World-renowned sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer says “people hate to be sold to but they love to buy!” I couldn’t agree more.
There is a lot of aversion in the credit union industry to using any phrase or term that involves the word “sell.” Some credit unions have even invented phrases in place of traditional ones like “cross-selling” or “up-selling.” They want to avoid the perception of “selling” at all costs. They spend an awful lot of time and energy trying to come up with these new catch phrases. I often wonder how many growth opportunities are lost because their focus is elsewhere.
Wake up people! The fact of the matter is that what credit unions do every day is try to sell their services and benefits to current and potential members. So, instead of concentrating on coming up with alternatives to “cross-selling,” my advice would be to start focusing on how to best implement policies and procedures to help your credit union grow. The reality is that cross-selling is important. If done properly, it will lead to all of the things that every credit union covets including loan growth, membership growth, and increased ROI.
Cross-selling doesn’t have to be a “hard sale.” In fact, it works a lot better if it is attempted in the context of either strengthening an existing relationship or building a new one. No one likes to be forced into doing something that they either don’t want to do or don’t have enough information about to make an informed decision. Cross-selling doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with the right training and support it is actually quite easy. When a credit union member is told to do something forcefully, chances are they will ignore the directive and be offended at the way it was presented. However, if a new service is presented in a respectful manner that emphasizes how the service will improve the member’s livelihood, chances are they won’t dismiss the recommendation outright but will take a closer look at what is being offered.
If your credit union is thinking about implementing a cross-selling program, it is not enough to simply tell your front-line staff that they have to cross-sell. Trust me, that won’t work. They need to be trained and equipped with techniques and tactics that focus on building the relationship.
So, let’s stop all the fuss about “selling.” Let’s start focusing on building relationships. Cross-selling is a great way to do that.