4 ways to deepen member relationships

Simple ideas for increasing breadth, depth, and retention of existing banking relationships.

July 31, 2018

Increasing member share of wallet--the amount of business a member does with your credit union versus banks or other financial services companies--is a constant battle.

In the CUNA Councils webinar “The Alchemy of Increasing Member Share of Wallet,” Michael Shallanberger, executive vice president & director of consulting services, Schneider Sales Management, offers four simple ideas for increasing breadth, depth, and retention of existing member relationships.

1. Re-board single service or low service households.

First, ask your members in face-to-face conversations or focus groups, “Why don’t you do more of your business with us?”

From there, your initial focus should be to sell them more of what they already use. Then, sell “most like” products.

And when the relationship deepens, that is when you can explore more products beyond the member’s initial reason for doing business with you.

2. Convert indirect loan members to “full-fledged” members.

Members generally only care about their new vehicle. It is difficult to convert these indirect relationships into full-fledged members.

“It can be done, but there is some work involved,” he says.

The conversion often takes three to four contacts during the first 90 to 120 days of your indirect relationship.

The first call needs to review the loan details and thank the member. You should also seek to provide relevant added value, Shallanberger says.

You can try auto maintenance discounts, travel discounts or offers, car washes or detailing coupon book, or rate discounts for use of auto pay on the loan.

On the second call, you want to earn the right to continue talking to them by saving them money through refinancing or by other means, he says.

“If you can do something to put more money in their pocket, they’re going to change the way they think about you,” Shallanberger says.

The third call should be about switching the member to a deposit relationship. Activate a savings or member account and then target checking accounts, he advises.

3. Consolidate other relationships.

Focus on winning the member’s next financial decision, instead of getting them to switch financial institutions right away.

If you can collect a couple of wins in a row, you’re much more likely to consolidate the relationship in the future, he says.

Have your front-line employees stress:

  • You can protect the member against fraud and identity theft if they have all their business with you.

  • They could be losing every year by having their business spread around through extra fees, lost interest, and wasted time on banking.

“If we can get our front-line folks talking like this, it is going to lead to the conversations that are going to take us to more consolidation,” says Shallanberger.

4. Win future business.

Life moments, such as going to college, marriage, buying a home, or retirement, create the best sales opportunities.

Profile your members for upcoming life changes and then provide them relevant offers at the right time, he says.

The first business or person who has the conversation with a member about a new need generally wins the business, he says.

“If we are not the first ones talking to them, there is a good chance we're going to lose, even if our product is better,” Shallanberger says.