As people become more cautious about their spending and face diminished purchasing power, the need to demonstrate value has never been more critical. To navigate this landscape successfully, credit unions must employ strategies that not only attract prospects but also retain them through valuable interactions.
Multiple studies have shown the top three financial challenges facing Americans are managing debt, improving their credit scores, and building savings and emergency funds. With the right line of questioning, you can navigate these financial conversations, build rapport, and turn objections into opportunities for lasting relationships.
Here’s a line of questioning to help you qualify and identify needs:
Question one: Can you share your experience managing… (credit cards, student loans, medical bills, savings, credit scores, etc.)?
Notice this is not a “yes” or “no” question. Now, you may get, “I’m fine” or “Everything is good,” but you can follow that up with, “Tell me more” or “Everything is good?” It is important to be empathetic. Consider their tone and body language, as well as your own. The objective here is to get them to open up about their situation.
Even if they put up a wall, realize that it’s not a true “no” so much as a “no, not yet.” According to MarketingDonut, 92% of sales professionals give up after the fourth call, but 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes.”
Question two: What support would help you feel … (secure, relieved, confident, happier, etc.)?
This question not only identifies the pain point, it demonstrates a general interest in the person’s well-being, which helps build rapport and trust. This question can indirectly reveal hidden worries or objections that you can address.
The support they identify may not be what you had in mind, and that’s okay. It gives you insight into what knowledge they have and what limiting beliefs they are telling themselves. Armed with these insights into their emotional needs, you can adjust your communication style and emphasize aspects of your lending, savings, or everyday banking products that specifically cater to their needs.
Question three: It sounds like if you could get a handle on (specific financial challenge), you would (state aspiration or goal), and I’m confident I can get you there. When can we begin?
Repeating what the person tells you is a powerful communication technique in sales. It demonstrates active listening, clarifies understanding, validates the member’s feelings, and confirms agreement.
Are you free and clear from objections? No. In most cases, this is when you may get, “Now isn’t a good time,” or “I need to talk to my spouse.” Ask for a specific time in the future when it might be more convenient for them. Sometimes the timing truly isn’t right, or they do need to consult someone else, so schedule a follow-up.
Even after all their sharing they may still say, “I’m not interested.” Ask for feedback and follow up. Make their input feel valuable. It’s okay to ask what didn’t quite resonate with them so you can better meet their needs when you reach out in the future.
Remember: Your prospect should be doing most of the talking. Your questions are about getting insight into their financial journey. And, keep in mind that persistence pays off. By focusing on the member’s well-being, you are gaining valuable insight beyond a one-time interaction and building a foundation for a longer-term, mutually beneficial relationship.