At a time when many credit unions are venturing to make a transition from having
a service culture to that of a more sales oriented culture, the task may not
only prove challenging and unsustainable, but even futile.
Truth #1: Fewer than one in ten credit union employees feel that
they are one of the best salespeople that they know.
Take a moment to reflect back to your own childhood…did you not most enjoy
doing those things at which you excelled (math, sports, art, music, etc.)? Okay…maybe
it wasn’t just in childhood…but that serves to further validate this point.
Truth #2: The word “sell” has a negative connotation among branch
employees primarily because of its perceived focus on force or manipulation
Consider the following definitions:
sell: (verb) [sel] Persuade somebody to accept or buy something
ser’vice: (verb) [súr v?ss] Provide a community or organization
with something that it needs.
It would appear to anyone reading those definitions that service would be the
more “noble” of the two professions.
Truth #3: Nine of ten branch employees feel they are one of the
of service that they know.
The concept of Credit Union Concierge capitalizes on what those frontline
employees believe their strength to be…service, which has people and their needs
as its focus. Most view the role of a hotel concierge as a service role. Let’s
not forget that not only does the concierge tell you where to get what it is
you want and how to get there, they ask you what is important to you before
making any recommendation (i.e. before making restaurant recommendations or
reservations they ask…formal or casual…type of food… how many people?). Why
not apply this concept in the credit union environment? The member asks, “What
are your current CD rates?” A “Concierge” might ask…”How long before
planning to spend this money? Is there something specific that you have in mind
for your savings? Do you know how much you are going to need? Do you have any
other resources for achieving this goal?”
Could something have been “sold” to this member before asking these questions?
Absolutely…however, the questions are certain to lead to a more appropriate
recommendation while also serving to further a relationship between the member,
the “Concierge,” and ultimately the credit union. But, would you want to have
each of your front line people going into this detail with every member? Probably
not…Therefore, how do you achieve the “Credit Union Concierge Culture?”
You need at least one employee in each branch profiling members to ensure that
they are getting the most possible value from their credit union. Remember,
a good concierge also anticipates the needs of repeat guests, or in the case
of the credit union, members with whom your staff has a relationship.
When identified properly, this employee will cause the Concierge Culture to
spread like wildfire.
If the goal were simply to ensure that the credit union had the largest possible
“share of member wallet,” your instinct may be to look for your most assertive
employee. An assertive person would make certain that each member “bought” at
least -- (pick a number here) -- products and or services. Great, if you are
looking for sales for the sake of sales. But If not looking for the most assertive
person, what should you be looking for instead?
Fusion uses a behavioral profiling tool to help identify those employees with
the Concierge Profile. The following traits and tendencies are identified: Assertiveness,
Sociability, Patience/Persistence and Detail Orientation.
Profile of the Credit Union Concierge
The high level of Sociability identifies this employee as first and foremost,
a people person. They build strong relationships and are motivated by helping
people and being an integral part of a team. In other words, the member and
what’s best for the member comes first. They make referrals to other departments
where a member may be better served. They have the ability to be somewhat Assertive,
which allows them a level of comfort when asking probing questions and making
suggestions. The lower level of Patience/Persistence means that this individual
not only embraces but thrives upon new ideas and added responsibility. As you
may have assumed, a healthy orientation to Detail is important when you are
dealing with people’s money and industry regulations.
Granted, only a few individuals in each branch fit this profile. But, that’s
the beauty of the Concierge Profile…Perhaps, just as important as the member
relationships they build, this individual has strong internal relationships
with the ability to break down silos between departments and motivate coworkers
into supporting their efforts…creating the Concierge Culture.
For further information on Fusion Financial Marketing Group, Inc., creating
the Concierge Culture or the behavioral profiling tool, please call Donna Gervig
at (800)470-4270 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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