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CertRM Series: Relationship Management in Action

14 September, 2017Nigel Rees

pexels-photo-29642So, you have started the Certificate in Relationship Management course, perused the topics to see what is there, you might even have decided that you know this stuff anyway, after all, you started your banking career several years ago, and have been on lots of sales courses, and it can’t be that different?  Or can it?

There are lots of management books out there, all claiming to make you a better sales person, showing you the way to be an effective relationship manager, increasing the number of products that your customer client purchases from your organisation.  But is that really what it is all about?

Relationship management example in banking

Several years ago I learnt of a large business, which had a very entrepreneurial Managing Director, supported by other family members who were Directors.  He tended to act first, ask for funding afterwards, generally when whichever project he was engaged on, was well advanced. Being a seasonal business, it was clear that working capital stored up in the summer was used for capital expenditure, instead of being kept back for winter wages.  He would then plead that the Bank could not say no to the large increase in overdraft he wanted in November, to see him through to the new holiday season next year. He would have to close the business if they did not agree, it was all going to be repaid by the summer, so what was the risk? What’s the problem? He would argue that he did not think that the Bank would want to appear responsible for the failure of a business.

He had used this strategy for a very long time, and adopted the same approach with the Local Planning Authority. After all, he would say, his business contributed massively to local employment and brought tourists from all over the country to spend in the local area, what was their problem?

As a result, he had built a large business, it was profitable and he was seen as a successful and respectable local businessman… on the outside. 

Outrageous, I hear you say. Or was it a cunning plan? Or simply a demonstration of childish behaviour and tantrum? So how do you react to this?  It is clearly not the stuff of the trusted adviser and respected businessman. Is this a Key Account? Some might think so on the size and income grounds, in terms of relationship did the RM and the Bank want to see it transfer to another bank? Probably not, there were plenty of corporate bankers queuing up to do business with them, which reinforced the owner’s attitude, that this was the way to treat Bankers.

So, what do you do?

How do you change the relationship from one of an aggressive customer determined to get his own way, to that of a trusted partnership?

This question is at the core of the Certificate in Relationship Management course that you are embarking on. It is easy to sell something to a person that they want to buy, whether it is a service or product. 

The skill comes in developing a relationship that is mutually beneficial, and that allows honest, factual and accurate feedback and assessment of a business from the perception of the customer, and the Bank. Good Luck…

Hang on, I hear you say. What happened?

Well, the RM decided that a line must be drawn, a two-three year plan must be shared with the Bank, and that the customer must feel assured that the Bank would make every effort to assist, with a profile that would ease the company cash flow. The Bank, Accountant, and the other Directors all agreed with the Bank plan, and the behaviour ceased, well for the time being anyway.  

Yes, I was the Relationship Manager.   

-Nigel Rees is the Chief Examiner for the Certificate in Relationship Management Qualification.

To find out more about the CertRM qualification, please click here