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When Success Requires Shape-Shifting: Lakeland Bank’s Story

Posted August 25, 2020 by David Buffaloe

Sitting outside on my deck this morning, I caught sight of a small lizard zooming by. It first changed colors to match the wood railing, somehow managing to sneak right past my dog, Finley. A quick jump into the bushes and the lizard was suddenly bright green, blending with the leaves. I couldn’t help but think of a recent conversation with Ken Bostwick, senior vice president and director of retail sales for Lakeland Bank

“Our bankers have to be chameleons to match the unique requirements of the customer they are serving at the time,” Ken told me. It’s a striking image that certainly resonates with modern bankers and sales professionals today. (Read the full story here!)

Times are tough right now. You’re likely reaching out to a wider range of prospects and clients – all of whom expect you to understand their unique industries. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are facing the real possibility of failure. Business owners don’t have the time or patience for small talk or generalities. They are stressed and seeking serious insight, fast action along with focused solutions to help their businesses survive. As prospects and clients are beginning to explore opportunities to pivot or capture new business, you need to be digging deeper into regional data as well as adjacent industries to meet their needs. Clearly, it’s going to take some serious shape-shifting if you want to capture or grow revenue in this climate. 

Lakeland has embraced and embedded Vertical IQ into their bank and culture to help their advisors acclimate quickly to any business environment. Experiencing the power of Industry Intelligence first-hand, vice president and branch manager for Lakeland, Edward Stahl, said, “I recently called on an art dealer, chiropractor, cosmetic dentist, and auto repair shop – prepared with know-how on their business and borrowing patterns and ready to ask smart questions to a very diverse set of customers and prospects.” 

That confidence and flexibility across an array of industries is paying off. He said, “With Vertical IQ, I have more informed, intelligent conversations with clients, who are often surprised by my industry knowledge and love getting follow-up emails or leave-behinds packed with highly specific industry and even regional intelligence they can use to address key challenges and grow their business.”

I’m sure I’ll be seeing a few more colorful lizards scampering across my deck this summer. When I do, I’ll no doubt think about the quick shifts banking and sales professionals must make these days. And I’m going to hope for those lizards’ sake that Finley doesn’t spot or catch one. I won’t have to worry about Lakeland though as they continue to add real value and stand out from the competition by morphing seamlessly into the experts business owners are looking for now. 

To learn more about how Lakeland Bank is leveraging Industry Intelligence to lean into the future and gain the edge against competitors, check out their FULL STORY HERE.

Tags: banking, business banker, business owner, advisor, new clients, consulting, small to medium sized business, industry intelligence, client retention

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