BY BRAD ROTEMAN
I recently read an article bemoaning the lack of sales culture among credit unions. The article talked about the emphasis in credit unions on service and the huge cost of providing exceptional service as a defining differentiator between banks and credit unions. I have always believed, however, that service and sales cannot really be separated. Great service means selling the products and services that best suit the wants and needs of the consumer.
In past articles, I have written about the moral foundations I have used to develop service and sales cultures. I have also discussed how giving people moral imperatives for what they do makes them most likely to want to succeed. It also renders them more willing to learn and to be coached. It is our task, as leaders, to provide a framework for turning the desire to help people into increased use of our products and services. In other words, turn service into sales. That is where the 9 P’s come into play. Today we will discuss the first three. Following articles will cover the remaining six P’s of the 9 P’s of Professional Service and Sales.
- Proactive Listening
- Product Knowledge
- Presentation Skills
- Proper Follow-up
These nine components comprise the necessary elements upon which to build a successful service and sales culture.
At one time I had listed only eight P’s. I was including Passion as a factor in Professionalism. The more I spoke before groups, the more people asked me about my passion for creating the service and sales culture. After a while, I recognized that they were really telling me to include Passion as a separate and equal member of the 9 P’s. After all, when we demonstrate passion for something it becomes infectious to others. Passion can motivate people and help us paint for them a portrait of what the future can be made to look like. It can help us envision progress, success, teamwork, championships, heroic efforts and more. Passion provides the most favorable of all frameworks for successful journeys into the future. Passion can be the fuel to spring a time machine to work in our minds and hearts. Passion is the cornerstone upon which to build and achieve our individual and collective dreams.
Professionalism is the second of the 9 P’s of Professional Service and Sales. Defining Professionalism in this context is aided by thinking of the negative experiences we have all had with people in sales or service in our own lives. Each of has, no doubt, been subjected to someone who acted as though we were interrupting something far more important than helping us buy a product or get an item serviced. We have all found people showing disrespect by chewing gum, conducting side conversations, dressing too casually, needing a shave, brushing their hair, not maintaining eye contact, writing on a sticky note, being pushy, not greeting us in a friendly manner and engaging in so many other nonprofessional acts of conduct. When we see nonprofessional behavior, we normally know it and remember it. Often, surveys show that we base our decision to leave a company we have used in the past or to not do business with a new company on the lack of professionalism we observe. Professionalism, by this standard alone, earns its lofty place on the list of 9 P’s, don’t you agree?