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Bankers, Advisers, and Lenders: Stop Selling Transactions and Start Fulfilling Transformations

You can sell a transaction, or you can fulfill a transformation. Transactional selling focuses on products and services, differentiates by naming features, and benefits, and competes on price. Transformational selling™ proposes a proposition greater than the sum of its parts. Your products and services become the vessel through which you carry out your purpose to ‘boldly grow the good’ or ‘help you achieve a better life’ or ‘turn your ambition to reality’. By actualizing on your purpose, you in turn support your clients in living out theirs, by helping them achieve their goals, fulfill their dreams, and leave a legacy.

Purpose matters to you and to your company. Your work is an optimal way for you to live out your purpose. According to a McKinsey study, 70% of people define their purpose through their work, and millennials are more likely to see their work as their life’s calling. What’s important to distill out of this is – Do you know, and can you clearly articulate your purpose? How does your purpose align to your company’s? How do you demonstrate it through your work and with your clients? Knowing the answers to these questions, is imperative to becoming a Transformational Seller.

From an organizational perspective, you need to be careful not to fall into the trap of using your company’s purpose as a branding tool or marketing strategy. It’s the tie that binds your people and profit. Having a strong purpose connects employees, customers, communities, and is a powerful way to drive growth and generate shareholder value. In a Purpose Driven Study conducted by Accenture, they identified that ‘Purpose-Driven Banking Leaders achieved an average return on equity that was three percentage points higher than that of other banks in the study.’ For employees they discovered that ‘one in three strongly agrees that the mission or purpose of their organization makes them feel their job is important’ and ‘53% of customers are attracted (after price and quality) to companies that put purpose before profit and do the right thing for their customers, their employees, and the world.’

Purpose matters, but more importantly bringing it to life is a bedrock of Transformational Selling.

There’s a crisis of confidence in the marketplace today. According to an Accenture 2020 Global Banking Consumer Study, 29% of customers trusted their bank to look after their long-term financial wellbeing, down from 43% two years before. This is shocking decline.

People want more authentic connections from their financial partners.  They want ethical and integrity-based relationships. Fear induced, self-interested, transactional approaches impact a client’s perception of you, your organization, and the financial service industry. Today more than ever, you need to stop thinking like a banker and financial adviser. Accenture’s Purpose-Driven Banking Survey ‘revealed that the most trusted banks achieve revenue growth that is on average one-third greater than that of their peers.’

Trust is your currency of growth, impact, and profit.

You need to rebuild eroded trust and become your clients trusted financial wellness partner.

Your clients want to be financially healthy and wealthy. They want to spend less, save more, carry sustainable debt and plan for the unexpected. Gallup found that customers who said their bank looked after their financial well-being were more engaged and had a higher NPS. This means, they are more likely to do more business with you and refer and recommend you to their friends and family.

By adopting a customer financial wellbeing strategy, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia saw an improvement of customer’s financial wellbeing by one percent. This one percent increase improved the bank’s return on investment in that customer up to fivefold, while customer attrition rates dropped 30 percent. The offers you sell are how you facilitate a financial wellbeing transformation for your clients. Put your clients financial well being first and foremost, and you will be rewarded with more clients, profit, and impact.

Financial well being is not a sales tactic or slogan. It is an emotional encounter that is viscerally felt and experienced by your clients and customers.

Beware of the Relational Selling Trap

Relational selling is focused on building strong and reliable relationships. The emphasis is on the know, like, and trust factor. In her book The Transformational Consumer, Tara-Nicholle Nelson states that the primal motivation behind most purchasing decisions is transformation. The Transformational Consumer seeks to live healthier, wealthier, and wiser lives. They engage with brands that help them make the change they seek for themselves.

 Transactional to Transformational Selling Ladder

Your clients don’t only want a relationship with you. They want a financial wellness partner that will help them be, do, and have what they want, need, and see is possible for themselves.

Empathy is the obstacle you face in relational selling. You need to be empathetic to be a transformational seller, yet where you may get stuck is being too empathetic. Fear triggers you to overcompensate on empathy, resorting you to transactional selling. You’re afraid to deliver the bad news that your client’s business credit line wasn’t approved. You fear their disappointment because you couldn’t get the deal done. You procrastinate and avoid having a difficult conversation. When you finally do, you tell your client the infamous line ‘Head office didn’t approve it’. You pass the buck on to your peers being the bad guys and gals and not you. You relinquish responsibility to a ‘them’ and disempower yourself and your clients from uncovering a more suitable and ideal solution. 

When you seek to provide a transformation for your client, you may fear having the difficult conversation, but you don’t shy away from it. You reframe it to being a courageous conversation that is motivated by tough love. You tell your clients that their operating line wasn’t approved. You own the outcome; you don’t defer it onto your colleagues. You then dig deeper, in search of a solution that will help them be, do, and have what they really want and need. This may lead to a discussion about their customer payment terms. Maybe your client realizes it’s time for them to also have a courageous conversation with their customers to set clearer boundaries. They shorten payment due dates or decide to add late fees to encourage their customers to pay on time. The result increases their cash flow so they can reapply for the credit line. Or let’s say the declined operating line meant the worst-case scenario happened – they don’t have the cash flow to keep the business going. What if this was the transformation your client needed? They finally admit to themselves they were not cut out for it, didn’t have the passion or desire to invest more time, money, and energy into the business. This moment of tough love had them bravely admit they wanted something else after all.

A traditional Taoist story says it best: “When an old farmer’s stallion wins a prize at a country show, his neighbour calls round to congratulate him, but the old farmer says, ‘Who knows what is good and what is bad?’

The next day some thieves come and steal his valuable animal. His neighbour comes to commiserate with him, but the old man replies, ‘Who knows what is good and what is bad?’

A few days later the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and joins a herd of wild mares, leading them back to the farm. The neighbour calls to share the farmer’s joy, but the farmer says, ‘Who knows what is good and what is bad?’

The following day, while trying to break in one of the mares, the farmer’s son is thrown and fractures his leg. The neighbour calls to share the farmer’s sorrow, but the old man’s attitude remains the same as before.

The following week the army passes by forcibly conscripting soldiers for the war, but they do not take the farmer’s son because he cannot walk. The neighbour thinks to himself, ‘Who knows what is good and what is bad?’ and realises that the old farmer must be a Taoist sage.”

I believe that creating an authentic relationship with your customers shouldn’t come at the cost of compromising your soul, your people, your purpose, or your profits. When you put your clients needs ahead of yours, align to your purpose and see your offer as the transaction that facilitates a transformation your client is seeking you are in the zone! Transactional selling short-changes your impact and results. Here’s a quick snapshot of some things you can start doing today.  

Transformational Selling™ is not a sales strategy, tactic, or technique. It is a way of being that informs and influences how you show up, connect, and engage with the wonderful humans that cross your path every day.

It is also a way of selling that doesn’t ask you to compromise your purpose, people, or profit. Transformational Selling is a way forward so you can grow your business, deepen client relationships, and sell more stuff with your integrity intact. If you want to learn more about how you can unlock the power and impact of Transformational Selling with your team, clients and organization visit: or reach out directly to best selling author, leading sales expert for financial services, Finka Jerkovic here:

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