Communication, sales, and your credit union

There’s no denying it. We are all salesmen regardless in what field we work or the role we fulfill.

For years I was in denial about my own role as a salesperson. Much of my career was spent in broadcasting, on air. Sales was the department down the hall. They sold ads, generated revenue, had elaborate parties, and received huge bonuses when their “numbers were met.” When numbers were not met, Sales was the department of revolving doors. It wasn’t until I transitioned into Corporate Communication that I realized the sales role each employee plays at every level in every industry.

As member-focused organizations, Credit Unions have to be particularly mindful of the sales/service role each employee fills, from the front line or branches to the deepest recesses of corporate offices.

So, what is it that each of us sells?


The many products and services credit unions offer are the tangibles being sold, and those sales come more easily when each employee understands that he/she is first and foremost selling himself/herself. It’s the best way to successfully bring products and services to market, provided we aren’t selling empty suits but building trust.

Trust is borne of demonstrated responsibility, accountability, and integrity. Acquiring and maintaining these soft skills takes as much work and deliberate practice as mastering any technical skill. Begin by understanding the crucial role communication plays in our interpersonal relationships.

Every time we communicate, whether one-on-one, through email, or via public address, we are saying three things: something about our message, something about our audience, and something about ourselves.

With that mindset, craft a message that is clear, concise, and courteous. Speak and write from the listener’s and reader’s perspectives to ensure you are communicating empathetically and to ensure that the message you intend to communicate is the one being received. Always communicate with the receiver in mind. Confirm the message you deliver is identical to that being received by responding immediately to verbal and non-verbal feedback. When possible, ask open-ended questions. Then, listen carefully to responses so you can hone your message.

The idea is to fulfill your audience’s needs. This is Sales 101, a course we all need to master in order to communicate more effectively, build trust, and increase productivity. Unity within an organization automatically projects outwardly, making the organization more attractive. Whether your audience is a co-worker, supervisor, potential member, or current member, you cannot possibly sell your idea, product, or service if the audience is not first sold on you.

Lorraine Ranalli

Lorraine Ranalli

Lorraine Ranalli is Chief Storyteller & Communications Director, as well as published author. Her most recent work, Impact: Deliver Effective, Meaningful, and Memorable Presentations, is a pocket book of public ... Web: Details