“We need a sales culture” or “We’re working on sales with our team” are two things we hear quite often when we engage in a consultation with financial institutions of all shapes and sizes. Most executives realize that the engine that keeps their organization running is their sales team, but a lot of financials are running on a 4-cylinder engine when they could just as easily be running like a “Hemi.” For some reason, selling has become a dirty word in the finance industry. I don’t know when that happened. Maybe it has always been that way or maybe there was a shift in the stars one day that magically changed everything. Regardless, if the people in your office cringe every time “selling deeper” is brought up, you’re probably not performing as well as you could be. Here are 3 things to consider when motivating your teammates to become sales machines.


  1. Communicate

If you happen to be an employee in the back office, a management position or leadership position at the executive level, you are privy to more information than 90% of your teammates. This is the nature of business and how it will most likely always be. Even if your organization shares your business or strategic plan with your employees, don’t fool your self by assuming that they’ve all read it let alone understand the strategy behind every single page. Communication is more than speaking and sharing from one direction. The best communication is an open dialogue. When you can have an open and honest dialogue with your employees, they will be in a much better position to understand why sales are so important to your business. Instead of hearing, “We need more auto loans” at every team meeting, your team will soon begin to interpret this message as, “We need to keep the financial engine of the organization running smoothly.”

When you make an effort to explain the reasoning behind your strategic initiatives, you cultivate understanding.   When understanding is achieved, it is much easier to motivate. When you have a motivated team, you can accomplish anything you and your team put your minds to.


  1. Incentivize

Generally speaking, credit unions that have incentive programs in place to reward high performers perform better. If you don’t have an incentive program, get one. If you do have an incentive program in place, take some time to examine which products are actually being sold and which are not. How much are you paying in incentives for things like GAP or Debt Cancelation policies? Is one being sold more often? What is your checking account penetration compared to savings accounts? Do you need to consider rewarding employees for cross selling checking accounts and creating a deeper relationship with the consumer? Having an incentive program is just the first step. Continually reevaluating your program and determining how it is driving certain aspects of your business is also extremely important.


  1. Accountability

Many times, when people are setting a personal goal, they write it down and post it someplace so that it serves as a daily reminder. Sales at your organization shouldn’t be any different. What if you wrote your sales goals and how you are tracking for the month on a white board in your back office for employees to see? What if you posted your current sales performance data in your call center or cafeteria/break room? Speaking about sales goals at team meetings is important, but things become a bit more real when they are put in writing. Test it out and see if this tactic works for you like we’ve seen it work for other financials we’ve worked with.

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