When: Aug. 18-21
Where: San Diego
Registration and information: training.cuna.org/fuse
Business development is a marathon, not a sprint.
Many credit union employees charged with business development err by attempting to close sales too quickly, says Denny Graham, president/CEO and founder of FI Strategies.
“The sales cycle in this type of selling can be long—so long as to be exasperating,” Graham says. “It's not uncommon for two or three years to go by before a SEG [select employee group] prospect agrees to join up.
“Patience and persistence, short of stalking, are required,” he adds.
Graham is among the industry experts who will speak at CUNA FUSE: Branch Operations and Business Development School, Aug. 18-21 in San Diego.
The conference, produced by the CUNA Center for Professional Development and endorsed by the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council, presents innovative ideas to fuel growth and streamline efficiencies at your credit union.
According to Graham, any type of business development sales plan must assess these four components:
- Target market. What types of SEGs and employees are you targeting?
- Value proposition. How does your credit union differ from the competition—and more importantly, why should your prospect care?
- Communication channels. How are you going to attack the prospects? Direct mail? Calls? What promotional items might you have and use?
- Staff accountability. Who is going to make the contacts? Is this the realm of business development staff only, or do branch employees play a role? If so, what role?
Increasingly, branch managers handle some level of business development duties, while also overseeing day-to-day operations, which have become more complicated.
Employee engagement and team-building have grown in importance. And at many credit unions, branch managers operate with the entrepreneurial mindset of a franchisee, which requires a solid understanding of branch performance and its impact on the credit union bottom line.
At CUNA FUSE, instructors provide tutorials to participants using their respective credit unions’ actual financials, culled from NCUA call reports.
“It’s one of the most stressful jobs there is, because there are so many competing demands on time,” says Jenny Hoyle, chief operations officer at Isabella Community Credit Union in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and a CUNA FUSE instructor (at right).
“Branch managers are coaches and team builders," she says. "They have their hands in business development, lending, sales, technical support, fraud protection, and more… all while creating a remarkable member experience in a highly competitive marketplace. They at least have to be aware of all of this stuff. The skill set has definitely evolved.”