People Buy You - 1When it comes to financial products and services, do consumers buy your people or your institution? According to the book People Buy You, it’s all about your salespeople. Author Jeb Blount goes into great detail about how to have success in sales. Everyone who is in sales and marketing at your credit union or bank should read People Buy You.

The main premise of the book is that your sales efforts are not about your brochures, your presentations or your marketing materials. It’s about you. He notes that “Sales is pretty simple: solve your customer’s problems and they will buy your solution.”

Below are some of the key points Blount makes and how we can apply them.

(1) It’s not about selling yourself

With a title like People Buy You, you would think the book is all about selling you. Blount actually takes the opposite approach. He emphasizes that true selling is solving the other person’s problems.

  • Application: Focus your sales training efforts on getting your sales people to be real and authentic. Don’t use tricks, gimmicks or clichés. Remember, “Smarmy sales guys are dead.” You might consider replacing your sales training efforts with engagement training.

(2) There are several urban myths when it comes to selling

Blount spends an entire chapter debunking several myths about selling. These include people buy from people they like, friends buy from friends and you have to sell yourself.

  • Application: There are not just myths when it comes to selling. There are also myths about why your people can’t sell your products and services. I see this over and over again in credit unions and banks—your salespeople make excuses (or myths). Go ahead and make that list—and then burn it.

(3) The five levers of People Buy You are be likeable, connect, solve problems, build trust and create positive emotional experiences

The core of People Buy You are the five levers above. While straightforward in nature, Blount gives practical advice on each of those principles. For example, he emphasizes the importance of “being there” in any sales situation.

  • Application: Make sure your salespeople are solving problems and not pushing products. One of the best ways to do that is to ask the right questions. Avoid canned questions and make sure your folks are skilled at asking follow-up questions.

(4)    Activity is the hard work of sales

While sales is easy, it still requires work. Blount notes that “if you have enough activity, you will at least sell something, even if you do everything else wrong.”

  • Application: Make a list of the activities your business development and front-line sales staff should be doing daily, weekly and monthly. These include phone calls, e-mails, personal notes, letters, direct mail pieces, presentations, etc. Some refer to this as KPIs (or key performance indexes). Start with your sales goal in mind and then make your activity list of what it will take to hit those goals.

(5)    Connect rather than build rapport

Most sales training today emphasizes the importance of building rapport with your prospect. Blount hates that term. In fact, he says that “rapport in its purest form is manipulative. Remove that word from your vocabulary. Instead, focus on connecting.”

  • Application: Review your sales training material and remove “build rapport” from it. Instead train your staff on how to connect. Here’s a hint: much of connecting involves listening. So teach your salespeople how to become better listeners.

Those are five points Blount emphasizes that financial institutions can directly apply with their sales team. If you want to read more about what Blount has to say, you can also check out his blog

Credit unions and banks all want more sales. But the reality is those sales won’t come from your institution. They will come from your people. So one way to improve your sales is to have your staff read People Buy You.