1

Wisdom Your Mom Might Have Given About Financial Sales

High Definition Banking

What Mom Might Say About the State of Today’s Sales Cultures

“You won’t be happy until you break that, will you?”

High Definition BankingWe see a lot of broken and/or stagnating sales cultures these days, and leadership teams are not happy about it. Mom wouldn’t be happy either. In fact, countless bankers are frustrated with their sales culture. As we stated in one of our past posts, many are still trying to get to some magical and elusive point in their sales culture which, like the horizon on the ocean, keeps moving farther away the more you try to sail toward it. All the while customers and members are becoming disengaged and at risk of leaving. More and more, staff perceive there’s more pressure to sell than to help the customer or member. To find out if your organization has one or more of the nine symptoms of a broken sales culture (and if your Mom was psychic), read our post Do You Have A Broken Sales Culture?

“I don’t care what all the other kids get to do!”

Mom wanted us to learn that just because all the other kids were doing something didn’t mean it was best for us. Today, it seems like most every bank and credit union out there is still using the same conventional circa 1980’s sales training approach that focuses solely on identifying cues and matching a product to sell. At some point it all turned into product pitching merely to meet cross sell goals. If mom was talking about financial sales today, she might say, “I don’t care what all the other bankers are doing. You need to get beyond tactical, “onesie twosie” transactional selling that results largely in short-term business, competing on rate and being viewed as a commodity.” How do moms always seem to know what’s best for us?

What Mom Might Say About Differentiating Our Organizations

“What kind of a grade is that? You could do much better!”

High Definition BankingYou may have thought to yourself, “We’ve spent thousands of dollars on sales training and incentives over the years and it’s still “hand to hand combat” to make our numbers. Why is sustaining our sales culture still such a struggle? Why is it that we keep competing on rate and are viewed as a commodity?” If mom was discussing financial sales, she might reply, “Those are the results you’re getting? You could be doing a better job at differentiating.”

If you’re still focused on transactional selling, then you’re more than likely viewed as a commodity. We at High Definition Banking® feel the best way to differentiate a bank or credit union is to jettison the product pitching and instead start improving customers’ or members’ financial well-being. Before people will open up enough about their financial anxieties on one end and their dreams, aspirations and financial goals on the other, your staff needs to build the relationship. Once you really improve the customer or member’s financial health (and not just think you do it) they will likely become an advocate. To read how the concept of measuring financial health will have a huge impact on how banks and credit unions compete, read The Financial Brand post, Financial Health Is The New Marketing.

“If God wanted you to have holes in your ears (…tongue, eyebrows…) He would have put them there.”

Ok, we won’t use this one.

What Mom Might Say About Succeeding Over the Long Term

“Don’t you have anything better to do?”

Yes, there is something better you can do, and you’ve just heard what it is. To get a definitive comparison of transactional selling vs. relationship selling, read Sales and Service Culture – It’s So 1980s.

“Pick that up before somebody trips on it and breaks their neck!”

High Definition BankingOk, maybe Mom exaggerated a little. However, she did have a good sense of potential perils when being neglectful. If she was talking about sales cultures, she might have meant transactional sales cultures are unsustainable and some banks and credit unions may get hurt in the end. It’s a fact that transactional business is becoming a losing proposition.

According to a recent FMSI Bank and Credit Union Teller Line Study, since 1992 branch volume has been halved while average transactional costs have doubled. If Mom was talking about sales cultures she might say, “Fix your broken sales culture before you find yourself earning a ‘satisfactory’ ROA on diminishing assets but you still go out of business.” To learn more about this trend and what you can do, read our post Declining Branch Traffic Armageddon or Opportunity?

“How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it?”

Moms try to get kids to graduate to more sophisticated culinary choices. But most kids want to stick with the status quo: pasta, pizza, burgers, etc. Many banks and credit unions are stuck in the status quo with their conventional sales cultures. If you read our posts each monthly you may agree with the overall concept of a relationship building culture but feel your leadership team would have any number of “considerations.” For example, they’re in fear that it means back pedaling on cross-selling, or they don’t implement and/or sustain initiatives well, or “why take the risk?” or there’s just a lot of inertia. If your mom was talking about sales cultures, she would have encouraged you to get a taste of what a relationship building culture is like.

“If you don’t do it NOW, then when are you going to do it?”

High Definition BankingGood question. Mom used to ask me that. Get a taste of what a relationship building culture is like to find out if you’d like it. Click on I’d Like a Taste to see a video link of a Barb’s live presentation and slides at the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Conference last October. Pay particular attention to the story of Emma, a relationship manager, and imagine if people like her worked in your organization. This presentation is totally applicable to banks as well.

“Some day you’ll thank me for this.”

Need we say more?

Thanks for reading our article,

Barb and Bob

Your Thoughts?

We 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?