by: Mark DeBellis, President, PSB Integrated Marketing
A lot. Growing your member business is all about the relationship and how you manage the key steps of development.
Let’s reflect on the situation in the Bachelorette and assume for a minute that you are Emily (the Bachelorette). But instead of a husband to wed, you are interested in a more stable “financial relationship.”
Step 1. Get Noticed!
It’s difficult to differentiate yourself (and your credit union) within a crowded landscape. What makes you stand out? What gets you noticed? How are you getting your message out in a way that differentiates you?
As an institution, how do you “catch the eye” of these prospects. How do you encourage them to open up to your company’s advances?
If you watched any of the Bachlorette, think about the first night when Emily had to meet all these people and ultimately decide which would make the first cut?
How different is that from your members and prospective members sorting through their mailbox, looking through the newspaper at various ads, or even comparing and contrasting your messages with others via radio or TV?
Step 2. Deliver a positive initial experience, deliver on your promise.
Emily met 25 guys and then had to pick 12 that she wanted to get to know better. I’m sure all 25 were great guys, but only 12 made an impact on her during the evening.
The one’s that were picked delivered a positive initial experience in some form.
When your members and prospects make their very first connection with you, it has to be meaningful. You are being compared to every other potential suitor in the universe…from Bank of America, to Bank of Mom and Dad.
Step 3. Exceed expectations, increase the interest level.
Think about your own experiences in life and love. Think about the trials and errors of the dating game.
Remember how one person simply paid more attention to you… or treated you nicer than your other suitors? It’s the little things that matter. The attention you received makes all the difference.
Emily has to whittle her list from 12 ultimately down to 1.
Those that exceeded her expectations, who met most of her needs, who paid close attention to her, who made her a major priority in their lives, stayed in the game. Those that didn’t were rejected.
They brought her gifts. They paid her compliments. They worked hard to understand her.
Remember, just like Emily, your members are always comparing you with their other resources. Let’s face it we know that members have 3 or 4 other relationships. And, just like in the dating world, we just can’t stand it!
Step 4. A commitment of epic proportions – LOVE
Meredith is making a commitment to marry. Your best members, those that have a large number of products and services with you have already made the same commitment. They LOVE you!
But this isn’t the end of the road. Many couples fall in love, get married, and fall out of love. Many members do as well.
It’s up to you to keep your members’ love alive. Every day. How you treat them. How you care for them. It’s all up to you.
Some credit unions reward their best members, send them birthday cards and provide for them when the chips are down. There are random acts of kindness that help to break through when compared to the services from other companies.
What does your credit union do?
Step 5. Can’t live without you
You’ve heard about the old married couples that finish each other’s sentences…they practically read each other’s minds.
These people have reached such a symbiosis that they are
truly one. Imagine your credit union so integrated into your member’s financial life that they simply can’t find a replacement.
That’s the goal. Build a relationship that is so strong, so deep, that it is impenetrable from the outside. Yet, it’s so complete, that virtually all their financial wants and needs are met.
Like Emily, you want a lifetime relationship with your members. It’s not easy. But then neither is love.
Mark DeBellis has spent over half of his life in the Marketing profession and in the promotion and management of consumer brands and services. He seeks new ways to provide value-added services and product marketing strategies for PSB’s financial service clients. As a full-service provider, PSB Integrated Marketing offers creative concepts, graphic design and layout, in-house prepress, and on-site lithographic/digital printing, bindery in addition to secured mail house services in their Orange County, CA facility. Mark DeBellis is President of PSB Integrated Marketing and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; www.psbonline.com.