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“Sell” is NOT a Dirty Word

The English language has a lot of dirty four letter words, but “sell” is NOT one of them.

Yet so many bankers refuse to even mention the word when it comes to doing their job or dealing with customers.

“We don’t sell”.
“We don’t push products”.
“We don’t believe in sales goals”.
“We don’t use the word sales at our bank”.

I have heard all these …. plus more ….. but why?

Yes ….. I understand that the “Wells Fargo incident” a few years ago created a horrible perception of bankers, but that had nothing to do with selling (or sales goals).

That was quite frankly unethical practices ….. but selling is NOT unethical.

Selling is NOT something you DO to a customer, it is something we do FOR a customer.

Selling is helping. And if you want to help more customers then it is essential that you change your perception of selling.

Let’s start by dispelling any limiting beliefs you have about sales people.

If I was to ask you to describe a sales person, what would be your immediate response?

It’s amazing how many people perceive sales people to be “pushy, sleazy and insincere car salesmen that are only interested in their personal gain”.

How many of those sales people have you met …. and how many ACTUAL sales people have you met?

Any person who has offered to help you overcome a problem or gain something you desire by offering you a wonderful solution or fabulous product is a sales person. They are selling you their solution (service) or product.

In banking, we ask customers questions to uncover their specific needs (challenges) and goals, and then we offer them our fabulous solutions to help them.

You’re not being “pushy, sleazy, insincere or selfish”. You are being helpful. Selling in banking saves people from their financial anxieties and gives them hope that they can achieve their financial goals.

Think about how many people you saved from financial failure during the pandemic. When you offered forgivable PPP loans to business owners you were selling. Like it or not. 

And I bet those business owners were incredibly grateful. During the pandemic, bankers were the economy’s first responders. Thank you for being a wonderful salespeople.

Your perceptions have been shaped by other people’s perceptions and/or your own poor sales experiences. It is easier to remember the bad experiences, than the good.
You have experienced poorly trained sales people or you have in fact received little (poor) training.
You have watched too many movies depicting sleazy sales people. 
You FEAR rejection or an unfavorable response from the customer.

You FEAR failure.


Replace the word “sell” with another four letter word – “grow”.

When you ask questions and offers solutions, you are helping your customers grow. You are helping your bank grow. You are helping yourself grow.

Your customers WANT you to make their life easier and better. You can only do that by asking them questions about their challenges/goals. You can only do that by offering specific solutions. That’s selling.

Your customers will be thrilled with the benefits. We all like to see happy customers. That’s the result of selling.

Learn how to sell from an experienced and successful banker (or sales person).

Challenge your limiting beliefs and fear by adopting the F.E.A.R acronym below:


Please watch my short 3 minute video below to learn more about the power of this fear-conquering acronym.

It’s time for bankers to stop fearing sales. “Sell” is not a dirty word or an unethical task.

I have proudly been a salesman in the banking industry for 30 years and I am super proud of the many many many many customers and team members I have helped. 

How many customers have you helped by offering them your wonderful solutions?

Thank you for making people’s lives better.
Thank you for selling. 




Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For more advice on how to overcome your fear of selling please email joe@growupsales.com or visit the webpage www.growupsales.com

If you found the content valuable then please feel free to share this article with your broader network. Let’s help more bankers and salespeople achieve a better quality of life.