Anybody that finds your bank through a Google search, social media page or another site’s link (like a state banking association) isn’t looking to bank with you. They are looking to gather information, research options or get educated about a particular banking product. If they were interested in banking with you, they would have come directly into a branch or your website. This is an important distinction as banks should be looking at this subset as one of their best sources of leads. As such, there is an art to lead nurturing that every front line banker should know about, as the trick to profitability is learning how to evolve leads into relationships. Here are three research-backed ways on how you can train your customer-facing staff to turn visitors and researchers into loyal customers.
Create a Story around Solutions
Banks that are new to marketing often just provide a bunch of attributes – hours of operation, interest rates, fees, etc. Banks that are good at marketing tend to provide solutions. An example of this might be, “If you need to send a wire to a vendor, we can help.” However, banks that are great at marketing might position their wire service along the lines of something like this:
“Today is the day you free up your staff, save time, reduce risk and become more accurate. Today is the day that our bank takes over your cash management headaches so you can use your staff to focus on building your business. See how ABC Company did it and why they chose us...”
See the difference?
Listing attributes just shows that you have a product available – it does little to evolve the customer’s emotional connection to you, which comes before making sure the solution fulfills their needs. Using “If” and then painting a solution is good, but that also falls short of an emotional connection. Proving that you understand the visitor’s problems and then transporting them though the solution by showing them the benefits, and a real life example, will jump conversion rates.
The art of selling is not only making sure there is an emotional connection with your bank, but that you handle the potential customer’s objections. Most bankers think like this:
- Here are our products
- These are the variations
- This is the cost
The problem is that the potential customer likely isn’t mentally there yet. What they really want to know is this:
- Can I trust you?
- Is this going to be easy?
- Why can’t I get this at Wells Fargo?
- This is already taking too much time, and I need to get some lunch
While the possible objectives go on, the point is that everyone has to do some level of due diligence. By anticipating these questions in your selling process, in your sale brochures and online, potential customers can be moved to sales faster. Every customer wants to know “Why your bank?” so be sure to answer that question right after getting that emotional tie.
Now, Show Benefits
You are almost home and now the potential customer wants to make sure that wire service works for them. A good bank will now show features and descriptions, but a great bank will show benefits. For example, you could say this:
- We have cash management experts
- Online access
- Customizable solutions
These are great descriptions and are not bad, but guess who doesn’t care - Your potential customer. If you turn these descriptions into selling propositions, then the potential customer will start to identify with how you can help them. So, try this:
- Our cash management experts will make sure your transactions are accurate, easy and secure
- Our online access allows you to conduct business 24/7 whenever and wherever it is convenient for you
- Our state-of-the-art solutions are customized to meet your company’s needs to give you a competitive advantage versus the competition
Remember selling 101 – people don’t by features, they buy benefits. Be sure to show yours.
Finish With an Emotional Push
After you connected with the customer, overcame their objections and sold the benefits, the customer is now in a mental state to close. The last thing is to give them one more reason to move today. Anything that you can do to create urgency is good. The ability to start accruing interest, fees are going up, market changes or just so your potential customer can stop worrying about a loan or set of cash management products are all good. If none of these are applicable, then let them know about what good corporate citizens they are and how they are helping in the cause of building their local community, helping the environment, etc. The goal is to give them a final reason to choose you without resorting to waiving of fees or a lower loan rate.
Note that these are not massive changes. It is a slight repositioning to help your bank move to a selling organization. Pass these three steps on to your front line staff in order to leverage these tested psychological secrets to turn visitors and researchers into customers.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on August 13, 2014