Creating a Service Oriented Sales Culture

In a recent GonzoBanker newsletter, Steve Williams makes the case that sales culture in banks is dead and a new chapter of sales culture is about to begin with the hope that banks have the chance to get it right this time.

In this well written piece, he states, “Across the country, many banks have 10+ years of effort on sales culture without significant improvement in results, but fail to question if they are even building the right mouse trap.”  He challenges banks to develop a new type of sales culture built by creating value for customers.  In other words, provide a service that customers find valuable that, at the same time, initiates dialogues and creates sales.

What kind of service will do this for banks?  To find the answer, you only need to look at what customers are facing today.  Customers are scared.  For many, the bottom has fallen out of their retirement savings.  They are fearful of losing their job.  They feel they have no place to turn for answers. The world as they knew it has changed.

And the world too has changed for bankers.  In many cases – trust – the backbone of the customer relationship – has eroded.  For banks to acquire and retain customers today they need to focus more and more on the value customers see in their bank relationship.  The new customer experience needs to go beyond an array of product offerings.

To build strong relationships, banks should give their customers a service they are desperately looking for – simple and easy to understand information about the financial issues they face, whatever their stage in life. Help seeing and understanding the issues they may face before they are blindsided.

The world didn’t stop, it just changed.  People will still get married, raise a family, buy houses, save for retirement, send kids to college, retire, live in old age, and, probably leave an estate to their heirs.  That means lots of decisions to make. Customers cry out, “Tell me what I need to know.”

Banks that provide such a service will reap the rewards.  They will earn back the trust.  Banks will become a resource where customers go first, putting them ahead of the competition.  A request for information means a customer has raised their hand and is looking for help.  Requests for information start dialogues, dialogues lead to referrals, and referrals lead to sales opportunities.

Not only has the customer experience changed, so has the employee experience.  In helping customers find information that could be helpful, they feel they are doing them a favor.  Instead of the oftentimes painful task of trying to extract information, customers provide it willingly in exchange for something they see as value.

More and more banks across the country are adopting this education based marketing approach.  With all of the attention given to acquiring new customers, the value of retention, and customer profitability from cross selling, these banks are the winners.