I recently signed up for a checking account at a financial institution. I use the phrase “signed up” because that’s what it felt like. I walked in, told them I was interested in opening a checking account and they took my order. At the end of the transaction I half expected them to ask, “Would you like fries with that?”
Don’t get me wrong, they were exceptionally nice. They did exactly what I asked them to do, they gave me a checking account. The problem wasn’t in what they did; it was what they didn’t do. They didn’t show interest in me beyond “taking the order” and missed out on several opportunities.
I have a wife and four children. Two adult children that I could refer business to, and two young boys that would absolutely love to have their own savings account. (Do you remember the feeling of power when you opened your first savings account?)
I also have a business that could have possibly needed a checking account, a small business loan, or a multitude of other services that financial institution offered. Unfortunately, no one bothered to ask.
Well, that’s not exactly true. The person filling my order did ask me where I worked. I told her that I owned my own business and slid my business card across the table. It became obvious that she had no real interest in my business or developing a personal relationship with me, because when she was finished copying my email address down, she slid my business card back to me!
Word of advice: The greatest insult to any professional, especially a business owner, is to slide their business card back across the table when you are “done” with it. I don’t care if you have fifteen of their cards already. Don’t do it. Ever!
Most customer service representatives believe their job is to simply answer a question or solve the problem presented to them. It’s not completely their fault, because most companies fail to understand how many opportunities they miss on a daily basis by not training their people to effectively interview their customers. So, they train their people to “take orders” or quickly answer questions.
When you train your people to ask questions about the individual, their family, their business, etc., you open the doors of opportunity. You have to be careful here, because it’s not about asking random questions, but questions that increase the opportunity for you to meet their needs with your products and services, or refer them to someone who can.
You can not build a successful business relationship with someone until you understand who they are and what their needs are. You can’t understand them until you know how to ask the right questions!
Programs like Integrity Selling For Service Professionals® for banks and The Member Advantage® for Credit Unions effectively train employees how to build relationships with their customers. The processes they learn through these programs move them from being simple order takers into becoming true service providers. They also learn how to avoid focusing on products and begin to effectively meet the customer’s needs, creating greater customer loyalty and profitability.
Stop taking orders and start discovering the needs of your clients. Order takers lose opportunities, costing themselves and their company money! A small investment to effectively train your people will produce a large return on investment.