Red Canoe CU Reinvents its Sales Culture

New incentive structures, creative training lead to award-winning results.

November 12, 2010
KEYWORDS sales , training
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Training and reinforcement

Training focused on creating member loyalty and was broken down into core sales strategies and referral training for sales employees; call center sales strategies for call center employees; and advanced sales training and sales leadership strategies training for managers.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineOverall, 127 employees participated in a total of 198 hours of training.

Creative internal programs reinforced training and created options for short- and long-term follow-up, including:

Rockin’ the Referrals was a follow-up training class that helped employees recognize common referral cues and then promote the benefits of using credit union products and services.

Building Everlasting Relationship as a Team (BERT) created a sales blog on Red Canoe’s intranet (known as ERNIE), where managers could post sales challenges and successes, and staff members could ask questions and seek advice.

Mystery shop planning guidelines used case studies drawn from mystery shopper reports to provide examples of how tellers can increase sales effectiveness. Staff recognition highlighted tellers who successfully used sales strategies when mystery shoppers later visited the branch.

Creative sales promotions rewarded employees for reaching specific targets. Themes included creating “Loyalty Royalty” by achieving sales goals and using the “Little Riddler” to teach sales staff to ask the right questions.

Measurable results

Reinventing sales at every level of the credit union has delivered measureable results. As of June 2010:

  • The closed referral ratio was 20.54%, or 205% of the credit union’s goal;
  • More than $7 million was brought in through buyouts of competitor loans; and
  • Loan protection was added to 59.61% of consumer loans, compared to a goal of 40%, and on 49% of home equity line of credit loans, compared to a goal of 25%.

At Red Canoe Credit Union, learning to live the sales culture is a best practice that pays off.

View the full entry [pdf] and visit the CUNA Councils website to learn more about the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council and the Best Practice Awards.

Congrats Red Canoe!

Randy Schultz
November 16, 2010 2:20 pm
Once again, those in our industry who lead by example - and realize that the biggest impact and part of a successful brand IS the employee, are also the ones with the biggest gains when it comes to building strong member relationships. Well done Red Canoe team!

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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