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Now that you’re getting to know your customers, it is important to know your products and know them well!  Why? Part of knowing your customers is to know what their financial needs and goals are. Your job is to identify and recommend products that help your customers meet those needs and goals. Yet, you need to do more than recommend products, you also have to educate your customers so they understand how the products you’re recommending will help them. So if you really want to be a better banker, you must know your bank’s products as well as you know your customers.

Knowing your products is easier said than done. The number of bank products has increased significantly over the years. They’ve become more complex and many have multiple options to appeal to your varied customer base. You got the memo about the new checking account package that just came out, right? You know all about the home equity loan changes launched last month, correct? While it may seem at times that you’re being inundated by new and changing product information, it’s critical that you take the time to read and educate yourself about your bank’s product offerings and current promotions.

Here are three tips to help you become an expert on the products you should be offering to your customers:

  • Ask questions and provide feedback – Contact the product manager to ask any questions you have about new products. Also, provide your honest but diplomatic feedback as you learn the new product features. Product managers love to get feedback from the field, so they can improve the products they develop or keep your ideas in mind when creating new products.
  • Compare your products to other bank’s products – How many times have you tried selling a product to a customer only to have him or her tell you how a competitor’s product works better? There’s nothing wrong with shopping your local market’s competition to get an understanding of what they offer and how their products compare to yours. Identify the strengths of your competitors’ products and then identify your product’s benefits that may overcome your customer’s product comparison objections.
  • Determine innovative ways to sell your products – As you gain an understanding of new products, decide for which customer profiles they’re the best fit. Think about how they work with other products. If a customer is interested in this product, ask yourself in what other related products might he or she be interested? Cross Selling as Secret Sauce for Success “The importance of cross selling is hardly a secret. Decades ago, former Wells Fargo & Co. CEO Dick Kovacevich stressed the importance of cross sell and promoted the phrase “Eight is Great” to underscore Wells Fargo’s focus on selling each consumer customer eight products spanning lending, deposits, investments and insurance.”  ~ By Charles Wendell

Keep in mind that your customers rely on you to ensure they have the right products to meet their financial needs and goals. Here’s a tip for preparing for customer interactions and becoming a more confident banker: Take your top 25 customers and develop sales plans for them. Your plans don’t have to be formal – just a brief checklist highlighting priorities based on your new knowledge of your customers and your products! After engaging in the first 25, review your feedback, then move on to the next group of 25.  You may just realize all of this awareness has made you a better banker already.