Myths

Based on our research, the following are myths that inhibit appropriate cross-selling, along with our responses.

Cross-selling is product pushing.

Cross-selling could be perceived as tantamount to product pushing in the way it is implemented at certain banks.

In its true sense, product pushing means attempting to sell products/services to customers and prospects that they do not need. This is clearly unethical and unprofessional.

The NAO Cross-Selling Process is not product pushing.

Instead, it is unquestionably appropriate and ethical cross-selling. The NAO Cross-Selling Process is not focused upon hitting a cross-sale number just to produce a number. On the contrary, the NAO Cross-Selling Process focuses on truly helping customers with their financial needs, and in the act of doing so, cross-selling NAO expectations will be met and exceeded.

Furthermore, assumptive needs-based selling is not product pushing any more than contacting customers/prospects based upon predictive analytics or any other customer/prospect propensity modeling.

It is founded on highly accurate assumed customer needs, based upon industry and Cohen Brown’s extensive experience.

In fact, we believe the NAO Cross-Selling Process is more accurate and effective than other options, especially at NAOs.

Additionally, although this doesn’t just apply to cross-selling, there is a big difference between product pushing and product focusing.

Product focusing means that an organization is putting a concentrated effort on a particular product or service. As long as there is an absolute belief and truth that a particular product or service will truly satisfy customer needs, this does not mean product pushing, as long as the product/service is potentially in the customers’/prospects’ best interests… and never sold to a customer or prospect who does not need it.

If this were not the case, marketing departments would be out of business.

Brand new customers will perceive bankers as pushy if they even mention additional products and services. Bankers may be concerned that it's not appropriate to be proactive unless customers ask them about additional products and services. They might think, "If customers wanted something else, they would tell us…especially as most of the time they just came in to open a single account anyway!"

Bankers won’t be viewed as pushy if their customer conversations are perceived as truly caring and helpful.

It is unfortunately not uncommon for bankers to make erroneous assumptions about what customers think. It’s a faulty assumption to believe that if customers don’t tell bankers what they want regarding products/services, then customers don’t actually want or need them. In fact, oftentimes customers might not even be aware of what they do need. It is a banker’s responsibility as a professional, to bring needs-based financial opportunities to customers/prospects attention.

It is inappropriate to try to cross-sell multiple products and services at the initial account opening, or during any single customer conversation for that matter. Bankers believe that additional cross-selling should only be done over days, weeks, months, or even years after a "relationship" is already fully established.

Frankly, this is a banking superstition! It is irrational to wait days, weeks, months, or years to help customers get what they really need.

There is no research to back up the notion that appropriate and ethical cross-selling should be spread out over days, weeks, months, or years.

Also, our evidence-based research demostrates that this is not the case, as with appropriate and ethical selling, banks can average over 6.6 products/services at NAOs while receiving more service accolades from customers than ever before… without one complaint about product pushing.

The biggest problem may actually be bankers’/managers’ projections and assumptions about customers… thinking that if they were the customer, they wouldn’t want their banker to offer additional products and services.

Therefore, it is essential that bankers/managers don’t make assumptions and project their own value system onto customers. Instead, they should proactively help customers with as many of customers’ financial needs as possible at the first meeting, of course time permitting.

Furthermore, there’s a very high probability that this will actually impress customers and, in fact, positively differentiate the bank from competitors who are not doing so. We have evidence in this regard.

Even if we know that we're not pushy, our customers might think we are... and by offering additional products and services, we may actually do damage!

Cohen Brown has been in this business for over 30 years and we can assure you that when you provide customers with logical reasons for the products and services that you are offering to truly satisfy their needs, they will almost always react positively…whether they open these additional accounts or not.

In fact, when appropriately done, we have never seen even one case in which by offering logical additional products and services has ever resulted in the customer angrily walking out of the branch and canceling the account they came in to open.

Therefore, from a practical standpoint, there is actually no risk at all of damaging the initial relationship.

In spite of the foregoing answers to the preceding myths and potential concerns, some bankers/managers may still think that regardless, by implementing increased Cross-Selling at NAOs, they will still feel that they are being pushy and that "it doesn't fit who they are."

The answer is not to patronize bankers and managers and simply tell them “don’t worry about it.”

Instead, the solution is for bankers/managers to practice and master the necessary ethical NAO Process selling techniques and experience the incremental positive reactions from brand new customers….and current customers as well.

Furthermore, once they embrace the concept that, “sales and service are inextricably intertwined”… and that it is “unprofessional not to sell customers what they truly need,” their discomfort will be reduced.

The objective, for the sake of customers, is for customers to acquire as many of these additional products and services as appropriate at initial account openings but, of course, only for customers who need them and qualify as well.

However, there still could be verbal resistance from customers, and if bankers and managers are unprepared to appropriately respond to challenges of this nature, it can be pretty embarrassing and uncomfortable. It can indeed negatively impact their self-image and their self-esteem…and this doesn’t just go for brand new customers.

Therefore, the cross-selling at NAO Process provides our clients with precise and proven responses to any and all resistances that bankers/banks are concerned about, so as to significantly diminish or eliminate banker and manager discomfort when being more proactive regarding cross-selling at NAOs, let alone with existing customers.

We know that customers need more than one financial product or service. The reality is that they probably already have multiple products and services, but they have them elsewhere!

Of course! But that doesn’t mean that customers shouldn’t have these products and services consolidated at your bank!

Especially if the customer is opening up a core transaction account with your bank, it would be totally logical from a time and convenience point of view for the customer to have your bank as their main financial institution.

Now, this doesn’t mean that a particular bank always has the lowest price on each product or service. Instead, it means that the bank must provide the best overall customer value in the marketplace and, therefore, your bank will be perceived as the best place for customers to do all of their banking.

Therefore, if new customers have products and services elsewhere, it’s totally logical for your bank to have them consolidated by an appropriate, consultative and customer-centric presentation.

Service levels and the service experience are not high enough for customers to want to purchase additional products/services.

Our evidence-based research shows that this is not the case.

The fact is that each experience with a customer is an individual event in time.

Therefore, if customers truly experience great service at any given interface with bankers, it is of course appropriate to cross-sell the maximum number of products/services to satisfy customer needs at that time.

Furthermore, as the aggregate bank service level is irrelevant at NAOs, the brand new customers will only judge service by what they experience in their conversations with bankers.

Thus, regardless of service survey scores, they are irrelevant with respect to cross-selling and NAOs.

Poor cross-selling results are a by-product of a lack of product packaging/bundling, quality onboarding, customer analytics, appropriate customer profiling, and/or customer segmentation, etc.

This is simply not the case, as billions of dollars have been spent on these approaches for well over a decade and cross-sell numbers have barely moved.

Bankers are just not sufficiently motivated or trained to achieve desired cross-selling objectives.

Again not the case, as cross-selling campaigns, incentive compensation and traditional training have been tried for years. The problem is that the motivation and training have been ineffective because the wrong approaches have been implemented.

The solution is to hire bankers who are more sales oriented.

Our research shows that this is absolutely not the case, as the significant increase in cross-sales that have been produced by the NAO Cross-Selling Process had nothing to do with new banker selection processes.

In fact, the change in performance was overwhelmingly with existing bankers and managers.

We don't have the time to do all of this!

Realistic thought, but simply not true!

In fact, most of our NAO Cross-Selling Process clients originally had the same concern. However, once they understood how easy the NAO Cross-Selling Process is to implement, the time management issue virtually evaporated.

Additionally, the Cohen Brown NAO Cross-Selling Process team will work with NAO Cross-Selling Process client banks to assure that bankers and managers do have the time within their daily plans and within their daily time realities to achieve the desired outcomes of the NAO Cross-Selling Process.

All you need to do to increase cross-sales is to motivate bankers and create incentive programs.

This approach has been tried for decades and the low numbers speak for themselves. Furthermore, any results produced rarely last.

Additionally, motivating bankers/managers who do not know how to produce better results, typically leads to inconsistent performance, job dissatisfaction, and/or “bad business” being done to achieve goals.

Although motivation is important, two key elements of motivation are clarity about what will work and the capability to do so. These two key elements are at the heart of the NAO Cross-Selling Process.

Also, Cohen Brown’s NAO Cross-Selling Process clients who produced the numbers discussed in this document, did not install a special motivational or incentive program to achieve their outcomes.

The bottom line is that the NAO Cross-Selling Process is inherently motivating and superior to traditional motivational programs.