How U.S. Bank Turned Its Sales Model on Its Head

Instead of waiting for potential customers to walk inside their doors, U.S. Bank went out into the community to get to know people.

It used to be that customers went to the bank. The bank never went to them.

When was the last time a representative from your company’s bank sent your CFO or head of payroll an email saying she’d been thinking about how to solve a problem your business was having and offered to stop by to go over it? Probably never.

The standard banking business model — in which consumers and companies conduct business in brick-and-mortar buildings — hasn’t changed much. Sure, over the decades, the marble columns and high ceilings of yesterday’s banks eventually gave way to the more approachable free toasters, pens, and penny arcades. But at its heart, banking is a service that most customers must seek. Only the most coveted of customers are courted.

“Banking was a reactive business,” says John Elmore, vice chairman of community banking and branch delivery at U.S. Bank. “Someone would walk through your door, or log in to your site, and you were there to try to take care of whatever their needs happened to be.”

U.S. Bank decided to flip the equation and began to knock on local businesses’ doors. Instead of branch managers waiting for customers to come in, they went out into the community to get to know people. It didn’t matter if those people did business at U.S. Bank or a competitor. The point wasn’t to get new checking account customers. It was to build relationships.


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Keith Ferrazzi

Keith Ferrazzi


New York Times best-selling author, speaker

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