Energizing Teller Sales Referrals in Four Easy Steps


Tellers are the face of your institution to the customers. In this role, they are in a unique position to have informal, face-to-face communications with your customers and identify sales opportunities. Do you encourage them to identify these opportunities and do you reward them when they do?

Our tellers need to take care of the day-to-day transactions of our customers as their first priority. However, while performing these transactions there is time for informal discussions that can often reveal clues about your customers needs and financial life. These can be turned into actionable, qualified sales leads that help you strengthen your relationship with a customer.

Institutions can energize their teller referral programs resulting in increasing sales and stronger customer relationships. Helping a customer to recognize their financial needs and them helping them to solve those needs establishes your institution as their trusted financial partner. It all starts with these four steps at the teller line.

LISTEN. Train your tellers to listen for common phrases or observe behaviors that identify needs for your products. For example, routine cashing of payroll checks can lead to a new customer and account, or large deposit intended to be temporary can be converted to a long-term savings or investment product.

SHARE. If these cues do not get past the teller line, they do you no good. You must have a mechanism in place to encourage your tellers to not only listen for the cues but to act on them by creating appropriate referrals.

MEASURE. Let your tellers know you are watching and share their results, both individually and as a team. Look at not only the total number of referrals, but the number of referrals leading to new business. You want to encourage your front-line to produce quality leads.

REWARD and RETRAIN. Reward your top performers, both individually and as a team. Healthy competition can serve as a driving force to produce amazing results in ways you may never have imagined. In the same way, encourage those who are underperforming and retrain them and offer them coaching assistance from your top producers. Make sure they know what you expect of them.

Consistency is the key in any good sales referral program. The program must have support at every level of the organization for it to be successful. Without executive buy-in, it will be ignored and not seen as a priority by the front-line. Without the support of branch managers, front-line staff won’t participate. The successful referral program is rooted in the business culture and becomes second nature throughout the organization, where employees listen to customers for opportunities and share them to grow both the business and customer relationship.