For decades now, the industry average for cross-sales on new accounts has hovered around 2. Many banks don’t even measure—but when they do, it’s always about 2.2. Fascinating how that works.
Since the average customer today has a total of 16 products and services, if you have anywhere fewer than 13, you really can’t declare that you are their bank. You don’t own the relationship and have not earned their trust.
Having spoken at over 500 C-level banking events over those years, I can tell you it has been a hot topic for almost three decades now with virtually NO improvement. Mind-boggling.
Given the immediate and profound impact it has on your efficiency ratio and profitability, how could this hugely important needle remain stagnant despite massive efforting, CEO rants, and a pot-load of training dollars?
Banks have spent billions on sales training with not a little, but no change at all in cross-sales ~ often with great disruption to the culture and a mass exodus from people who have been traumatized by the “big bank” sales process and refuse to ever relive that scene.
With mobile banking driving customers out of the lobbies, how will you ever prepare your people for the proactive conversations they need to initiate and add value to average at least 7 cross-sales with people who walked in the door and are practically begging to do more business with you?
The easiest and most profitable sales you’ll ever make are the added cross-sales to the prospect who’s already sitting in your branch. You know it, but if your staff isn’t averaging 5 to 7 cross-sales per new account, then they’ve bought into a dangerous lie.
The lie is that selling means convincing someone to do something they don’t want to do.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact…
If It Feels Like Selling…Your People Are Doing Something Wrong
The new skills of selling are more about collaborating than competing. These new skills are based on the premise of caring about finding out what the customer needs to be successful and then finding ways to help them accomplish that success. It’s about getting on their side of the desk—and staying there.
It’s also about having them be very clear about the financial and emotional impact of each of your Unique Selling Propositions—those ways you differentiate to make you the one and only choice.
To do that, there are seven critical steps that must be followed in order—it is the psychology of how people like to buy. Let’s explore three:
Break Preoccupation with Rate
Imagine walking onto a car lot and asking, “How much for a car?” and having the sales rep begin to list pricing on every car on the lot. Ridiculous! But that’s the way most bankers answer the phones.
One of two unattractive results happen—either they don’t like the rate and they move on, OR they like the rate and you bring one more of the “87 percent of bank customers who lose money for you” into your bank.
If your people don’t have a question that transforms the discussion away from rate to value, they have no chance of getting profitable business, and they don’t get permission to ask the other questions that suggest 7-10 or even more products and services that meet their identified needs. They stay stuck on rate.
Ask Good Questions
This is the part where bankers FAIL, FAIL, and FAIL AGAIN. The only questions that get asked are “situational questions”—those questions situational to the product that was requested.
They don’t ask carefully-crafted questions that are customized to the type of person in front of them.
They don’t ask questions that trigger an understanding of the emotions behind the need.
They don’t ask questions that reveal the pain of not having your differentiating value or that cause them to tell you the financial impact of not having your special services, ways of being, and extreme differences that are crafted around what most matters to the customer.
And they don’t know in which order to ask the questions based on the psychology of how people buy.
And worst of all, IF they ask any questions beyond situational, they don’t know how to keep from the “badabing badaboom” approach of slamming the prospect with a rant about “your stuff.”
That REALLY feels salesy.
After sending their executives to a seminar we presented on the process, one bank recently followed up by sending a personal banker who had never had more than two cross-sales.
One week after the seminar, I received a handwritten note that said,
“I have never had more than 2 cross sales in my life, and with the very first prospect who walked in the door, I had 13 cross-sales! AND it never felt like sales! This is so much fun. I felt like I was really helping people.”
The more you hear about a customer’s needs, the more you can help them. But unfortunately, most retail salespeople are busy talking and quoting rather than listening. Have you ever heard this conversation from your team members?
Prospect: “What are your certificate of deposit rates?”
Bank employee: “Our current rates are 0.5 percent for a 3-month, 0.75 percent on a 6-month, and our special of the week is our 13-month CD paying 1.0 percent.”
Prospect: “Thank you.”
Bank employee: “And thank you for calling First National Bank.”
When The Emmerich Group surveyed banks and credit unions for one of the bank associations, we found that this is what happened 97% of the time. People who called to invest money were given rates and then hung up on…politely, of course.
When someone calls and says they have money, why are they not helped to invest that money—a transaction that would help both the bank and the customer? It’s because most bank employees have never learned how to sell—a.k.a. help people buy.