One bright sunny morning, long time customer Monica Smith walks into your branch. She conducts her transaction and chit-chats with your lobby staff, since she’s known them for years. As Monica is about to leave she’s asked, “Is there anything else we can help you with?”
“No, nothing I can think of, but thanks,” she answers, “You guys are great and I just love working with you!”
Everyone smiles and waves goodbye. Monica drives two miles south to the Merrill Lynch office to make a deposit into her retirement account, then stops in at State Farm to add her teenage daughter to the auto insurance. On the way back to her office, she hears a radio commercial for a competitive bank or credit union offering low rates on home equity loans, and makes a mental note to call them about that kitchen remodel she’s been planning.
Nope. Monica couldn’t think of anything else you could help her with.
“No fair! We asked if there was anything else we could help her with!” you may be thinking.
Yes, you did, and I’m sure that in the past, Monica has been told that you offer home equity loans, investment services, auto insurance and all the other things she needed. You’ve mentioned those services in the monthly marketing email she gets. There were signs in the lobby. There are even recorded on-hold messages that she hears when she calls in! But here’s the thing, Monica, and many others like her, skimmed right over all of those messages without making a connection between those services and anything in her life.
It’s a common problem in the Financial Services Industry. And it’s why I created the Painless Prospecting System to help FSI professionals create stronger relationships with their customers or members and increase their revenue by reaching out to their current base.
When your staffer asked if there was anything else that Monica needed help with, the disconnect was not in the employee failing to ask a question, but rather in the question that was asked.
So what should the question be?
What if your employee had asked, “Monica, if you have a few minutes, may I ask you a few questions to make sure we’re taking good care of you?” Monica’s investments, insurance coverage and home equity loan might have all been handled through you.
When a customer agrees to answer a few questions, they’re doing what the Painless Prospecting technique refers to as “making a connection” with your team member. Instead of an open, ambiguous question, your team member asks permission to get to know that customer so that they can be on the lookout for products and services that will work well for them. The Painless Prospecting technique uses specific questions about current and future needs and asking if the customer or member would like to hear suggestions about filling those needs at your bank or credit union.
Notice that everything is all based on asking and obtaining permission from the customer to proceed. It is not about telling the customer or member what your bank or credit union can do for them. The core belief behind the Painless Prospecting concept is “if you tell, they resist. If you ask, they assist.”
In 10+ plus years working with banks and credit unions, we’ve gotten serious results using the “ask, don’t tell” technique. One regional bank produced $13 million of additional loans and deposits in just 12 weeks from a 25 branch pilot training, and $140 million more after training all of their retail staff. These results came from having only two “Connections Conversations” per day. A community bank trained 10 of their staff and produced over $600,000 worth of additional business in only four weeks, plus 23 leads for their insurance representative.
We even had one woman who closed $344,000 in home equity loans during the training, two of which were already underway with another financial institution! And she acquired another $449,000 in home equity applications in just six weeks.
Now consider that we got those results with outreach – calling bank customers and credit union members at home! With less and less foot traffic into branches due to online resources, this outreach can help fill the gap – creating closer relationships with your customers or members AND bringing in significant revenue.
Multiply the Monica story by the number of customers or members you do and do not interact with on a daily basis. Count the number of people who come through teller lines, meet with loan officers or phone into your call center and the numbers can be staggering!
How many Monica Smith’s do you have?