A Seldom Used Secret Weapon in Community Bank Sales

Selling has changed…and if it feels like selling, you’re doing it wrong. The whole premise of sales in community banking is on a fundamentally weak base right now. What we don’t understand is that what we need to do is delve deeply into customers’ needs—but only after we get permission to not be talking about the rates.

Our first question needs to be the Break Preoccupation with Rate Question. Put the rate before the word “value” followed by a reason to believe. You need to have extreme value beyond product line. Without that, you will always be dragged back down to having to match price.

Number two, you need to have good Needs Questions. Your questions need to be deeper-level questions. “Tell me about how you got started in this business? What’s important to you about your relationship with the bank? Tell me about what it is that you value in making sure that your business is really progressing? What’s important to you about money?”

When you ask questions that get to the fundamental needs that are going on within people and address their feelings—what they’re really basing their decisions on—then great things begin to happen.

Second, you need to learn how to be a great listener. Hearing what they have to say should stir up your next level of questions to really find out what’s going on.

In most banks, people call in and say, “What are your rates?” and people say, “Well, our current rates are half a percent for a 3-month, 1 percent for a 6-month, and we have a special on a 13-month CD, blah, blah, blah…” “Thank you,” and the person hangs up after saying, “Thank you for calling First National Bank.”

We have surveyed hundreds of banks across the country and found out that in 97% of the cases, this is exactly what happened. When the person asked for the rate, the rate was given. Instead, you want to be asking great questions and then listening to what they have to say so you can really be adding some extreme value right behind that!

Most bank employees have never really learned to sell, believing that selling is bad, or that selling is backing someone into a corner. So the alternative of helping customers to buy never gets revealed to them as a wonderful option—where they can feel good every day when they go home!

The third part is suggesting solutions based upon wat you just heard when you ask the needs questions. You see, selling is easy…if you’re a good listener. They will tell you exactly what their pain points are and their concerns are, and their feelings, and what their fears are…based up on that, and only after they have had a chance to reveal all that, do you then get permission to start making suggestions to them—and that is done in a consulting format.

Sounds like this: “Based upon what you’re telling me, I have a couple suggestions.”

And with those suggestions, you might have 14, 15, 16 cross-sales. That works all the time…when done correctly! And if some people can do it, I think you can do it as well.

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