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Pro's and Con's of Campaigns

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Campaigns are a way of life for most financial institutions. When something needs to get sold there is nothing like a good old marketing blitz to make it happen. Campaigns have their place but they can also be a source of trouble for frontline staff that are expected to "make it happen" and actually sell those products.

Here is a quick summary about the good and bad of campaigns:

The Bad

• Campaigns can promote product dump. Often campaigns are rolled out with a big splash. Lots of attention is paid to product knowledge, marketing and goals. Not so often is there enough attention paid to teaching frontline staff how to start conversations without just blurting out the product and asking the client if they are interested.
• Staff that are just "pitching" product with no strategy on uncovering clients needs can create a pressure filled environment. Clients feel "sold to" at every turn and soon start to tune the staff out.
• Other sales opportunities go unnoticed. With the team focused on one thing the tendency is to forget that client needs don't necessarily mesh with product campaign cycles. Unmet client needs can go unfulfilled until the appropriate campaign comes along.
• The only time of year a product gets sold is when there is a campaign on that product.
• Campaigns can create an environment such that the sales people are incapable of selling unless they are in a campaign.

The Good

• Periodic business needs dictate the promotion of certain products at certain times of the year. It's a reality of business. Sometime you need more loans, sometimes you need more deposits. Then there are seasonal opportunities that beg for a focus on a specific product.
• Campaigns provide a product focus. Like it or not, some people have a hard time trying to identify client needs unless they are told ahead of time which ones to look for.
• Campaigns have a start and a stop date. Some people have a hard time with the endless pursuit of more sales opportunities. Campaigns provide a way to focus those people's attention for a set period of time which can help them achieve better results.
• Campaigns provide an easy structure to keep track of success and provide rewards accordingly.
• Campaigns provide a natural structure to allow for a more motivating atmosphere. It's easy and fun during a campaign to create teams and have some friendly competition.

Result …
Campaigns are good ONLY if they are accompanied with a strategy to start conversations and avoid product dump. Without such a strategy they can be counter productive by creating short term success (sales of a specific product) with long term consequences (upset clients – the ones that didn't buy because they felt "sold to")

What to Do?

When you are heading into a campaign consider the following:
• Have a couple of meetings that focus not just on product knowledge, but on who the staff should target and how they can start the conversation without being pushy. Ask yourself questions like:
o Who was this product designed for?
o Why would they want it?
o What challenges or problems would they have to be having for us to feel confident this product could help?
o How could you get them talking about those challenges or problems?
o What are all the logical conversation topics that are a natural lead into the discussion?
o What other products and services could be an alternative to the client if the conversation takes a different twist?
• Don't tolerate your team bonking the client over the head with the "flavor of the month". Just because those people get the odd sale doesn't make it right.
• Help your team develop reasons to get your clients talking about the end goal of the product you are promoting. For example: if you want to sell investments get the client talking about how confident they are in their retirement plan.
• Help them be aware of the many different points of conversation that can be used to introduce the topic you want to discuss and you'll find that the customers start more of these conversations than you think. If they do not start the conversation however, let's not wait for them. Get good at getting them talking about the problem your product can solve and leave the sales pitches to the telemarketers!

"It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong."
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet

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Copyright © 2008 by Fusion Performance Group Inc.
Copyright © 2012 by Fusion Performance Group Inc. If you share this, print it out, or reproduce it in any way, please retain this copyright statement.