Networking: Mix It Up!
by Sean McDonald
Credit union business development professionals (or buisiness development professionals from any other industry, for that matter) need to be master networkers. Many times, the day doesn’t begin at 9:00 nor does it end at 5:00 for BD pros. That’s because they are out developing relationships at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast or an after-hours business card exchange sponsored by the local Economic Development Commission. The best credit union BD folks are always networking in some capacity and they have developed the skills to recognize an opportunity to start and develop relationships with centers of influence.
I often use an analogy when describing the acquisition of new business by credit unions. Basically, I remind people that our industry shouldn’t be compared to the movie “Field of Dreams.” Remember that one and the catch phrase that will live forever? “If you build it, they will come.” If only it was that easy!
BD pros have to go out and get the business but what if there was a way to get centers of influence from the community, small business owners, or other potential partners to come to you? I’d like to suggest a way to make that happen.
Contact local business groups and offer to host one of their many networking events at your credit union. Promote it as a “wine-tasting” event or something similar. Partner with local merchants to supply the food and beverages. A few things will happen if this is all done properly: