Today, it is more critical than ever to have access to Industry Intelligence so that you can advise clients and add value. Why?

Because you need to bring in new business

With the bar being set high for 2021 sales goals, financial services professionals have to redouble their prospecting efforts. But don’t forget: Other banks and firms are in the same boat as you and likely taking the same measures to cut costs and bring in new business. The competition is going to be stiff!

And while some prospects will be sold on pricing — after all, their business may be struggling financially too — what many business owners are actually looking for is value. They want a partner for their business — someone who can offer customized solutions and tailored advice that can help their business succeed.

And this is exactly what Industry Intelligence helps you do.

Using the Industry Profile for your prospect’s industry, you can find information about some of the challenges confronted by businesses in their niche, as well as commonly used banking products, giving you insights into the prospect’s likely pain points. Incorporating this information into your communications makes for more personalized letters, emails, and conversations that will resonate with the prospect. The news articles included on each Industry Profile also are a great value-added touchpoint.

It’s this type of value that will entice your prospects to leave their current provider and choose you instead. And for countless business owners, this type of consultative relationship may even be worth paying a little more.

Because you need to retain existing customers

When times are tough, it’s always best to go back to the basics, and that means relationship-building. A recent Barlow Research Associates article noted that, based on their research, 72 percent of small businesses said that “personal connection with their Account Officer” was one of their top reasons they stay with their current provider.

For business owners, a “relationship” means more than knowing their spouse’s name or their favorite restaurant. It’s about being that value-added advisor who can help their business succeed — understanding what is happening in their industry and partnering with them to navigate those changes.

Here are some ways you can use Industry Intelligence to retain your current customers and even deepen those relationships by adding value…

  • Listening is key to any worthwhile relationship. Review the Quarterly Insight to gain a good understanding of the latest goings on within the industry, and use Call Prep Questions to get the client talking and keep the conversation going.
  • Many businesses can’t afford an on-staff CFO, so look at the Industry Trends, Industry Forecast, and Credit Underwriting and Risks chapters of the Industry Profile to learn about financial challenges and opportunities within your customer’s niche. Then offer ways to solve those issues.
  • Since many businesses also don’t have a COO, offer guidance on how other firms in the customer’s industry are operating by reviewing the How Firms Operate chapter of the Industry Profile.
  • Study the Working Capital and Capital Financing chapters for your customer’s industry in order to recommend solutions to their capital needs.
  • Examine the Financial Benchmarks chapter and show how your customer compares to others in their industry and offer relevant advice.
  • Learn how similar companies are capitalizing on trends and managing risks. Read the Industry Trends and Credit Underwriting and Risks chapters so you will be on top of the latest industry developments.
  • Use the Business Valuation chapter to understand what the customer’s business may be worth and to discuss potential exit strategies.

Because of COVID-19

Woo-boy, has COVID-19 thrown businesses for a loop this year. It seems like a lot of business owners have a pretty clear picture of how the pandemic is impacting their personal business, but many are less sure of the impact to their industry as a whole. This situation creates a unique opportunity for advisors if they know how to seize it.

Sharing Industry Intelligence can inform business owners not only about risks and opportunities to their own business but also about how peers, buyers, and suppliers are faring. Using this insight, you can help customers assess the micro and macro impacts of the pandemic. For example:

  • Use Vertical IQ’s free COVID-19 website to understand how specific industries, sectors, and economies are being affected by COVID-19, and then share your learnings with your customers.
  • Use Industry Intelligence to compare the business owner’s key financial metrics to industry averages, and use this data to provide better guidance.
  • Share Financial Benchmark data to help your customer see how they compare to their competition.
  • Print and mail a timely news article about a trend within your customer’s niche. It’s another way to add value to the relationship.

With this comprehensive view of pandemic impacts, your customers can make more informed business decisions, both now and down the road.

Not a “nice to have” — a “must have”!

Saving money is a hot topic heading into 2021. On the other side of the coin, however, successful organizations will be the ones with the best advice for their clients — ones that understand risk with regard to any industry they serve. For banks, accounting firms, small business counselors, or any sales professional, that may be hundreds upon hundreds of industries! Are you ready?

That’s why now more than ever, in order to successfully compete, your team must have access to Industry Intelligence. It’s an important investment even in the best of times, but during a challenging year like 2021 is poised to be, it is an even more critical resource for your team’s success.