A bank that does NOT want to sell you?

There I was, sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and watching a ballgame. An advertisement came on the air from not just any bank, but my bank. It turns out that Capital One bank is really going to shake up the banking industry.

According to Capital One, “all banks feel the same” and that’s why “Capital One is building something completely different; Capital One cafes.” Sounds good so far! The commercial continues to give you a visual look of what they call, “banking reimagined,” and they aren’t kidding! The lobby looks more like a WeWork facility, with couches, bar tables, snacks, juices, coffee, and more. What an amazing way to reimagine banking… and then it all goes wrong for me with one, irresponsible statement:

“Ready to help you; not sell you.”

Really? You want to help us, but not sell us? Pardon me, but that sure sounds like an oxymoron. How can you help us if you are unwilling to sell us? Could it be that you are misinformed as to what good, well-trained salespeople can do?

I get the fact that some of the public is misinformed, and many believe that being sold something is some sort of evil and devious act. But one of the largest banks in the country? Could it be that the leadership of Capital One bank doesn’t understand how misguided a statement like that is?

As the customer. I understand that you don’t want to be sold something. That’s your nature. But do us both a favor and try this little experiment. Take out a pad of paper or open up a blank document and write down the five biggest purchase mistakes you’ve made when you’ve made those purchases entirely on your own. Remember, I’m looking for decisions that you made without the aid of a skilled salesperson.

Rather depressing, isn’t it? It’s not really your fault. Your instinct has always been to fix small problems; not big ones, so you may have waited a little too long, worked with flawed information, got hung up by that pesky fear of change, or maybe even let price rule your decision and hold you back. You weren’t lacking information; you were lacking a well-trained subject matter expert to help you sort through that information. You didn’t have someone who knew how to problem solve, create urgency, not take “no” for an answer, and not be afraid to ask questions that might have made you feel uncomfortable. Coincidently, I just described what a well-trained salesperson does. Do you still want to go to a bank that’s afraid of the word, “sell?”

But where are my manners? Maybe Capital One is right. Perhaps people who are “ready to help you; not sell you” would better serve us. They would merely be acting on the instructions you provide them. For the record, that’s the definition of an order-taker. Make sure you study up so you can be the one to tell your order taker how to handle your finances. Study up because we’re only talking about your hard-earned money, your home, your car, your children’s education, your retirement, and more. But hey, it looks like they’re serving coffee and pastries just like Starbucks, and who doesn’t like a nice, hot cup of coffee!

Personally, I not only value the assistance of salespeople, but I would also gladly pay extra for their help. I welcome their support because I don’t want an order taker handling my banking or any major decisions I may have. Ask your tougher questions and push me when I need to be pushed.

As for Capital One: For goodness sakes, stop telling people you’re not there to sell them. It’s a ridiculous statement, and it’s disrespectful to those in the sales profession. If you’re actually serious, you are doing a tremendous disservice to your clients. I love the idea of a café, and I’m not afraid of “reimagining banking,” but I truly hope you reconsider amending your catchy little slogan. I’d suggest this one:

“Ready to help you; and not afraid to ask the tougher questions.”

Originally published here.