague can be somebody with your own institution or you know, one of the things that I loved about being a banker is meeting people at conferences and conventions and banking schools and you probably have a confidant across town, across the country, across the state that you've connected with. And if you want a brainstorm, I can probably offer you, but I will definitely offer me and you can say, yeah, you too, but reach out and just explain where your fears are and what you're concerned about and have somebody that you can talk to about it. It almost sounds like I'm trying to inject myself as a therapist, but a lot of these things aren't really...

...as bad as what you think and there's definitely more of an upside potential than a downside drawback to being comfortable with where things are headed. Well, that's, that's one of the reasons like, you know, if I think about just my own personal story over the last 20 years, the 1st 10 years was was doing all of this. Then I took about five years to consult around it and now it's moving into more of an advisory and a coaching perspective because if we can get that self actualization to happen internally, that's where massive growth really takes off because otherwise you're coming in from the outside and saying, hey I'm seeing all of this stuff over here, why don't you go do 123456789, 10? Well then there's still that internal friction and as you were talking about literally like this is this is what I call my growth ability, I can take an idea, visualize it and turn into a model and eric we just made something together today and so I'm gonna take and a riff on you. That's why I love doing these right here. Here it is. Get a piece of paper and I want you to write down three columns, so cut it into thirds. The very first column is what's your clear and confident about? The second column is going to be what your confused about. And then the third column is going to be what you're concerned about. That's a great way to like segment the mind is what are you confident about? What are you concerned about? What are you confused about? And I think just like you said doing a brain dump pen and paper, it is still pin paper, one of the most powerful tools for strategic critical thinking. I'm a big believer in both. Just once again, break free from the unplug from the matrix for a moment. Reconnect with with the self and then get a download, you know, into the, you know, sub super conscious conscious subconscious mind however you want to frame it and that's a great exercise right there man this has been fun collaborating riffing with...

...you. I Think we just created like the 3C model of digital transformation. There's got to be some sort of a name to it. But yeah I just wrote that down as well so those sees those seats are perfect and I would say and you just talked about the confidence because that was one thing if you're concerned but if you're comfortable with where things are at, put yourself in the position of other people that you're working with and try to get into their shoes and say what are my co workers, what are the things that I'm hearing and how can I as somebody that's confident in this new digital age, how can I help this loan officer, how can I help this? Branch manager recognized that this is not a threat to their job if anything it's an enhancement and to be able to be part of that change process and and so I know we wanted to talk about account opening and digital on boarding and we touched on a little bit, maybe maybe we'll get more to that in a future episode but I always love chatting with you and never know where the conversation is going to go. I just know that when I get done I want to go do a bunch of pushups and run around the block several times because you get me jazzed and pumped up so well. You've done the same, you've done the same today and I always appreciate the thinking and the mental sparring that we can do together to to provide clarity and we started on that path of account opening. But I think we got into some really deeper level areas here that can provide a positive impact within all areas of financial brand even of a fin tech. So with that being said conversation, what's the best way for someone to reach out, connect with you and continue the conversation eric that we started today? So I'm on linkedin quite a bit eric Cooke MBA I would encourage you to visit us at W. S. I. Powered by W. C. Dot com and our mentoring program is now over a year old. The linked banker dot com. We're helping banking professionals figure out ways they can leverage their personal brand and connect and build relationships using social and digital tools. I say it all the time. People need to see you as their banker and have a relationship with you as a human...

...being and a value trusted confidence more so than they need to see you as somebody that works in the institution. And the link banker is all about trying to get people comfortable with that and becoming thought leaders and building relevancy in the digital age. So any of those areas tracked me down. I'm usually pretty findable, connect with eric learned from erIC and I agree with you on this point here, the personal brand is going to be a multiplying effect, could even be more important and I know this is a wild thought but let's let's get this on tape and I've said it multiple times already come back and revisit 3 to 5 years from now. The personal brand has the potential To be even more important strategically from a marketing channel in the cells channel over the next 3-5 years in this digital world. So the link banker checked that out. Eric This has been a lot of fun as always. Thank you again for joining me on another episode of banking on digital growth. My pleasure. Thanks man. Until next time and as always be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growth with James robert ley to get even more practical and proven insights along with coaching and guidance, visit digital growth dot com slash insider to join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs until next time. Be well and do good mm.

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