I like to suggest to groups that one of the ideas we have to put away in our quest for sales success is that we can somehow be clairvoyant about customers’ interests and needs. We aren’t mind readers….and we can’t predict the future.
None of us is smart enough to know exactly which potential customers are ready to say “yes” and which aren’t. And that’s okay.
No one enjoys rejection. Feeling rejected can be demoralizing, and demoralized people are not likely to be productive ones.
So, we seem to go out of our way to avoid even the possibility of rejection.
I like to ask bankers to consider that people are busy living their lives. They are busy thinking about any number of things…likely none of which involve them or their products.
Many individuals will not actually consider a new or different product or service unless they are asked to. They may be exposed to 100 different related marketing pieces.
Until another human asks them to consider a change, however, the consideration process doesn’t really begin.
Moreover, since their consideration process hadn’t begun until that moment, most rational people’s initial response is, “Uh…no thanks. I’m good.”
It’s practically a survival instinct.
With that knowledge, we need to understand that an initial “rejection” is just as likely the beginning of a successful sales effort as the end of an unsuccessful one. But that doesn’t mean that we get into debating contests with customers.
As bankers, we don’t sell impulse items. Most folks aren’t going to choose to switch banks or even expand their current relationship with us on the spot.
Yes, some will. And we’re thankful for them.
Most, however, will not. They need time to think.
Or maybe they need something to change in their relationship with their current bank in order to consider your offer more seriously.
The same customer may have a different mindset regarding their bank next month. But there has to be an initial offer, a person-to-person request for consideration, to have any chance at all.
There are reasons folks decide to be your customers. And there are reasons they have not chosen to, yet.
Don’t let one of those reasons be that no one has ever personally asked them for their business.
Give them something to consider today.
Several of our friends have sons and daughters graduating high school this year. We’ve been to a few gatherings recently where I’ve had the opportunity of chatting with some soon-to-be graduates about their plans for the future.
Of course, I show equal enthusiasm when graduates tell me they really don’t know what they want to do.
I usually smile and tell them, “Relax, you’re in good company. Most of us are still trying to figure out what it is we want to do when we grow up. Some just fake it better than others.”
At one of these gatherings, the father of a soon-to-be-graduate joked with me about whether my old school would ever ask me to give a commencement address. We kidded about that for a bit and about the kind of advice that graduates really need to hear.
We laughed all the more as we agreed that it really didn’t matter how good the advice is that they are being given right now. It’s like water off a duck’s back for many.
And it’s not that they’re not bright or open to advice.
It is just that certain messages only begin to make sense or truly sink in after you have life experiences.
Until then, much of that advice sounds okay in theory… but not all that applicable.
As we chatted, I couldn’t help think of conversations I’ve had over the years with managers about training philosophies. Some organizations tend to treat training as a “one and done” proposition.
Once a team “goes through” whatever sales and service training they are using… well… they are trained. Check the box and move on.
But the same person in the same job receiving the same (or close to same) information a little later will likely have a new or different take on things.
I’ve had hundreds of opportunities over the past two decades of watching rookies and seasoned employees receive information at the same time.
I’ve found that most folks laugh at the same stories and observations… but their “A-ha” moments tend to vary.
Certain observations resonate in entirely different ways once folks have more work, management, and/or life experience behind them.
Formats and examples may change. But, reinforcing tenets of your desired sales and service practices can often find receptive new audiences even among your most veteran team members.