As seen in CU Times March 23, 2016, issue.
I recently attended NAFCU's Strategic Growth Conference in San Diego and the theme of the gathering wasn't: “How do we sell more products to grow?” The unofficial theme that quickly percolated to the surface was: “How can credit unions improve the lives of consumers?” From there, you will get growth.
Nothing too earth shattering here. But the refreshing aspect was that this message was consistently delivered by credit union CEOs. Gone are the days of yore when sales speaks through wrinkled newspapers, crackling radios and tube TVs. Yes, selling is still involved ultimately, but not overtly. That isn't how credit unions roll these days.
Don't get me wrong; rates are great, but it seems every financial institution has great rates in this era of 0.00008% APR. Nearly everybody knows it, though. As a primary message, it's become diluted. As a closer, it's still needed. The great connector now is: How can we improve your life?
This simple question connects because it has emotion behind it – and that sells.
The emotion stems from life's wants and desires: Wanting to be out of debt, a new home, a better car, an excellent education, a vacation, a worry-free retirement, 80-inch flat screen, investing advice or comfort. Our lives are home improvement projects always in the works and credit unions are the HGTV shows that can help make those improvements and quench those desires.
For example, we’ve all seen those home buying/renovation shows that feature an emotional couple getting caught up in the moment on whether to go with the waist-high wainscoting or wheat-colored wallpaper. It's fraught with tension – until the experts show up and provide sound advice on the better option. The once-weeping couple is now joyful with their choice after seeing the finished version of their fixer upper.
That's you, credit unions. No, not the tearful couple, but the experts saving the day. They’re emotionally charged and emotions drive action.
I’m looking at California Coast Credit Union's webpage right now, which is laden with life milestone images and emotional text:
For young professionals: “Life is getting busier and better by the minute. Together, we can get you where you want to be.”
For retirees: “Congratulations! You deserve this time for yourself. Together, we can get you where you want to be.”
For parents: “You’re juggling so much and caring for so many. Let us help you plan for your family's future.”
For college graduates: “You have your whole life ahead of you. Together, we can get you where you want to be.”
Notice there isn't a lick of rates mentioned. It's all “how we can improve your life” content – which resonates with all of us. It's the story you want to tell.
So what's your story? It's the credit union difference – not necessarily the member-owned, not-for-profit, low rate stuff. It's important, but most consumers today want action. What have you done for me lately?
As NAFCU Executive Vice President and COO Anthony Demangone shared in his presentation, it's extreme member service that improves lives – the actions that make news and create word of mouth. That's action we all can relate to, are attracted to and admire.
Demangone shared a couple of stories as samples of extreme service. One was from the Ritz Carlton. No, it wasn't about an honest-to-a-fault valet returning an accidental $100 tip for the intended $10 tip for parking a guest's Bentley. It was something much more humble, fun and relatable.
A family staying at the Ritz Carlton left the resort for home, but one of the kids left behind their stuffed animal: Joshie the Giraffe. A child losing their stuffed animal is like one of us losing our smartphone – a life or death situation. So the desperate dad calls the hotel to see if someone was able to locate Joshie.
The hotel's staff did find Joshie, thankfully. But here's where the extreme service kicks in. Staff members didn't just return the stuffed animal. With staff guidance, Joshie experienced many adventures during his solo stay at the Ritz Carlton – all documented on film: Sunning himself by the pool, getting a massage at the spa, making friends with other stuffed animals and driving a golf cart on the beach.
This amusing act of extreme service not only enhanced the vacationing family's loyalty, it also made headlines nationwide – most likely capturing the hearts (and dollars) of would-be Ritz Carlton vacationers. They didn't have to sell a thing. Their actions did all the selling.
Another story Demangone shared was closer to home for us: Visions Federal Credit Union President/CEO Tyrone Muse went undercover bagging groceries at the local Giant grocery store in Bethlehem, Penn. Muse would then tell shoppers who he really was and kindly paid for their groceries – showing the credit union difference and improving lives.
Visions didn't officially garner any new members that day, but the promotion did fill the credit union's staff and members with tremendous pride – along with making local and industry news and spreading word of mouth advertising from existing members to friends, family and peers. The fruits of its labor will most likely increase membership down the road.
And Visions didn't peep an ounce of sales speak. You can bet your bottom dollar that Muse wasn't talking rates while he was bagging and buying groceries. It was all generous action toward improving people's lives. Again, that's how credit unions roll.
So what is your credit union doing to improve the lives of members? What emotional story are you telling to make a difference and do the selling for you?
As seen on CUES Inside Marketing.
As video becomes increasingly prominent not only in our personal lives but in our businesses, creating sales productions for the “screen” are becoming staples of more and more marketing plans today. But I don’t see these productions as really sales pieces – unless it’s your local car dealer or furniture warehouse declaring (cue the baritone voice with the echo effect): “It’s our annual liquidation sale! Everything must go, go, go, go!”
Instead, video presents an opportunity to connect and teach on a personal level.
For credit unions, these productions (if done right) are tools that provide helpful, educational information to members and greatly enhance the value of your financial institution. A teaching-focused video can create and foster strong, personal connections that ultimately position you as a trusted, primary financial resource. That’s the road you want – not the loud, extreme “sky is falling” promo from Candy’s Classic Couch Emporium.
In this article, we cover eight steps on how to create an awesome sales/marketing/educational (whatever you want to call it) video production. Again, to achieve a greater connection with your members, you have to seriously consider producing a series of these videos that also rise above today’s ever-increasing marketing noise.
But how do you create a video that doesn’t fall flat or even repel the viewer, defeating the whole purpose? And believe me, there are plenty of them out there that reek of eau de lameness. To avoid creating a classic clunker, follow the eight steps below and you’ll be well on your way to a successful production that gains attention and results…
1. Get Attention
Right out of the box – or the first frame – use a compelling question, impressive statistic, clever humor, or a big promise to hook your members and keep them watching all the way to the end.
Much of the time credit unions are getting member/consumer attention with super low rates on loans. This tactic is fine, but after a while it almost becomes white noise. There are so many numbers flying around from different financial institutions, it’s dizzying.
One tactic that will permeate the eight steps and set you apart is creating a story that stems from a consumer’s desire to need a low rate. Why do they need it, how will it help them, and what do they need to do to get it? This would be an ideal stage setting, indeed.
2. Identify the Problem
Everything you sell must solve a problem. The bigger the problem, the bigger demand to solve it.
One big desire that most of us have, unless you’re Donald Trump, is to save money. The Donald, in all likelihood, probably doesn’t have too stringent of a budget to live on. But the rest of us, most likely, yes.
So the problem is to make a smart purchase and not to bust the budget. But “saying” and “doing” are two different things. How can the consumer achieve this feat successfully? That’s the problem. Now for the rub…
3. Agitate the Problem
It is not enough to simply identify the problem you will be solving. You must agitate it for your audience to really engage. What does that mean? It’s what happens or what the worst-case scenario could turn into if this problem persists.
In this case, we want to save because that’s what we’re told is the smart thing to do. But we also want to have the best, which might cost a bit more. It’s the classic case of the angel and the devil on each shoulder bickering about saving vs. spending.
That’s agitating that we all can relate to – and resonates really well on screen.
4. Identify the Solution
The solution isn’t you or your credit union’s products or services. The solution creates an inherent problem, which is: how do I fix or stop the original problem?
Cue your credit union riding in on shiny white stallion ready to save the day: a.k.a. the solution. Your credit union is the solution because it’s a solid financial institution that has super low rates, superb member service, and much more that allows the consumer to perhaps spend a bit more and save at the same time.
That’s pretty cool. So how does one do this at your credit union? Let’s proceed to step five.
5. Introduce your Product/Service
Now it is time to introduce what you’ve been pitching. Include a big promise or guarantee with your introduction.
For example, it’s time to show off your new auto or mortgage lending package with those super low rates that will allow your member to spend and save – satisfying both desires. You can also declare, in a non-salesy tone, that your credit union’s rates are some of the lowest in town – or even the lowest if that’s accurate.
6. Results and Benefits
What does your product/service do that will benefit your members? Can you demonstrate any unique features or selling points? (Remember: For video, you want to show, not tell.)
Here’s another cool strategy to use: To decide if each result or benefit your product offers is worth sharing, ask yourself: “So what?” after each.
This question is an excellent barometer to see what registers and what doesn’t. But just don’t ask yourself, ask others – especially people who are not associated with the credit union. You want this message to resonate strongly with your viewers. What results and/or benefits really matter? It’s the “proof in the pudding” that will spur your members to act.
7. Your Call to Action
What should your viewer do next? Use the “if/then” formula to create your call to action. For example, you could say: “If you are struggling with buying your first home, then click here for our first-time home-buyer mortgage loan packages” or “If you have less than stellar credit, then stop by and check out our special auto loan offer for you.”
Whatever the message it is, it’s imperative that you literally instruct your viewer on what to do next. If you don’t prompt them to act, your video is simply an entertainment piece. If you do prompt them to act, then it’s a potential sale that ultimately helps them in the end – a definite relationship builder. They’ll love you for it. So tell them what to do.
8. Social Proof
If your members who are watching haven’t taken action yet, try including endorsements, testimonials, super short case studies, and reviews in your video to provide social proof. These folks need a little more prodding to get moving – and social proof usually gets them out of their chairs. Social proof is peer-related proof that’s relatable. If they see somebody who has a similar story, immediately they can relate and it makes it real for them.
So those are our eight steps to creating a killer credit union sales video. These steps have been proved time and time again in other industries – and even other media. So why not credit unions and video?
You can have each of these eight steps strategically placed in a 30-second commercial or even a two-minute informative piece. Time doesn’t matter – just as long as each step is included and illustrated.
Lastly, video is not going away. It’s only going to become a more and more popular and effective tool for businesses. Now is the time to start working with it. Or if you already are, now is the time to refine and perfect your messaging tactics with it.
What are you doing with your video sales/education pieces? And how are they working for you?
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.