In 2010 I had several community bank and credit union clients that were challenged to grow their organizations. Unfortunately consumers were just not borrowing at that time. The question they were struggling with was how to grow an organization when consumers aren’t borrowing?
We managed to achieve 20% growth in consumer loans in 2010 by asking different question of clients. What were clients interested in at that time? Paying off their loans and getting out of debt? The economy was challenging and unemployment in the double digits. New layoffs were in the news every day, so we simply had their staff ask their existing clients the following question: “What have you done in the last 6 months to lower your monthly payments?”
The goal of this question was simply to engage the customer in a conversation about their current obligations. The follow up was simply, “the reason I ask is that we are interested in helping our clients save money. We have been able to help many of our customers reduce their monthly payments or pay their current loans down quicker by lowering their interest rate. Is that something you would be interested in?”
We weren’t asking about new debt; we were asking about helping them pay off their existing obligations sooner. This message connected with the customer base at that time. While everyone else was spending tons of money advertising trying to get customers who weren’t interested to borrow money, we simply asked existing customers if we could help them consolidate and save. The resulting conversation led to a significant amount of new business that was right under their noses all along.
The moral of this story: Be more creative than your competitors in uncovering the opportunity with the right conversation. Pouring a ridiculous amount of money into advertising is not always effective. Simply start where your customers are right now. Find out where their pain points are and help solve them.
Throughout the years following 2010, we’ve continued to use this approach to re-engage with customers and we continue to uncover new loan opportunities with both consumer and business clients, showing solid growth while others have struggled.
If you would like assistance in determining what is going to appeal to your customers right now, give us a call at 614-374-2890 or email us at [email protected] .