Virtual Workshops

CBAO University and Cohen Brown Management Group Announce Virtual Workshops for Community Banks

A virtual workshop is LIVE and INTERACTIVE, just like you’re in the classroom. Never prerecorded. Attendees enjoy the convenience and low cost of participating from their home, office, or mobile device.

"The workshop provided a "hands on" opportunity for our CSR's. I feel that all aspects of the workshop were appropriate. I would have liked to see more Community Banks from Ohio participate so that during the workshop we could have heard additional thoughts and ideas." 

- Derek Williams, Consumers National Bank

Virtual Workshop Dates

Do Your Customers Speak Positively About You?

There are some purchases we don’t make that often: large appliances, automobiles, and floor coverings, to name a few. My parents and I have purchased floor coverings from the same family-owned business for 40 years. Normally, our interactions are routine: we go to the store to look at the products, the business comes to measure, we order, and they install. However, I have paid very close attention to the interactions over the past year, which reminds me why we do business with this organization. 1. I’m impressed by everyone with whom there is contact. This means sales associates, billing, measurement, warehouse, and installers. 2. Comparison of price to quality. 3. The sales associates let me know what is new, why it was developed, and what it means to me as a consumer. 4. The installers look for and solve any potential obstacles prior to installation. 5. They follow up to ensure the project was completed properly. Not just telephone follow-up but often a visit depending on the project, and if it isn’t correct then it is re-done. What are the behaviors as an organization we can embed that will allow our customers to positively say “I know why I do business with that bank!”?


Commitment to Follow-Up
January 11, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Following up with your clients/prospects can be one of the biggest sources of business generation and is the pinnacle of best-of-the-best service. The commitment to follow-up is a behavior that must be embedded within each branch professional.

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It’s Not Your Father’s Banking World
January 18, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Remember passbooks, coin-saver pig folders, getting a little pack of Life Savers, or the kid’s table with comic books? It is not that simple anymore. During this session, we will discuss the behaviors and actions that will allow future generations to have fond memories of their financial institutions.

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Teleconsulting Pre-Call Planning
December 21, 2016 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Preparation for Teleconsulting calls is critical to achieving productive outcomes. This session will focus on the most effective method of preparing for your World-Standard calls to clients.

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Sessions are $295 each for unlimited seats per organization with a bundle of three at $600.
Contact Melody Taylor if you are having any issues, or wish to purchase the bundle of three.

Inspecting What You Expect

Inspecting What You Expect can be very rewarding as you hear your team provide your customers with friendly, courteous, and caring service. Consider those days when you see a teller walk an elderly client to their car or take time to look at a child’s new doll. Those are the times when you know you have THE BEST team. Then there are those days when you hear a customer ask for a rate on a 12-month CD, and the teller just states the rate and watches the customer walk out the door. Or that evening at a Chamber event when you notice your five employees all sitting at the same table not mingling with other attendees. Or my “favorite” incident while inspecting calls within the contact center: a customer said their car just broke down and was unrepairable. The representative responded “Mine just went to the crapper too!” Maybe relatable, but certainly not appropriate language. And the representative didn’t take the opportunity to offer auto rates or take an application. It is our responsibility as a coach to prepare our teams for situations when they can be helpful and assist customers and prospects.


Handling the Rate Shopper
February 1, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to assist that person with a financial need. Handling the Rate Shopper will focus on how to use an inquiry as the first step to reach the current or future fulfillment of a customer’s needs.

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In-Person Networking
February 8, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Networking can cause so much anxiety for some professionals that they avoid this beneficial technique for increasing their contacts and pipeline. This session will provide you with some tips for networking as well as a planning sheet to allow you to make the most of any networking event.

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Recognizing Life Events
February 28, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

This session will review the eight most common life events, and discuss how we can discover the events, make gracious comments, ask probing questions, create an interest, consultatively close, and follow up with the customer concerning the life event.

Register NOW


Sessions are $295 each for unlimited seats per organization with a bundle of three at $600.
Contact Melody Taylor if you are having any issues, or wish to purchase the bundle of three.

How You Use Knowledge Is Power

There was an insurance agent name Jerry who came to review our plans each year. My son, Adam, was four years old at the time. The first year Jerry came into our home, he leaned down, shook Adam’s hand and asked, “How does it feel to be four years old?”

The next year, Jerry smiled at Adam and asked, “How does it feel to be five years old?” Jerry was consistent because the following year he asked Adam, “How does it feel to be six years old?”

When Jerry left that evening, Adam said in a very sincere voice, “I love when Jerry comes to our house because he always asks me about my age.”

A six-year-old was impressed! It made him feel good, and he recognized that Jerry remembered. Adam is now 30 and recalls that experience with Jerry.

Jerry was good! He wrote detailed notes, referred to them, and then knew the right time to use that knowledge during conversations. I loved Jerry, too!

It has been said that Knowledge is Power but truly How You Use Knowledge is Power. Join us for three sessions that will allow you to set the tone for current and future interactions with your customers.


Digging Deep Into Probing Questions
March 8, 2017

Uncovering the known and unknown needs, the current needs, and the future needs of your clients and prospects is the core of a needs assessment. During this session, we will focus on the effectiveness of open-ended and closed-ended probing questions and statements that take you to the financial recommendations for your customer or prospect.


  • Learn the steps to note-taking in three areas of financial need
  • Pair features of a product with one of the Big Five Financial Benefits
  • Identify opportunity events to note for future follow-ups

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It’s More Than Bedside Manner
March 15, 2017

Demonstrating kind, friendly, and understanding behavior is a great first step in delivering the best-of-the-best customer interactions. But this session goes beyond as we examine the process that, when used consistently by all tellers in your organization, will give customers a consistent and positively differentiated experience.


  • Discussion surrounding the most well-known customer-centric organizations
  • Creating a perfect teller experience at your branch

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Embedding Teller Product Knowledge
March 22, 2017

“It is never a customer’s or prospect’s responsibility to ask you, to tell you, or to understand anything about financial services, ever. It is your job to educate them.”

This session will provide you with the methods to embed product knowledge within the teller.


  • Linking benefits to features of products
  • Deciding how much a teller needs to know about a product
  • The 7 steps to embed teller product knowledge

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New Year’s Resolutions
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Well, it’s nearing the end of the first quarter, so how’s it going? Maintaining a positive attitude is one of the most common resolutions. If you’ve had trouble with it, this month’s sessions will give you a second chance.

Positive Presence
April 5

You have found yourself in the middle of a merger, a restructure, a systems change within your organization. As a manager, how do you deal with employees? How do you deal with your own feelings? How do you deal with customer objections? What opportunities are involved?

During this session, we will discuss:

  1. The impact the change has on you as an individual
  2. The impact it has on your employees and how you deal with that
  3. The impact it has on your customers.


No Complaining Zone
April 12

Complaining is negative, and negativity causes stress, drains energy, reduces success, and can kill you! Let’s talk about how we can create a positive environment that will survive any circumstances.


A Shout Out for the Team!
April 26

Knowing how and when to motivate your team can be a skill that we as leaders sometimes ignore. We let the activities of the day take over, and we take for granted that our team knows we appreciate them. This session will focus on what motivates teams and how to build strength in your team.


You Can Run but You Can’t Hide

My high school gym class was at a small Midwest school in the late 1970s. The torture of “attempting” to vault over a horse, serve a volleyball, run and swing a field hockey stick, shoot an arrow, and learn to square dance is something about which I could write a movie, a comedy to be more specific. Hitting any nerves?

Two weeks of each activity and it’s over, right? This too shall pass…

Fast forward to the meeting where you tell your team you want them to create awareness with each contact they encounter. You use all the suggested selling examples…the McDonald’s upsize, the Foot Locker sports socks with your new tennis shoes, even the beer guy at the ball game asking “need a bag of peanuts with that drink?” Your team stares at you like you have created a language incomprehensible to other humans. Their eyes say that they will humor you, while it lasts. You know they think that “this too shall pass,” but you want it to stick.

What do you do? Show them how and then observe. Woody Hayes, the legendary Ohio State football coach, once said that you tell a player how to do a skill once but you show them a thousand times.
This month we will be taking coaching to the next level with tips on observation, honest coaching conversations, and daily structured coaching.

By the way, I loved gym. I loved my gym teacher, Mrs. Nestor. She made me believe that I had some athletic ability. She gave me a passion for competition and spurred my confidence. Isn’t that what all good coaches should do?

Coaching to Behaviors That Will Improve Results

May 3, 2017

As we know, coaching is a process that is ongoing; it is something that never stops. Think about any professional sports team. The coaching staff doesn’t say, “Hey, your completions (foul shots, strikes) were really low last week so we want you to throw to the various receivers for the next few hours. We’re going to head down to the locker room for some meetings today, and we’ll check back with you at the end of the day to see how it went.” Think that is what happens? Not at all! We will discuss a process that allows the manager to coach the team to obtain positive results.


Honest Conversations
May 17, 2017

Providing honest feedback to your team ensures that performance levels do not remain stagnant. Constructive feedback is not only right for the employee but is the right thing to do for your customers. This session will prepare managers to communicate honestly with their teams as they provide continued coaching.


A Week in the Life of a Coach

May 31, 2017

You wake up in the morning and make coffee, get the paper, pour the coffee, read the sports page, and head to the shower. This is your routine. Routines allow us to be consistent and efficient in becoming the best of the best. The same applies to our daily and weekly coaching skills, which we will discuss during this session. Perfecting your weekly meetings, huddles, debriefs, and scriptwriting will be our focused topics.


Recently, I purchased a television. I had done some research ahead of time, but standing in front of 50+ televisions all flickering at me was a little intimidating. I began to question myself. So when the salesperson approached me, I started to ask questions about various features. He appeared very knowledgeable in his responses and did not act as if I was the 10th person to pose these questions in the last four hours. He asked me some questions about where I would watch TV and what features I would use on the television. Finally, I asked him, “I have narrowed it down to these two televisions. Which one would you buy?” Without hesitation, he told me his choice and why, and it wasn’t the most expensive of the two televisions. He sold me the right television for my needs without worrying that the other would have added to his sales for the month. He did what was right.

I highlighted a few of the phrases from my experience, as I think they are wonderful reminders to us as we are dealing with those we assist. We should also keep a few things in mind:

  1. People who are not in financial services can be intimidated by the wide range of products we offer. And even if they aren’t intimidated, we should consider that, no matter how knowledgeable they are or may have been in the past, the rules and regulations change quickly and often.

  2. We need to be knowledgeable yet clear in our responses. That means we should avoid jargon and details that could be confusing. Having patience with those who have questions and concerns can build rapport and lead to retention.

  3. Being consultative will allow us to determine the correct products and services for the person standing in front of us. For example, we can ask questions about how a person uses their checking account, or when they plan to use funds they are investing in a certificate of deposit.

  4. Making proper recommendations with financial benefits will create an emotional attachment to how they may save money, borrow money, protect their money, or save time in their banking.

The bottom line is that doing what is right is the ultimate form of service.


A Loan, Anyone?
June 7, 2017

We will be discussing loans from two perspectives. Using the scenario of a call or visit from a rate shopper, we will first create entry lines that differentiate your organization. Secondly, we will be transitioning to the credit category once a Needs Assessment has been gathered in the Day-to-Day Banking and Deposits/Investments Categories.



Transition Lines to Day-to-Day Banking
June 14, 2017

Being able to transition from category to category with confidence and in a manner that is logical is an essential skill for conducting a Needs Assessment. This session will focus on clues and Windows of Opportunities that will allow you to transition with ease to the Day-to-Day Category from Bank Deposits/Investments and Credit.



Focusing on Retirement
June 21, 2017

Research shows that the bank with which a customer deposits their retirement investments is where they will deposit the majority of their funds, including checking and other types of savings. This session will focus on investment probing questions and transition lines to other financial categories.


There is an exercise I conduct with those who attend my business sessions. I ask the participants to interview one of their current business customers prior to our session and pose the question, “What do you expect from your banker?”

Some of the most common responses:

  • Someone who understands my business
  • Someone who is responsive
  • Someone with professional and honest straight-talk
  • Prompt
  • A partner who works alongside me as my business grows
  • Someone who helps me meet my goals
  • Someone who follows up and informs me when changes occur

I then ask, “Are you doing these things every day, with every customer, to the best of your ability such that nobody else can come in and do your job any better?”

Research shows that about 60% of brand-new customers leave their initial interaction with an organization with exactly what they asked for…a single product. Needs change, goals change, business changes so we need to ensure we are a partner with our business customers.

This month we will focus on obtaining and retaining your current business portfolio.

Determining Your Market
July 12, 2017

This session allows you to review past and current success with clients so you can replicate the same success in the future.  Being able to recognize the common attributes and characteristics of your successful interactions with clients will allow you to recreate this success.



Listening – Overcoming Objections: Leading to the Business Close
July 19, 2017

We will discuss the probing questions that allow you to dig deep into the needs of your business clients and anticipate the objections you might encounter with those questions. The Objections Categorizer allows bankers to group objections as “no need, distrust, inconvenience, or don’t understand” and then provides the proper correlators for them to respond effectively.



Pre-Call Planning for Business
July 26, 2017

This session will discuss how you can position yourself as a “better than average” Business Banker as well as improve your results by enhancing your probing questions. Are you really doing it? Every day? To the best of your ability such that nobody else could step into your position and do it better?



Recently, while I was standing in a long line at the bank to purchase gift cards, a woman turned to me and said, “I cannot imagine doing my banking over my cell phone!” She was looking at the marketing poster positioned very properly at a turn in the waiting line. “Can you?” she asked me.

I said, “Actually, yes I can. I use mobile banking and love it!” She appeared shocked. Well, she asked me! So, I went on:

“I’m the type of person who loves to scan her mobile for a cup of coffee. So, the convenience of using my phone to check my balance or to see if checks have cleared is perfect. Let alone being able to deposit a check without leaving the house!” She stared at me, but I didn’t stop. “Last week, I was traveling and obviously made an error in my checkbook, so I transferred funds from my savings to checking on my mobile. That saved me both money and embarrassment. So, yes, I love, love, love mobile banking. You need to download the app.” She didn’t know what to say but did get out an “oh” before I was called to the teller window.

The point I’m driving at is…on a dime, you need to be able to articulate the benefits of any one of your products and services and do it with passion.

This month we will focus on the critical few features aligned with the benefits representatives need to know about a product, making recommendations that will include the benefit to the customer, and preparing for a teleconsulting call during a product campaign.


Because it is Right for the Customer
August 9, 2017

Many managers will say their representatives ask all the right questions but don’t close the business. During this session we will discuss the various types of business closes and create scripts for these closes. We will also review several scenarios to create recommendations that will answer the question in the customer’s or prospect’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”



Embedding New Account Representative Product Knowledge
August 16, 2017

This session will provide trainers, coaches, enhanced service champions, and branch managers with the methods to embed product knowledge within the new account representative. We will focus on the critical content that will allow representatives to learn the key benefits and features of the products they must discuss with current customers and prospects.



Preparing for Teleconsulting Calls During Campaigns
August 23, 2017

“Anxiety is the price you pay for the unprepared mind and mouth.” Focused preparation, entry lines that establish credibility and interest, and preparing for objections will all reduce anxiety when making teleconsulting calls. These skills will be discussed during this workshop that will enhance your calls during product or service campaigns. Come to the session with a product or service campaign in mind.


Planning is something I like to do and am known for amongst my family and friends. Planning includes monthly dinners with friends, neighborhood get-togethers, holiday parties, vacations, and reunions. I plan my hour in the grocery store by writing my shopping list in the order of how items are stocked on the shelves.

Planning for work gives me the same enjoyment. There is no better feeling than putting my weekly work plan into place and checking off items as they are completed. However, at the end of most weeks, I would feel disappointed and defeated because I had not checked everything off my weekly plan. It wasn’t until I learned to create a time-managed action plan that I realized I was not checking everything off the list because there were not enough hours in the day to complete all my tasks.

This month we will discuss methods for planning and taking control of your time, and ways to establish achievable goals.


It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
September 6, 2017

Breaking down your team’s goals into bite-sized pieces allows them to digest those goals and create plans for success. This session will discuss how you assist your team with their plans and how you ensure their time is spent on the most valuable actions for success.



Creating and Inspecting Action Plans
September 13, 2017

”If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Coach John Wooden

A sports coach might refer to the “play,” which is the plan to take one or more skills to achieve a specific outcome. Plays and plans include three critical components: what, how much, and by when.

We will be looking at creating plans and “inspecting what you expect” within plans to identify actions that will take customer relationships to World-Standard levels.



Time Management
September 27, 2017

Your Most Valuable Resources: Time and People

Time and again, people state they don’t have enough of these valuable resources. This session can assist you in leveraging what you do have by ensuring that your time, and your people’s time, is spent on the most powerful actions that will immediately impact results and service quality. Learn key tactics to maximize your time and energy and to assist you in getting your priorities completed.


My colleague Julie Freeman asks coaches a thought provoking question about their coaching in the blog below.

The same in financial services.  We need to listen for clues in various situations that will allow us to meet the financial needs of our clients. This occurs during every teller or banker interaction. Join me in discovering how to turn clues into business.

Successful football coaches know how to hit the Sweet Spot. In business, coaches typically don’t. What’s the Sweet Spot? It’s the balance between “numbers and plans” coaching and “observations and skills” coaching.

Think of it this way. A football coach knows the numbers…the stats and score in the game. The coach also has a plan for execution of plays needed to win the game.

But football coaches also intensely observe the behavior of their athletes on the field. How well they throw, catch, run, block and tackle. This prepares the coaches to provide specific advice to help players improve their performance and win.

How valuable would the football coach’s advice to players be at halftime if the coach spent the first half of the game in the locker room? In sports, we expect coaches to watch players in action and tell them what they     can do to improve their skills.

Unfortunately, in business we accept much less. Is your boss spending the game in the locker room? Scarier yet, if you lead others, are you?

Next time you watch your favorite athletic competition, notice how closely the coaches are watching the players…and then aim for the sweet spot to better coach your team to victory.

This month, we will focus on coaching and coaching feedback.


Opportunities for Coaching
October 4, 2017

Tracking is vital to the success of our teams. We can ensure we see continuous improvement if we are reviewing the numbers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and using those statistics to focus on behaviors that will take the results to the next level. During this session, we will analyze results and recognize the opportunities for coaching to the proper behaviors.



Coaching Branch Teams
October 18, 2017

A coach could spend a full day with an employee and still have multiple, unmet coaching opportunities. This virtual workshop focuses on where to begin, and what you can do in just one hour to positively motivate your employees and impact their results.



Honesty in Coaching
October 25, 2017

Providing honest feedback to your team ensures that performance levels do not remain stagnant. Constructive feedback is not only right for the employee but is the right thing to do for your customers. This session will prepare managers to communicate honestly with their teams as they provide continued coaching.



I live my life by five Fs:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Focus
  • Fun

And believe it or not, I place my job in the Fun category. Many of my friends laugh: “You’ve been a lifetime banker. Fun?!?!?” I tell them, “If you aren’t having fun, then you’d better find something else to do!” And I find banking fun.

Oh, I know that we are sometimes categorized as a boring, nerdy group that only cares about the bottom line. Maybe I have an odd sense of fun, but I LOVE to ask questions of people, finding out all about their lives—in particular their financial lives. In the technical, instructional sense…I LOVE TO PROFILE!

It is remarkable what I find out by simply saying, “Tell me what I would see if I looked at your current checking account statement. How is money being deposited, and how do you pay bills?” Direct deposit? Automatic payment of car loans? Mortgage payment? Retirement account? Life insurance?

These responses sound cut and dried, but each of them is connected to people’s hopes and dreams, their pursuit of happiness, and I try to guide them along the way.

Where would you go with what’s uncovered by a simple question like, “What does your bank statement say about you?” How many opportunities do you see in the responses?


Digging Deep into Probing Questions
November 1, 2017

Coaching Your Teams to Success
November 2, 2016 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Uncovering the known and unknown needs, the current needs, and the future needs of your customers and prospects is the core of a needs assessment. During this session, we will focus on the effectiveness of open-ended and closed-ended probing questions and statements that take you to the financial recommendations for your customer or prospect. You will learn the steps to note-taking in three areas of financial need, pairing features of a product with one of the big five financial benefits, and which opportunity events to note for future follow-up.



Commitment to Follow-Up
November 8, 2017

Gaining Receptivity When Setting and Communicating Goals
November 16, 2016 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

Following up with your customers/prospects can be one of the biggest sources of business generation and marks the achievement of best-of-the-best service. The commitment to follow-up is a behavior that must be embedded within each sales-and-service professional. You will learn the best times to pre-position follow-up, the four types of Windows of Opportunity that allow for follow-up, creating an Entry Line that establishes likeability and interest within 45 seconds, and the importance of charting during a conversation.



Recognizing Life Events
November 15, 2017

Opportunities for Coaching
November 30, 2016 11:00am-12:00pm (est)

This session will review the eight most common life events. How do you discover the events, make gracious comments, ask probing questions, create an interest, consultatively close, and follow up with the customers concerning the life event?



My son received a Masters in Public Administration degree five years ago. Like many people his age, he took a job unrelated to his education with a reputable (transportation) company. He wears a tie and dress shirt to work every day. The Human Resources director has told him that he can wear a casual shirt, but he continues to sport the tie. So I asked him why. His answer? First, he likes to dress up. Second, he is dressing for who he wants to be.

I will repeat that: he’s dressing for “who he wants to be.” That is a very insightful philosophy that can be transferred to any aspect of life. Let’s take that concept and focus on what we want to accomplish in 2018. At Cohen Brown, we call this the Magic Wand Principle. If you could wave a magic wand at work, what would you want?

  • The team is excited and motivated to create an environment that supports the vision of your organization and knows the role they play to make the vision a reality.
  • Exemplary service behaviors are exhibited at every customer interaction.
  • Every new customer walks away knowing why your organization is the best of the best and why you, as a banker, are better than the banker down the street.

This month we will take time to assist you in making the above a reality.

The Why Behind the Vision Statement
December 6, 2017

The end of the year is a time for reflection and identifying what we will improve for the upcoming year. In this session, participants will create a focused 2018 personal vision statement, along with an action plan to make their vision a reality.

We will view a portion of Simon Sinek’s, "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" to understand why the vision is critical to teams.



It’s More Than Bedside Manner
December 13, 2017

Being kind, friendly, and understanding is a great first step in delivering a World-Standard customer interaction. But this session goes beyond the first step as we examine the process that, when used consistently by all tellers, provides customers with a consistent and positively differentiated experience.



Creating a Differentiation Statement That Goes Beyond Price
December 20, 2017

There is more to a purchasing experience than price. Not only do customers and prospects want to feel that the price is appropriate; they also want to feel that the total experience is pleasurable. It goes WAY beyond price and includes atmosphere, attitude of the employees, presentation of brochures in a rack, etc. This session will cover the first impressions created by your branches plus those words that make the difference.