“If you aren’t willing to learn…no one can help you. If you are willing to learn…no one can stop you.”
Eric Hoffer
Reflections on the Human Condition

For the past 17 years, BTI Growth Advisors has dedicated itself to working with forward-thinking regional, business and community banks learn new ways to improve their performance primarily through the honing of the sales, credit and sales support functions. We help our clients plan, initiate and support organizational, cultural and behavioral change that improves the quantitative performance of their institution and the qualitative nature of their culture.

We do not throw out, dismantle or discount what you, the board and your employees have worked hard to build. Quite the opposite! Our work is highly collaborative, building on and leveraging your already solid brand, franchise and culture.

Through a number of comprehensive and need-specific solutions involving consulting, training, individual and group coaching, executive development, and on-line organizational and culture assessments, BTI will guide and support your bank to evolve with the times.

Honing Is An Easily Embraced Concept…

A “hone” is a precision tool for sharpening. To “hone” means to sharpen, perfect or make more acute. To “hone-in” means to direct one’s attention and sharpen one’s focus toward the attainment of a goal.

Your regional and branch managers and lenders have been trained…repeatedly throughout their careers. Now they’re ready to be honed! Traditionally resistant to more “sales training” and change, Sales “honing,” is something employees can quickly see the value in both personally and for the organization.

…and Mindset That Paves the Way for Continuous

racingRace teams are a great example of honing in action! Every factor associated with making the race car faster on the race track is continuously honed. “Good enough” just isn’t good enough. From driving strategy, to aerodynamics, to tire compounds, to the personal efforts of every member of the pit crew, there is laser focus on continuously improving performance. BTI’s Sales Honing System for Banks brings an identical “continuous improvement” philosophy and focus to elevating sales and bank performance.

BTI’s Sales Honing System for Banks
Modernizing Your Business Banking and C&I Lending Functions

Designed to establish a more consistent, consultative sales methodology and strategic disciplines in a bank, the Sales Honing System addresses improving sales proficiency and sales efficiency as an organization-wide process. With strong management support and leadership, progress in the first and subsequent years is impressive.

The Sales Honing System offers banks:

  • A phased solution designed to improve organic growth, sales proficiency and sales effectiveness
  • Methodology for honing the performance of every executive, department and employee in your bank
  • Easily-accepted and embraced mindset that promotes organization improvement, professional development and personal growth
  • Multiple delivery options – Can be implemented in part or as a complete solution
“We achieved a very favorable ROI over the three years we worked with BTI and utilized their Sales Honing System to improve our sales execution.”

Steve Sefton
CEO, Regents Bank
“Ray is invaluable member of our team. His executive coaching, sales training and monthly coaching have helped our executives and lenders grow and become more effective in the second year of our work together and continue to reap value from the relationship.”

Leon Blankstein
CEO, American Business Bank

Components of BTI’s Sales Honing System

BTI offers the following components both as a comprehensive “multi-year solution” or on a very “need specific” project basis. All of our solutions are tailored to the culture of each bank and the objectives of each client.

All BTI contracts typically are billed in equal monthly increments, have no large up-front payments and are unilaterally cancellable without the client having any further obligations.

Honing Your Bank’s Culture

Very few banks have a well-defined or aligned culture, though most boards and senior executives would argue otherwise. Even banks where the executive team has worked together for over 15 years can have very different perceptions about their bank’s culture.

BTI Growth Advisors has extensive experience helping banks solve culture related issues.

  • Lack of alignment, clarity and understanding of your bank’s culture bank-wide
  • Your executive team defines your culture differently
  • Limited understanding of how your bank’s culture needs to evolve to stay relevant and current with the times and customer needs
  • Need to contemporize your “old-school” sales culture
  • Your branch employees continue to embrace a “sit and serve” mindset and wait for business to walk in the door
  • Your on-boarding, employee development, annual review and incentive compensation processes aren’t aligned with your culture
  • Your lenders, calling officers and branch managers sound and sell exactly like your competitor’s sound and sell

Deliverables include:

  • Online culture survey taken by senior executives, middle managers and department heads
  • Online employee engagement survey (Completed annually)
  • Plan, prepare and facilitate culture off-site
  • Support post off-site teams to make improvements
  • Unlimited consulting as needed
“Developing a Sales Culture in a bank is a long term process involving many factors. We chose BTI to help support our efforts to develop a sales culture and have been extremely pleased with their expertise and commitment.”

Ramona Bee
EVP, Far East National Bank

Honing the Sales Strategies, Processes and Skills of Your Lending Teams

The number one reason banks seek the assistance of BTI Growth Advisors is to help their lending and branch teams become more comfortable and successful bringing in quality C&I business.  For many banks, this is a shift in culture.  Whether your bank is trying to grow deposits to fund loans, needs to put more quality earning assets on the books, especially C&I loans, or are looking to deepen customer relationships to increase profitability, BTI has a strong, verifiable track-record of helping banks grow market share and improve performance.

BTI Growth Advisors provides unparalleled support, resources, new strategies, processes and tools to help bankers:

  • Improve their consultative selling skills
  • Differentiate themselves from their competitors
  • Become savvy marketers who are less reliant on broker and CPA referrals
  • Develop the confidence to be more effective negotiators
  • Bring in new business with better margins
  • Achieve their annual sales goals

Deliverables include:

  • Three to four, one-day, instructor-led “sales conferences” per year for the first couple years of our working together
  • Regular, confidential one-on-one coaching sessions throughout the year
  • Regular, monthly group coaching calls
  • Sales aides, sales tools and checklists
  • Unlimited consulting as needed
“Sales Honing has been the most valuable tool for consistently improving my personal business development skills over the long run. I have been through lots of sales training over the years, but Sales Honing is focused more on enhancing, not completely replacing the way I approach business development.”

Ben Price
First Vice President, Regents Bank
“Having participated in a good many sales development seminars over the years, and having conducted many of them myself, I came to BTI’s Sales Honing program with a critical eye demanding to be impressed…and I was! I found the sessions to be spot on the target in terms of sales focus and techniques, and the material presented was concise and stripped of fluff. My colleagues and I enjoyed the participatory nature of the sessions, and we all walked away with clear, actionable items that immediately produced results.”

Bruce G. McClellan
Vice President, Manager
F&M Bank

 “Organizations don’t change. Executives and employees change and as a result, the organization changes.”

Ray Adler

Honing the Sales Management Skills of Your Sales Managers

Today’s banks are filled with sales managers who were once top-performing sales people. Yet most of today’s sales managers have never had formal sales management training and development. As a result, the bulk of today’s sales managers are really more sales supervisors rather than sales managers. Only a very small percentage could be called sales leaders. There are differences in these three functions. A key element of helping a bank improve sales strategies, processes and activities, requires that sales managers learn how to effectively manage and lead their bank’s sales efforts.

BTI Growth Advisors provides support, resources, new strategies, processes and tools to help sales managers:

  • Understand the difference between supervising, managing and leading
  • Spend more time managing and leading sales and less time supervising
  • Become more effective communicators and coaches
  • Develop the ability to hold employees accountable
  • Be more strategic and disciplined in how they lead their teams

Deliverables include:

  • BTI delivers two to three, one-day “sales conferences” per year for sales managers during the first couple years of our working together
  • Each sales manager receives regular, confidential one-on-one coaching sessions
  • Sales management aides, tools and checklists
  • Unlimited consulting as needed
“I have had the pleasure of working with Lisa Bashor and Ray Adler now for more than three years. One of the benefits of working with Ray and Lisa is the personal executive coaching and consulting they delivered that has built upon our years of experience. BTI Growth Advisors is an extraordinary organization because they did not require that we start from ground zero in their program but instead they designed every program and coaching session with our team to personally focus on our opportunities for growth by utilizing our strengths from our years in the banking industry. They have made a lasting difference in how we successfully work with our clients!”

Tami Nesburg
Executive Vice President / Regional Manager
Regents Bank

Honing the Credit and Sales Support Functions

Regardless of the strength of your lender’s sales skills, if bottlenecks in your credit, underwriting, and sales support processes exist, lenders will be reticent to aggressively pursue market opportunities. BTI has worked with dozens of banks to smooth out inefficiencies and inconsistencies in their credit and sales support functions, making lenders far more motivated to bring in business.

Through collaborative consulting processes, BTI Growth Advisors works with credit and lending teams as well as other critical support functions to:

  • Understand the root cause of bottlenecks, mistakes and inefficiencies
  • Work with each team to understand their contribution to the bottlenecks and problems
  • Develop a new vision for the process in question and gain agreement from all departments
  • Establish proper expectations for all departments
  • Develop tools and checklists to improve quality and increase productivity
  • Create greater accountability in all departments

Deliverables include:

  • Plan, prepare and facilitate off-site
  • Survey employees prior to off-site to identify problems
  • Develop execution plan which includes the new agreements reached during the off-site
  • Unlimited coaching as needed

Developing Tomorrows Leaders Today.
Hone the Leadership Skills of Executives and Middle Managers

There is no such thing as a perfect leader or manager. It is one of those roles where there is always room for self-reflection, greater effectiveness and growth. Because of your role and visibility, having a confidential “place” to reflect and discuss issues is invaluable. So is having someone to challenge and push you outside of your comfort zone.

Most leaders are unaware of their “blind spots.” Blind spots are those less than effective beliefs and behaviors every leader possesses that are visible to employees, but hidden from the awareness of the executive. This is one of a leader’s biggest opportunities to improve their effectiveness.

Succession planning represents another major challenge facing most banks. With a large percentage of senior bank leaders within approximately five years of retiring or less, what is your bank doing to develop the leaders of tomorrow today? When the average age of a typical lending office is 50 years of age or older, what is your bank doing to groom your future sales managers?

The principles of BTI Growth Advisors have extensive experience coaching leaders in a variety of situations:

  • Preparing executives for their next promotion/position
  • Helping executives grow into and feel comfortable in a new role
  • Helping executives perform at a higher level of effectiveness in their current role
  • Improve relationships between executives where personalities clash
  • Improve the communication skills of leaders oblivious to the impact of their communication style

Deliverables include:

  • Regular bi-monthly or monthly phone coaching sessions
  • Leadership Integrity Assessment
  • Setting of objectives
  • On-site planning as needed or requested
  • 360 degree executive assessment
  • Measurement of progress against stated objectives
“ The coaching and training we have received from BTI Growth Advisors has evolved our business development practices from reliance on individual initiative to a focused, process oriented strategy that has dramatically improved the behaviors of our people. The strategies that have been implemented by BTI have improved our collective time management skills, preparation for meetings and understanding of the necessity to focus and approach business development based on the client’s needs and goals rather than our products. Building relationships intentionally, authentically and in an organized fashion is key to our success and Ray has provided us with excellent tools to move forward in that manner.”

Peter J Allen
Executive Vice President Asset Management D.S. Baker Advisors / Baker Boyer Bank

Pre & Post Merger Culture Compatibility Assessments

Significant energy and expense is spent in a merger. Hundreds of thousand, even millions of dollars in fees and expense are spent to analyze and scrutinize the financial, legal, operational, regulatory, and administrative aspects of the business., However, little if any focus is given to assessing one of the biggest risks in a merger – the cultural compatibility of both institutions! One of the primary reasons many mergers fail to deliver the anticipated financial performance to shareholders is due to issues related to culture compatibility.

Typically, culture related issues are an after-thought and can significantly impede the integration and conversion processes.

Just as a cat scan provides a much deeper and more comprehensive understanding than X-rays for doctors, BTI Growth Advisors “culture compatibility” assessment provides bank leaders with critical insights necessary to achieve success.

Ideally, our culture compatibility assessment is completed prior to the close of the transaction. However, it can be implemented after the transaction closes with equal effectiveness. Our process includes:

  • On-line culture assessment by department and the executive management team of both institutions
  • Comparison analysis of cultural similarities and differences of each department and the executive
    management team of both institutions
  • Identification of potential organizational and employee roadblocks
  • Development of a plan and list of recommendations to expedite the merging process while leveraging
    the talent and strengths of each organization

Deliverables include:

  • Customization, set up and execution of on-line survey
  • Assimilate the results
  • Develop report and list of recommendations
  • Assist in the execution of recommendations as needed
  • Consulting as needed

For a bank to grow its capacity, it has to grow its executives and employees. BTI offers a host of solutions to address a wide range of organizational development issues including:

  1. Training and Developing Supervisors
  2. Improving Branch Sales
  3. Building Strong Teams
  4. Improving Communications
  5. Designing and Facilitating Bank Offsites and Board Retreats
  6. Enhancing Your Professional Image and Presentations

Training and Developing Supervisors
Whether first time or seasoned, your bank’s supervisors can have a big impact on the performance of your bank. Few supervisors today have had any formal training, particularly those under 50 years of age. BTI has trained and developed hundreds of bank managers in administrative, operational and branch positions.

Improving Branch Sales
Your branches hold considerable opportunities to expand relationships and generate new business…provided your entire branch staff have the competence and confidence to engage the customer in very specific ways and in very specific situations. BTI has considerable experience providing training and development to branch staff in the areas of sales, cross-selling and making out-bound phone calls to generate new business.

Building Strong Teams
The value of teamwork can never be emphasized enough. Teams operate at many different levels of effectiveness. What dynamics cause one team to struggle and another team to soar? Inspired teamwork and “teaming” involves a specific set of qualities and attributes that must be present for a team to reach the highest levels of collaboration and innovation.

Improving Communications
Communicating with others, be they customers, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, family and friends occurs literally hundreds of times a day…every day. The ability to adapt your communication style specifically for the person your speaking for maximum effectiveness and impact is both an art and a science. BTI has trained literally thousands of bank executives and employees how to become more effective and impactful communicators.

Designing and Facilitating Bank Offsites and Board Retreats
Offsites and retreats can be an effective process for achieving a multitude of business related objectives. They can also be a big waste of time. The principals of BTI have designed and facilitated hundreds of leadership and board retreats. 80% of the success of any retreat is based on planning and the engagement of the participants before the offsite. Offsites designed and facilitated by BTI are interesting, informative, dynamic and enjoyable experiences and where meaningful “work” actually gets done.

Enhancing Your Professional Image and Presentations
Employees help differentiate their organizations through the ways they communicate and behave when interacting with coworkers and customers. Done effectively, employees are able to create a unique experience for their coworkers and customers that will set their organization apart. The results of this workshop are…

  • Evaluating your current presentations skills
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and ways to improve
  • Reducing the likelihood of “misunderstandings” with coworkers and customers
  • Increased market share and competitiveness

Any time you’re interacting with a coworker or a customer, you must carefully listen to what they say, and then present your recommendations and solutions in a clear and cohesive manner.

This workshop focuses on enhancing the manner in which you present information and ideas in any type of setting.

Extensive research over the past 30 plus years on employee engagement proves that engaged employees are more productive. The problem is that only 30% of the employees in the U.S. are “engaged.” 52% are “not engaged” and 18% are “actively disengaged.” For every $1 of revenue an engaged employee produces, a not engaged employee produces $.78 and an actively not engaged employee produces $.72.

Transforming not engaged employees into engaged employees represents one of the biggest opportunities to grow revenues in your bank.

Let BTI show you how to unlock both the minds and hearts of your employees and help you identify the greatest “drivers” of productivity in your bank.

Simply said, engaged employees create:

  • Higher service and quality
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales
  • Higher levels of profit
  • Higher shareholder returns