Increasing Small Business Deposit Accounts and Driving Loan Activity

Loan Applications Up 351%, Application Amount Up 397%, New Loans Booked Up 428% Post-Training

Setting: Develop and implement a small business banking strategy for a $14.1 billion U.S. financial services company to increase:

  • The number and dollar amount of small business loan applications initiated,
  • The number of new small business loans booked, and
  • The number of small business deposit accounts generated.

The bank developed a small business banking strategy for branch managers that included a six-step sales process, call expectations and call scripts, community leadership criteria, and a toolbox of resources. To execute the strategy, the bank created a small business banking curriculum for branch managers to broaden their knowledge around small business owners’ challenges and needs as well as the bank’s small business products and services.

Wanting to incorporate business acumen into its curriculum, the bank chose Clarity Advantage’s Talking Business with Small Business® program. Clarity Advantage and the bank blended Talking Business with Small Business® with the bank’s small business banking curriculum to create a three-day event:

  • Day 1: Talking Business with Small Business®—business acumen training facilitated by Clarity Advantage including a Conversation Guide for bankers to use in their discussions with small business owners.
  • Day 2: Product knowledge training developed by the bank. Participants shared best practices and practiced profiling conversations.
  • Day 3: Call blitz day where bankers utilized their skills in real sales calls.


  Year 1 Year 2
(to Sept. 30)
# of Applications 86 388 351%
Application $ 3.3MM 16.4MM 397%
New loans booked 1.5MM 8.4MM 428%
Deposit Accts 3247 3453 6.3%
Retail P&L     .5MM lift

Branch Manager: “Since participating in the training, I’ve noticed a big difference in my calls. My confidence level is much higher because I’m prepared and I go into the calls with a purpose. The questions that are a part of the Talking Business With Small Business® Conversation Guide have become a natural part of my conversation. They enable me to gain a complete understanding of the customer’s business and challenges before I mention any products.”

District Manager: “In conversations I’ve had with branch managers who participated in the training, I’ve found that they are much more comfortable and engaged with customers—asking about business challenges, future plans, etc.”

Increasing Branch Consumer Sales Effectiveness

Setting: For a regional bank, we designed and assisted the bank with implementing new branch service, sales, lobby management, and sales management practices designed to increase customer use of self-service channels, increase available platform sales time, increase the frequency and effectiveness of coaching, and increase sales of consumer products across a broad spectrum.

Outcome: After one significant false start, the bank reintroduced the sales and coaching practices supported by new measurement tools. With weekly observation and comment on sales results and activities, results began to improve within a few weeks, and branch shops indicated a significantly higher frequency of the coached behaviors.

Small Business

Setting: A large community bank, an accumulation of acquired smaller banks, had not emphasized small business sales in the branches. A new senior sales leader, seeing the opportunity to boost loans, deposits, and fee through more assertive cross selling and client attraction, requested small business sales training for his branch managers.

Outcome: Clarity assisted the new leader to articulate a new positioning for small business in the branches and a new positioning for the bank’s approach to small businesses. Clarity then designed and assisted the bank to implement a new small business sales process, sales tools, and coaching procedures to support a bank-wide small business sales initiative. Within two weeks of the first training sessions, newly trained branch managers’ identification of opportunities and referrals to internal partners more than doubled.


It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.

- W. Edwards Deming