How NOT TO DO public relations and business development!
This is one of 2 blog posts on effective public relations and business development. The first is how NOT TO DO effective public relations and business development.
I had a client invite me to play golf with him the other day. The weather was good, the course was supposed to be in good shape and it had been a week since I had played golf. I said, “Sure, count me in!” The client told me that a couple of officers from his bank would be joining us to make a foursome.
I showed up at the golf course at the same time my client arrived. We went into the clubhouse and signed in. The lady asked how we were going to pay for our golfing. My client said, “We’ll just wait”. I said fine. About 8 minutes past the scheduled tee time, here come the two bankers roaring up in their car. We went back into the clubhouse, the bankers signed up and once again, the pro shop lady asked how we were going to pay for it. The senior banker said, “I will pay for me, my client and my partner!” I thought, “Ummmmm, that was very interesting.” I paid my fee and joined my client back in our golf cart. I told my client that I probably would not be joining them for dinner although I had been previously invited to join the group for dinner by my client, because I was “Not a bank client”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting anything. I was fully prepared to pay for my golf outing and whatever expenses I incurred. No mention was ever made of having the fees covered by anyone, let alone the bankers. HOWEVER, from a public relations and business development standpoint, both of these bankers failed to show any slight modicum of skill in trying to grow the assets of the bank and increase their customer base by using basic business development skills.
It was obvious that my client was very embarrassed by the behavior of his bankers. I said, “Don’t worry about it.”
We commenced to play golf, loose several golf balls, find a couple of golf balls along the way. When we reached the 18th hole, my client invited me to join the group for dinner. My client said that his wife would also be joining us. I was excited to see my client’s wife, she had been out of town last week visiting their grandchild out of state.
I decided that I would go to the dinner and if need be, ask for a separate check to insure that I did not cost the bank any money! Interestingly, the junior banker said, “Give me the check” and he commenced to pay it, not making any mention that I was not a bank client. I told him “Thanks” and left for home.
Now, I want to be real clear, I was certainly not expecting anything. I am fully capable and able to pay my own way. What was the surprising and embarrassing factor was that the senior banker made a big deal of it at the pro shop— or at least as I viewed the matter.
Believing that perhaps my thinking was skewed, I visited with my personal banker and asked if I may have misunderstood something. After listening with great amazement, my personal banker said I was exactly on target— the young bankers committed a significant public relations snafu and may not have realized it!
My personal banker told the story of the founder of his bank. He said that the founder of his bank never failed to pick up many breakfast and lunch tabs of folks he was with. The interesting factoid here is that simple public relations gesture early in the life of the bank allowed the bank to grow and today become one of the largest banks in the upper Rocky Mountains.
My personal banker said that in the public relations arena, especially of any business that needs clients (don’t we all need clients/customers?), the simple thing to do was generously offer to pick up the tab. Once the tab was picked up, an opportunity was created, a door opened to try and develop some new business for the bank or whatever firm it might be.
In the scenario that I just described, neither banker ever asked me what I did, whom I worked for or if I needed any banking services or was happy with my current bank. What I found amazing here was the fact that our firm works with clients throughout the world. We work with clients that have only 1-2 employees, we work with clients that have 1200-1500 employees. Our consultants meet with many different clients in the course of a month. Some of those clients need banking services. However, each of the bankers described in this article just lost 4 real rich business development hours learning about our firm and how we might be able to help the bank grow.
My personal banker opined that, after hearing the story I described, both of these bankers appeared more interested in leaving the bank early to play golf as opposed to leaving the bank early, play golf with a good client and have the opportunity to try and develop more business for the bank with a prospect that their client had invited to play golf with them.
The key takeaway’s from this experience are these:
A. Never forget that the simple things are usually the most important things!
B. Public Relations is a two way street– it is much easier to “do the right thing” then try and do things right!
C. David O. McKay, the 7th President of the LDS church once said that “every member is a missionary”. Here, every employee is a “missionary” for the firm with whom they work. Never forget that if opportunities are presented, every employee should tirelessly labor to develop new clients and new business.
D. If you need a round of golf, or a lunch, let me know, I would love to take you! Yes, our firm will pay for it! I want to learn more about what you do and how we might help you improve your business or organization!