Employing the Concierge Culture to Drive Sales

The Traditional Sales Culture places its focus on product while the culture of the Credit Union Concierge places its focus on the member. Read more to find out how adopting a concierge culture can improve YOUR credit union!




“Relax. Stop worrying about making sales…If you focus on the people, the money will follow.”

Pat Kennedy, Nordstrom Department Manager
Excerpt from The Nordstrom Way “The Inside
Story of America’s #1Customer Service Company”

The Concierge Culture produces a sales organization with the look and feel of a service organization.

Sales…Concierge-- If the goal is sales, then, it’s just semantics you say--It’s true the desired results are the same; however, the Traditional Sales Culture places its focus on product while the culture of the Credit Union Concierge places its focus on the member. Remember, people don’t want products, they want solutions.

Traditional Sales Model:

In the traditional sales model, the salesperson spends 10% of the time Building Rapport, 20% qualifying, 30% Presenting Product and 40% Closing.

If a sale is made…

  1. The product may or may not have been appropriate
  2. There may be missed opportunities for additional product sales
  3. Because that product was sold on the “merits” (i.e. pricing or features) of the product, there is vulnerability to competition.

Pitching product can result in the discovery of a lack of suitability, more attractive pricing and features causing attrition, wasting employee(s) time and the member’s time while artificially inflating sales results.

Concierge Sales Model:

The concierge spends 40% of the time Building Rapport and Trust, 30% Identifying Needs, 20% Presenting Solutions and 10% Closing.

If a sale is made…

  1. Because of the time spent building rapport and identifying needs, the member now has a “relationship” with the concierge. Future financial concerns will likely be directed to the person with whom the member has a relationship, alleviating the need to shop around.
  2. Additional needs may have been uncovered generating additional sale(s).
  3. The member purchased the product(s) specifically as a solution. The solution was based on the needs expressed by the member.

When we listen more than we speak, we can gain insight into how to position a product or service to that member. We use their desires, even their own words. Perhaps most importantly, in times of dissatisfaction, it’s more difficult to fire a friend than a product provider.

Quite possibly, the Concierge Sales model is how you would envision your sales environment. The challenge we face in achieving this culture is in calling it sales, because when the average person thinks of sales, they think of the Traditional Sales model. Remember the old saying “Perception is reality!” The Concierge Culture changes that perception.

Creating the Concierge Culture

Financial Solutions Specialist

Primary “Concierge” Responsibilities:

  1. Build rapport and trust with members and branch staff.
  2. Profile members in an effort to generate an assessment of needs.
  3. Present solutions to members, selling products and/or services.
  4. Refer to department specialist when appropriate.
  5. Become the branch “go to” person, when no one knows where else to go.

Training Requirements:

  1. Thorough training and understanding of all products and services offered by the credit union.
  2. Consistent coaching by specialists.
  3. Understanding the value of the specialist.
  4. Obtain all necessary licensing (Life, Series 6, etc.)

According to LightHawk International, Customers and Support Staff view being Knowledgeable as the trait most likely to encourage them to buy from or refer to a salesperson. These individuals cannot be over trained!


Primary “Concierge” Responsibilities:
1. Recognize specific “Life Events,”
2. Refer to the Financial Solutions Specialist (FSS) for needs analysis.

Training Requirements:
1. FSS and Product/Service Specialists train the staff on which life events to look for, and share specific instances providing member solutions.

Any referral must have the giver’s full endorsement. Without the endorsement, the foundation of the referral network fails. First-hand experience is preferable.

Branch Manager

Primary “Concierge” Responsibilities:

  1. Lead by example.
  2. Make referrals.
  3. Make time for training opportunities.

Training Requirements:

  1. The benefits of a Concierge Culture
  2. Description of all roles, responsibilities and expectations

Department Specialists (Insurance, Investments and Loans)

Primary “Concierge” Responsibilities:

  1. Educate FSS in area of expertise
  2. Coach FSS on solution-based sales
  3. Train when and why to refer a member over
  4. Help educate branch personnel

Training Requirements:
1. How to Coach and Mentor

This is just an overview of how to implement the Concierge Culture. If you would like further detail or assistance in building your sales organization utilizing this method, please contact Donna Gervig by e-mail dgervig@fusionfmg.com or by telephone (800)470-4270.

Fusion Financial Marketing Group, Inc. is a sales training organization with an emphasis on creating the Concierge Culture through Platform Sales.




July 5, 2004


  • This is similiar to a sales philosophy I already use in my branch. "PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE THEY LIKE AND TRUST." Build a relationship with the member and most likely they will come back to you the next time they need something or have a question. Rate is not always everything, focus on member service and rate will become less of an obstacle to get over in the future. True rate shoppers will come and go; and will never be loyal to any one financial institution. People truly want "one stop shopping" if you sit down and have heart felt conversations with them about what are their needs and work on providing solutions to their needs,"not products" sales will come. But lastly remember if you dont A.S.K., you probably won't G.E.T.. Mike Gruber
  • would like to see more information on this and incentive plans ~ thanks!
  • We are using a very similar model so appreciate the ideas. Sales/Service is one for our credit union. We have been working diligently on our sales culture for over 5 years. This year our goal is 4 products per new member within 90 days. By products we mean a share or loan product not services that compliment. It is a huge goal but one we know we can attain with excellent training and on-going coaching.