Magazine article Independent Banker

Making the Transaction

Magazine article Independent Banker

Making the Transaction

Article excerpt

How to move beyond traditional bank management

Of all the challenges facing community banks today, the transition from an order-taker culture to a sales-service culture is perhaps the hardest. It just runs contrary to many bankers' experience. Much has been written on the topic, and much more has been spent on training. But how do you "just do it?"

Well, progress toward a sales culture may be difficult, but it's not impossible, says Mark Stenson, a financial service industry consultant in Marshall, Minn. Banks that make significant headway in successfully achieving such change often follow similar paths, he says.

To improve your sales culture, Stenson recommends that you understand the four stages of incorporating change: imparting knowledge, instilling positive attitudes, motivating individuals and encouraging the overall group. Overlooking any of the four stages will hamper your ability to achieve lasting change at your bank.

Much time and effort has been spent on the first stage, providing knowledge or training, but little genuine understanding exists about the second, instilling a mind-set to accept change. Stenson says attitudes change with lots of listening and encouragement-things many managers find difficult to do consistently. "Many managers simply announce that the train is leaving and everyone better get on board," he says. "Unfortunately, all this does is further polarize the organization and raise the tension level."

Establishing individual sales goals leads to the third stage, motivating individual behavior. …

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