Banking is not known as a fun business. I don't know a single person who says to the family on a Saturday morning, "Let's go to the bank and have some fun." Rather, going to the bank is a chore, another "to do" on the interminable list we all have.

Things do not have to be like that, however. Banking can be fun, and we need to find ways to make our stores more interesting places to be.

One of our market presidents at Wells Fargo, David Galasso, is a very creative guy with a great sense of humor. Catching some inspiration from Bob Hutchinson and Michigan National, David and his team introduced a fun wrinkle into their banking stores. They put some produce or other common household products on the teller stations and, when asked by the customer what is this item doing on the counter, they answer with a line that presents the customer with a product purchase opportunity.

For example, one of the stores put ketchup on the teller counters. When asked, the teller would answer: "Would you like to catch up on your bills?"

Here are a few more examples to tickle your imagination:

Tabasco sauce - "It's a hot time for buying a home equity loan" or "We have some red hot deals for you."

409 cleaner - "Wipe out those monthly bills" or "Let us help you clean up your bills."

Insect repellent - "Are those nagging monthly bills getting to you?"

Coffee - "Are the monthly bills keeping you up at night?"

Diapers - "It may be time to change the way you save for the future."

Windex - "Let us help you get a clear view of your financial need."

Wonder Bread - "Do you wonder how we can save you some bread? Let us show you."

Aspirin - "Are taxes giving you a headache? Let us help."

There are many more such lines, but the theme is the same: Let us have fun at what we do, and let the customer initiate the conversation with a question. This will not only breath some life into your client interaction, it will also help your store team to fire up and look for ways to bring more life into the store.


Ms. Bird, an executive vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, is based in Sacramento, Calif.

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