Turning great bankers into
great bankers who can sell
is our business.

Typical Banking Challenges…Can You Relate?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in training bankers over the years, it’s that every bank seems to experience the same challenges when it comes to driving revenue. Yours is probably no different. But check it out for yourself.

Rates & Fees

Selling Rates & Fees or Relationships?

You’re trying to sell relationships, but it seems the focus quickly deteriorates to rates and fees.  Why is this?  Basically, you’ve failed to differentiate yourself from competition, so “price” becomes the determining factor on who gets the business.  This hurts profitability, strains relationships, and minimizes loyalty.

Deals in the Pipeline Forever

Chasing prospects that don’t return your calls, getting “updates,” promises that it’s going to close, etc.  Studies show about 25% of proposals go to “no decision.”  In other words, nothing happens.  The prospect has invested little, gotten lots of free information, but it’s a costly exercise for the banker.  It’s a qualifying issue, plain and simple.


Low Closing Rates

The typical banker generates 5 proposals to close 1 sale.  That may be “normal,” but it’s not good.  Many proposals had no chance, yet valuable bank resources were expended anyway, in the “hope” that the business would materialize.  If you’re not going to get the business, it’s best to find that out early.

Selling Has Changed, Salespeople Haven’t. Have Yours?

Most salespeople are using selling skills that were developed for a world that no longer exists. As a result, they struggle to make quota (research says only 62% make it), find it difficult to get appointments with decision makers, and rely on discounting to get deals closed. Let’s look at the changes, and how they impact salespeople.

Access to Information

Today’s buyer can find out nearly everything they need to know about you on the internet.  That makes the typical sales pitch and PowerPoint presentation obsolete, yet salespeople continue to “pitch” their bank and it’s products and services without reservation.  Ditch the sales pitch and focus on the prospect’s banking challenges instead.

Busy People

Today everyone is super busy.  They don’t have time for idle chit chat or long-winded sales pitches.  Our Meeting Agreement ensures meetings are efficient and productive.


This is a huge issue today.  While you (hopefully) don’t think you’re a commodity, your prospects will try to turn you into one.  That’s why there’s so much focus on price.  These days you differentiate yourself by HOW you sell, not by WHAT you sell.

Deals Are Bigger, Risks Greater

The average opportunity these days is much larger in dollar volume, involves more decision makers and influencers, takes longer, and is more complex.  Transactions are easy to manage, but complex sales are a different animal altogether.  Do you have the skills necessary to compete effectively in this selling environment?  Most salespeople don’t.

The Buyer’s Process

Buyers don’t trust salespeople.  That’s the bottom line.  So they’ve developed a way to deal with salespeople.  It goes like this.  The prospect says he’s thinking about making a change, has an opportunity that excites you, coaxes a proposal out of you, then says, “Thanks, I need some time to think it over.” Now he shops it around to get the best deal, doesn’t return your calls, then disappears.  He’s in total control, and turns you into an “unpaid consultant.”   If you don’t have a sales process, you’ll be at the buyer’s mercy every time.

Problem Solvers

There are two kinds of salespeople…product pushers (that’s 90% of salespeople) and problem solvers (a rare breed).  Buyers today are looking for the latter…problem solvers.  This requires the ability to conduct a thorough investigation (another word for qualifying) and help the prospect navigate through all the choices out there.  This is where you can differentiate yourself, but most salespeople aren’t very good at this skill because they focus on the wrong thing…presentations

Why Whetstone Group?

We’ve demonstrated success training bankers. Our approach is fresh, counterintuitive, and it works.

We wrote the book Common Sense Selling for Commercial Bankers

Seemed like the natural thing to do.  After getting tons of testimonials, great reviews and bottom line results on our training, we adapted our Common Sense Selling process to commercial banking and made a book out of it.  We’d be happy to send you a complimentary copy.

Trained Hundreds of Bankers

Our Common Sense Selling process seems ideal for bankers that are in a complex sale where relationships and trust are critical to success.  We’ve trained bankers in commercial lending, treasury management, even FX and derivatives and we always get great reviews.

The Critics Love Us

The last training program we conducted (with 145 bankers) got rave reviews.  94% said (on a scale of 1-10) they’d recommend our training to friends and colleagues.  When participants like the training they change behaviors and get results.

Testimonials From Our Clients

“A fresh approach to selling!”

“Common Sense Selling…the name says it all.”

“…much less invasive and keeps the prospect at the forefront.”

“The best training program I’ve attended in my 19 year banking career.”

“Great session. I haven’t been this excited to go try these new strategies in a long time. It will be fun to get good at this.”

“We’ve needed a structured sales process for the entire group. This is going to return big dividends.”

“Highly recommended to the other sales groups. Great eye opener to the concept of selling effectively.”

“This has been one of the most practical, easy to understand and executable training courses in sales I’ve had in my 35+ years in this industry.”

“This is an excellent program for all levels of sales force/experience.”

“Best tools I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to use them.”

“Better than expected. Total paradigm shift!”


Our Solution

A blended training approach (online, assessments, small group workshops, and coaching) conducted by Whetstone principals gets the foundation in place for behavioral change. Reinforcement is also the key to success, and we use online exercises and provide tools for our clients to conduct meaningful training sessions locally.

Implement a Sales Process, Sales Culture

Most banks that we talk to admit that they really don’t have a sales culture, much less a real sales process.  But in today’s super competitive marketplace, it’s time to change that if you want to gain market share.  That’s where we come in.  Our process is not salesy, not pushy, and bankers love it.  It’s the opposite of everything they dislike about “selling.”

Blended Training Approach

Event training doesn’t work without reinforcement.  Our program combines a robust online program to get people up and running, followed by a very interactive instructor-led program, personal coaching, and reinforced with the online training for a year.  Plus, we give sales managers all the tools they need to  conduct great sales meetings and keep the training alive.

Focus on Qualifying

90% of sellers focus on the presentation.  Large sums of money are spent every year coming up with glitzy power points and gloss brochures.  Most are virtual carbon copies of their competitors.  They’ve got it backwards.  It’s about qualifying, understanding the prospect’s critical business issues, and developing custom, creative solutions as opposed to “off the rack” solutions.  Become a better qualifier and your selling results will skyrocket.

Benefits of Sales Training with Whetstone

As a financial professional you’ll want to be able to understand the ROI if you decided to make an investment in training. Based on what other banks have told us, these are some areas where you can get a substantial ROI. Often, one deal will pay for the entire training investment.

Time Management

Time is a finite resource and it pains us to see how much time salespeople spend wasting time on “bad” prospects.  It’s frustrating for them and very unproductive.  And who knows how many “good” prospects are virtually ignored because they “don’t have time” to pursue them?  Following our process will give you a 30% increase in the amount of time you have to sell (or do other things).

Fewer Costly Proposals

Proposals aren’t cheap.  Getting credit involved, meetings to determine the “best deal” to offer, etc. all cost money.  And 25% of proposals that are made go to the #1 competitor…NO DECISION.  In other words, the prospect decides that status quo is okay.  Better qualifying skills can eliminate most of this waste.

Reduce Unpaid Consulting

We hear this a lot.  Prospects turn salespeople into “unpaid consultants,” picking their brains for ideas only to toss them aside when they’ve got what they want.  It’s frustrating for salespeople to get “used” like this, but it’s the buyer’s process.  It works for the buyer, but not for you.


After our training you’ll be better able to articulate your differentiating value, and you’ll be able to demonstrate it in the way you approach and dialogue with the prospect.  This means less focus on rates and fees and higher profits for you.

Free Resources

Here are some resources we’d like to offer you so you can get to know us, and to help you evaluate your current situation.

Common Sense Selling for Commercial Bankers Book

Our best selling book has been adapted to commercial banking.  We’d love to send you a copy.

Sales Force Assessment

You probably know how your team is doing, at least in general terms.  But why not find out scientifically exactly where you could use some help to improve your results.  Here’s a link to a short online assessment that will give you the info you’re looking for. Password is scsfaol.

30 Minute Consultation

Got questions?  Let’s talk.  You’re a professional and so are we.  A short Q & A on both sides should tell us whether or not we might want to talk further.  If not, no problem.  We promise, no selling and no obligation.

Free Report

Are you using obsolete sales approaches?  Most bankers are.  This short report will discuss what you need to change and the kind of results you might expect if you did, in fact, change.  Click the download button to get your free copy.

Got Questions?

Want to find out more about how our training helps banks drive revenue and build a sales culture? Let us know what’s on your mind.

Click here to contact us

Whetstone Group, LLC
6060 Nancy Ridge Drive, Suite 100,
San Diego, CA 92121