Five Tips to Generate Sales in Any Economy

One cardinal rule of effective selling is 'Don’t say no for them.'

September 22, 2010
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If your staff can sell now, they can sell in any economy. Remember, members still need products and services. And one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to avoid selling to people during tough economic times. One of the cardinal rules of effective selling is “Don’t say no for them.” In other words, offer products and services and let members decide if the time is right for them to buy.

To encourage members to use products and services from your credit union instead of from a competitor:

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1. Be familiar. Members notice familiar faces and they’re comfortable with employees they know. When staff build relationships, members trust their recommendations. They feel secure knowing the credit union is there to see them through financial challenges. Members notice the difference at TLC Federal Credit Union, Tillamook, Ore., says Mike Pierce, president/CEO. “Community commitment, financial strength, and most of all, great employees have helped make our credit union one of the top 10 nonprofits to work for in Oregon.”

2. Ask for the business. Urge staff to look for a need, engage the member, provide a solution, and then ask for the business. “Employees aren’t order-takers. They’re proactive solution providers,” says Amy Alexander, marketing director with Mutual Credit Union in Vicksburg, Miss. “It’s a waste of dollars to hand out an application if we haven’t first engaged them.”

3. Make it attractive. Capitalize on the positive press credit unions are receiving. “In today’s climate, doing business with ‘the credit union’ is seen as a wise financial decision,” says Lanet McCrary, vice president of marketing and business development at Magnolia Federal Credit Union, Jackson, Miss. Encourage members to make the smart decision to do business with you.

Next: Reduce the risk

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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