In today’s challenging financial environment, credit unions and banks are squeezed more than ever when it comes to making money. Long gone are the days with a six-point spread between interest rate deposits and loans (does anyone other than a historian even remember 12% loans and 6% deposits?). Margins are shrinking almost daily. If it weren’t for non-interest income most financial institutions would be swimming in a sea of red.
More than ever, credit unions and banks need to grow revenue. But how? One way is to have all your employees read The Revenue Growth Habit by Alex Goldfayn. But not just read it: implement his suggestions and actions.
The subtitle says it all: the simple art of growing your business by 15% in 15 minutes a day. Sounds too good to be true? I don’t think so—because this is one of the best books I’ve read in the last five years. It is an absolute must-read. The book is full of awesome content, not the least of which are 22 growth techniques. This is not some book on theory: it is extremely practical.
Below are three principles from the book and how we can apply them in the financial services world. For the remaining dozen plus ideas, be sure to pick up a copy of The Rev it’s a wonderful read full of ideas).
(1) Demonstrate the value
What is marketing? Goldfayn defines it this way, “the proactive way of communicating your company’s value to people who can buy it.” In other words, you must demonstrate the value you bring. As much as possible, quantify that value (in terms of money saved, fees avoided, loans made, etc.). Sometimes we overly complicate marketing, when it fact marketing is just about showing value.
- Application: Show how your financial institution brings value to consumers. Stop talking about your product’s features. Start communicating what you do for consumers: save them time, make their financial dreams come true, etc. People do not want your products and services: they want value.
(2) Communicate testimonials systematically
One the fundamental principles Goldfayn preaches in The Revenue Growth Habit is gathering testimonials and case studies. But not just when you feel like it or when you have time. Make acquiring customer or member testimonials a part of your marketing system. He notes that, “in terms of revenue growth, there are few better investments of your time than….customer interviews.”
- Application: When are consumers the happiest with your financial institution? Probably when you just approved them for that loan or opened their new checking account. That is a perfect time to find out why they are doing business with you. The key with testimonial gathering is it must be a part of an overall process. Whether you put it as part of the front-line staff’s job process or the marketing department’s back office support function, make sure you “interview” your happy and satisfied consumers on a regular basis. In other words, make testimonial gathering a part of your follow-up procedures.
(3) Focus on quantity
With marketing, we want everything just right. Cross all our “T’s.” Dot all our “I’s.” Rather than pursue perfection, Goldfayn suggests repetition. “In revenue growth, ironically, quantity trumps quality,” he says. That doesn’t mean you send out crappy marketing material. However, it does mean that quick, systematic repetition is the key.
- Application: Stop doing “pot-shot” marketing, where you send one piece, don’t get the ROI you wanted and halt your marketing. Nike’s famous slogan is “Just Do It.” With marketing, that means “Just Market.” Consumers should hear from you on a regular basis: not just once a month in a newsletter. Marketing requires 24/7 attention.
Those are just a few key points from only three of the major principles in The Revenue Growth Habit. I’m not joking when I say that I underlined about half the book: it was that good. I am even reviewing my notes on a regular basis and requiring my team to read it. This book is honestly a game changer: not just because of its principles but because of it’s easy to implement practical suggestions.
If you want to grow your credit union or bank’s bottom line, then I highly suggest you read The Revenue Growth Habit.