I’m Your Customer and You Don’t Know Me
In our work with banks and credit unions, we still hear some employees asking the wrong question: “What product or service can I cross-sell this member?” Are your staff asking questions just to help them sell a product or to get to know the customer or member better? Come on admit it, simply being focused on what you can sell someone is not exactly customer focused now is it?
A better approach when preparing to make an onboarding follow-up call or meeting a customer is to ask yourself, What don’t I know about this customer? What challenges, anxieties, goals or dreams do they have that I can uncover?” Then prepare key questions to engage them so they will open up and trust you to find solutions that fit not just today’s singular need, but a lifetime of needs.
In other words, instead of asking “What can I sell?” always be thinking, “What can I learn about this customer or member? Where are they experiencing ‘pain’ in their life or what major life events are coming up?” When you add this information to profiles in a CRM system, you are that much farther along on the next call.
Be Viewed As A Trusted Financial Partner
When your staff is focused on transactional selling, they tend to give the customer or member exactly what they ask for and then attempt to cross-sell another service or two like online banking and a savings account. However, those who truly see themselves as financial partners go way beyond the initial basic transaction. They follow up, keep going deeper with their questions at each future touch point, add member information to the profile (preferably housed in a CRM system) and build trust.
Because they own and manage the relationship, they can spot opportunities to make product recommendations that improve the customer’s financial well-being and the customer is more likely to be open to hearing them. Your bank or credit union is not relying on one-time sales but revenue from a book of business.
How a Relationship Manager Gets to Know a Customer
A bank or credit union can also build relationship management into their onboarding program. Earlier this year we implemented an onboarding and relationship building skills training program with a community bank client. Last week I facilitated a follow-up telecoaching call with a group of their personal bankers and branch managers. They shared examples of how they are building trust and deeper relationships with their customers.
I was impressed with Cindy, a relationship manager. She shared that when making her three-month follow-up call she felt more comfortable asking her customer about his top financial priorities or goals in the coming 3-5 years. The customer mentioned they wanted to reduce debt, buy a bigger home for their expanding family, retire early and travel a bit more.
That discovery question led to another onsite meeting to help the customer restructure a loan to reduce debt, meet with a financial advisor and come up with a plan to help them reach their goals. She earned his trust over time and developed the relationship. The loan officer and the financial planner were aided greatly by having access to the notes Cindy added to the customer’s profile in the CRM system.
See how to view a customer or membership holistically in order to capture the full client relationship in our post Get Rid of Your Silos for Revenue and Relationships then read a little more about what we do to help you with effective onboarding and contact us to take advantage of our complimentary 30-45 minute coaching call.
Note – the customer later admitted they were about to visit with another financial planner and had no idea the bank could advise them and had these additional services. This customer is now on the way to becoming an advocate because he has already introduced a neighbor to this bank. Building relationships naturally leads to member and customer loyalty and added business.
Key Point – Are your staff and managers asking questions that help them sell a product or to get to know the customer or member better? Are they still stuck in that old transactional model? Avoid pushing the product of the month. Instead, remember to always be asking, what don’t I know about my customer or member? Uncover and address their sources of “pain” and they’ll be advocates for life!
We are interested in your feedback. Please tell us what your managers do to develop their team. Also, what challenges or questions do you have that we can answer in this post?