When Wells Fargo’s unethical sales tactics came to light a few years ago, the USA was up in arms. How could such a large, respected institution be so deceptive in its sales methods? Well, it turns out that Wells Fargo is not alone. Virtually every bank and finance company uses some form of cross selling to increase their profits. But does this mean we’re all doomed to suffer at the hands of devious bankers? Not necessarily. There are ways to cross sell like Wells Fargo… ethically. And that’s what we’re going to discuss in this blog post. Stay tuned!
What is cross selling
Cross selling is the practice of selling related products to a customer who has already purchased something from a business. For example, a customer who buys a new car might also be interested in purchasing car insurance, and a cross seller would offer this product to them. Cross selling can be an effective way to boost sales and profits, but it only works if the products being offered are actually relevant to the customer’s needs. In order to be successful at cross selling, businesses need to have a good understanding of their customers and what they are likely to be interested in.
Cross-selling can be a great way for businesses to increase revenue and provide more value to their customers. But it can also cross the line into unethical territory if not done properly. For example, if a salesperson is too pushy or persistent in trying to cross-sell, it can come across as being manipulative or greedy.
The key to cross-selling ethically is to make sure that the products or services you’re trying to sell are truly relevant and beneficial to the customer. If you’re honest and transparent about what you’re selling, and you’re genuinely trying to help the customer, then cross-selling can be a win-win for both parties.
Wells Fargo found itself at the center of a massive scandal when it engaged in improper cross-sales practices that simply weren’t ethical.
Wells Fargo Scandal
Wells Fargo, one of America’s “big four” banks, was caught up in a scandal involving the creation of millions of fake accounts.
The scandal came to light in 2016 when Wells Fargo was fined $185 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for opening over 2 million unauthorized accounts. Wells Fargo employees had been opening these accounts in order to meet aggressive sales targets set by the bank. In some cases, Wells Fargo employees even went so far as to forge customer signatures.
The Wells Fargo scandal led to congressional hearings, the resignation of Wells Fargo’s CEO, and financial penalties for the bank. It also damaged Wells Fargo’s reputation, with many customers choosing to take their business elsewhere. Wells Fargo is still working to recover from the scandal, and it remains to be seen how much further damage has been done.
When your customer isn’t at the center of your sales strategy you risk serving them poorly. Wells Fargo may have grossly misbehaved however, they managed to articulate the concept of cross selling very well.
During public engagements, former CEO John G. Stumpf, would describe cross selling as providing a solution to your customer. Because every problem has a solution. This is an important reflection on the importance of positioning your offer, product, or service. As a young small business owner, you should be constantly striving to learn how you can help your customer more! Learn more skills, and build systems, and supply chains that help you serve your customer in the best way possible. The more you can do for them, the more you can offer them 🙂
I believe understanding cross selling will help you innovate your product and service offering. But in order to sell a solution, you must first understand the problem.
How to sell solutions to your customer’s problems
“Cross sell is the result of serving our customers extraordinarily well, understanding their financial needs and goals over their lifetimes, and ensuring we innovate our products, services, and channels so that we earn more of their business and help them succeed financially.” – John G. Stumpf, Chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo, The Vision & Values of Wells Fargo (Citizen.Org). Please excuse the irony.
When it comes to selling solutions to your customer’s problems, the key is to really understand what they’re looking for. Take the time to ask questions and get to know their needs. Once you have a good understanding of their situation, you can start to offer potential solutions. Don’t push products onto your customers if they don’t need them or if they aren’t interested.
It’s important to be clear and concise when presenting your ideas, and make sure that you highlight the benefits of each solution. Be prepared to answer any questions that your customer may have, and remember that the goal is to find a solution that meets their needs. With a little effort, you can turn a customer’s problem into an opportunity for your business.
That’s the true art of the cross sell.
Wells Fargo’s debacle provides a cautionary tale for businesses everywhere! Crossing the ethical line in an attempt to increase sales can have disastrous consequences. However, there is a better way. Relationship-based cross selling can be an incredibly effective way to boost your bottom line while building trust with your customers. By taking the time to learn about your customers’ needs and wants, you can create tailored recommendations that will help them meet their goals. When done right, cross selling can result in increased loyalty and profitability for your business. So… what are you waiting for? Start learning more about your customers today!
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