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The Secret to Boosting Branch Sales Effectiveness

January 7, 2015

By Kip Sweeney, Vice President Client Relations at FMSI

When it comes to cultivating bankers to sell more, there’s no ‘secret’ formula for success. However, there is a simple tactic for boosting sales effectiveness that’s so often ignored by financial institutions; it might as well be called a ‘secret’ in some circles.
Not long ago, I asked a successful platform banker where most of his sales came from. His reply: ‘Mostly, when I’m doing servicing work, like configuring online banking for a customer, placing an order for new checks or replacing a debit card.”

Setting up online banking might lead to a conversation about direct-deposit, and then perhaps opening a savings account. Replacing a debit card could open up a discussion about credit monitoring or a new credit card with zero liability for fraudulent purchases.  The permutations are endless but the point is that, oftentimes, a banker doesn’t get an opportunity to talk to a prospect about a new product without first uncovering the need during routine service work.

Uncovering the need is easier said than done, but in my experience a focused needs-based-selling effort (earlier referred to as ‘the secret’) through training and establishing accountability, can lead to significant boosts in sales effectiveness.

Consider the following real-life example: Scott, an operations executive at a mid-sized financial institution in Texas, evaluates branch-sales-staff by the sales dollars generated per account holder visit, and how much time they spend with each account holder in a typical visit. His goal is for staff to sell, on average, at least one product or service in each interaction.

Scott discovered some of his staff was spending too little time in visitor engagements, and these employees were falling considerably below the sales conversion goal.

Scott needed to find a way to coach up these staff members to help them increase their sales conversion rates, and knew that simply increasing the amount of time one spends with a client doesn’t translate to increased sales. After some deliberation with his management team, they realized a lack of focus on training and motivating their staff members to properly perform needs-based-selling.

After implementing a needs-based-selling program, Scott saw a considerable improvement in his sales conversion goals.

The case is compelling: earn the opportunity to sell more by putting your staff in front of account holders as much as possible, and adopting a dedicated needs-based-selling philosophy.

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