Since I began focusing on technology solutions for the financial services industry in the late 70’s, institutions have used the term “cross-selling” to describe what is supposed to be going on in the branch environment, intended to increase branch revenue as well as customer ‘wallet share.’ I have always felt that term to be strange. Literally, it implies two things, neither of which seems to deliver a positive customer message.
The word “cross” in one interpretation indicates that the seller (your staff member) is somehow perturbed about engaging the customer in the first place. “I’m feeling a bit cross today, but I see you have too much money sitting in your account. Why haven’t you considered a CD?”
The second problem is that cross-selling even without the negative interpretation above sounds like something you are asking your staff to do TO the customer rather than something do be done WITH the customer! Regardless of whether you call your branch staff Universal Bankers, Tellers, Customer or Member Service Representatives, they will never succeed in earning the customer’s trust and loyalty by simply putting forth a product pitch. You must be able to help a customer identify, fully understand, and solve a problem or meet a need! Doing so, repeatedly over a period of time, builds a relationship.
Basic product selling must evolve first to problem solving and ultimately to personal advising to build truly value-based relationships, customer loyalty and even advocacy for your brand. After 4-plus decades in selling solutions, I can attest to the fact that failure to take this approach will result in cross-selling in the absolute worst sense of the term.
By the way, if you would like to see a customer-centric, value-based sales approach in action that is aimed at improving efficiency in your branches while also creating more customer-focused engagement opportunities for your staff, contact your GGS Account Manager! There will be no cross-selling there!
Robert Allexon is an Independent Business Analyst and Consultant. His career spans five decades in technology-based durable goods sales and marketing and he is an expert in cash automation.