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Harley-Davidson Exec: Time For CUs To Roar
MADISON, Wis. (10/22/13)--Ken Schmidt is Harley-Davidson's brand visionary and communications strategist and he says if he were to open a business in 2013, it would be a credit union.
According to the Credit Union National Association's members-only Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, Schmidt believes small community-based businesses can grow by capitalizing on today's anti-big business mindset among consumers. He made his remarks to the 2013 Solutions Conference hosted by Card Services for Credit Unions, a credit union card processing association with over 3000 members.
Schmidt presented the following blueprint for member service representatives, the newsletter reported recently:
  • Get people to talk about your credit union and its services with passion. Don't just seek customers, but strive for disciples: members who believe so strongly in your credit union that, without prompting, they'll tell others about their good experiences and your good products and services.
  • Call members by name. "While I finance my bikes with the credit union, I have an account at a major bank that I go into every Friday," Schmidt says. "Do you know what those bank employees think my name is? They think my name is 'Next.' Don't underestimate the importance of using your members' names."
  • Humanize the business. Harley-Davidson learned the hard way that data and numbers alone don't sell a product. That's because most decisions come from the heart or an affinity to something--they're illogical, according to the Harley exec. So, forge a connection with members. "Only one in 100 members will choose a credit card from your credit union because of a brochure you have at the front counter," he says. "But how about saying to members: 'Do you want to see something cool?' No one's going to say 'no' to that. And then you can physically show members a card and explain where and how they can use it to obtain rewards or other benefits."
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