8 ways to make the most of your virtual connections.
Remember the “old days” when credit unions could build new business by holding an in-person seminar or hosting a booth at a local event? Those opportunities aren’t completely gone—and can still be a powerful way to connect with prospective credit union members. But the reality is that member prospects are increasingly likely to be on the other end of a webinar, email or social media post, not sitting on the other side of the (literal) table. What can your credit union do to build connections in a world that’s largely gone digital? Here are eight ideas that can help.
1. Put one person or department in charge of your business development efforts…
When no one’s accountable, it’s a lot less likely you’ll achieve the results you’re looking for. Assign a person or department to oversee your efforts. Choose someone who takes ownership and will go beyond the routine to hit your goals. Other key skillsets to look for include organizational skills, excellent communication, and a reputation for working well with others.
2. …but make business development part of everything your credit union does
Although it’s critical to put one person/department in charge, that doesn’t mean all business development efforts should fall on them. Instead, view every member-facing activity through a business development lens. Are you launching a new product or online banking feature? Sponsoring a local event? Writing an educational article for the business or consumer press? Partnering with another business on a project? How can you leverage each of these to get the digital word out to people outside your current membership base?
3. Build partnerships
Your credit union is likely a whiz when it comes to in-person partnerships. Look for ways to create those in the virtual world too. Co-sponsor webinars, virtual conferences, event series and roundtables. Ask to be a guest on popular industry podcasts. Pose relevant questions on your LinkedIn page and invite others to weigh in.
4. Turn presentations into conversations
Amp up the power of your next online event by spending just 15% of your time talking and setting aside the rest of your time for Q&A. You’ll give attendees a chance to drive the flow of the discussion and increase the chance of converting prospects into clients.
5. Strive to create client advocates
Your current clients can be the best way to build new business. Mindfully and intentionally live out your client promises—the best way to earn referrals. And when your current clients send prospects your way, be sure to thank them both for their business and for their recommendation.
6. Ask for—and respond to—feedback
Make it easy for people to offer feedback whenever you hold a virtual event or share content through a webinar, online educational tool or blog post. Be prepared to respond to feedback that warrants it (and develop a thick skin for negative comments!).
7. Market before and after your event
Whether the “event” is a Zoom call, an email, a webinar or a social media hang-out, what you do to advertise leading up to the event and how you follow up afterwards is as important—if not more important—than the event itself.
8. Give your business development team time and space to get the job done—and back them up.
Great digital business development won’t happen overnight. Set clear timelines, goals and expectations, measure results and give the person or team the time and resources they need to do the job right. And make sure they, and your entire credit union, know you’ve got their back.