ME: I’m looking for a new checking account and want to see what you have to offer.
YOUR TELLER: What would you like to know? It’s free. It comes with a debit card.
ME: Holy crap! I’m sold! Where do I sign?

Many community banks and credit unions have fully embraced the K.I.S.S. philosophy by offering only one checking account. And that is perfectly fine …. Buuuuuuut …

I am not a fan of having 18 choices for simple products. And if you can be competitive in your market with only one, more power to you. But if you’re going to keep it simple, you need to help your team sell it!

“It’s free,” is neither a benefit or a strong sales line … because most of your competitors have free too.

You need to talk about what you have in a way that your competition is not. But first, you need to know what to focus on. And you can’t do that without asking questions:

  • Where do you bank now?
  • What kind of product do you have now?
  • What do you like about it?
  • What would you change?
  • Why are you looking to switch?
  • Are you looking for a particular benefit?
  • Do you prefer to bank in-person or electronically?
  • Do you use ATMs a lot?
  • Do you travel a lot?
  • How comfortable are you banking with your smartphone?
  • What kind of balances do you typically carry?

These are just a few of the questions that I WISH bankers would ask me when I do branch experience shops. Instead, I get:

  • You’ll need two forms of ID
  • We will run you through ChexSystems
  • You’ll need to open a savings account too

Teach your staff to answer questions with questions.  To find out what the potential customer wants BEFORE they answer. Then focus the discussion on what you do to make the customer’s life easier. Your simple Free Checking likely comes with:

  • Person-to-Person payments
  • Mobile check capture
  • Mobile debit card control
  • A nationwide ATM network
  • And MUCH more…

Your staff should also be able to tell someone why they should bank with YOU instead of anyone else:

  • We’re the most fun credit union in town
  • We’ve been doing this for 120 years
  • Our online banking was rated #1
  • We focus on making life’s milestones easier
  • You can customize your products
  • Whatever!

Your team can better communicate your difference if they know what the competition is doing. When is the last time you shared a competitive report with your front line? When was the last time you detailed for them what makes you special?

Training is vital, but smart frontline tools go a long way to helping your team sell. Huntington Bank provides a checking placemat for all their personal bankers to filter customers into the correct product and help to describe the benefits of each offering. You should consider tools based on your offerings, your sales process and your brand.  We’ve created an endless variety of tools customized to clients of all sizes and brand personalities.

Finally, hire selectively and make work fun. Even the most average sales efforts can be saved by a great personality. Remember, people walk into your branch because of money, and money scares the hell out of most people. Hire staff and cultivate a culture to ease your customer’s stress level.

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