Corelation Conference: How to stand out in a sea of sameness

by John San Filippo, Corelation, Inc.

To be successful in today’s marketplace, you must do more than just sell things. That’s the powerful message acclaimed speaker, author and success coach Dr. Jackie Freiberg delivered Wednesday morning to open the 6th annual Corelation Client Conference.

Credit unions and vendors alike must create an experience, Freiberg stressed. That applies to members, customer and employees; in short, anyone you engage with.

Freiberg began her address by telling the story of Tim Ciasulli, the former president and CEO of Planet Honda, a car dealership. Recognizing that a) he was in a commodity business and b) that consumer pain points were generally the same no matter where the consumer shopped for a car, Ciasulli set out to create a different car-buying experience.

For example, upon arrival, buyers were directed to a kiosk. If they told the kiosk attendant that they just wanted to look, they were presented with a large “just looking” sticker to wear around the lot. As long as the consumer displayed the sticker, no salesperson would approach them. If the consumer wanted to engage with a salesperson, they removed their sticker.

According to Freiberg, this approach was a huge success. Planet Honda got 70 percent of its business from customer referrals. What’s more, on average, Planet Honda charged about $1,000 more per vehicle, a premium consumers were willing to pay for the improved experience.

Freiberg went on to share the stories of other organizations that had figured out how to, as she put it, “stand out in that sea of sameness.” However, she made it clear that it all starts with employee engagement, noting that even though it’s unrealistic to expect to have employees for life, those employees can still be advocates for life.

“When we engage our people, we create people who want to work with us for a long time and who strive to improve the member experience,” she said, “not because they have to, not because they’re told to, not because they’re trained to, but because they want to enrich your members.”

“Credit unions are here to enrich the communities they serve,” she said in closing. “How will you enrich, how will you engage, and even more important than that, where do you need to show up to make a difference to your employees and your members? That’s the question of the day.”

More News