The Great Lie of “Sales Training,” Why It’s Crushing Your Net Interest Margin and What You Can Do About It!

You don’t have a sales training problem…you have a people problem

To solve that people problem, you must be a fanatic about facts and correlation studies.

Let’s face it: Banks have thrown billions into sales training and “personality testing” for decades, and at the end of all that, many banks have NIM under 3.5, their cross sales average around 2.2 when the average customer has 16 products and services, and organic growth of core deposits and quality loans depends completely on the economy.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. It’s not working.

And the way to start fixing is NOT with sales training – it is with better hiring and placement.

The problem is that most banks are still using the old-school approach of “personality testing” and not looking at correlations. People think extroverts are good sales people, but the research shows the introverts are better. Quite frankly, both can do the job—so for all the time wasted in figuring out personalities, the correlation isn’t all that high.

Inherent in the reason personality assessments don’t work is that they are “self assessed” – which is why the correlation between personality types and whether someone is a good employee is inadequate.

You’ve been trying to fix the “sales culture” problem…and trying…and trying…..but perhaps you’re trying to solve the wrong problem.

You can’t coach height. Short people remain short, and people who don’t have the right thinking behind their actions remain low-performing sales people.

Emotional intelligence has been the buzzword in high-performing workplaces for years, and for good reason.

Research has shown that 80 percent of the “essential competencies” required for success are those of emotional intelligence – which far exceeds IQ and personality traits.

A friend told me when she picked up her first pair of glasses, “I never knew what trees looked like – I didn’t know other people could actually see the leaves until I got glasses.”

And that is what gaps in emotional intelligence look like – the inability to see what others see, which in turn makes someone unable to execute in the best possible way.

IF someone doesn’t have the core emotional intelligence to be a relationship banker who does deals, all the training, incenting and cajoling in the world will not change the outcome, which is not enough sales at premium price.

So what does the research show?

Benchmark studies show that when employees are evaluated one year post hire, those who were low risk tend to be successfully doing that job, while less than 90 percent of those considered high risk are in the job or succeeding at it if they do remain.

Although there are many scores to look at that are key in hiring sales people that will grow your business at premium pricing, let’s review several that are important.

First, look at the intuition and empathy scores. For most sales positions, the benchmark is about a 6-7, depending on the sales position. For a free trial of the only emotional intelligence assessment with 43 benchmarks for financial services industry click here.   A lower score just won’t build the rapport necessary to ensure the customer falls in love with you and will be loyal.

But higher scores have a very difficult time commanding the premium pricing necessary to improve your NIM.

They put the needs of the customer SO high that their blind side makes it difficult for them to command premium pricing. Their need to “people-please” can make them feel that the world is not treating customers fairly, so they tend to turnover. Even if you’re offering a million dollars more in value, they will not be able to justify asking for $5000 more than a competitor. It’s that blind side that chews up NIM.

With that score, and without a massive intervention to their thinking, the best sales job they do is to come in and ask you to be a little “nicer” to that customer and give them a rate that is less than what the competitors are doing – because you sure don’t want to lose this deal, right?

Ugh. They not only are uncomfortable getting paid a premium or even a fair rate, but they’ll make sure the customer is trained to only look for the best “price” as well.

A solid 6-7 has a very predictable result of being able to balance the needs of the customer with the needs of the organization.

Another key number to look for a sales position is the “self-view” or confidence score. If someone’s score is too low, it often means they won’t have the courage to call on prospects. If it is too high, they won’t learn from mistakes, and that too can be an encumbrance from developing relationships and getting big-ticket sales.

Two of the most important predictive scores are the results orientation and self-awareness scores. But if the self-expectation score isn’t there – the one that tells you if they have the work ethic and the ethics to perform – then the work still won’t get done.

Cosmetics giant L’Oreal found that those salespeople who were recruited for their high EQ outsold their peers by over $90,000 and had 63% less turnover than other salespeople.