Okay, I know some of you don’t want to talk recession. And I get it, I mean there is this feeling out there that if you just don’t talk about it it won’t exist. Or there is the argument that if you don’t participate in a recession that somehow it will not happen to you.
Now, if that works for you, good for you, who am I to judge. I mean, maybe hope is actually a strategy. But for me, ignoring reality has never worked. I do much better when I see what is coming, embrace it, and create a plan.
While I may not be an optimist, I am not a pessimist either. I do believe no matter what the marketplace does that there is opportunity out there, I mean a lot of opportunity. I actually think that your credit grow could grow more in 2023 and 2024, then it did when the economy was red hot. Why?
Because I think your members need you more when the marketplace is shifting and the economy is tough, then they did when things were healthy and consistent. Also, I think a tough economy thins the herd so to speak. Your competitors either drop out, or they struggle because they don’t adjust, and they don’t change. This leaves the playing field wide open.
So rest assured, things may be changing and there maybe obstacles ahead, but none of those things will prevent you from growing. If you are open to understanding how the marketplace is changing, and you are open to adjusting your strategy.
5 MUST-have strategies to grow no matter what the economy does
- Secure Your Base – you need to begin by talking to your members. JUST talking to them with no intention of doing anything but learning. Before you create your strategy for success in a shifting marketplace, you need to understand how it is impacting the most important part of your strategy – your members.
As the marketplace changes, so will they. The challenges they face, the problems they’re worried about, the goals they have, and most importantly the support and solutions they will need.
You need to invest the time to learn what they need, so you can build a plan that fills their needs and predicts their challenges.
- Redefine Member Service – no longer will remembering your member’s birthday and being hyper responsive be considered good member service. No, if you want to succeed no matter what this marketplace does you need to redefine member service. Believe me your members will.
Again, your members need you. They need you to understand the marketplace, the obstacles they’re facing, the challenges they don’t even realize they have, and come to the table with new ideas and new solutions. They need you to provide confidence, a plan, and give them the security that they can count on you to help them successfully navigate this shifting marketplace. You need to redefine member service to mean proactively providing member solutions. Service now means being one step ahead of your members, predicting their challenges and having the solutions and answers they need to succeed.
- Super Charge Your Sales Process – when the economy changes so does your members’ and prospects’ decision making process. They both get more unpredictable. Face it – as this marketplace becomes more uncertain, members and prospects are more reluctant to make a decision, and even more reluctant to buy from a professional who appears to need the sale.
Success in a tough economy is a matter of increasing your activity, so you have more moving through your pipeline, more chances to close sales and you’re able to give your members and prospects the room they need to get comfortable with decisions.
The more you have moving through your pipeline, the less you will push prospects, the more confident you will be, and the more sales you will actually close.
- Embrace The Suck – the only way out is through. I learned that phrase years ago from a groovy yoga instructor. The meaning is that you cannot avoid pain in life, that the only way to find success and move past the pain is to move through the pain.
Now don’t worry, I am not about to get you to hold hands and sing KUMBAYA. The teaching style may be out there, but the lesson is solid. As this economy turns, and the challenges start to mount, don’t run away from them. Don’t avoid them. Embrace them. Embrace the suck. If you accept the shifts and changes happening in the economy and focus on what you can control, you will actually start to find new innovations and solutions. Innovations and solutions that will be valuable for your members and your own business.
- Review and Adjust – and last but not least you need to realize that some of the things you are doing right now to grow your credit union will not work in three or four months. Now, it will not be your fault they won’t work (nothing you are doing wrong), it’s just that as this economy shifts, so will the skills and strategies you need to succeed.
To keep up, to continue to succeed, every few months you will need to objectively look at what is working in your business, what isn’t, and what you could be doing that you are not. Review and adjust to stay productive, not busy.
Again, I think we are in for challenging times, and this next year is going to be full of some unexpected bumps. But I still think it can be one of your best years, if you embrace these strategies, and realizes recession changes everything.