- Written by webmin
- Published: 14 Sep 2010
Having the right contacts is crucial in the business realm, and in banking, it’s one of the most important assets you can have. From the bankers’ standpoint, the more they put themselves out in the community, the more people they’re going to meet — and the better their chances are of converting acquaintances into customers.
As a businessperson, it’s important to be visible to the banker. So it stands to reason that if the banker is active in the community, a good way to stay on that banker’s radar screen is also to be involved in civic and social activities. This will pay off in many other ways; it’s likely that you will meet potential customers or other professionals who can boost your business.
Lesson No. 1 – See and Be Seen
Ron: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. In other words, I might not know a certain banker, but if I’m out in the community doing things, the banker might know who I am and would want to get my business.
Greg: That’s how I met you — you didn’t know me, but I knew who you were. From a banker’s standpoint, I want to be out in the community, meeting people. Then if you need to borrow money, you’re going to think of me, and I will probably know who you are. That’s going to help move the banking relationship forward.
Ron: Okay, so once you know who someone is, what kinds of things do you want to know about the customer?
Greg: I want to know that you’re confident, that you’re experienced in what you do and that your credit report is clean. I want to know that you’re a person of your word. It’s also a big
plus for me if you’re active in the community. I’m a firm believer that your rent to society is your community service. So, if I see somebody being a troop leader, they are out there paying their rent to society. That factors into my decision.
Ron: That first meeting is really important. I call it a leg sniff because you’re sizing each other up. At that point, it’s less about how many widgets you’re going to produce and how much profit that’s going to make, and more about your character and how they feel about you. Bankers all have their own little hot spot and their own little things that help them determine on the leg sniff whether they like you or not. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of preparing for this meeting, and being buttoned up on the presentation. I always tell people they should send the presentation at least two days before the meeting. The banker isn’t interested in hearing a presentation about a bunch of boring (but necessary) stuff. The meeting will be much more productive if he’s had time to review the materials, including a personal financial statement and a printout of a tri-bureau credit report (which will speak indirectly to your character, and keeps him from wondering or running a report, adding to your inquiries). You do monitor your credit report at least quarterly, right, including scores? But if you aren’t buttoned up and ready to discuss the material, you may lose all credibility. Bankers have an uncanny knack to go right to the one aspect of the presentation where you are weakest. You should consider presenting it to a knowledgeable friend, or present it to a bank you don’t expect to do business with, and after you get your teeth in your throat with a strong “No,” you will be ready for a banker you like and think you are most likely to do business with.
Greg: I always love a customer who knows their stuff, and having the presentation in advance lets me know they are serious, and doesn’t want to waste either of our time.
Ron: After they’ve created that relationship, customers need to be seen in the bank. You don’t even have to speak to the banker; they just need to see you.