How Are You Different

A chipper new entrant into the UK banking sector was doing the media rounds Friday. Despite claiming his institution was different, Shawbrook CEO Ian Hendersen still manages to look just like every other maligned banker in the land. Whereas a youngster takes a photo of their favourite popstar to the hairdressers, he seems to have taken a pic of RBS chief Stephen Hester to his ‘stylist’.

Similarity doesn’t end with vision. It’s in sound too. He cited disenchantment with High Street players as a reason behind deposits with him rising £180m to £924m. His “challenger bank” does not yet offer current accounts or residential mortgages, but in talking about the future you could easily have thought he worked for one of the dastardly big five that have a stranglehold over 90% of the market.

So his Skynews interrogator, Joel Hills, asked simply;

how are you different?

Enter the train smash. First, the noticeable, hesitant, caught-off-guard pause. Then;

“service is a touchword … we add a human touch to all interactions with our clients”

That was basically it. A few words. One intangible, almost abstract issue. The same old drivel that all the others spout. Meaningless. Indistinctive. Irrelevant.

Utterly unprepared for an obvious sales requirement.

And yet this is such a fundamental question. If the Chief Exec – the Salesperson-in-chief remember – can’t handle it properly, then what chance the coal-face rep?

Here’s your test. Someone asks you how you are different, how do you respond?

Craft an answer. Make sure it’s from the prospect’s viewpoint. Refine it. Make sure it’s memorable and really is ‘different’. Learn it. Use it.

Be better than bankers.

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