The Personal Side to Cross-Selling Strategies for Your Bank

You might feel like a broken record constantly instructing your bank or credit union employees to push new products to current customers. But cross-selling remains a proven strategy for banks and credit unions—data shows it truly drives organic growth.

A customer with just one product will stay at an institution for about 18 months. But a customer with two products will extend their stay to 4 years, and one with three products will bank for 6.8 years on average. On top of that, it’s 8-10 times more costly to acquire new customers than it is to sell additional products to your current customers.

That being said, it’s not just about the numbers—you have to understand who you’re talking to. Think about when you’re recommending TV shows to your friends. You know Josie likes reality shows and family dramas, and Max is into thrillers and sci-fi, so you tailor your recommendations based on what you know about each of them. Cross-selling bank products and services to existing customers is no different.

While you do need to determine how many products you have, how many you need to sell and who you need to sell them to, rather than looking down at the numbers first, let’s take a look at the faces of your customers.

Get to Know Your Customers

Who are you speaking to? Your customers fall into different categories and life stages, and you can’t sell the same product to all of them.

For example, a retired couple in their 70s may not be interested in eTransfers or eDeposits. In fact, those words might scare them away altogether. On the other hand, these products may fall in line with young professionals in their 20s who are on the go and prefer to bank online rather than in person.

Creating audience segments is the first step to a personalized cross-selling strategy. There are several tools that will take data on your customers and start segmenting them. With customer segmentation, you can start promoting products to the ones who want or would use them.

Stay Connected with Your Customers

Most banks and credit unions have their onboarding process down to a tee. It’s a smooth, simple process that set customers up with a checking account and debit card, and they can start banking within the same day.

But what about after the onboarding process? Most of the time institutions fall off the onboard customers, and you never hear from them again. In order to cultivate relationships and win your cross-selling pitches, you need to continue the conversation after the first day.

That conversation can happen through email marketing, where you’re sending relevant, useful content rather than product-heavy messages. Or it can be on social media where you’re engaging with your customers, asking questions and responding to their comments. It could even be through a direct mail piece where you wish them a happy birthday rather than another “You’ve qualified for a loan!” letter.

When you start engaging with your customers online and offline after they have opened their account, they will start seeing you as a human rather than a business pushing products.

Talk to Your Customers at the Branch

Lastly, talk to your customers when they are at your branch. While many customers are doing the majority of their banking online, every once in a while, they have to step into the branch for something they can’t do online. And those are the opportunities you need to seize.

Assist them with their questions and needs but also talk to them. Once you get to know them, it won’t seem like such a harsh sell if you choose to ask them if they’re interested in another product.

While numbers are good to know where you are and where you need to go, understanding who your customers are will help you get there faster and with better results.

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