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BirdsEye View

banking insights from a sales star

I got lots of positive feedback on my customer attrition article,which implied to me that perhaps it's time to write more about sales and sales management. The article below is certainly on that topic.

My travels have taken me to the east coast and Texas the past two weeks, so I know spring is finally here across the country.

Enjoy it,for it's always too short and summer hits us before we're ready for it.

Anat

Article synopsis:This is a great time to remind all bank sales forces of what it takes to be an effective needs-based seller.


BANKING INSIGHTS FROM A SALES STAR


It took all but 5 seconds to know that Carolina is the Kobe Bryant of bank sales.  No sooner did I place myself in my chair did she say, "Anat, I am Carolina.  How can I help you today?".  Sounds banal, but I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

Carolina is an experienced banker and has been with the bank for 8+ years.  Interestingly, she resides in an in-store branch, but her customer base is very stable and her sales stellar.  People know she is there, and seek her out to take care of their financial needs.  They trust her and beleive she is on their side.

After some investigation Carolina told me she learned much from her Disney Store supervisor, where she worked for years.  While she's, without a doubt, a "natural", her insights were nonetheless telling, and I'd like to share them with you.

Here's what she said:

  1. Always use the customer's first name.  The first Disney rule is, immediately memorize the customer's name and use it repeatedly.

  2. Find out what the customer wants.  Too often we have something in mind we want to sell (deposits?), and we're too busy forming our "spiel" to listen to the clues and cues the customer gives us.  Find out something personal about the customer, something you can remember and relate to in the future.  Make sure you listen well to what they say and respond to their needs.

  3. Be excited about the product.  Are they Pooh fans?  Is Ariel their child's heroine?  Whatever the customer is looking for, even a Free Checking account, show your excitement and caring about the product itself.

  4. Your goal is to sell the customer two more things than what they asked for.  At Disney, Carolina would mention another product, a "special", or just point out something the customer might like.  In banking, her minimum cross-sell is three, since all customers clearly need more than what they ask for.

  5. Feel ownership.  When I listened to Carolina, she spoke of "her branch", "her ATMs".  It was obvious that she was emotionally invested in the bank and her specific branch.  She took pride in the organization.  That pride and overall enthusiasm shine through and are infectious; customers love that!

  6. Love people and love to sell.  Sales is no job for a non-people person.  If you enjoy human interaction at all levels and you're comfortable with it and with the activity of selling, you'll win.

  7. Believe in the product.  Your confidence in what you sell is what the customer sees and buys.  If you don't believe in the product, it won't sell (remember credit insurance?).

  8. Talk about future "specials".  Even if today the customer isn't buying anything else, they might appreciate knowing that a CD special is coming out in a week or two, or that a loan sale is in the wings.  Seeding future demand is a great way to stabilize your sales flow.

Carolina is a "natural", but it doesn't mean that her wisdom can't be equally effective with others.  The insights she shared are valid for all sales jobs and all products.  In banking, it is not the rate that differentiates one product and one bank from another.  Is it YOU!  Capitalize on that power to better serve your customers and fully meet their needs.  Don't they deserve to be served by you fully and to benefit from your professionalism and comprehensive product line every day?