Fall is a great time of year in Chicago. Usually around this time of year our thoughts turn to the Bears, Notre Dame and other things football. This year it’s different. The Cubs may make the playoffs and all seems right with the world. One thing that isn’t right with many bankers is their lack of both the basic understanding of how their products work and worse, how to articulate benefits to clients.
Arming sales teams at all levels (tellers up through retail and commercial bankers to wealth professionals) with in context knowledge of their solutions is vital at one level and most challenging at the next. In order to effectively identify the client’s needs, the banker must recognize the features and benefits of each bank solution. One way I found to make it fun for the bankers to learn is called Product Knowledge Baseball. Here’s how to play:
Building Product Knowledge Baseball:
1. Create questions based on specific product line: Checking, Savings, Loans, Electronic Services, etc. – a total of about 100. This should take care of three to four innings. Questions can range from True/False, Multiple Choice/Fill in the blank.
2. Place each question on an index card –determine the category, level of difficulty and the number.
3. Purchase a Bingo game – it comes with a Wire Cage and numbered balls. You will randomly draw the number from the cage.
4. You are ready to play
1. Play in a training room that is large enough for you to create a small baseball field.
The players stand on home plate and the facilitator is close by to ask the questions. A commissioner (an internal subject matter expert) of baseball can also be present to help answer additional questions from the participants.
3. Have chairs aligned on both sides of the playing field. If you have 16 participants, place 8 on each team. To create some team fun, name your team base on your local baseball teams.
4. Allow the team to nominate a team captain.
5. The team captain determines the batting order. Strategically placing the players in the lineup.
6. The teams must remain in the original order throughout the game.
7. Encourage the teams to be respectful of each other. And, while the other team is up to bat to listen and learn. The entire experience is about learning in a fun environment.
8. If at any point a player on or off the field has questions about the specific product, ask the facilitator or the commissioner.
1. 3-5 innings/3 outs/10 run rule per inning.
2. Flip a coin, to determine which team will up to bat first
3. Player goes up to bat – Facilitator randomly picks a number from the cage, picks the index card and announces:
4. The player determines if they want to answer on their own or ask for assistance from the lineup.
5. The question is asked and the batter and assisting batters collaborate to determine the correct answer (90 second time limit). The batter provides the answer. If correct, the batter runs to the designated base. If answered incorrectly, the batter is out.
6. The next batter in the line-up is up to bat even if they just assisted the prior batter.
7. Questions are asked until 3 outs or 10 runs are made.
8. The winner of Product Knowledge Baseball is the team that score the most runs.
Some banks have given prizes such as baseball tickets, shirts, hats and other gifts. This can be done as a one game season or an ongoing competition that can lead to the playoffs and World Series. Not only does this help teach product knowledge, there is lots of team building and fun involved. This year, join us in celebrating the Cubs great success and help your bankers and customers success too, with Product Knowledge Baseball.
Dana Perkins brings over 30 years of banking experience to her clients. She specializes in facilitation and performance coaching. Dana is a proven leader and has taught thousands of banker's techniques for building relationships by identifying customer needs and providing an exceptional customer experience. She has designed and implemented successful learning strategies for clients in many areas including: sales management, sales referrals, consultative selling, coaching for performance, selling on the phone, and customer service.
Dana has worked for money center organizations such as Citibank and Bank of America, as well as community banks and credit unions. During her years with Bank of America and its predecessors, Dana held a variety of roles. As a trainer, she enthusiastically inspired business and retail bankers to make the leap from being order-takers to proactive sales people through training and coaching. Dana has worked with all levels of bank associates, from tellers to executive management, teaching strategies to build and retain relationships. She has provided direction in the establishment of sales systems that include: goal setting, incentive/tracking programs, sales meetings and coaching for all banking center associates.
As a Vice-President with Bank of America, Dana was sales and service manager overseeing 60 banking centers throughout the Mid-West. She was responsible for leading sales efforts, driving results, growing business and managing key processes assigned to the region. Dana championed the customer service initiative for the entire Mid-West. This role involved working directly with banking centers identifying root causes and developing action plans to improve the overall customer experience.
Dana has a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia in Business- Communications. She graduated with honors from the Bank Administration Institute from the University of Wisconsin. Dana has been an instructor for the American Institute of Bankers teaching sales management, selling to seniors and sales and service. She has had prior training certifications with KASET, FTR, Inc. and Omega-Performance.