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The “No-Sales Approach” to Grow Sales

by | Sales & Marketing



I believe people want to trust their banker and count on them to guide them to good financial decisions. It’s been harder these days to get that trust thanks to a mega bank that was called out on sales practices that caused improper cross-sales.

In this episode, I’m going to show you how to not only recover from the damage that was done to the industry, but also deal with the potential skepticism that customers will have about who’s best interest it’s in when a banker is recommending a product.

There are a few challenges to keep in mind…

  • Your employees may take the media impact and use it as an excuse to never have to sell. They think they are taking the high road when, in fact, your customers REALLY need to buy certain products for their financial well-being. That means you must help your employees to get over their misguided belief.
  • Also, when a banker makes a recommendation, your customers will forever wonder if it is really a good recommendation for them or an attempt to gain a cross-sales number.
  • And, the real problem is that although the number one reason a customer leaves a bank is indifference after the sale, the second and third are tied and seem to be at odds: “I didn’t know my bank HAD that item” or “I felt sold to.”

EVERY bank is going to be facing these three issues going forward.

But you can account for these challenges with a three-step plan that will give you immediate results.

Step 1: Contrary to most sales training that CAN get you in trouble because it WILL trigger feelings of “Can I trust this person?” within the prospect, you need to have a much more elegant sales process that NEVER feels like sales. Nobody wants to feel manipulated—especially by their bank, for goodness sakes.

Step 2: Unlike most banks that want to bury what happened regarding inappropriate cross-sales processes at a mega bank (hoping that by not talking about it, it will go away), you need to go into the eye of the needle. Tell your team that what happened regarding cross-sales at the mega bank was not okay and you don’t endorse it.

Then, tell them that it doesn’t change the fact that the average customer has the need for 16 products and services and that if you have only four, you’re not really their banker. Let them know it is not an “either/or” issue but a “both/and” issue. You can help people buy all they need to optimize their finances AND never have it feel like sales.

I’ll never forget an adorable personal banker who answered the phone one time when I called for the CEO and she asked if she could have a few minutes of my time. She said, “When you taught us how to do sales at your event, I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t know if I can sell.’ But now that we’re doing it, we all feel so good about ourselves…we feel like we’re helping people.”

Bam! THAT’S the ticket! She got that it’s a “both/and.”

Step 3: Follow the steps of how people buy correctly so it never feels like someone is selling them. Proper education is necessary. Notice I didn’t say training. Training is what to do; education is how to be. They have to learn how to “BE” with a customer so that the customer feels the LOVE and the concern for their situation combined with the wisdom and commitment to help.

Just three steps:

1) Implement a “no-sales” sales approach.

2) Address with your team and state that just because the big bank did something bad does NOT mean that you don’t have an ethical obligation to help customers buy everything they need, and that cross-sales isn’t a measure of trust.

3) Educate them about how to be with the customer—to be able to elegantly ask and listen such that the prospect or client never assumes nefarious intent of someone trying to get a commission. Instead they are blown away by the help they received.

By addressing the banking industry “elephant in the room” and focusing on connecting customers with products they’ll benefit from, you’ll feel pride in yourself and your team members. Never forget that what we do in community banking is profoundly needed in the world.

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