In my travels throughout the U.S., I make it a habit to routinely stop into both banks and credit unions to see how their service and sales stack up.
I visit under the guise that I’ve moved to the area and want to learn more about their financial services. Nine times out of 10, the representatives’ “opening line” consists of pulling out a brochure that outlines all of their products and services and then regaling me with the wonderfulness of everything they offer. Yawn.
Recently, I went to a local bank in Houston expecting the same response. But the representative took a completely different approach, catching me completely off-guard.
When she asked why I stopped into their bank, I explained I didn’t like the big bank mentality and preferred to support local businesses—including my bank.
She thanked me and then went on to say, “We offer the same high-quality products and services, which are priced about the same as most of the financial institutions around us. Let me tell you why we’re different and what you can expect from us.”
In two minutes, she told me their story, and laid out their strategy. And there were no brochures or product sheets in sight.
This was a totally new “opening line” for me. When I left, I had a different opinion and feeling about this bank.
So what’s your opening line? You want your members to know your credit union is different and member-focused, but do you take the time to tell new members what that means for them?
This bank representative did, and here are three things that stood out:
1. She focused on me and the value I’d receive from the bank. She didn’t talk products. Instead, she said:
2. She knew how the bank compared with the competition. Saying up front that the bank is competitive really diminished the idea I’d have to shop around for the best services or deals. She went on to say, “We aren’t always the low-cost leader when it comes to pricing,” but that I could expect the bank to work hard to give me options.
3. She told me what to expect. Knowing the bank likely will contact me with questions or follow-up eases my concerns something is wrong. I should actually welcome outbound contacts, because the bank has promised they’ll be a value-add for me. This makes it easier for the bank to deepen relationships and increase use of their products and services—a financial win for me and the bank.
Consider how you might alter your opening line to create a compelling reason for someone to join your credit union. Make it short and concise. And remember to share the value potential members will receive from the relationship. When they see how they’ll win, you and the credit union will win, too.
This article initially appeared in Credit Union Front Line newsletter, the monthly sales and service newsletter for branch staff and their managers. Subscribe now to the print edition or PDF version.