For many bank and credit union frontline representatives, selling is an afterthought or worse: a terrifying prospect that must be avoided at all costs. After all, no one wants to be the pushy salesman.
But selling doesn’t have to be about pushing products onto people who don’t need them. It’s about listening to what a consumer really needs and offering them the products that can truly benefit their lives and enhance their experience. With the right training and tools, selling is a skill that can be taught to even the most wary frontline team.
Frontline selling starts with engagement.
When asking your team to sell, the first thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not they’re engaged. Research shows that businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement experience 21% higher profitability than businesses in the bottom quartile. But only 34% of employees across industries feel engaged.
“Being engaged in one's work is not a permanent characteristic of any individual. Rather, it is the way our mind responds when certain conditions are present. Employee engagement starts with an individual. From there, it can go out like a light or spread like wildfire.” – Axero Solutions
Most employees believe that leadership is the biggest influence on engagement. When employees don’t feel heard by or connected to their leaders, they naturally detach from the work they’re doing. And disillusionment from anyone working directly with consumers makes for a bad sales (not to mention customer service) environment.
Building a sense of ownership is one way to help employees feel engaged and subtly encourage selling in the process. One way to do this is by having your front line mystery shop the competition. Listening to what the competition is doing is a fun way for your staff to earn bragging rights or see ways they can improve, taking ownership over their own learning. It also puts them in the consumer’s shoes, offering an awesome way for them to learn empathy — a vital skill in effective selling.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do when instilling ownership in your team is to break down goals to their level. Having deposit goals in the millions is great, but it will leave them feeling dejected, asking themselves how they could achieve that. Breaking goals down to the individual or team level will help them see where they fit in the bigger picture.
Trade ABC for ABR — always build relationships.
Once your team knows their goals and are feeling engaged, selling can become an activity they methodically practice and hone. In our last post about cross-selling, we laid out our five-step process for selling, involving building rapport, determining needs, presenting products, handling objections, and asking for a commitment. The process breaks down to these core skills:
Some team members may believe they don’t have these skills or would negatively affect the consumer experience by using this process. In these cases, it helps to go outside of the financial industry to get an idea of what this type of consumer-centric selling means.
Picture this: a family goes to buy a tent from an outdoor sports store to go camping that weekend. They choose the tent, head to the register, and make the purchase. It turns out to be the wrong tent for their needs, resulting in a poor camping experience and negative feelings towards the store.
In another scenario, the clerk builds a relationship by asking about their camping trip, then actively listens to the location, the weather, their personal preferences — and uses product knowledge to recommend not just a tent but a sleeping bag and other camping gear that fits their needs and will improve their experience. The clerk uses objection handling to explain why these products are a good choice and finally makes the sale. The family has a much better camping experience than they did in the first scenario.
In this second scenario, selling and offering a great consumer experience were one and the same.
Use technology to enhance selling opportunities.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse for frontline teams when it comes to selling. On the one hand, learning new tech offerings and then turning around and selling them to account holders can be a challenge. On the other hand, technology has provided valuable ways to help team members do their jobs.
For example, Kasasa’s Builder program is designed to help frontline staff cross-sell. It can be used in-branch and allows team members to visually guide consumers through the benefits of your checking, savings, and fraud protection products.
Providing your front line with devices like tablets is also a great idea to help them easily use this type of software without having to stay glued to their desks. When you expect them to sell, it’s crucial you arm them with the right tools to help them succeed.
Offer coaching and incentives to maintain engagement.
Teaching the right sales skills and providing the right technology might get your team on the selling path, but how can you make sure they stay there?
Continuous coaching is a must. Whether it’s a manager one-on-one to go over blind spots, weekly role playing with peers, or quick huddles to share wins and areas of improvement with your team, it’s an important way to encourage your staff while providing actionable help.
Incentives are also a great way to keep everyone enthusiastic about selling. Gift cards, a pizza party, or a casual day declared in an employee’s honor are all great ideas. But it’s important not to forget the other side of the coin — accountability. There should be a clear and fair process in place for team members who aren’t meeting their sales responsibilities.
Remember: service and sales go hand-in-hand.
A frontline team member with great customer service skills and great sales skills doesn’t have to be a unicorn. By removing the stigma around selling, you can create a consumer-centric sales culture that your front line can get behind.
Want more inside tips from our Retail Experience Development team? Keep an eye out for a new episode of the Kasasa podcast, Thinking Outside the Vault, all about how to create a culture of selling for your front line — coming soon!