How can a business book written by the founders of a small software development company be applicable to bank executive and marketing professionals? I asked myself the same question. REWORK was written by Jason Fried and David Heinemenier Hansson, the founders of 37Signals, a company that has created several products that help teams work together more effectively. For bankers, conventional ideas and methodologies aren’t what separate you from your competitors. Most often it’s your ability to be open-minded to new ways of thinking and putting them to work…or sometimes reworking them entirely.
Prior to reading REWORK, I was somewhat familiar with the company 37signals and the products they developed but never really knew their background. For most that have never heard of 37signals, they are a small software company that have developed a number of web-based apps for collaboration, information sharing and project management which are now used by millions around the world.
REWORK provides the reader with the insight into the attitudes of the founders and a basis for the reasons for their success. As a designer & developer myself, I wasn’t sure how their philosophies and ideas could really be applied to the large scale audience but they certainly managed to do so from my perspective. If you subscribe to conventional wisdom, this book may not be for you because the authors tend go against your experience and what has been instilled into you during your college and post-collegiate years. Nonetheless, this is a worthwhile book, for everyone from the single self-employed individual, the small business owner, all the way up to the larger institution management and marketing professionals.
It’s definitely geared more towards businesses that sell products but this isn’t to say the self-employed consultant won’t have just as much to take from the book. Maybe you’re a bank marketing manager or executive and your goal is to increase your banks cross selling initiatives. Every organization has to create a sales culture at some point and fortunately for banks, this already exists. So why is it so hard for your employees to provide your customers with the information and products they may need?
One of the chapters in REWORK is called “Say No” and it’s simply about how it’s always easy to just say yes. Yes I’m all set with my retirement savings plans, yes I have all the insurance I need…but when it cost 10 times more to get a new customer than it does to generate the same amount of revenue by increasing your existing customer’s business, why is it so hard to find and identify your customer’s needs? In “Say No”, the authors suggest to forget the “customer is always” right. If you can “Say No” (insert your choice of words of course), you could effectively identify and satisfy some of your customer’s needs that you didn’t even know existed. I use cross-selling as an example here because its something that all banks are always looking to increase. But how are you supposed to effectively cross-sell when you can’t identify the needs?
If you’ve read our posts before, we’re always talking about the concept of content marketing and how it can help banks drive sales. In another chapter “don’t out spend, out teach” the authors talk about educating rather than focusing on selling and servicing. While most businesses focus on selling, educating your customer’s is what actually forms the bond that will earn your loyalty, trust, and respect. And as the authors state “Even if they don’t use your product, they’ll still be your fan.” Additionally the authors see teaching as a simple concept that your competitors probably aren’t even thinking about because they’re too attuned to traditional marketing tactics.
REWORK is filled with many simple principles that have the opportunity to make you and your team much more effective, productive, and valuable. I highly recommend this book to any individual in the banking world (or business world) and would suggest giving some thought to the lessons contained within. You may not even realize how valuable they are until you put them to practice. If you’ve already read the book, please share your thoughts.