Allstate Financial says it has streamlined its training program for bank financial advisors to make it easier to use.[@@] The company is a business unit of Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill.

Linda Lampe, who coordinated the update of Allstate’s Hatrack bank training program, says the revision was inspired by studies showing that customer penetration of investment products in banks is much higher in banks where financial advisors coach licensed bank reps.

The studies, conducted by Kenneth Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J., found that, in banks where financial advisors have sales coaching duties, average platform rep sales productivity was almost 3 times the average annual gross compared to banks where platform reps were trained by other sources.

To encourage more banks to use Hatrack, which it originally introduced in 2000, Allstate cut it down from four modules to a single 90-minute session, Lampe says.

“We compressed the amount of time by using only the best material,” she explains. “Everyone is pressed for time in banks, so taking salespeople off the sales floor is not something everyone is comfortable with. We wrote Hatrack so we could either present it by our own people, or give it to banks that had their own formal training programs and teach them how to give it through their trainers.”

The program is called Hatrack because it teaches financial consultants how to wear a number of hats: product training, coaching, mentoring and motivating. All those qualities are covered in the 90-minute session, which is administered by about 25 Allstate external wholesalers who work through banks that sell the company’s whole life and annuity products.

“We are teaching financial consultant skills so they can train anyone on anything. It’s about how to present training so people can learn,” Lampe says. “It can be applied in any situation, not just our products.”

Ultimately, the Hatrack program aims to increase sales in banks by helping financial advisors develop a more skilled and motivated platform sales force, she explains.

“Using training, they become more successful in their teamwork,” Lampe says.