Healthy ‘Sales Culture’ Critical to Credit Union Success, JMFA Consultant Advises Kentucky C.U. Execs

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Elite trainer Dick Kendall, a consultant with John M. Floyd & Associates of Houston (Baytown, TX), provides strategic tips to attendees at the Kentucky Credit Union League Education Conference in Owensboro on how to develop, measure and maintain a successful sales culture -- no hype, pressure or manipulation. He covers everything from hiring, leadership, restructuring the environment, the "sales process," and rewards and recognition.

Credit union personnel must think of themselves as “problem solvers,” says a nationally known, elite trainer with John M. Floyd & Associates (JMFA) of Baytown, TX. “Because nobody buys anything unless they have a problem they think you can solve.”

Dick Kendall of Houston addressed the Kentucky Credit Union League (KCUL) 2006 Education Conference (June 21-23) in Owensboro on Thursday on “Developing a Sales Culture.” His comments on service, sales and cross-promotions ranged from light-hearted to riveting as he directly engaged the participants in various “exercises.”

“Selling is not about hype, pressure or manipulation,” insisted the folksy, often funny, trainer who once sold books door-to-door during a summer break from college. “Successful selling really is honorable.

“The real focus is combining your knowledge and experience with your credit union member’s knowledge of his/her own financial needs to find an acceptable solution. That process is selling in its highest form,” Kendall explained.

KYCUL Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Louisville-based League, and JMFA have been Strategic Partners for the JMFA Overdraft Privilege® program for almost two years. The League, formed in 1934, represents 94 of the 105 credit unions in the state. KCUL members manage combined assets of about $4.2 billion for about 725,000 account holders.

Kendall, who joined John M. Floyd & Associates in 1994, is a regularly featured speaker at state and national conventions. He has published numerous articles and the book – “Nobody Told Me I’d Have to Sell” – on the subject of marketing and sales training. (Kendall Photo: http://www.jmfa.com/DickKendall.asp) The former founding officer and director of marketing for Allied Bancshares, Inc. of Houston formed Kendall Marketing in 1976. He has since helped 400-plus firms increase their sales and profits.

“A vibrant sales culture begins with management hiring the right people and fostering a sales-oriented environment,” Kendall contends. “Executive leadership also must commit to the need for sales training, as well as assuring sufficient resources, qualified trainers, satisfactory settings and adequate training time and funding, if a credit union is to thrive and meet its strategic growth plans.”

         Restructuring the Environment

Smart managers begin by “restructuring the environment,” he noted. They put “back office” work in the back office. They computerize all member service work. They provide computerized sales aids and confirm that their (selling) employees are “product knowledgeable.

“Only when your employee fully understands how a product works, how it benefits the members and who the probable candidates are for the products and services do they begin to approach sales readiness,” he suggested.

According to Kendall, a “frontline” credit union staffer also must have a sincere desire to help members; good communications skills; the ability to recognize and adapt to various behavioral styles, and persuasive abilities. “Sales training helps with all but the first element: sincere desire.”

It is paramount that the employee also understands the “sales process” and knows the integral steps in making a sale and how to move through them, he said. Those essential steps include:

  • A statement on the purpose of the interview or meeting;
  • Questions that help discover the financial need, problem or opportunity;
  • A statement to confirm mutual understanding;
  • Presentation of the credit union solution or service;
  • A mutual agreement to proceed, and
  • Follow up to assure the product or service is performing adequately and satisfactorily.

A valid sales training curriculum, he reminded his audience should be followed by an effective system to track the instruction received by each participant. The credit union’s system should test for competence levels achieved as well as measure the individual’s actual sales progress.

"Additionally, credit unions will find they get higher involvement and better overall results in the sales process when they provide rewards and recognition for employees who embrace and apply what they’ve learned,” Kendall emphasized. “Knowledge is power, and incentive programs are like booster fuel when it comes to fully engaging employees in an emerging or dedicated sales culture.”

About JMFA

John M. Floyd & Associates (http://www.JMFA.com), a performance improvement firm founded in 1972, is nationally known for its creation of the automated overdraft privilege program. The firm has implemented more than 1,000 variations of its JMFA Overdraft Privilege® program and is a strategic alliance provider for CUNA Strategic Services and more than 20 state credit union leagues and associations for the program. The company provides operational, financial and delivery systems re-engineering and also is recognized for its training, incentive and earnings enhancement programs, as well as its product, service, pricing and technology improvement consulting services. JMFA has served more than 2,000 financial institutions in 49 states and Central America, adding billions in increased pre-tax earnings for its clients.

JMFA Overdraft Privilege® is a registered trademark of John M. Floyd & Associates.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR INTERVIEWS:

Steve Swanston, EVP-Sales, John M. Floyd & Associates, Baytown, TX, 800-809-2307; http://www.JMFA.com

Dick Kendall, Senior Trainer, John M. Floyd & Associates, 800-809-2307

Gail Pickett, Director of Education, Kentucky Credit Union League, Louisville, KY, 800-333-5285, Ext. 203

Preston F. Kirk, APR, Kirk Public Relations, Austin, TX, 830-693-4447

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Preston F. Kirk, APR
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