This is a story about what happened when I tried selling the third party products to my GM/DGM. I was pretty much well versed with all my selling speech, but what I had to face when I tried to pitch in the product to my GM/DM was not what I had expected.
Every banker gets targets for third party products on a daily basis, be it Mutual Funds, Insurance products, Government schemes or any other product that might give bank a sizeable chunk of moolahs as profit. Our higher authorities / Management thinks that it is easy to sell anything to the masses, and it’s just because of the laziness of the ground level staff that the targets are not achieved. Thus, our higher authorities consider it to be their sacred duty to
motivate force the ground level bank staff to sell impose/force the third products upon any person they find within their arm’s length.
What amuses me most is the practice that they have seem to adopt when they see no scope of selling such products to the public in the market maybe because of the lacklustre product or due to the disinterested customer, there seems to be some issue. Nevertheless, whatever issue with the product is, it does not matter to them . They eventually swear by this practice.This practice is:
Motivating forcing the staff members to invest in such third party products themselves, as the product according to the higher authorities would be in the best interests of the bank employees.
I have been experiencing the same thing in the last few years. Every day I get non stop numerous calls from my regional office or zonal office instructing about how high priority instructions have been issued by my GM/DGM for canvassing a particular third party product to the aam aadmi.
My answer to such calls is simple and reflexive:
‘Ho jayega sahab’ or ‘Ji Sir’.
But one fine day when I had exploited all options, leads and prospects, I imagined an innovative idea:
Our higher authorities (specially Top Executives) make a handsome amount from their service,not to mention the perks that come with their package and the savings that they make must also be substantial. As compared to the ground level staff of Clerks and Junior or middle management grade, there is greater availability of liquidity with the Top level management, so they could be considered as excellent “leads” for canvassing these products .
Also, the top executives are already getting recognition from the third party partners in the form of business trips, picnics, foreign trips and celebrations for every tiny achievement. So, why not give them a unexplored satisfaction of being a first hand user of these third party products.
So, rather being impressed by my flawless logic, I conveyed the same to the marketing department at my regional office. To my surprise, no one seemed to agree with my reasoning and they thought that I have gone stark raving mad. The reply that I got from them was:
‘GM/DGM sahab ko kaise bech sakte hain, ye sab unke liye nahi hai’
[How can we sell these products to GM/DGM sir, these are not meant for them]. I could not understand why could not we sell our Mutual funds, insurance or any such products to our top executives. Afterall, they are also salaried individuals like us. They must also have genuine interest in savings and securing their future. They would feel so proud to say they are happy user of the services of their third party vendors, while they relish the luxurious celeberation of the achievements by them. So, what’s wrong in selling these products to them. Are these third party products only good enough for aam aadmi and the employees of the bank but they are not good enough for the creme de la creme (Top Management) of the bank ?
Anyways, I refused to agree with my fellow collegaues in the regional office, and rushed to meet my regional/zonal head. At first, respected GM/DGM sir could not understand why I was trying to canvass the product to him. I even tried to explain it to him why it was important for him personally and as well as for Bank as an institution to chip in the product. But he seemed to have felt insulted by my idea of him investing in the same third party product that he wants us to sell to fellow colleagues/customers of the bank. Slowly his tone began to change and I feel the change in his mood regarding my sales pitch.
After I was done ,he stared at me for a second in a very calm manner, gave me another fleeting glance and then asked me to go back to my branch and to wait for the reply. I was happy to feel that he understood my message and I would achieve my targets with his help.
But within two days I got a letter informing that I was transferred at a place far from the headquarters, and I was presented with a Explanation Letter (Love Letter) asking the reason to directly approach my higher authority and wasting his time. I was shocked to know that my attempt to serve the genuine needs of my senior was taken as an unauthorized intervention.
I learned an important lesson from this story.
Never try to break the management chain. Just continue with ‘Yes Sir’ attitude and keep getting the new customers to meet the targets so that the top management may proudly boast the achievement and credit for everything.
We are just cog in the wheel, with pre-defined purpose. If we try to redefine the modalities of work in the bank, we are put at a place where it is difficult to voice our opinion.
-a Story by a common banker