Football - 1As August comes to an end, so does training camp for most National Football League teams. They’ve poured sweat, practiced twice a day, reviewed their playbooks, fought amongst themselves and conducted routine drills. If that is not enough, in order to prepare for the upcoming schedule teams have also had several pre-season games.

What about your bank or credit union employees? Are they prepared for the upcoming season of offering financial products and services to consumers? If not, maybe it’s time you put them through some sort of training camp.

Here are a few ideas to consider when it comes to improving the training you offer your employees:

  • Practice, practice, practice—Teams spend more time practicing during training camp than at any other time of year. Just like football players tend to hate practice, your employees may hate practicing asking open-ended questions, doing role playing and improving their listening skills. But if they don’t practice they won’t improve.

Action step: Spend time weekly having your employees practice their service selling skills.

  • Don’t sit your veterans—Everyone practices during training camp. Whether you’re Peyton Manning or an undrafted free agent you hit the practice field. Too many times once an employee has gone through new hire orientation and a basic sales and service training program banks and credit unions tend to leave them alone. And for long-time employees we just assume they are doing their job. Assume your veterans have all their skills at your own risk

Action step: Send your veterans through training refreshers on a regular basis. Better yet, turn them into trainers by letting them teach critical skills to your new employees.

  • Develop a unique playbook—Every football team has their own playbook. Terminology unique to them and to their offensive or defensive schemes. How about your bank or credit union? Are you using some generic sales training program? The most successful financial institutions train to their brand (who they are, their unique culture, etc.) rather than to some canned program used at every other bank or credit union.

Action step: Conduct brand training customized to your organization rather than a generic sales and service program.

  • Help your first stringers—The first team receives a lot of attention from the coaches. Since they are the ones who will ultimately determine the team’s fate a lot of time is spent making sure they execute plays just right. A trap many banks and credit unions fall into, however, is giving every employee the same type of training. As an executive you should spend your most time with your best people. Treat your top performers like the best and watch them respond.

Action step: Conduct advanced training for your elite sales people. Give them specialized training that will make them even better.

You get from your employees what you invest in their training. As the Fall approaches, make sure your training is all it can be by sending your people to camp—training camp