According to a recent article entitled Piloting for Multi-Channel Marketing by Alan Schiffres and Jim Bramlett of the bank consulting firm Novantas LLC, about 25% of retail bank customers almost never visit a branch after opening their first account and 50% are big users of remote channels instead of a branch. So how is a bank supposed to increase its cross selling when fewer customers are coming into the branch? That question is especially pressing now, when cross selling is seen as a necessity to shore up fee revenue lost under the new Dodd Frank regulation.
There is a way. Let’s think about how educational information links to a sale. Imagine that you want to build a fence in your back yard. It’s likely that you will seek information on how to build the fence before you buy the fence posts. Lots of top retailers are well aware of that. It is why Home Depot has educational information on fence building not only in their store but on their website where they can catch your eye while you are looking for help. They know quite well that if they provide the helpful information that you are looking for, you are likely to come to them to buy the fence posts.
The same holds true for financial products. People are looking for educational information to help them make better financial decisions, especially around certain life events that can force decisions. A recent Forrester Research study revealed that people are 43% more likely to buy a financial product around a life event. If you are the one who provides the educational information people are looking for when they need it, where do you think they may go to buy the product?
So the answer is fairly easy. Provide people with easy to understand educational information on financial topics, especially around life events. Become a resource for the help they need just at the time they need it. But that is only part of the answer if you want to generate dialogues and sales. The information cannot sit hidden inside your website. This value added service needs to be promoted as a part of your broader communications strategy. A benefit oriented message telling people that you provide them with information that can help them save money and avoid mistakes.
And the message gets delivered where your customers are; in the branch during the onboarding of a new customer or the servicing of an existing one; on your website where it is seen by online users; through your email communications and as a part of your e-newsletters; as a part of your social media; and even through mobile devices that are more and more popular.
So less traffic in the branch does not need to translate to fewer cross selling opportunities. Easy access to helpful information through multiple channels is the answer. It is a golden rule of marketing and sales. Help people make more informed decisions and they will turn to you for more of their financial needs – before they turn to the competition.