By David Leonard and Beth Youra
This post is part of Gallup's ongoing series on the shifting landscape for financial institutions. It provides insights into channel optimization, emerging customer behaviors and preferences, product penetration and relationship growth, engaging the most critical affluent and business customers, and reshaping banks' overall value proposition.
Traditional sales identification and conversion techniques no longer meet client preferences. Banks and bankers must evolve to a client-centric approach in their hiring and training practices to make sure they are selecting employees who can maximize sales opportunities and then set those employees up for continued success.
With changing industry and customer expectations, it is critical to hire personal bankers who can have client-centric and value-based sales conversations. As one bank field leader recently told us, “Almost anyone can count, repeat benefits statements, and fill out paperwork. That’s not enough. I can’t teach the personality that is good at dealing with customers, you need to walk in with that.”
When evaluating your selection process for sales roles, it is important to ask the following questions:
- Does our selection process assess a candidate’s ability to deliver on our customer-centric drivers of sales conversion?
- How much do we prioritize prior banking experience over more intrinsic qualities, like a genuine curiosity about people, problem-solving abilities, and confidence?
- Do we know who our best employees are and why? Are we hiring more people like our best?
- How often do we hire too quickly just to fill seats at desks and meet our short-term need, instead of looking for the people that can actually help us best meet our greater, long-term need of growing profitable customer relationships? What are we doing to ensure the pipeline continuously has these types of people?
Banks still focus the vast majority of sales training on product features and processes, rather than connecting the sales process to a differentiated service experience. While product knowledge is critical, it has become table stakes in this increasingly competitive financial services environment, where 45% of buyers walk away from the sales process disengaged. Banks should ensure that their sales process and training:
- Holistically encompass product, process, compliance, and soft skills.
- Are positioned from a client-centric perspective and not a bank-centric perspective.
- Address the full pre- and post-sales experience, tackling short-term issues involved with making the sale and tying them into long-term issues associated with growing and keeping the relationship.