Happy birthday Jordan!
This week it’s Jordan’s birthday – and the fact that somebody noticed and commented on it made her day. By doing so, I just made a deposit in the emotional bank account that represents the relationship that I have with Jordan.
Want Sales? Build Trust
Almost every credit union I’ve encountered is interested in increasing sales with its members. There have been countless attempts to market, persuade, discuss, and demonstrate the benefits of various products and services that we feel are in the best interests of each member. Most of which don’t turn into sales at all. Why not?
Consumers “buy” with emotion, not logic. You would think that members would be making factual comparisons of your product against your competitor’s product and logically deciding which one best fits their needs. However, studies have repeatedly shown that we humans - as consumers - make decisions that are influenced more by the soft factors in the equation: Who do you know? Who do you believe will do a better job? Who do you trust?
The Emotional Bank Account
Stephen Covey, well-known author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, uses the metaphor of an Emotional Bank Account to describe "the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship" (p. 188). Trust is needed for a relationship to thrive. Without trust, we may manage to accommodate and even endure another person. However, a relationship without trust cannot be mutually satisfying in the long run.
As “warm and fuzzy” as this sounds, the concept applies directly to the relationship you have with your members. It will also determine whether they think of you the next time they have a need for a financial product or service.
Covey goes on in his book to describe six major ways of making deposits to the Emotional Bank Account:
- Understand the individual
- Attend to little things
- Keep commitments
- Clarify expectations
- Show personal integrity and
- Apologize sincerely when you make a "withdrawal"
As a consumer, I bet you can think of an experience you had where someone built a little bit of a relationship with you just by doing something simple. Acknowledging Jordan’s birthday is one example. Another instance happened to me today when the grocery store clerk and I had a brief conversation and thanked me on a first-name basis (which he knew because he had my credit card). Will I go back to that store and spend more money? You bet.
You and your staff work with countless members on financial transactions everyday, but how often are you working on the emotional transactions? As simple as this may seem, it really is hard to do well.
Please note that we’re not just talking about birthdays and first names here. The need goes much deeper. You have to be able to capture the dialogue between you and your members to build trusting relationships over time. Knowing why they’re in touch with you, what their concerns are, and how you have addressed those concerns will eventually lead to increased sales. By doing so you are building the kind of relationship that will make them come “back to your store and spend more money.”
To be able to comment on Jordan’s birthday today I had to rely on a few key practices:
- Listening to the conversations we had
- Capturing the essence of the discussion and
- Recording what I learned so I could use it later
You would think that I’d be able to remember this tidbit of knowledge, but the fact is that I – like you and your team – deal with a lot of people on a daily basis and just cannot remember everything. This implies a third essential item to be able to make emotional deposits – a systematic way to store and share information that can help refresh your memory the next time you talk with that person.
Your “system” does not have to be based in technology, but it does have to facilitate these objectives:
- Make it easy for everyone to record the essence of interactions with members
- Share the knowledge gained instantly with everyone in the organization
- Quickly present information about the relationship the next time someone comes into contact with that member
If you do decide to venture down the technology route, however, a real-time CRM system, like fiVISION’s memberWORKS solution, can work alongside your existing systems and pull together the information and knowledge your staff needs to hold the productive, accurate, and satisfying discussions that will lead to robust relationships with your members. Some CRM tools to look for include contact and member request management, potential member and sales performance tracking, managing cross-sell campaigns, and real-time data integration with other core systems. As a result, this type of solution can:
- Increase your responsiveness and accuracy in dealing with member issues, resulting in stronger loyalty and satisfaction levels.
- Increase the productivity of your staff because they have member knowledge at their fingertips and know the history of interactions with members.
- Increase your sales as you demonstrate your member knowledge, which will lead to discussions with them about the specific products or services they need.
Get Involved, Earn Trust
Imagine the power of your organization if everyone was involved in capturing, sharing, and using the knowledge gained in each conversation you have with a member. Earning your member’s trust – and their business – is something worth caring about. As Stephen Covey pointed out, attending to the small stuff — like keeping commitments — are the things that build up trust in a relationship over time.
Do you have the right tools to make deposits to your member relationships?