Santa Learned to Cross-sell

Santa hat on a deck by a pool

Santa Learned to Cross-sell (and Your Frontline Can Too)

Did you get a chance to see your local Santa Claus this year? If so, how did he seem? Was he excited to mingle with kids and kids-at-heart, or was he bored out of his mind? Was his “Ho ho ho!” heartfelt, or did his festive greeting fall flat? If you pay close attention, you can spot the subtle differences between the so-so Santas who only do it for a paycheck and the cheerful Saint Nicks who genuinely love what they do.

While there are hundreds of Santa gigs around the world each year, the best Santas know it takes more than rosy cheeks and a fuzzy suit to make children’s eyes sparkle with Christmas magic. That’s why the most dedicated Kris Kringles go to Santa School. You did know there’s a Santa School, right? Think of it like a CUNA Council Conference, but for jolly old elves who like to network and swap tips and tricks of their yuletide trade. Last year, 40 students boarded an Alaskan cruise ship and attended School4Santas, also known as the International University of Santa Claus.

Believe it or not, even though Santa School is specialized and seasonal, it teaches sales and marketing tips that have the potential to boost your credit union’s service levels all year long.

Here are just a few:

1. You need to be able to adapt your experience to match the customer’s needs. A Hollywood Santa appearing on stage with celebrities needs to conduct himself very differently than a local mall Santa interacting with young children. The more Santa tailors his style to his clients, the more likely he is to be hired again the following year. The same goes for your credit union’s frontline. Training them to speak to every member the same will guarantee they consistently lose at least half of their audience. Teach them how to observe people and communicate authentically based on each member’s personality and current mindset. Remember: No matter how much the product or service may benefit them, an upset member who’s having a bad day doesn’t want to be cross-sold.

2. Create and practice a 30-second elevator pitch. That’s right. Even Santas need to be able to communicate why they’re the best candidate for the job of Head Elf. “Most of us only work four weekends a year, so we’ve got to maximize the time in those four weekends to make our money,” said one Santa. “How do you make Santa’s phone ring? It is marketing, marketing, marketing.” When it comes to your credit union marketing, it’s time to throw out the “great rates and good service” pitch and come up with a clear, concise message your team can share with enthusiasm. A well-crafted message should invite more questions and create authentic interest in what your credit union does. Want an example? Here is an elevator pitch that we helped a credit union create last month:

(Don’t steal this. First of all, it’s not cool to steal. But more importantly, if your message isn’t unique to you and your credit union, your team won’t be passionate when they deliver it—which defeats the entire purpose!)

“Do you want financial freedom but are struggling with too much debt? Does it make you feel hopeless? We understand, and we have over 50 years of experience providing solutions that have helped thousands of members improve their credit scores and gain financial freedom. We have helped members avoid bankruptcy, repossession, foreclosure, delayed retirement, and more. We provide you with hope and help by understanding your individual needs and finding the right solutions that create financial freedom.”

3. Like any skilled professional, the best Santas have a crystal clear understanding of who they really work for (the kids) and what their job really is (keeping the magic alive). Santa School preaches the importance of embodying the spirit of Santa 365 days a year. Your frontline staff should be just as clear on who they work for (the members) and what their job really is (providing knowledge and services that will have a positive impact on their lives). With all of the financial tools and resources at their disposal, your frontline staff can play a pivotal role in making your members’ futures merry and bright. That realization should keep them excited about what they do 365 days a year.

If Santa Claus needs to be reminded about the importance of relating to the people he serves, it just makes sense that anyone who wants to be a part of your credit union’s future needs a refresher as well. Fortunately, the tips listed above can help everyone. But before you launch your Santa-inspired initiative, don’t forget that everybody reacts to change differently. Some of your team members will warm up to these new ideas faster than others. That’s ok. Every positive change has to start somewhere. Just remember that you may need to apply Tip #1 from above and tailor your approach. How about that—looks like we can all learn something from Santa after all.

Even Santa needs to relate to people he serves.

Let's Get Started!
Get Started!

Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!