Client Success Story
Interior Savings is a medium-sized credit union based in British Columbia. They partnered with DoubleDigit Sales to drive growth through proactive member engagement and better business conversations with members.
“We used to make a couple hundred calls a month on all initiatives, in May, we made 1,700 mortgage calls alone.”
– Ted Schisler, SVP Operations
More Consultative Conversations with Members
More Proactive Prospecting
A Consistent Model for Coaching
Proactive Engagement With Thoughtful Questions
Credit unions look and generally act like banks, but they don’t have customers, they have “members” and they typically take a more personalized approach. In order to help move to a new business model with a different focus on sales and service, Interior Savings enlisted sales training leaders, DoubleDigit Sales, to improve its connections to members, generating results that are putting a sparkle in this local institution’s prospects.
Interior Savings has 21 branches and two commercial offices in the British Columbia interior. Assets are a substantial $2.1 billion, with growth hard to come by because the area economy is flat. Members have been happy to entrust Interior Savings with day-to-day transactions, personal loans and mortgages, but they have traditionally turned to banks for their investments and retirement savings.
Getting “a bigger share of members’ wallets” according to Senior VP Operations, Ted Schisler, requires engaging with members and ensuring that service is “responsive to the needs of the interaction at hand”. Historically, close personal relations with members yielded cues from which more business-oriented conversations could be launched by tellers or specialists. New research revealed that member preferences were changing. They didn’t want to be “upsold” during their retail transactions – most of they time, they just wanted to deal with the task at hand. Understanding member needs better, Interior realized the focus needed to be on providing the right team member at the right moment. Not all interactions/transactions are the same and not every interaction is the right time for a full financial discussion nor, even, an attempt to cross-sell. Recognizing when a member needs quick, helpful, accurate and consistent service and when a member needs more advice (in a more complex interaction) is key to the new business model.
Interior reviewed several sales-training options and chose DoubleDigit Sales for its respect for credit-union culture and its understanding of staff’s respective roles – front-line and “enabler” staff have significantly different needs, so what one Interior enabler had experienced as “watered-down sales training” for administration people wouldn’t do. DoubleDigit Sales’ solution defined a role-specific collaborative process to foster productive interaction.
“Calls and consultations are up, staff are asking for additional coaching and enthusiasm is high.”
– Ted Schisler, SVP Operations, Interior Savings
For Interior, turning leads into productive conversations had always been a challenge. It was a matter of being more proactive, breaking the habit of waiting for the member to come to the credit union. The goal was for Interior to build better relationships. DoubleDigit Sales, provided a custom version of its well-proven coaching model, which includes role-playing and both theoretical and observational coaching. The model emphasizes careful listening and the formulation of “thoughtful questions” that elicit both hard information and softer qualities like aspirations.
Mortgages make up a large percentage of Interior’s balance sheet, and are a key relationship anchor with members. New mortgage opportunities are important, but they also defend Interior’s portfolio against competing temptations to move to another institution. DoubleDigit Sales-based coaching, says Schisler, made calls to mortgage-holders more effective as bi-directional communication channels, and staff began to understand that, far from intruding on people, their calls not only helped people understand the value of staying with Interior, they opened opportunities to help in other ways – a win for both parties.
“We used to make a couple hundred calls a month on all initiatives,” says Schisler. “In May, we made 1,700 mortgage calls alone. We’re getting unprompted openings for other products, and I believe we’re keeping people who might have moved their mortgages.”
Six months after DoubleDigit Sales’ training ended and the program was launched in the branches, it’s too early to ascribe percentage or dollar growth to the training, but Schisler is convinced. Calls and consultations are up, staff are asking for additional coaching and enthusiasm is high.
“This is a long-term game,” he says. “The economy isn’t going to change overnight and people aren’t going to move their mortgages to us tomorrow, but we should be ready when they are, and I’m confident we will be.”
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