Cross selling is overrated
In our last blog we demonstrated that many front line staff are literally leaving money on the table because they’re not skilled at uncovering unexpressed needs, i.e., financial needs customers or members have but don’t tell your staff. Some of the time staff is skilled enough to pick up on a cue AND lucky enough that the customer or member is receptive to being asked questions at the moment AND they’re not in a hurry even though they only came in to complete a quick transaction. Then it might turn into business. Let’s just say the stars have to be aligned.
Cross selling is a needed skill and is not going away but sales in banking has evolved. There’s a more effective way to bring customer and member needs to the surface which even the customers or members appreciate.
How unrecognized needs can be filled through a trust relationship
But there’s another level of needs most frontline staff usually never get to fill and these are referred to as unrecognized needs – needs customers and members have that they don’t yet recognize as a need, much less one you can fill. The good news is there are many banks and credit unions that have staff members who are able to anticipate, decipher and comprehend these unrecognized needs and turn them into opportunities to help the customer or member. These financial institutions have progressed beyond a cross-selling culture and have developed a banking relationship management culture. Here’s an example of how their staff makes this breakthrough.
Brandy is a Banking Relationship Manager with a community bank client who went through our relationship management training program. It’s important to note, she built up trust by phone over a period of time with an assigned list of customers who rarely came into the bank. Disengaged customers are a prime segment for organic growth. Because of this trust, the customer openly shared her mother was in assisted living and not doing that well. Brandy was astute enough to know there could be some negative tax consequences if the mother did not have a trust. In this sensitive situation, by asking some excellent questions, she was able to identify a potential problem and suggested the customer see someone in their Trust department. The customer was grateful to learn about the value of a trust and eventually did use the services of the Trust department.
Is your organization there yet?
The key is your staff needs to be skilled at going beyond the transactional business with walk-ins and building a trust relationship by phone with disengaged but high-potential customers and members. As a guide to see where your organization is on the continuum, how would you respond to this statement? Our staff is comfortable with going beyond simply recognizing a cue and pitching products to engaging customers and members in conversation, recognizing life events and uncovering their goals, dreams and aspirations. (Rate your organization on its banking relationship management culture by answering the 11 other statements.)
Sure, there’s a little bit of luck in many sales but people buy from people they like and trust. The way to grow organically is to get your customers or members to start opening up and volunteering a lot more information because they have a trusted, banking customer relationship with your staff. At that point your people won’t be relying simply on basic cross selling skills and a little luck; they’ll be confidently and proactively using their relationship management skills.
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Rate Your Organization on Banking Relationship Management Basics
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