image so when someone hears our firm’s name, they instantaneously
think of something uniquely positive? We will get to the fundamentals
of how to do this later, but I would challenge all finance professionals
to take a step back and think about their own personal two-second rule
and that of their firm. If your next prospect were your last, what would
you want to convey in t wo seconds? My t wo-second rule is speed, flexibility and service, as those elements are the key to my firm’s success.
We have to be fast, flexible and serve our constituents — both senior
lenders and actual clients — flawlessly.
I’m sure very few lending professionals see the similarities among a
finance company and hotels, restaurants and car dealerships, but they
do exist. These companies, especially nicer ones, target a certain clientele, and they are ultimately relying on separate, but distinct teams that
must work together flawlessly to deliver a consistent service every day.
Creating Touch Points
Think of a Mercedes car dealership. Every “touch point” where an
employee encounters a customer is thought out. Every employee is
trained to deliver excellent customer service from the service department to sales. Finance firms should execute at every level or touch
point in the same way. Ask yourself whether your firm meets the standard of a Mercedes dealership, where you rely on repeat customers,
product performance and referrals. If one aspect of customer experience breaks down, so does the brand.
The picture to the right best illustrates what our prospects feel
like after meeting with senior lenders as they evaluate a new secured
lending relationship. We do this for a living, so we know the drill. But
does a business owner understand when they rarely shop for a bank or
finance company? How do you and your firm stand out in a crowded
field of options? I would argue it comes down to service and execution
rather than lending at the lowest rate, especially given the banks are
lending at historic lows. Clients do not always choose the cheapest
rate for a reason.
What is your two-second rule? If I asked you to close your eyes and say the words “Mercedes,” “Coca Cola,” “Hilton” and
“Macy’s,” I bet their brands or products would instantly
pop into your head. These firms have spent billions of
dollars to ensure their names connote positive images
in your mind within two seconds of hearing them.
The two-second rule is important because in today’s
age, you really do have two seconds for a prospect to
understand your brand and the corresponding service
offering. So, what’s your firm’s two-second rule?
As finance professionals, we still work for brands.
How else could we differentiate our firms when our
product is commoditized? Our product per se might be
money, but we are still charging a markup and hoping
to establish brand and customer loyalty — some clients
will pay more for service or other offerings. There is
a clear reason why some firms have built successful
businesses, even in a competitive environment.
Differentiating their brands plays a big part.
The Two-Second Rule
Every finance firm should be asking itself this question:
How do we separate ourselves and create a strong brand
Following the Two-Second Rule:
Building a Brand in the Finance Business
BY CHARLIE PERER
Brands like Cheerios, Toyota and Coca Cola have become ubiquitous. Once confined to radio, television
and print publication ads, they now follow us as we surf the internet, peer out from the margins of our
Facebook pages and insinuate themselves into our Twitter feeds. Charlie Perer argues that small lenders
need to establish their own brands to compete with the industry giants. A strong brand can set a lender
apart from the pack and establish an identity that will resonate with borrowers.
Every finance firm should be asking itself this question: How
do we separate ourselves and create a strong brand image so
when someone hears our firm’s name, they instantaneously
think of something uniquely positive?
Super G Capital