It wasn’t that long ago that I was working at a credit union and heard the dreaded words: cross sales. I had heard horror stories from friends who worked at banks with quotas on how many sales each person had to get in a certain period. The thought of asking every member that came to my teller window or desk to sign up for a new product was, let’s face it, scary. When I started, I was not trained on how to ask members for business, no one had prepared me for that type of experience. I was simply told that I needed a certain number of products cross sold in a month and that I would be compensated for those that I cross sold.
Soon, I came to realize that this was actually a great opportunity for me to help our members. At my credit union, I didn’t have to pigeon hole members and push one product. I could instead, cross service instead of cross sell products to members based on their individual membership(s). Anything was fair game from ATM/Debit cards to GAP policies for loans. Once I got on a roll, it was actually fun to see what I could find for each membership to help that member or members with their individual needs. That being said, I also needed to understand that some members say no and that was okay, I didn’t need to feel bad for asking for their business. If I didn’t present this opportunity to them, I was doing them a disservice.
Tools for cross selling
With certain core processors, there are many opportunities and tools that make it easier to cross sell. A credit union can choose to have a global marketing plan, where they market the same product to a list of members decided by the corporate office no matter the branch location. Using a list like this means that you might be calling someone that already has a checking account. This is not as personalized or maybe not as well scrubbed but is instead used for a call campaigns such as checking accounts or direct deposit calls.
At one of my credit unions, we were not allowed to market to our own individual branch location area, which I think was a missed opportunity. Marketing was decided by our corporate office which was on the other side of the state, this put us at a disadvantage, since marketing to one population can be a different experience from marketing in a different location. However, I did not realize this until I worked at a different credit union that allowed us to market to our local area where our branches were located. An example would be if you use or pull a more local list where it is scrubbed so you get everyone that does not have a checking account or direct deposit, it eliminates calling someone who already has the product where you list is focused.
There are also a variety of tools to assist tellers and help them excel at cross selling at many credit unions. For example, how great is a tool that tells you not only where your members are borrowing money, but the type of loan, original balance, present balance, credit score, and phone number? I would often use that in conjunction with a tool where I can market to a specific group of individuals by email. We even had our own markets based on branch areas, including radio ads with local stations, post cards, letters, emails, etc.
It’s all about the members!
Cross sales can be an exciting opportunity to connect with your membership base. As members, we should all be excited that our credit union team members want to offer opportunities to make services available to their members. I hope that when I walk into my credit union the staff feels comfortable asking me for my business, so I know what opportunities are available to me.