Dead Week or Do Week?

Dead Week or Do Week?

Wow—we’re almost to 2011! I can’t believe we’re about to put the wraps on 2010. It’s been a wild ride for credit union marketers, executives and management teams. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is sometimes a “dead” week. While recharging your batteries is essential to a successful upcoming year you don’t want to lose energy now. Instead turn this last week of December into a “do” week.To Do List

Here are some suggestions regarding strategic, leadership or marketing tasks you can “do” this week:

(1)    Tweak your 2011 strategic plan

Change happens—quickly. Even if your credit union crafted its strategic plan in this past Fall, odds are things have already changed. For example, the Fed’s interchange fee proposal could drastically alter every credit union’s projected income for next year. Spending an hour or so reviewing your plan now is time well spent and will yield dividends next year.

(2)    Analyze your marketing results

Hopefully you’ve already done that throughout the year. However, now is ideal for reflection and review. Ask yourself the following questions about every one of your 2010 promotions: what worked well, what didn’t work well and what changes would you make?

(3)    Plan a motivational meeting or assignment for your team

If you have employees working for you, now is the perfect time to get them motivated for 2011. Spend some time preparing a special year-beginning activity with those that work with you. Maybe you can challenge them with a big, hairy, audacious goal. Or come up with a clever theme. Perhaps even suggest a book for them to read. For example, my CEO passed out the Talents Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers that the executive team is going to read the first few months of the year.

(4)    Take a long lunch with one of your employees

Too many times in the day-to-day rush of getting things done we don’t take time for our people. If now is a time when the task list has shortened then perhaps it’s ideal to catch up with your employees (if they are in town). Instead of having a rushed lunch where all you talk is business, take a longer lunch and linger over conversation that doesn’t have anything to do with work.

(5)    Organize your files

Okay, so this one is not strategic. But if you’re unorganized you won’t be able to focus on strategic issues. Odds are at some point this year you were racing and racing to get everything done. That may have left your office in a state of disrepair. Now is the ideal time to put things back in order. As you organize your files, remember two simple words: “throw away.”

So instead of just eating leftover Christmas cookies, take a few minutes this week to set the table for 2011.

Generational Talking Points (Part Two: Boomers)

Note: This is part two of a two-part series; this post examines Boomers; the prior one looked at Matures.

Many front line tellers and member service representatives are from the Dot-Com Generation while many members who frequent a credit union branch are from the Baby Boom or Greatest Generation. Can you say “generational disconnect?

Yet successful selling is all about connecting.  So how does someone from one age group relate to someone from an entirely different segment? How does someone with multiple tattoos and piercings connect with someone with some grey hair? You build a bridge with generational talking points.

Here are subjects younger front line salespeople can use to build better relationships with Boomers. Born between 1943 and 1960, Boomers are currently between the ages 50 and 67. (Note to @rshevlin, you never want to call Boomers “ex-hippies!”).

You can talk to them about:

1) Economic Concerns
The difficult economy has the Boomers especially concerned. While the economy has damaged each generation, the Boomers are feeling it in their hearts and pocketbooks. Their 401ks and home values dropped so fast in the past two years their heads are spinning. Naturally optimistic by nature (remember, this generation was going to change the world), they’re living a pessimist’s nightmare. They are keen to talk about what the economy is going to do.

2) Debt Consolidation Loans
While Matures hate debt, Boomers have embraced it. Thus, they have a lot of it. The most popular credit union product for the Boomer generation is a debt consolidation or home equity line of credit loan. These are the products you lead with. So begin a conversation with “We might be able to save you lots of money every month by combining all your debt into one loan.”

(3) Retirement Planning
The new joke going around Boomer circles is their 401k is now a 201k. When it comes to their retirement, Boomers have taken it in the shorts lately. If your credit union offers investment planning steer Boomers that way. Boomers want to learn how to maximize their resources and plan for a retirement that is fast approaching. A fun way to engage them is simply ask what they want to do when they retire.

4) Their Current Job
Boomers are workaholics. In fact, according to a recent study, in the two decades since Boomers joined the American workforce the average time spent at work has increased one full month per year. So get them talking about what they do for a living, if they like their job, what they would change about their work environment, etc.

5) Changes in Their Financial Situation
In the coming decades, Boomers are going to inherit a sizable amount wealth. Some estimate that the typical Boomer is going to get 10% of his or her wealth by inheriting their parents’ estate. Odds are, if you are talking to a Boomer they may have aging parents. While you don’t want to say, “So has anyone died in your family lately?” you may want inquire about how they plan to take care of their parents as they age. Boomers are “sandwich parents”—caught between their aging parents on one end and their own kids finishing school on the other end. So try and tap into some of that financial change and stress.
 
These five simple conversation starters can not only help you connect with Boomers, they can also help you win their business.

Generational Talking Points (Part One: Matures)

Generational Talking Points (Part One: Matures)

Note: This is part one of a two-part series; this post examines Matures; the upcoming one looks at Boomers.Talking generations

Many front line tellers and member service representatives are from the Dot-Com Generation while many members who frequent a credit union branch are from the Baby Boom or Greatest Generation. Can you say “generational disconnect?

Yet successful selling is all about connecting.  So how does someone from one age group relate to someone from an entirely different segment? How does someone with multiple tattoos and piercings connect with someone with lots of grey hair? You build a bridge with generational talking points.

Here are subjects younger front line salespeople can use to build better relationships with Matures. Born between 1925 and 1942, Matures are currently between the ages 68 and 85. You never want to refer to them as “seniors” by the way. Instead, talk to them about:

(1)     NCUA Concerns

Because they are children of the Great Depression, Matures want to know their money is 100% guaranteed. And while NCUA is backed by the full faith of the U.S. Government, many members are far more familiar with the FDIC than the NCUA. So just use a simple phrase like, “NCUA works just like the FDIC” to reassure them.

(2)    Credit Union History

Most Matures love history—after all they’ve lived that history for many years now. So use that to your advantage. Talk about the age of your credit union, your credit union founders, what was going on in the world when your credit union started, etc. While you may not want to say, “Why, you’re older than our credit union,” you could say “You were 13 years old when our credit union was founded. What was going on during that time period?”

(3)    Estate Planning

Matures are getting ready to transfer a large amount of wealth to the other generations. Many are into leaving a legacy for their family. A great open ended question to ask is, “What legacy do you want to leave your kids and your grandkids?” That open-ended question could get them into a great conversation about their financial assets.

(4)    Other Deposits

Matures do not have all their deposits at your credit union. Yet, according to one recent survey this age group holds close to ¾ of all the assets in the U.S. That means they have money elsewhere. So ask about it. “Do you have CDs or investments at other institutions? What would it take to earn your business and for you to consolidate more of your assets here?”

(5)    Thank You

While it’s important to say “thank you” to every member no matter their age, it’s doubly important to do so with Matures. In today’s environment, we tend to devalue older people. In marketing, it’s all about reaching the coveted 18 to 34 year old demographic. Don’t treat older members like a bother. Instead say, “We appreciate your long-time membership. If it weren’t for members like you, we would not have the credit union we do today. We value you a great deal.”

 

These five simple conversation starters can not only help you connect with Matures, they can also help you win their business.