“I never look at deals as one deal. I look at them as a gateway to many more.”
–Steve Gold, Real Estate Broker and Million Dollar Listing New York cast member
This quote is more than a nugget of gold (pun intended) for anyone in business. It’s also proof that every once in a while, we can actually learn something positive from “reality” TV. I was watching Million Dollar Listing New York when Steve Gold shared his philosophy on the deals he makes. He was weighing the pros and cons of a prospective selling opportunity. His past and future relationship with the seller was a major factor in his decision, because it served as a gateway to new business.
Relationship building often gets left out of the conversation when financial institutions discuss implementing a sales culture. That is one of the reasons so many fail at it. They are more focused on the sale and less focused on the relationship. It should be the other way around. To use a line from one of my favorite movies, “If you build it, they will come.” In this case, if you build relationships, the sales will come.
When employees don’t consider themselves sales people, selling is a turn-off. What if you framed it differently and told them you were establishing an experience culture or a culture focused on relationship building?
Here are three ways you can get your employees to sell successfully while NOT establishing a sales culture.
Create a Consumer Experience Program
According to technology and business innovator Accenture, poor customer experiences cost businesses as much as $1.6 trillion from U.S. consumers who switch to a competing company or product. When you build relationships with customers or members and provide them an unmatched experience at every touchpoint, the selling comes naturally. Your employees come to understand consumer problems and want to provide solutions to fix those problems.
Train Employees to Build Relationships
Your consumer experience program only works when you train your employees to execute it. Teach them to build relationships and engage with your customers. Make that training a priority, perhaps every month or every quarter. A study on the value of training conducted by IBM found that “84% of employees in Best Performing Organizations are receiving the training they need compared with 16% in the worst performing companies. Be a best performing company.
Don’t Use the Words Sales or Selling
Instead of telling employees to sell, sell, sell, frame it differently. Tell them to provide solutions. Encourage them to help customers or members solve financial problems. As they build relationships with consumers, have employees look for ways your financial institution can make consumers’ lives better. That is sales without the negative connotation.
Selling is critical to your growth and success. If you focus your staff on building relationships, the sales will come without establishing a hard core sales culture.