In recent weeks, we’ve all watched in a state of disbelief the actions of Wells Fargo employees who, in attempts to reach sales quotas, created unwanted accounts in the names of existing customers. Predictably, the leadership of Wells Fargo has since announced that the bank will no longer have sales quotas for its employees.
Too little, too late.
Sales quotas have long been woven into the fabric of large, regional banks. That’s a well-known fact and one the upper management of these banks must have initiated. To the credit of most community banks, sales quotas are not a part of the landscape. That’s not to say a periodic sales incentive contest or promotion may take place, but that’s a distinctly different dynamic than having a sales quota system.
Not too many years ago, the term “sales culture” was quite the buzzword in the banking world. At the time, it seemed every bank wanted to train its employees to recognize product/service needs, cross-sell and enhance customer relationships. However, in working with nearly 100 community banks across the nation, it appears to The Eversole Group that having a sales-driven culture never really found footing in the community banking industry. Instead, a much healthier approach has been embraced…an approach I have long advocated: concentrate on being a service culture and the sales will take care of themselves.
The word “sales” can paralyze a lot of bankers, in particular line personnel who are convinced their jobs do not include making sales. However, the word “service” is one in which people find greater comfort. Smart banks today can utilize the training they received in recognizing needs and gently walking customers, through a sense of service, to receive the financial solution they need. Whether a product, financial service, loan or technology, customers appreciate care and concern, along with suggestions, far more than being sold the product of the day. They know when they’re being sold.
I believe that when any bank finds itself in hot water, that all banks suffer the consequences. Whether a bank is going under or it’s conducted itself improperly, no one really wins. That being said, Wells Fargo has opened a door for community banks to further delineate themselves and to illustrate the difference between large banks and independent banks. Are you ready to convey that message to your customers and prospective customers?