Is Your Credit Union or Bank Sales Training Aligned With Your Values?
“We have some staff resistance to our sales program.” (Execs)
“We’re losing good people who don’t believe we’re sincere about looking out for our members.” (Execs)
“The last place I worked at didn’t really care about the customer and now I’m in the same situation.” (Staff)
“I can’t talk to anyone without having a loan pushed on me.” (Customers)
We frequently hear comments such as these from bank and credit union execs encountering poor morale and increased turnover by staff resisting what they perceive as product pushing. When staff hears, “We need more loans and mortgage insurance sales, so mention these to everyone,” they may feel they are compromising their values and not putting your customers’ or members’ best interests first. That’s when you get pushback.
Even though your credit union or bank sales training classes teach “First find a need and fill it”, these programs offer a dated approach focusing on short term transactional selling skills rather than developing the relationship.
So how can your bank or credit union excel at sales and service and at the same time enable employees to feel they are truly serving your customers or members?
In this post you’ll have an opportunity to read actual comments from real staff who were asked by their employer how they feel about generating sales through relationship management. We and the bank were impressed with how insightful and wise these employees were about what they saw as the best way to generate business AND serve the customer.
If you want to reduce staff turnover, resistance to selling and annoyance to your members, this post is a must read!
Relationship Management + CRM Software = Member and Customer Loyalty
Here’s the background. We’re in discussions with a $1B bank (275 employees) about assisting them with enhancing their relationship culture and boosting customer loyalty. One of their objectives is to truly make a difference in the lives of their customers and better utilize their CRM software to capture key conversations, life events and future goals. The senior team read our article, Turn Your Customers into Loyal Advocates and Grow Your Business Organically Through CRM. This article explains how customer relationship management is more effective at generating loyalty and revenue over the long term than transactional selling. As an aside, it also helps you get a better ROI on your CRM software.
Excited about the banking relationship management model, the EVP of Sales asked his staff to read the article and send him their comments. The employees were very positive so with the EVP’s permission (and changing any reference to the bank) we’ve included a sampling of the comments in this blog post. As you read them, notice how the employees fully believe nurturing customer relationships is the key to customer loyalty and growth.
Employees Agree – Relationship Management is More Effective Than Going for a Quick Transactional Sale
“I agree with this article 100%. It reminds me of when I worked at XYZ Big Bank. They would try so hard to get new customers into the bank and cross-sell them, but would forget about their existing clients, which created a disconnect much as outlined in the article. Customers would simply leave (many came to our bank) because they didn’t have the contacts or the office was simply understaffed. This always amazed me about the company; they would put so much money and resources into teaser rates and promotions that they had the blinders on when it came to service after the sale.”
“I also really appreciated the paragraph stating, “A bank has to have faith that if you develop the relationship rather than just go for the short-term sale, the customer relationship will become more lucrative than if you relied on the individual transactions.” Developing a relationship takes a lot more time and care than pushing products, but it pays off in the end! I think this is a good reminder.”
“With customers, they are sick of being sold. We need to focus on sales, yes. We need to pick up on services, yes. But we can’t be in their face all the time constantly trying to sell. I personally will leave a business if I feel I am just trying to be sold. A friendly “Hi” and “Let us know if we can help you,” is much more my style. I’m a very soft sell, and that takes time to build, which is also building a relationship at the same time.”
“Great article. I agree with it. Customers leave banks because they don’t have a good relationship with someone or the banker doesn’t reach out periodically. They don’t ‘feel the love’. If they feel the connection with us, they will look to us for help during various life events and helping them achieve their goals. We need to feel comfortable talking to them about our products (more training) so that we are not appearing to be product pushing, just meeting their needs.”
“The initial touch to a customer is simply a get to know them, not a product or service offer, and earning their business. I think we currently use this approach in a lot of our joint calls and this is why we have been successful in earning full relationships. In the end, it is more rewarding to the bank and the customer.”
“Sooner or later these customers will have a need. We need to position ourselves so that they come to us with that need. Satisfied = happy for the moment, we met their current need. Relationship = Trusted Advisor.”
“I thought the article was very interesting. I never really thought about the fact that satisfied customers using our online service probably don’t come to the branches often and may feel disconnected from the bank and our employees. It makes sense that it is the relationship, not the product, which keeps the customer with the bank.”
See How Your Employees Relate to a Better Way of Selling
So there you have it. We at High Definition People® see the positive effects of relationship building, onboarding and outreach on revenue, employee morale and member and customer loyalty with our clients. But what caught our attention is how much employees at this bank really understand the value of relationship building. We commend our prospective client for laying the foundation in their core values and approach to generating business. But as these comments demonstrate, employees are embracing banking relationship management.
Take the Challenge
Do you want less resistance to selling, improved morale and members or customers who become advocates because you take a personal interest in their financial well-being? We challenge you to read the article by clicking on one of the links below to learn more about what banking relationship management is all about. Then send the article to your employees and ask them what they think of the ideas presented in the article and relationship building. We’d love to hear what they have to say!
Bank version: Turn Your Customers into Loyal Advocates and Grow Your Business Organically Through CRM
Credit Union version: Turn Your Members into Loyal Advocates and Grow Your Business Through Member Relationship Management
Learn more about our services including banking relationship management skills training. Take advantage of our complimentary 30-45 minute coaching call. Call us at 858-674-15500 or indicate “Complimentary Coaching Call” in the box on our contact form.
Do let us know what you think of this post. We value your opinion and look forward to your thoughts!
It’s easy for banks to say they want their people to build relationships but then they get back into incentives and pushing product. What good are these mindless sales if we don’t have a relationship with the customer and they take a friend’s recommendation for a financial planner or other service WE offer? Banking needs to change.
You’re right, Phil. Banks and credit unions don’t realize just how much revenue they are losing and what it could cost them in the long term for going after these short term transactional sales. In our recent post, Declining Branch Traffic – Armageddon or Opportunity?, we point out the weakness of this strategy. I quoted Roger Beverage, CEO of Oklahoma Banks, who said, “If banks don’t take action to build strong relationships with more of their customers, as time goes on, they may be earning a ‘satisfactory’ ROA on diminishing assets and be on their way out of business”.