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MEMBER BUSINESS LENDING: Creating a Better Member Experience through Cross-Selling

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BY RYAL TAYLOE

Still thinking of cross-selling as a pushy tactic? Your members might not be in agreement. In fact, many of today’s CU members are viewing cross-selling as very desirable proof that their needs are being anticipated. Discover why cross-sales are vitally important to your credit union and how to make such efforts more effective.

“Cross-selling” is the practice of selling or suggesting complementary products. While many people consider crossselling a negative or predatory practice, if done effectively, it can actually help your credit union create a better member experience. Think about it: If you could effectively provide additional products and services that your members want, when they want them, you would not only improve your bottom line. You would also change the whole dynamic of your relationship with each member by showing your ability to anticipate his or her needs. Given the way your members interact with anticipatory technology like Google, Apple and Amazon in their everyday lives, it’s not surprising more and more members expect their credit union to have the ability to similarly predict their needs.

Further, the best opportunity for growth often lies in a credit union’s existing membership. Driving growth organically among an existing member base is more cost effective than acquiring new members. What’s more, it fosters a culture geared toward creating great member experiences. For these reasons, the ability to cross-sell products is vitally important to credit unions. According to a 2013 Gallup Survey, which surveyed 9,000 financial services customers, one in every five individuals opened a new account or signed up for a new service from their financial institution during the previous six months. Gallup also found that those individuals who are “fully engaged” with a financial institution were much more likely to buy an additional product than those who are just “satisfied.” For example, while less than 45 percent of satisfied customers surveyed by Gallup said they would consider their bank or credit union the next time they needed a product or service, that consideration increased to 83 percent among customers who were both satisfied and engaged. These latter members are more likely to open a new account, add ancillary products and services, and/or obtain planning advice than those who are merely satisfied. In other words, fully engaged members are very open to the cross-sell.

Once your credit union understands the importance of cross-selling and is ready to take the next step, Gallup offers the following tips to making your cross-sell marketing program more effective:

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