Client Success Story
Bank of Montreal (BMO) is one of the 10 largest banks in North America and the fourth largest in Canada. They partnered with DoubleDigit Sales to accelerate growth at their new branches by engaging customers proactively.
“The purpose of working with DoubleDigit Sales was to get the teams to focus on the proactivity required to get people to become our customers.”
– Michelle Lucas, Senior Manager, New Branch Performance
4X Balances Generated
An Increase of New Customers
Broader Customer Portfolios
From Personal to Consultative Relationships
There was a time when banks were cool to their branches. Branches were expensive and time-consuming to set-up, and costly to run. Banks welcomed new technology eagerly— telephone, online banking, now mobile—hoping to trim costs. A fundamental fact remained: people who are cashing checks can easily be engaged in conversations that lead to mortgages, loans and services; engaging people online requires a different set of tools. Suddenly the focus with new branches swung from cost reduction to traffic generation. Banks had to engage with consumers and small-business owners, make them want to visit, talk and explore their options.
Bank of Montreal (BMO) took a two-pronged approach, throwing open its new branches with a new design that includes an inviting open concept, more glass and fewer barriers between visitors and staff. It backed that up with a DoubleDigit Sales designed New Branch Performance Program which itself has two goals.
First, BMO needed to get its new branches up to speed quickly. Achieving this by traditional means took time—the manager and senior staff would join the local BIA and service clubs, sponsor soccer teams and so on. The approach was indirect, the sell very soft. It works, but it takes time, and as Michelle Lucas, Senior Manager, New Branch Performance, notes, “A new branch is a big investment, so it’s important to make each branch count.”
Second, the bank needed to make more customer connections; the networking approach needed to reach more widely, the connections needed to turn into customer conversations more quickly and more productively.
Bank of Montreal’s research told them what a successful branch should look like; for help to transform a conversation into a customer in a new branch. The bank turned to the sales training experts at DoubleDigit Sales to turn a vision into performance via a more dynamic approach to sales.
“It’s not about products, but how you understand the people and recommend the products and services that would fit their lifestyles and financial objectives.”
“The purpose of working with [DoubleDigit Sales],” says Ms. Lucas, “was to get the teams to focus on the proactivity required to get people to become our customers. What to do, when to do it—the program has a lot of role-plays and real-life scenarios based on the new location’s community profile. So when we practice, we practice with scenarios that we think will actually happen. It’s not about products, but how you understand the people and recommend the products and services that would fit their lifestyles and financial objectives.”
Much of the new approach is built on a foundation of tradition—what worked before, but applied with greater initiative and with a more considered openness to customers’ approaches. There is also an even greater emphasis on teamwork in an already collaborative culture. From tellers to managers, everybody is involved in building relationships and acquiring long term customers.
Consistent with best practice, Bank of Montreal measured the success of its five-day New Branch Performance Program sessions, applying its previous standard program to a control group. The difference in performance has been dramatic.
• New branches that have benefited from the New Branch Performance Program have generated total balances at a rate four times greater than new branches that have not been exposed to the Program.
• New branches that have been through the Program have demonstrated a remarkable ability to bring in new customers. DoubleDigit Sales-trained new branch staff have displayed greater confidence in proactively reaching out to the community than new branches that have not been part of the Program.
• Customers in new branches that have been exposed to the program hold a broader portfolio of BMO products and services than customers in new branches that have not been exposed to the Program.
At Bank of Montreal, the time for traditional branch behavior is over; With DoubleDigit Sales as a training partner for its new branches, the bank is moving aggressively towards achieving its goals by helping its customers achieve theirs.
Sales Culture Effectiveness Report