In a vast—and largely digital—lending landscape, big banks and FinTechs often hog most of the financial glory. They’re more visible and have slick advertising that suggests they’re the best and safest...
When coaching our financial institution clients on how to sell SWBC’s products (like GAP, MMP, credit life insurance, etc.), our training team encourages participants to provide ongoing feedback. We want to know if the tactics and messaging we taught them worked in a real-life sales situation—and, more importantly, we want to know if they didn’t work.
As one might expect, some institutions report having great success, while others tell us that customers decline them before they even finish the first sentence.
Although I understand objections (and know that could be a topic on its own), there’s one thing I’ve noticed that most, if not all, of our lower performing clients have in common—and spoiler alert: it’s not difficult customers who are unwilling to buy.
Whenever a financial institution tells me they are having a hard time selling our products and services to their customers, I immediately respond with one question: “Are you speaking their language?”
This simple question stumps people every time. The typical answer I get is: “Of course I speak their language. I mean, I speak English. Heck, I even speak Spanish. How else would I communicate the benefits of this product in the first place?!”
Okay—obviously, you speak your customers’ language (in a literal sense). But, are you listening to your customers, pinpointing their main focus, and adapting your sales pitch accordingly? My guess is: nope!
Whether they realize it or not, the most successful salespeople have a keen understanding of the four different communication languages: Doer, Talker, Thinker, and Guardian. These languages can be identified as soon as your customer opens up, and being able to adapt to each is key in sales. You already know this person is coming to you for a purpose—clearly, they want or need something. But, when you are talking to someone about your products and services, listen closely to the “code words” that identify the communication language they are speaking, so you can adjust your sales pitch.
A Doer is driven by the bottom line. They have goals, are decisive, and act with purpose. They also seek concrete results, and measure success in terms of competence, effectiveness, and achievement. It’s easy to spot a Doer—they typically walk fast, talk fast, and get to the point fast.
When speaking with a Doer, be sure to provide prompt answers and well-documented evidence. They don’t accept wishy-washy advice, so saying “I think…” or “some people say…” will signal to a Doer that you have no idea what you’re talking about, and they shouldn't trust anything you tell them. It’s important that you be extremely prepared when speaking with a Doer. Using statistics and hard facts are always a hit.
A Talker sees the big picture, not details. While they want quick action and immediate results like a Doer, they differ in that they want a more personable experience. When speaking to a Talker, be sure to let them know who you are before you attempt to sell them anything. Be friendly, crack jokes, and make the experience all about them.
During the sales pitch, use testimonials and be enthusiastic about the product or service you want them to purchase. If you’re dry in your delivery, they are quick to tune you out. If you’re unable to make the sale, you’re not out of luck yet. Talkers like follow-up phone calls, so give them a ring and chat them up a bit. This personal touch and extra effort will more than likely pay off.
A Thinker requires precision and accuracy. They are looking for expertise and thoroughness. To speak their language, you need to provide details and logical, proven explanations.
Thinkers are more careful about the decisions they make, and they like to weigh all the pros and cons of something before diving in. During your sales pitch, let them know the options you have available, give them data about each, and then, let them decide which option is the best fit. Thinkers need time to process, so don’t hover or push them to buy. Give them time to THINK!
A Guardian wants conflict-free decisions and implementation. To speak their language, provide personal assurances and guarantees. If you have a story about how a product helped you or someone close to you, share it!
Make Guardians feel comfortable by showing a willingness to listen, and give them reassurance that the purchase they are making is the right choice. It’s important to take your time when speaking with a Guardian—they want to know you are looking out for them, not you.
Being a salesperson isn’t easy, but you can make your job easier and become more successful by adapting your communication style. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s common sense—sell to people the way they want to be sold to. Once you can identify the type of person they are, it’s easy to deliver a winning sales pitch.
Chasity Monk is a training and performance specialist for SWBC's Financial Institution Group. Prior to joining SWBC, she worked for a credit union for 4 1/2 years, and her experience and knowledge of credit unions enabled her to quickly become the regional trainer for her division. She is a certified sales trainer and is responsible for improving our financial institution clients' sales communication. Chasity graduated from Sam Houston State University 2010, where she majored in mass communication with an emphasis in public relations. She also minored in speech communications.
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