Why Financial Services Companies Don’t Know How to Market in the New Normal.


There is no doubt that the financial industry caused the New Normal  in September of 2008 when Lehman Brothers went down or maybe even earlier.

I remember when it happened.  I happened to be in Buenos Aires buying a kitchen timer in the shape of a rotund chef and the clerk turned to me and said in Spanish that the card was denied.  I had paid my bill in full before I left but little did I understand that wouldn’t matter in the New Normal. I had not learned yet that I was a customer and customers come last in the New Normal. We all learned that watching and reading financial services ads saying that customers come first.

Many sales people employed selling financial products like insurance, financial planning, mortgages and banking don’t get that.  The try to market like everything is the same; expect compliance of course, when the world is vastly different because the companies that they work for created it.

I got a LinkedIn message from a connection from worked for a Global Wealth Management Company. I am an equal opportunity networker.  I always think that Wealth Management is a little bit of an oxymoron considering how much the average wealth of Americans declined in the New Normal.  She asked me if we should get together to get to know each other a little bit better.  Not replying is the best policy these days.  No sense in putting chum in the water.

I was having lunch the other day with a friend when my cell  rang.  Leave it alone I said but I answered.    Hi it’s Bob and I am calling from National Insurance Company.  I was calling you because we live in the same county and I wanted to discuss your life insurance needs.  I felt sorry for the guy.  Do you have any life insurance he asked?  Good bye I said.  This way a guy who worked for National Insurance Company that I am sure is publically traded and the best training they can give him is to cold call people with the sales rationale of being local.  So Old Normal.

Yet many insurance companies recruit the unemployed college graduates of today and train them the same way as Willy Loman got trained.

I was having a run the other day doing laps of my local soccer field listening to Q on the CBC. It was first thing on Monday morning. He had a two-hour interview with Joni Mitchell the other day.  The phone rang.  I didn’t recognize it.  Don’t answer it the brain said.  Home Depot is going to call about the time to install the new dishwasher.  Its Hank I said.  Mistake.

Hi it’s whoever.  We met a couple of times.  I used to work for a global financial services company like  Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley, Schwab, Merill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase,  or whatever.  I am no longer with them anymore but I recently joined another really big financial services company.  He thought that would impress me. I was looking for a priest to bless him .

Hey I am working on a really big deal and I see that you are connected to the big guy at the target company and I wonder if you would connect me?  NO is what I said. What?  He was stunned.

It’s not because financial services companies told me that my line or credit had expired during the start of the recession and doubled my minimum monthly payments or that they reduced my credit limits across the board.  It is because I don’t introduce casual acquaintances at financial services companies to strangers. That is not how you market these days.

But many financial people don’t get that.  I walked into a bank I don’t particularly like to deposit a check for a friend who now used to work in Orange County but now lives in Argentina. The teller asked me how my day is going so far?  Funny the person at Starbucks just asked me the same thing fifteen minutes ago.  I think the person at Starbucks cared about my answer more.  I felt like the teller while trying to be sincere thought I might be a mystery shopper.

I look at the thumb identity scanner on the counter and wondered if my friend from Argentina would have to put their thumb on the small screen and hope it came up with the right message.

As I finished writing  this article an e-mail popped up on my preview screen.

Trans capital Investments recently started a new Real Estate Acquisition Company.


You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:


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Watch a video called Why Agency Principals Need to Get Out of the Game.

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