Bank platform reps need proper training in order to earn a client’s trust as an adviser, according to a study conducted by Kenneth Kehrer for Allstate’s financial institutions division.

"Training could be the difference between keeping a customer for life or watching them walk out the door," said Kehrer, an industry consultant and publisher of the Kehrer Report. He had conducted a report in 2000 entitled "Best Practices in Platform Programs Study." The new work for Allstate updates this by comparing the earlier study’s findings on program structures and managers’ opinions with the actual performance of the programs.

Platform reps are more successful at selling investment products to customers when they have been mentored by financial consultants. In fact, most platform reps who have been coached outsell their counterparts by 2.7 times, for average gross sales of $16,249.

Furthermore, training for the financial consultants boosts productivity for the platform reps, although only 24% who were part of the study received training. Part of the problem is a lack of time, as financial consultants are often stretched thin because they have duties at several different branches. Allstate has responded with an abbreviated version of its "Hatrack" training program that reduces four sessions into a single 90-minute session.

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