Break into the Financial Market
Though the market is a tough nut to crack, it's well worth the trouble.
Spurred on by the rapid growth of community banks, credit unions and savings and loans companies, many distributors have recently redoubled their efforts to pick up accounts in the lucrative financial market—and they've been well rewarded. The question is, how did they do it?
"Distributors need a lot of patience to get an account with a financial institution," said Randall Hake, president and CEO,
Diamond Business Graphics, Sheboygan, Wis. "It boils down to making sure the account executives soliciting these banks have the internal fortitude to keep after them, since the initial reception won't even be lukewarm."
Jerome Group Executive Vice President Steve Stone also preached patience. Though Hake's and Stone's companies are taking two different sales paths to the same goal—commodities-based versus solutions-based—like Hake, Stone said to be successful in this market it's imperative to look at the big picture. "I admit it is a long-term sell," offered Stone, "but when you're talking about how a bank reengineers its processes and how they do business, you typically have to get a lot more people involved."
Whichever direction a company decides to take, both men agree distributors just getting into the market can expect to spend hours or even years presenting products and services to possible clients before striking a deal. Nevertheless, as Chris McBride, vice president, Paper Express, Troy, Mich., pointed out, "It's worth it because banks use everything imaginable under the sun."
"I compare financial institutions to the health-care industry," explained McBride. "The financial market is a tough market to grow your business in, but if you keep trying and you land a big account, you're going to be very successful."
Hake said over the past five years the financial market has served Diamond so well that it now accounts for 25 percent to 30 percent of the company's total sales. He also added that the financial market has flourished where other markets have declined.