Last month, I was honored to represent Core Bank as we supported the Buy-Sell Seminar at Johnson County Community College hosted by the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC). It’s a fantastic event that is well attended. We saw close to one hundred prospective small business buyers, sellers and resource providers.
As a sponsor, I was given some time to speak to the group at lunch.
The theme of my talk was how to stand out in a crowed space like banking. The joke was, I’m 6’7” and I stand out whether I like it or not. But the points I made were the fact that Core Bank doesn’t look like all the other banks. We don’t have retail branches in Kansas City. We don’t have drive-through lanes. And we don’t have billboards or advertise on the radio.
Why? Because we’re a small business and we cater to small businesses. We make spending decisions based on return so that we can stay in business. Just like the businesses we serve.
What does that look like? We hire the best bankers in the industry. We train them and arm them with the best technology and products available. Then we send them out to meet small businesses. They don’t have to come to us, which is often the case in a traditional banking relationship. We want to see and experience what they are trying to accomplish in person. It helps us understand how we can be an effective part of their success.
We’re not your normal bank – end of speech. (Applause!)
She complimented me on my presentation, and then gave me some excellent feedback. She said, “you told everybody that you weren’t a normal banker, but you look just like one.” Slightly offended I said, “what do you mean?” She said if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. She suggested I lose the tie and loosen up! “Stop looking like a traditional banker.”
I gasped. “You mean lose the one accessory that distinguishes bankers from everyone else in the business world?” Breandan said, “Yes! Lose the tie!”
So I’m now thirty days free from the bondage of that decorative piece of strangling silk that has distinguished me and my profession for the past 24 years. I’ve sidelined the stripes and punted the paisley. I’m neck tie free and loving it!
I still believe in looking sharp and professional, but I’ve given myself permission to dress like my clients. You’ll see me break out the Bank Logo Polo shirt on Friday. Maybe even jeans on that special jean day. But every day in between, I’m going to look, act and serve my clients differently than everyone else in the overcrowded profession of banking.
Who’s with me bankers? Let’s burn those bow ties!