BY NICK BROWN
Several years ago, while I was working as a credit union outbound call center manager, I was asked to lead a series of sales training workshops as part of a loan officer refresher course. The purpose of the refresher course was to retrain employees on the most important aspects of their roles as loan officers.
Most of this two-day course was focused on topics such as compliance, title processing, loan audits, product knowledge, and so forth; things I considered important but rather routine and, quite honestly, a little boring.
For my part of the training, I wanted to make it meaningful, impactful, and engaging. I wanted the loan officers to walk away feeling empowered with a new understanding of why they should sell to their members and how to do it effectively. I posed this statement to begin the training: “As credit union employees, we must focus on selling opportunities.”
I then asked them to tell me what they felt it meant. Most of the answers I received went something like this: “It means we should always be looking for opportunities to sell products and services to our members.” I told them they were absolutely correct, but to read it again because there is also another meaning.
As I watched, facial expressions turned from confused to inquisitive and finally to enlightened. It usually only took a few moments before someone would shout out with excitement “It also means we should focus on selling the opportunity our products and services give to our members.”
Selling is an important part of what we do for our members. When teaching sales to our employees, they need to know how to identify sales opportunities, or rather when a member needs a new or different product or service. They also need to understand that selling in the credit union way focuses heavily on the opportunity our products and services provide our members, not the other way around.