The current business development market has changed over the last few months. It may feel impossible at times to reach new potential SEGs and their employees. Below are a few tips to overcome the current obstacles from COVID-19.
Revaluate Your Target Demographic
The select employee groups you targeted before may no longer be the best match for you. Their company or employee demographics may have changed due to a decline in the economy. What demographics are you currently targeting? You may need to switch from location-based demographics to focus more on the credit scores of individual employees. It is important to diversify your SEGs to avoid concentration risk. Adding SEGs can be your credit union’s beacon in an economic storm.
Leverage Company Databases
Once you have your target demographic set, you need a strategy to find everyone who meets those criteria. But where do you look? There are a variety of data sources that you can find for free or purchase. While all their information may not be accurate, it will provide you with a solid start to create a prospect list for your outreach. For instance, our SEG targeting tool allows you to filter by a variety of data and see if that SEG is serviced by another credit union.
In-person networking events are going to see a long and slow uphill battle until things begin to normalize. Now is the time to master LinkedIn messaging. You should set a daily goal for yourself on how many potential SEGs you would like to connect to. Scripting this message is going to be the most essential part of the outreach. I would recommend scripting up to three messages that include your initial message and two additional follow-ups. Additionally, you may consider hosting a virtual happy hour or a webinar.
I am sure many of you have received emails from vendors trying to sell you something, and you wish that they focused more on your relationship than on your budget. Now is your time to shine. Consider creating free educational materials for employers to pass out to their employees. You may want to focus on turnkey content they can use that clarifies recent relief laws and what they mean for everyday people. People are going to be focused on saving, or they may need a personal loan to get by, but they may not know who to trust or where to go. Now is a great time to build on that trust.
Stop Using Dumb Forms
You want to make the process as easy as possible for a SEG to join your credit union, which is why you want to make your form a “smart form.” There are many ways to do this, whether you use an autocomplete database to fill in the information for them or merely automating the follow-up process. There is no reason to cause confusion or put an undue burden on a prospective select group by making them create their own request letters. There are multiple options out there to help create a more dynamic form. There are plugins such as Zapier, Gravity Forms, and even Google forms has conditional logic. There are also different software options, like our Digital SEG Application that automatically generates and completes all of the necessary documentation for adding a new select group. All a prospective group needs to do is complete a short form. Whichever you chose, make sure it makes the SEG process as intuitive, seamless, and quick as possible. Nobody likes a long and tedious form!
Shared Branching/ATMs to the Rescue
If your credit union is adding new select groups, you should buy an ownership interest in any shared branching or ATM networks you participate in. A credit union can use any shared branch or ATM in a network to satisfy the service facility requirement for adding a select group, provided the credit union is an owner in the shared branching or ATM network. Therefore, an ownership interest in shared branching and ATM networks allows you to extend the service area you can add select groups within. The NCUA typically considers a service facility’s service area to extend somewhere between 25 and 30 miles.