My normal week is spent in the head office on a credit rotation. This week though, my leader thought it would be good for me to head out into the field with the sales team and it’s been quite the change of pace!
Believe it or not, this is a sleep in for me, a welcome change for the week. The branch I’m stationed at is 20 mins from home so a bit shorter than the hour-plus commute to the city office, although that has its perks too.
Arrive at the branch, I’ve been lucky to have two really supportive relationship managers to work with this week and their extremely capable relationship assistant. For a change of pace, they are taking me out on a farm to meet with some clients as we work through their changing financing needs. So it’s into the car and up north we go!
Pit stop time, we drop into the Burra Elders branch for a quick “How you going?”. The Elders Burra team is a great contact for the area and until recently the team I am stationed with were part of the Elders network so there is much to discuss about the local Ram Stud show and the general progress of the season up here. Spoiler alert: Dry and not great so far, but as always with farmers, there’s an optimism that things will change any day now.
We head to our first clients for the day. Past hills covered in AGL wind turbines and paddocks without much more than a token covering of feed. It becomes apparent pretty quickly just how much some rain would benefit the region. The clients we are seeing are stud sheep breeders whose stock we viewed at the Stud Field Day yesterday, so it’s nice to be able to see their farm and get a better idea of their business. The tea and cake certainly don’t hurt either!
With one group of happy clients behind us, we head back to Burra to find some service to check the emails and messages, a bite to eat, and the use of the branch for some quick work on the files. One thing is for sure, the phone will get the most calls through when we are out of service! It is also clear how important the relationship between our sales force and our clients is, both for our business and for our clients themselves.
Time to hit the road again. This time, we head out east from Burra for another farming family with a different enterprise mix. It’s been really good to travel the region and have the holdings of our client base pointed out as we drive along too. It’s all good reading a file in an office but an entirely different thing to see first hand where our farmers are, and also the conditions they are working with. Once again, phone service disappears, by the time we finish the visit up at 5:15, I’m sure there will be a flood of messages waiting again!
Time to head home, as the relationship manager returns his calls it gives me a good chance to understand how much these guys have to do and remember to make sure they meet our client's needs and maintain their presence in the community. The best call ends with the client saying “I’ve never felt as secure and happy with a bank as I do with Rural Bank”. If that isn’t a great advertisement for what we do and what we want to achieve I don’t know what is! By the time we hit the branch, it’s just after 6 and the relationship manager heads inside to tidy up a few things. I head home for the day, knowing that tomorrow I’ll get to work on the files of the clients I visited today and help them achieve their goals as well.