Guerrilla Tactics for Prospecting

By Jason Tonioli, CFMP

Looking for a way to identify your competition’s business customers and ultimately try to steal them away? Here’s a practical solution that won’t cost anything but your time.

It is a bit of a manual process, definitely guerrilla tactics for sure, but it works really well if you are willing to put time into it. When I was in a bank we would use this process to identify businesses that were likely paying high fees at the big banks and who might feel ignored.

The golden ticket

When your customer cashes a check, your teller is holding your “golden ticket” to know who is banking where in town. That check is scanned by your teller. That means, someone in the bank should have access to the check images that are cashed at your bank from your customers. We used to be able to pull a report with these checks from any time period we wanted from our core processing system. I believe it was called a transit check report. The report didn’t read anything other than the date, amount and bank routing number. But, with the routing number from the checks, you could identify every check that came from a specific bank and also have a scanned image of every check that ended up being sent to that bank.

We would sometimes pull a year’s worth of checks, put criteria filters such as “total amount must be greater than $5,000 or $10,000” and have a particular routing number and we would know that means XYZ bank. The bigger dollar amount as a filter would tend to give you checks that were more likely to have been written by a business. We would flip through each check image manually and each time we came across a business name, we would transcribe the business name the check came from along with their address and record the info on a spreadsheet. The checks will usually have an address for that business as well.

Priming the pump

In the end, you’ll end up with a spreadsheet of business name, address, city, state, zip and bank where that business has an account. We would also track which of our customers to whom the check was written.

We used this information for direct mail campaigns and to help give our business bankers a list of possible prospects. Your bankers can use the prospect list of names of the person or business the check was written to in order to have a “heads up” conversation since they now know that their customer has some sort of connection or business dealings with these prospects that use other banks. This way your banker can specifically ask, “Hey… do you know anything about XYZ business? We’d really like to work them and I was just wondering if you might know them?” That can be a pretty easy way to get referrals and have a customer help make a warm introduction.

Not a silver bullet, but pretty close if you are willing to throw some hours at the project.

Jason Tonioli, CFMP,  is co-founder of Kadince, a bank marketing and compliance software company based in Ogden, Utah that provides streamlined processes for approving and documenting ad approvals, collecting employee volunteer hours, tracking donations and sponsorships and making your next marketing audit or CRA audit easier.

 A benefit to individual membership in the ABA Bank Marketing Network is the ability to converse through the ABA Bank Marketing Network Groupsite–a members-only discussion group.  Jason’s thoughts, above, appeared in response to a member asking “Other than purchasing UCC filings, does anyone know of a way to easily identify the competition’s business customer list?” Join in the discussion today.