This blog has featured several dozen posts that deal with the growing discipline of credit union business development. As these posts seem to get the most attention, click-thrus, shares, etc., I thought that another business development post around the Holidays couldn’t hurt.
It has always been my belief that credit union business development is the fastest-growing discipline in the industry – please note that I do not consider mobile banking or remote deposit capture to be “disciplines” in this sense. Business development takes a certain skill set, persistence, and system to work properly and to achieve results. Indeed, business development must go beyond the handshake.
In our industry, the professionals that are charged with business development are tasked with creating, cultivating, maintaining, and expanding mutually beneficial relationships with centers of influence in the communities served by the credit union. This takes a lot more than attending an after-hours “meet and greet” at the local Chamber of Commerce. In addition, so-called “speed networking” events are not the best option for a credit union business development professional. Indeed, Credit union BD professionals must transcend and redefine the usual characterization of “networking” by placing enormous emphasis and painstaking effort on building relationships.
I want credit unions to redefine how business development is done. Period. BD isn’t about the number of business cards that you can collect at a luncheon, trade show, or other similar events. BD results and effectiveness should not be solely measured by the number of cold calls you make in a week or the number of onsite visits that you conduct at your SEGs or the number of community events you attend. Don’t get me wrong, having goals associated with these activities is still important but they have to be measured in the proper context. For example, if your BD department has a goal of conducting 4 on-site visits per month but comes back from those visits with no new members, no new loan leads, etc. – what has actually been accomplished besides giving people some trinkets or pens or key chains?
Many credit unions have implemented incentive programs for their business development departments. Some credit unions are considering doing so. When designing these programs, make sure that you are placing significant importance on goals that demonstrate the quality of the business relationship.
Credit union business development is not simply a numbers game. And it should never turn into one.