Episode 12: From Commercial Banker to Thought Leader
From Commercial Banker to Thought Leader
In the second episode of "Jack Rants with Brynne," titled "From Commercial Banker to Thought Leader," Jack Hubbard and Brynne Tillman delve into the concept of thought leadership in the world of commercial banking. They discuss the essence of thought leadership, which revolves around leading others to think differently and better. They emphasize the importance of being authentic and maintaining a unique perspective that others find valuable. The episode covers various strategies for bankers to establish themselves as thought leaders, including engaging more with others' content than posting their own, anticipating industry trends, surrounding oneself with thought leaders, and using platforms like interviews to showcase expertise and connect with prospects. By offering practical advice and actionable insights, the podcast aims to guide bankers in transforming their roles from mere bankers to influential thought leaders within their industry.Click to Watch the Video
Jack Hubbard 00:01
I've had the privilege of being in and around banking for more than 50 years. Lots of changes during that time. We've gone from Ledger's to laptops, typewriters to technology. One thing, however, remains the same. Banking is a people business. And I'll be talking with those people that make banking great here on Jack Rants With Modern Bankers.
Happy Thursday banking people. It's great to see you and it's great to have Brynne Tillman here. Today we're going to talk about thought leadership. And I thought before the program, I would ask my friend chatGPT about its definition of thought leader. So here it is. A thought leader, according to chatGPT, is an influential individual who possesses expertise and innovative ideas within a particular field, and has the ability to inspire and shape the thinking of others. Like who? Well Bill Gates has 36 million followers on LinkedIn, Mark Cuban, seven and a half million and Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn has 2.6. Today, one of LinkedIn's great thought leaders, Brynne Tillman is going to talk with me about thought leadership in commercial banking. Hi, Brynne!
Brynne Tillman 01:18
Hi, Jack! I'm so excited to be here. This is such a great topic that so many bankers asked us about, and how you get to share the insights. I'm very excited.
Jack Hubbard 01:30
Well, let's talk human to human chatGPT, Google, they all have a lot of definitions around thought leadership. Yours is very practical. Let's start there.
Brynne Tillman 01:43
So not only practical, it's really short and easy to follow ready? Thought leadership is about leading other people to think differently. That's it, right? And hopefully, for the better. So you know, as we move into, really helping bankers become that thought leader, it's really about getting them to get their prospects, their audience to start thinking differently about their current banking solution, their current banker, the current service that they're getting right? When you can get that or what they should expect, when you can move the thinking it leads towards your solution and people wanting to have conversations. So very powerful.
Jack Hubbard 02:37
And let's be fair, if you're in a community of 10,000 people, a lot of bankers feel, “Well, I'm not a thought leader.” You are. In fact, you have more of an opportunity than anybody else, because you're within a confined space and if you do work in a vertical industry, which we're going to talk about, you have that opportunity as well.
We have a lot to cover in a short period of time, Brynne. Let's start with number one, as we welcome our good friend, Eric Cook, a thought leader. And another thought leader who's on is our friend Susan Bell. So speaking of thought leaders, Brynne, there's a couple of really good ones. But let's start with banking IQ. Since we're talking about IQ and our friends at Vertical IQ talk about that. That's number one.
Brynne Tillman 03:21
Yeah. And when we wrote this, I had vertical IQ in mind when I wrote banking IQ, but you know, you don't need deep knowledge in every single product that your bank offers, right? It's not like you need to understand every inch of underwriting right? What you need to do is understand how these products solve the problems in the context of the individual buyer's needs. Each prospect, each client, each customer, they all have different needs and as a banker the right banking IQ is what product can solve that need. So staying current, with events, regulations, industry trends, will all help you show up and build that subject matter expertise brand.
Jack Hubbard 04:15
Depending on the size of the bank. And depending on your situation. You might have vertical expertise, you might work in the medical profession, you might work with distributors or whomever it might be. This is a great opportunity, Brynne, to show your thought leadership within a vertical.
Brynne Tillman 04:35
Yeah, and you know, I think that this is really important and something that bankers don't necessarily highlight. So you know, if you're a banker and you focus on manufacturing, if you focus on logistics and transportation, or maybe you have a few, making sure that it is really clear that this is your expertise, really It makes an impact. So thought leaders who operate in those little niches are extremely valuable to that industry, right? This allows the banker to be a resource, who can share success practices from, you know, your clients provide great value beyond your products and services, sharing your industry insights.
Vertical IQ is a company that can actually help you with deeper dives inside of those industries, and the industries of your prospect’s clients, right. So subscribing to content that supports this niche following experts in the space. And talking with others in the industry helps you to gain the insights and perspectives that you can share one on one or one to many. And so I think vertical industry expertise is a vital message that bankers who want to be thought leaders need to share.
Jack Hubbard 06:02
And you talk about following. I was with a banker recently, and this particular banker is involved in not for profits. And so I said, Well, who are some of the key folks in that industry that you follow, and that could be authors that do something around customer experience, or it could be experts in the non for profit industry, and they didn't know how to get to them? So I'm going to ask you a question about that because I just said, look, go to Google, who are some of the key experts in that particular industry, then go back to LinkedIn and follow them. But Brynne, I'm sure you have other ways that you could, you could think about following experts in a particular industry.
Brynne Tillman 06:46
Oh, my gosh, so there are so many. Finding them is easy. We can Google, we can look at YouTube, Listen Notes. Listen Notes, is a site that indexes almost every podcast in the world. So you just type in their name and every podcast that they've been on that’s listed shows up. And so you have access to more of their thought leadership than, you know, a typical post might have. And there's lots of ways to use this.
So the fact that you're highlighting, an expert in an industry shows your interest in that industry. So I love that this is not talking about your bank, but it's really talking about, you know, I'm going to back that up. Instead of talking about what you want them to know, talk about what they wanted to do. And when you can share insights about their industry and even deeper, their client’s industry, you become a true trusted adviser and resource. So they're not feeling like it's only about selling the bank products and services.
Jack Hubbard 08:02
Well, I love the Listen Notes, that’s fantastic. And one of the things that I tried to do is to go to podcasts that have to do with things like sales or leadership or some LinkedIn or something like that. And I listen to who the guests might be. And if the guest has a pretty good rap and has some good things to say, I'll go or write on LinkedIn and follow them. But following someone is a really good idea Brynne, but you also want people to follow you. Part of that means developing your own voice.
Brynne Tillman 08:34
Ah, this is such a big deal and your own voice. I'm going to just talk about chatGPT for a moment. Right now, we are in a place where we can get content in 35 seconds. And I'm not exaggerating, you can say, “Hey, you know, share 10 insights that plastic manufacturers are going through right now.” and you could get in under a minute. really comprehensive stuff. No, I’m gonna take that back. Lots of content that's shallow, it's not comprehensive. So I'll reword that. But here's the challenge, right? They could have Googled and gotten that same content by the way, in fact, they can reverse Google that and recognize that it did come from other places.
Your voice is what makes you stand out. So it's a combination of finding your or identifying your philosophy for us. You know, part of our philosophy is anti-LinkedIn automation, pro relationships, being a resource, detaching from what the prospect is worth to us, and attached to what we are worth to the prospect, right. That's a core of everything that we do, all of our content needs to show up that way. So that we have a consistent voice in thought leadership, right? So articulate your philosophy of doing business before you ever even attempt thought leadership.
So it might be a strong technology brand being known for white glove service or convenience, a consistent message that you're sending out there, like what your consistent message will help to differentiate you in the marketplace. And so for example, let's say that's white glove service. So we're working closely with a pretty big bank. And we have for years you have for years, and now I have thanks to you. And their differentiator in the marketplace, is the relationship that their bankers have with the clients. They all have all, their clients have their cell numbers, they can text them. They spent a long time meeting their other trusted advisors and working closely to make sure that there's a holistic approach. It's a big bank, with white glove service, right?
So when I talked to him, I said, Well, why did people switch from the bank that they're in to you? And it's like, well, because their banker either dropped the ball or left and they're being ignored. So when your thought leadership talks about what you know, what a relationship with a banker should be, there's a piece of thought leadership now, should that be everything they talked about? No, of course, not. We need to, because that's the kind of thing that we want them to know. But we're, we're dropping little seeds of, you know, whether, you know, not all content is social selling content, a thought leadership, my piece could also be, you know, Five Things That Manufacturers Should Expect From Their Banker.
So we can add some of that stuff in. So it's a combination of, we've got a little bit of content about their industry, a little bit of content about their clients industry, a little bit about that leads them to you as a banker, but recognize the difference between pitch and thought leadership is reframing. This is not how we help necessarily, it's what you should expect, they're going to know that you do it. But when you talk about the five things manufacturing companies deserve from their banker, if you said, here are the five things that we do for manufacturing companies, it's a pitch. When you switch that into your own voice about and taking that and making it part of your philosophy and your core belief. It's a small reframe, with a big impact.
Jack Hubbard 12:53
It's so true. And Mike, my friend, who's a phenomenal instructor at the sales and marketing school, he does a lot of great work with Graduate School of Banking says, “It's not about the dollars, not about the dollars. It's really about the client and the prospect, and what we can do for them.” And I want to jump onto another topic. But I also just want to mention a real practical thing. I take a 52 mindset when I do content, five days a week, I share other people's content, which does make you a thought leader.
One of the people I follow consistently, of course, is Chris Nichols, who's just brilliant in our industry. On Monday, I do a quote called Modern Banker Monday and then there might be one day a week when I talk about something else. But if you can get other people's content out there, it does help make you a thought leader.
When we had the pandemic, we were kind of stuck at home and we did a lot of networking things virtually. I like to call it, by the way, net sharing, because if it's working isn't worth it, but I like to go to networking events and I like to share things with other people. But one of the things I think bankers could do to become a thought leader is to understand what other bankers are thinking. And by doing that, it helps you become more well rounded. RMA is a great way to do this.
(RMA) Risk Management Association has about 50 chapters throughout the United States. They're doing monthly meetings, dinner meetings, and breakfast meetings, which are short, but it gives you an opportunity to share with other bankers and by the way, not only from a thought leadership, but from a sales perspective, Brynne. If I'm a banker, and I do one type of lending, and you don't do that type of lending. You might be able to refer business to me and I could reciprocate around that. I know you have other things to talk about about networking, but that's certainly something bankers should be thinking about.
Brynne Tillman 14:57
Yeah, and a lot of times [inaudible] Why would I want to meet other bankers? But there's so many reasons why. And so I love that. But there's also the other kind of networking, right? Meeting, referral partners and prospects and building a community through networking. And when it comes to networking for in person events, there's so much that we can do. I'm always gonna take this back to LinkedIn. But there's so much that we can do on LinkedIn that we wanted to cover today. But it's so much that Jack, we're going to talk about this next week. And if you guys want to tune in to the deep LinkedIn for network bankers for networking, go check out Jack's page in his activity. And the event is already scheduled. So networking is a cornerstone to business development for bankers, for sure.
Jack Hubbard 15:51
It really is and what Dustin Martin is saying Brynne with his comment is about the RMA. And he's going to be attending a conference in San Diego next week, just a great opportunity for people to network. Well, one of the things I think bankers are a little concerned about is content creation. How do I create content? This doesn't mean sitting down and writing 500 or 1000 word articles, there's a lot of ways to do this.
Brynne Tillman 16:25
I love this, you know, thought leaders often share their expertise through their own content. Bankers need to start thinking about this. And of course, the long form blog post or white papers or ebooks, right, like those are the things that overwhelm bankers and like, how do I get started with this? But there are so many things that we can do, right? Number one, we're talkers, bankers are you know, especially if you're in a business development role, we have a lot to share. So start to capture your genius. When you say something to a prospect, or to a client, and you're like, “Oh, that was good.” And we do it, right, we do it, that was a good one, write it down.
Jack, we're putting out for The Modern Banker, we're putting out 21 tenants and all of these tenants that we've captured really came from coaching or talking with prospects and clients. And we're like, “Ooh, that's great. And let's record it, and let's put it down.” Right? So, so capture that genius, it may be a one liner that really could be substance. So now you're like, Okay, I've got this one liner, what do I do with this? I honestly, right now, am jumping on Zoom, or teams or whatever you're using. And I'm recording myself for three or four minutes. That's it, not a ton, three or four minutes. I'm taking the transcript. I'm uploading it to chatGPT. And I'm saying, ChatGPT, “Please create a 2000 character blog post using the words from this transcript only.” Your voice, right, this is your voice.
So now we've got this transcript in your voice. And I'm gonna say to chatGPT, you know, give me five bullet points from this transcript that I can use in a quote. And it gives it to me all in my voice. There are, there's so much we can do. And you can use the raw video, if you want to write if you're like, oh, that's four minutes, you can three minutes, you can upload that video right into LinkedIn. So there's an enormous amount that we can do in a really short period of time. And I think it's really important.
The last thing I'm going to say no, probably not the last but on this topic. Yeah, so on this topic, let's say, I find a great article in vertical IQ, or I find an award that they want in RelPro. And I can click through something and see the article. You can record yourself with the screenshare. So, you know, there you're going through, you know, this is one on one, this is not necessarily the thought leadership. It could depend, right? So let's say for vertical IQ, it's thought leadership. You read this article on plastics manufacturing in 2024 trends or what's going to happen.
You can have your face and your screen showing the article now you've got a video and you're talking through it and they're getting to know you as you discuss this. And then you can have a call to action that says what's your perspective below? So many things that we can do and you can share that but Thought Leadership also is one on one. So maybe I've done this, you said this right? I think you said there's one to one and one too many or you wrote it. And I said it, one of us… I’m not sure which.
Jack Hubbard 20:09
It all runs together doesn't it?
Brynne Tillman 20:11
But the bottom line is thought leadership is not only for the world to see, it's also what goes into the inbox and you create a thought leadership brand, one on one as well. Went on a lot of tangents there, Jack.
Jack Hubbard 20:28
It's good, though. But it brings us back to this whole you mentioned being seen. And visibility is so critical. I'll give you an example. I'm going to be in Syracuse on June 21, for the New York Independent Bankers Association, doing a one day program for them. That speaking opportunity gives me tremendous visibility, I'm not there to sell anything, I'm there to provide value. Now, if somebody wants to talk to me about something that's terrific but I think Bankers could be thought leaders more if they would get out into their community, and stand up now and talk, I know that it's the greatest fear of humans, but we need to overcome that and to be able to be visible is part of a thought leadership strategy.
Brynne Tillman 21:14
Yeah, and so that, you know, that actually, is the opposite of what I just said in the inbox, you know, so although there's tiny micro visibility, we want to share insights widely, right, we want to make sure that we're showing up. So, Jack, visibility is your middle name. Well, probably not really but it feels like that, right? You're speaking at every banking conference. You are doing interviews, you are on podcasts, you are everywhere, you share content every single day, you have built such a strong online presence. That you have now probably one of the top reputations in the banker sales world in the world, sales expert in the world.
Your reputation as a thought leader, honestly, stuck. Yes, you are an expert, and you are fabulous. But I think it's your visibility that really, you became a viral sensation in the banking sales world. I can tell you, even before we started working together, I would go train somewhere and they always say, “I see you're connected to Jack Hubbard.” I took his trip, every banker everywhere, somewhere. That's visibility. Even if they didn't pay for your training, they saw you, they're reading your articles and they feel connected.
Jack Hubbard 22:44
Well, that's that, thank you for that. That's very kind and part of it is being out there. 50 years. And before we had LinkedIn, the way you did this was by telephone, you met with people, you had breakfast with people, etc. LinkedIn has really helped in that regard. But you've got to be out there, absolutely be out there. Now, the other thing that bankers do, I think really well or could, because they're in so many different industries, is to anticipate trends. If you're a thought leader, Brynne, you can do that and you should do that really well.
Brynne Tillman 23:20
Yeah. Now anticipating trends means that you are looking beyond your own knowledge today. You need to be subscribing to I was about to say periodicals such as totally age to me. But you know, to publications, you need to be out there, making sure that you are absorbing what's happening in the community. This is, you know, on a macro level and a micro level. And it's not just “Hey, I want to keep in touch with what's going on in plastics manufacturing,” I'm stuck on that one today. But what's going on in the cities that I serve, what's happening in the state that you know, from compliance, from regulations from, like, what is going on, there is a lot to stay in touch with. And so LinkedIn is a great place to do this. But I recommend that every banker has a Google Alert setup with key words, whether it's in on their industry, on their city and state, on the industry that their clients are, right go have that Google alerts set up and also make sure you're subscribed to you know, for us will always say on this Vertical IQ but you're subscribed to a place that they are doing a lot of the work for you. They are compiling the latest hottest trends. So even if you okay, I've been in plastics manufacturing, but now this oil manufacturing company wants me and I don't have anything on that, you need a place to be able to quickly jump in. And, you know, and learn those trends. So anticipating trends is really about subscribing to the right content and consuming it.
Jack Hubbard 25:18
I was doing some work in Indiana with a woman in our prospecting class. And I always want them to share content that doesn't have anything to do with about the bank and she was going to call in a swimming pool manufacturing company, a swimming pool developer. And she spent hours and hours at home trying to find an article about swimming pool stuff. Remember, when you're looking at anticipating trends, it's not just about a particular industry, it could be strategic planning. It could be sales, it could be employee retention, it could be marketing, it could be anything, because that's common to every single industry. Well, anticipating trends is great. Being visible is great. But you gotta be what Larry Levine our friend, Larry Levine would call authentic and he wrote a terrific book called Selling From The Heart that talks about authenticity. Talk about that Brynne, in terms of thought leadership.
Brynne Tillman 26:14
Yeah, and you know, this is kind of like a Part B to your own voice. So that's really important. But you have to stay true to it. It's not just having knowledge, but it's your own perspective, a unique perspective that others find valuable. I'm going to just tell you a quick little story on perspective, that changed really, in some ways, the trajectory of my business. Our friend Jeb Blount did a live or recorded “Social Selling is a Scam.” And this was years and years and years ago, it was live. And there were four guys, it was Mark Hunter, our very dear friend, Jeb Blount, Mike Weinberg, and Anthony and Reno and they really were just talking about how social selling is it's fraud and its scam. And I called them out publicly and I said, I want to go one on one on your podcast, and have this debate. Well, we became dear friends, and now our content is on his platform because he because you know, but a lot of that was being authentic to what I believe.It's about so authenticity is also I have a core belief. And, you know, I don't want to say I'm an I guess I'm a little bit of an evangelist for social selling from an authentic perspective and how to make it, you know, relationship driven and all those fun things. But I have an authentic voice.
So if I came out there, in fact, Gunner hood, and I did an April Fool's live that freaked people out because we did. social selling is dead wrong with a cold call. And it was April Fool's. But I had so many people reach out. And I was really concerned. I was really thrown until I watched it and it was really funny. So what's my point about this, I have a strong brand around my philosophy around being authentic. And I believe it at my core, and you cannot be authentic and less what you're sharing is your core beliefs. So I always tell people, if you are selling something that you don't believe in, go sell something else because you can't show up authentically unless you do.
Jack Hubbard 28:50
Well. And when I met Charlie Green, who wrote The Trusted Advisor a number of years ago, I said, Charlie, you've written so many words, give me a sentence, I can remember. He said, “Be yourself. Everyone else has taken.” And when you have that philosophy, when you are yourself, I'm who I am. This is the way I teach. I tell people when I go out and train, I don't train like a trainer. Not that they're bad. I trained like a salesperson, because that's how I think, and that's the way I am. Well, I feel this is kind of a David Letterman, top 10 There's two more to go. One is, I just love this one, Brynne, engage on others first, not just your own, so engage more than you host.
Brynne Tillman 29:32
This is important. And, you know, I'm on this kick of engaging 10 times more than you post. It's my new kick. Right? And the reason is, I want it to be not just “Hey, engage more.” But if I post, I need to have engaged 10 Times and other places. So five times before you post, five times after you post and by the way, these insights come from Richard van der Blom’s amazing research, right that this is not like, hey, it's just a fun thing to talk about. But the more we engage, the more people see us and the more people will see our content.
So, being a thought leader is just not sharing amazing content. It's making sure that people see it and that we can influence the way they're thinking about their current situation. And we get compelling moments, our thought leadership, so when we can move them from lurker to engager, we can start conversations. So I think you know, that engaging… and by the way, if you don't engage, you just post LinkedIn knows that. And they're just not going to show your stuff. So it really becomes almost a waste of your time.
Jack Hubbard 30:55
And it's not just lazy likes either. Brynne. I really get irritated with lazy likes, it's so easy to click, it's so much difficult and so much better If you would just engage with someone's, “I love this concept Brynnne, I found this, this and this, what are your thoughts on that?” Now we're having a bit of a social dialogue here, which is so critical.
Brynne Tillman 31:19
So thought leadership is also conversations. That's great. That's not even on our list.
Jack Hubbard 31:25
No, it isn't. It isn't. But you know, Dustin Martin, has a wonderful comment about pull versus push. And this is just absolutely right. And this is the concept that we're trying to get across by not being salesy but by being able to engage with people that if there is a sale there, when the time is right, it'll happen. Let's talk about number 10 because I like this. And I'm always surprised I have this crazy hobby and it started with Charlie Green. My wife brought home, 24 years ago, The Trusted Advisor. I read the book, and I think, “This is just like I like to sell.” And so I just picked up the phone thinking, ‘Hell, he might be there.” , and he was. And Charlie and I got to talk and we got to be really good friends. So when I see an article, or if I see something about a best selling author or a brand new book, I'm going to go out and I'm going to talk to those people, and they love to talk about what they love, Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 32:28
They do and, you know, building thought leadership is surrounding yourself with thought leaders too. Right? One of the many reasons for your visibility, where you know, people come to you for your expertise, but they love your interviews, you know, you have a way of using your expertise to extract the expertise of others. So, and it, you don't have any competitive, although in a sales place, we all have competitive, but when I talk to you, you don't have that. Oh, um, you know, Eric Cook is on the line. And he's our friend, and he's wonderful. And there's no competitiveness, it's all we're all in this together, high tide raises all boats. So as a banker, if you start interviewing even other bankers, you're going to attract folks.
Now. Ideally, however, you use this platform, to interview your clients, to interview your prospects, to interview potential referral partners. As a business developer, Jack interviews for thought leadership, he's not interviewing for business development. But as a banker, if you're going to do this, one of the best things you can do is so maybe you're like, I interview plastics manufacturing leaders in Detroit, Michigan. And you have the three to five to seven questions, you're asking them, I will tell you what's going to happen. And this is the coolest thing ever is other CEOs of plastic manufacturing their team, their marketing teams gonna start reaching out to you asking for them to be a guest on your interviews. And so you start these conversations with your prospects because they're begging to be in your shop. So really consider that.
Jack Hubbard 34:38
Absolutely. And I think we could do a whole session and maybe we will, on marketing as a partner on LinkedIn, because you know, if I'm a commercial banker, and I love Ken's comment here. Thanks, Ken. Good to see you. If I'm a commercial banker, one of the things I'm thinking about on this show is, “My god, Brynne and Jack, I have a lot to do, I'm busy.” And you are. So you have to pick your fights. It's not hours and hours and hours. And you've got partners inside the bank that might be able to help you. So to Brynne’s point about interviewing plastics manufacturers, maybe you work with your marketing department, and they do some of the work on your behalf, and you give them credit for it, etc, etc. So there's a lot of things that we could do. Well, we covered a lot of ground in 37 minutes, Brynne, we really did. And talk about the ebook that people have been seeing down in the lower left. It's kind of cool. Talk about that.
Brynne Tillman 35:42
Yeah, so if you guys go to themodernbanker.com/thoughtleaderebook. This will take you to sort of a recap of what we talked about today in an ebook form. And you'll also gain access to our library that has, and it's growing every week, we're adding new content. But it's got great resources for bankers or people that serve bankers.
Jack Hubbard 36:13
And I'm so pleased, you know, last week was our first show, we had 30 people registered this week, we had 174. I hope that continues to grow. And one of the things you can do is if there's a topic that you want us to cover that relates to LinkedIn, please, please do that. Hey, Thursdays, Jack Rants With Brynne brought to you by our great friends at RelPro and Vertical IQ, Brynne I'll be talking to you through the week, but I'll see you next Thursday.
Brynne Tillman 36:43
Awesome. I can't wait to be here. Bye guys.
Bob Woods 36:47
We are thrilled that you have joined us for Jack Rants With Brynne. We are here live on LinkedIn every Thursday at noon Eastern time. We'd like to thank our amazing sponsors RelPro and Vertical IQ. Two vital platforms that all modern bankers should be leveraging to start more trust based conversations without being salesy. If you found value in today's program, please subscribe, review, like, comment and share with your peers. And lastly, be sure to sign up for a free public library at themodernbanker.com/publiclibrary. Again, that's themodernbanker.com/publiclibrary. Here's to your continued great success.