By Larry Lewis
More and more community banks and credit unions are seeking to build a stronger sales and service culture inside their organizations. This need is driven by increased competition, fewer walk-ins, the commoditization of products and services, and the fact that other financial service organizations can now offer products and services that were once the sole province of banks.
• What do you want your optimal sales and service culture to look like when your culture change is complete?
• Who can make the transition?
• What resources will it take?
• What will the challenges be?
• What if the existing associates of the organization don't want to change?
• How can we track our progress to see that it is really working?
• Do your associates have the skills, abilities and attitude to make it happen?
Although the specific challenges of building a sales culture inside are different at every organization we work with, there are some things that we know for certain:
1. The culture won't change on its own.
2. The culture won't change without someone in management driving that change.
3. The culture won't change without setting simple, basic expectations.
4. The culture won't change without showing associates how to do what they need to do to meet the expectations.
5. The culture won't change without training on the necessary skills so as to provide everyone with the needed ability and confidence.
6. The culture won't change without continual coaching.
7. The culture won't change unless you work on it each day.
8. The culture won't change unless there is an early emphasis on low-risk concepts like cross-selling, up-selling, calling customers/clients, and searching for new referrals.
9. The culture won't change unless management holds everyone accountable.
So you see, to get to where you want to go with your sales culture, you need to visualize the results and put into practice the components that will help you achieve success. Will it be easy to do? In most cases it will not. That is why you need to find experience you can draw from. You need to find a partner that has travelled this road before.