The old expression, "When one takes, take; scream," should be modified for banking to: "When one gives, scream; when one takes back, shut up?'
Many banks are learning today that if they cut the rate paid on saving and NOW accounts, this can be done quietly without any adverse impact, just as long as they do not need the hot, interestsensitive money that will leave or will not be drawn when such a policy is followed.
On the other hand, when a bank raises the rate it pays, it should beat the drums.
In fact, many marketing professionals feel that when a bank does make a positive move like raising its savings rate, it should do it in more than one step in order to maximize the publicity.
It may seem silly, but the public often goes for the sizzle instead of the steak. For example, Boston's Provident Savings Bank paid 4 1/8% while all the others were paying 4 1/4% - and Provident was the fastest growing savings bank in town. The conclusion: People must have thought 4 1/8 was higher than 4 1/4, since several went into the other banks and asked, "When are you going up to 4 1/8 like Provident?"
Unlike those who sell securities to individuals, where hype and persistence are the keys to success, those who sell bonds to banks must offer dollars and cents value, a knowledge of the bank's portfolio, and a professional understanding of taxes, regulation, and where the market may be going.
But this does not mean that selling techniques and lessons are forgotten, for the good salesperson needs them too.
Thus I thought an inside look at the selling tactics of someone who spent years visiting and calling bankers might be of interest to those on the receiving end of such visits and calls.
Mark Flaster, a partner at the New York investment house Sam diet O'Neill & Partners offered some of the insights into his profession as he talked to my students about how Wall Street works.
First, he explained how to make a banker into a client instead of just a customer, and he warned them about the fact that an appetite for accepting rejection is a key to successful bond salesmanship.
He also explained how a good bond house takes the financial information the bank has, massages it, and makes it more useful to the bank than it was before adding that many bankers just don't know what to do with the data they have obtained at a high cost.
Finally, he warned of the burnout factor that makes Wall Street a young person's game.
But to me, the highlight was Flaster's Rules, which follow shortly. All community bankers who have bought bonds for an institution have certainly come across people who used similar tenets in their sales calls.
* You can't sell bonds to a customer who won't talk to you.
* if the customer wants to buy bonds, you can't stop him.
* You will learn more in the customer's office that on the phone.
* As soon as you get the order, hang up.
* Think fast, act slowly.
* Ideas are sold. Bonds are bought.
* Luck is a byproduct of good preparation.
* If you think it ain't broke, you don't know how to fix it.
* The customer has more to say than you do.
* No one hears anything you say the first time.
* When good ideas fall on deaf ears, they lie dormant.
Mr. Nadler is a contributing editor of American Banker and professor of finance at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Management.