Behavior Issues

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When it comes time for CUs to build the emotional attachment necessary to turn a repeat member into an apostle, the CU advantage lies in the personal connection, according to Tony Alessandra .

"Follow the Golden Rule-do unto others as you would have them do unto you," he advised credit unions at NACUSO's annual meeting. "However, this can backfire if what you want is different from what others want. People don't tell you how to treat them, so you have to figure it out."

According to Alessandra, people fall into one of four core behavioral styles based on their level of open versus guarded personalities, and direct versus indirect relations with others. When these two factors are plotted on a grid, the four quadrants are: "relaters," "socializers," "thinkers" and "directors."

The Four Types

* Relaters are a combination of an open personality and indirect relations with others, he said. They are collaborative, their typical vehicle is a mini van so they can get the entire family in, and their theme song is "We Are the World."

* Socializers are open and direct. They are spontaneous, but will change their mind a lot before they are sold on something. They typically drive a sports car, especially red, and their song is "Celebration."

* Thinkers have guarded personalities and are indirect in their interactions with others, Alessandra said. They are analytical, drive a Volvo because of the brand's reputation for safety, and their theme song is Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

* Directors are decisive and want as little "chit chat" as possible. They are the worst listeners because they don't want to waste time and "they already know the answer," Alessandra joked. The vehicle of choice for directors is a Hummer, and their song is "My Way."

It is important for CUs to know which of the four personality styles their members fall into because each will want to be treated differently, he said:

Relaters want to be appreciated, and will want their contact with the credit union to spend time getting to know them.

Socializers like people and want an entertaining discussion, but don't want to feel hurried. They want to hear summaries, testimonials and incentives in order to make a decision.

Thinkers want a demonstration with actions, not words. For a credit union to make a proper impression on a thinker, it must be systematic, exact and prepared with a list of advantages and disadvantages of any plan.

Thinkers also want guarantees their actions cannot backfire.

The Four Types

Directors want a relationship that is businesslike and task-oriented. The credit union's contact must be precise, efficient and well organized, and provide alternative actions with brief supporting analysis.

"Ultimately, a credit union will utilize one-to-one people skills to build an emotional attachment with its members," Alessandra said. "Know how to deal with each of the four styles. Relaters want people to be friendly, socializers want them to be dynamic, thinkers want precision and directors want it rapidly-do it and get out."

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