Friday, April 15, 2011

7 Common Sense Ways to Increase Bank Cross-Selling


Every financial institution needs to generate a steady stream of new customers, yet one of the easiest and most steady sources of new businesses and related revenue is to reach out to current customers for additional business.

With the cost of acquiring new retail, small business or commercial customers being five to ten times the cost of retaining an existing one, and with the average spend of a repeat customer being 50- 100 percent more than a new one, bank marketers need to remember that the most efficient investment of marketing funds is to market to customers that already bank with you.

Here are 7 relatively easy techniques to do just that:

  1. Start With the Lowest Hanging Fruit: The easiest sales that can be made to current customers are engagement services that help a customer use an account they already own. These 'sticky services' include a debit card, online banking, direct deposit, bill pay, automatic savings transfer, personal line of credit and security solutions such as privacy protection. These services help to ensure the customer will use the products they own more frequently, will significantly improve retention and will help to improve the overall customer experience.

  2. Stay Connected: About a year ago I was talking to a friend who said, "I was very impressed with how much love my bank gave me when I opened some new accounts, but amazed that I never really heard from them again except to tell me about new fees". While some banks have very successful onboarding programs to help stay connected with new customers, a surprising number of banks still rely on the customer to onboard themselves. And unless the customer expands their relationship, their bank may never include them in a model-driven cross-sell program.

  3. Continually Evaluate Upsell Opportunities: Rather than using product-driven programs that are done seasonally, consider funding more customer-focused programs that evaluate each customer's propensity to open one or more of the products and services you offer. With some of my clients, we evaluate each customer's transactional, product ownership and even behavioral characteristics to determine what would be the most likely next purchase and whether the propensity to purchase is high enough to make an offer. In some of most successful programs, this evaluation of opportunities is done monthly, with smaller mailing universes, but much higher response rates.

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  4. Empower Your Customer Contact Teams: For most customer facing employees of your bank, their primary responsibility revolves around efficient processing of transactions and/or customer service. To leverage the thousands of customer engagements these employees have each year, you need to provide easy ways for them to extend their conversations to include relationship expansion opportunities. Many banks provide prompts on their employee's computer screen around recent sales communications received by the customer, most likely products that may interest the customer and even special offers that can be made as part of their transaction or service conversation. The best programs don't stop there, but include tools for the customer to take advantage of the offer. This may be an immediately generated custom printed sales document, a follow-up email or sales call or a referral form.

  5. Ask for Referrals: One of the easiest ways to generate new business and increase loyalty of current retail or business customers is to ask (and possibly incent) for referrals. If a customer is happy with the way they are treated at your organization, they usually want others to know. This is especially true with satisfied small businesses, private banking customers and with retail customers that are part of a bank-at-work program. And it doesn't hurt if you provide an incentive to your current customer. At a time when new customer acquisition offers often exceed $100 and when the overall cost of acquisition is more than $250, offering a 'bounty' of $50 would be less expensive and would most likely generate a more loyal customer.

  6. Leverage All Channels: Never assume that customers understand all that your organization offers or absorb communication the same through all channels. Remind your customers continuously that you know who they are, understand their needs, are looking out for them and that you are willing to reward them for their loyalty. And use as many direct channels as possible to reach out to your current customer base, including direct mail, email, statement inserts, banner ads on your website, ATM messaging, outbound calling efforts, etc.

  7. Measure and Reward What You Want Done: By providing ongoing measurement of the cross-selling objectives you want to achieve and paying for this achievement of these objectives, you have a much better chance of reaching your goals. This continuous reinforcement of your cross-sell mission allows your team to be focused on what's important. You can also turbocharge your results by communicating how you are assisting in their efforts. Provide Opportunity Reports of the customers where they may have the greatest opportunity for success. As part of these reports, it is also helpful to provide background as to why the customer is being selected for a specific offer.
Finally, remember that current customers like to be rewarded for their loyalty. One of the best ways to do this is to remember to include an offer with any cross-sell or upsell message. Without an offer, you may be perceived as simply 'pushing product' without leveraging the relationship value already in place. A strong offer will not only generate a better response to your communication, but also remind the customer of the value of doing business with your organization.

I would love to know other ways you are improving cross-sales within your bank, credit union or investment firm. I know I have missed some great ideas and I would love to hear from you.


  1. Unfortunately, it seems a lot FIs skip over #6, Leverage all channels.

    Usually the "product of the month" is featured on websites; there is no marketing in online banking; and direct mail/email is just used to notify about fees or encouraging customers to signup for ODP.

    Funneling cross-sells through the branch only isn't a sound game plan.

  2. Cross selling at Point of Sale(POS) to both New-To-Bank and existing customers will turn out quite effective.

    This is augmented if in particular the customer is getting on-boarded for a loan/asset product.

  3. Great info! I would add bundling. Determine what products and services work well together and offer them as a package. We like to call this "accessorizing"--adding services adds access and makes the relationship look and work better.

  4. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this information! I have really been looking for ways to improve my sales and how I can get more tips about it! This article has been really helpful as well! I have heard a lot about sales strategies st. clair shores mi, does that help a lot? Thanks so much for sharing this post!

  5. thanks for the useful piece of information you have shared with us.Really this is amazing for here in Tanzania at our company we have been using very local methods. Sales officers have just been moving here n there to seek out new customers for different branches so there is no time to connect to your customers or deliver the best of services the customer requires.

  6. I just started banking for less than a year and have risen to one of the top bankers in our district. And I do something that has paid off.

    1) Find out what you get paid for and ask leading questions that are related to the subject.

    By having a list of questions to ask they will sound casual and you will learn more about your clients.

    Example: If you get paid for mortgages ask the client "Oh, I see you live here locally, how long have you lived here? WOW! You rent or do you own?...oh any chance do you know your rate? OK well I think we can do something better for you but your kids go to school locally....

    Sounds innocent but when you structure the conversation around the products you will increase your chances of selling the products or like I like to say add them to the customer's profile.

    Hope that helps.