Do You Have a Broken Sales Culture? – 1.5 Years Later

Many Bank and Credit Union Sales Cultures Could Use a Makeover

See if this sounds like your organization. Your people may be generating business with transactional sales, but it’s holding them back from developing relationships and the organization from getting to another level of organic growth. You’re stuck in the past “doing sales” the same way as the past 10, 20 or 30 years. All the while customers or members aren’t responding like they used to, are becoming disengaged and there’s growing fear they’ll leave and take their accounts with them. You’re still trying to get to that magical point in your sales culture which, like an ocean’s horizon, keeps moving farther the more you try to sail toward it.

Do You Have a Broken Sales Culture? Learn the symptoms. High Definition Banking®What’s most alarming is many bank and credit union execs don’t even realize they have a broken sales culture. They struggle with problems with their incentive program, managers not optimizing staff performance, lack of differentiation from competitors, being viewed as a commodity, diminishing revenue from customers or members who no longer visit branches, and more. They don’t realize there’s another option! (See Relationship Selling Cultures for Banks and Credit Unions for an alternative.)

Ten Symptoms of A Broken Sales Culture

See how many of these statements apply to your bank or credit union. Then ask senior staff to do the same:

  1. Our people are so incentive driven they sometimes avoid solving customer or member problems in order to focus on opportunities that can lead to a sale and extra cash.
  2. Our onboarding and sales processes are very transactional and product-driven which sometimes repels customers.
  3. Our staff makes excuses and avoids making onboarding calls so they don’t get to know the member well enough and miss follow-up opportunities. Rather than being the beginning of a long-term relationship, onboarding is often the end of the relationship.
  4. Traditional Transactinal Selling Approach Often Repels Customers and Memebers

    Sales training, circa 1980

    We’ve been using the same sales training approach for years, focusing mostly on identifying cues and matching a product. We want to get beyond immediate, “onesie twosie” transactional selling to a more holistic approach to meeting the customer’s or member’s financial goals.

  5. Our managers tell staff they need to generate more sales but they spend more time focusing on numbers and reports than actually coaching, observing and developing their staff.
  6. Our brand and/or mission statement says we are focused on improving the financial well-being of our members, however, our goals and incentives encourage a short-term “sell whatever you can approach”. We really don’t know our member’s or customer’s long-term goals and dreams so we can’t realistically make that big of a difference in their lives.
  7. We have financial calculators and resources on our website, but our staff still functions more as order takers rather than financial coaches.
  8. We focus heavily on walk-in and new customers, however, we’re neglecting to reach out and do relationship building with existing customers who no longer visit our branches. We’re not growing organically and I’m concerned these customers are at risk of taking their business elsewhere.
  9. Our staff doesn’t consistently capture customer conversations, life events, dreams and challenges in a member profile so we really can’t anticipate their future needs and be viewed as a financial partner. There’s a lot we don’t know about our customers or members.
  10. Our staff has not embraced and adopted our CRM as a true relationship-building tool so we’re concerned we’re not getting an ROI on our investment in CRM (or, We haven’t even gotten around to implementing CRM software).

So What Now?

It’s the beginning of a new year so now is the time to make a fresh start with course corrections. If you answered yes to more than a few of the above, it may be time to ask your leadership two BIG questions:

  1. Is it possible we’ve gone overboard in our sales culture and created behaviors that conflict with our mission, purpose, brand and values of serving the financial well-being of our customers or members?
  2. Is it time we advance our culture and encourage organic growth by transitioning from a transactional selling model to a relationship-focused approach? (To learn the difference, see Sales and Service Culture? – It’s So 1980’s)

Steps to Address the Symptoms and Transition from a “1980’s Sales Culture”

We recommend you share this post with your leadership team and enjoy what will likely be a robust and heartfelt discussion. In addition, on our website you will find common challenges and solutions that will be helpful in deciding how to move in a different direction. Visit, feel free to email your questions to or simply Contact Us.

Thanks for reading, we welcome your comments below,

Barb and Bob

Your Thoughts?

Build loyalty in your bank or credit union: www.highdefinitionbanking.comWe are interested in your feedback. In the comments section below, please tell us whether you agree or disagree with the ideas in this post. Also, what challenges or questions do you have that we can answer in this post?

All Staff Training Day

Barbara Sanfilippo is available to deliver a highly engaging presentation or workshop to reinforce your organization’s goals and priorities. Contact Us to inquire about availability on national holidays or your preferred dates.

What Our Clients Are Saying

I love that this relationship process is designed to help our members not just sell them something. Business will improve through this concept naturally! — Training Participant

This was without a doubt the BEST training I have attended. It’s more customer and relationship focused and less on products, steps and procedures. — Training Participant

You ranked as one of our top presenters with 4.4 for content and 4.7 for delivery. You are a meeting planner’s dream speaker! You do your homework, respond in a timely manner and then deliver a powerful, tailored presentation! — Credit Union National Association

High Definition Banking® is a national consulting, training and motivational speaking first  that partners with banks and credit unions to increase sales, deepen customer  or member relationships, turn them into loyal advocates and maximize our clients’ investment in CRM, Transforming Relationships Into Revenue®.

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