This entry written by Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director with On The Mark Strategies

There’s an old saying in business development and marketing — “features tell but benefits sell.” In other words, your bank or credit union will do a better job cross-selling products and services if your employees focus more on the benefits consumers will realize by using them and less on the nuts and bolts of the product or service itself.

A terrific case in point — introducing the Little Griddle. We are heading into the warmer time of the year and like many suburban dads, I’m grilling outside more. A few days ago, I came across the Little Griddle at a big box membership store and decided to give it a try on my grill. I’ve been impressed by how easy it is to cook with and clean. Just this past weekend, I did bacon and eggs, hashbrowns and pancakes for my kids — all outside on our grill using the Little Griddle.

This isn’t a plug for the Little Griddle. Rather, it’s a cautionary tale for banks and credit unions to try to promote product and service dreams over specific features. Take a moment to look at the following video from Little Griddle.

Did you hear them talk a lot about its construction? Its metallurgy? Its history? No. Instead of boring you with these details, they went for the emotional appeal. They sold you the dream. In this case, it was the dream of a parent cooking outside, facilitating invaluable family time all because of a little hunk of stainless steel.

Consumers may come to your bank or credit union for an auto loan, a mortgage or a second chance checking account. But what they are really looking for are dreams. The dream of independence that comes with a vehicle. The dream of family that comes with a new home. The dream of financial improvement after a stumbling block. You will serve their needs in a much better way (and improve your bank or credit union product penetration at the same time) by focusing more on how these products and services can make their dreams come true and less on the boring specifics.

So the next time you are visiting with a consumer and attempting to engage them in a cross-sell opportunity, think about the Little Griddle. Remember, the important thing is not that it’s made of stainless steel. The important thing is that it brings families together outside around meals. The same thing applies at your bank or credit union. The important thing is not that your auto loan, for example, comes with a great rate or extended payment terms. The important thing is that it empowers your consumers to help fulfill their dreams.

All this from a little griddle. Now I’m hungry. I think I’ll fire up the grill and make some fajitas.