This is the third in a continuing series of articles from Ron’s newest book, Getting To Yes With Your Banker. The book reveals 93 secrets about how to get more out of your relationship with your banker. Presented in a Click and Clack format, successful serial entrepreneur Ron Sturgeon and community bank president Greg Morse, of Worthington National Bank in Tarrant County, share the lessons they’ve learned on the path to yes.
A must-have guide for both established businesses and start ups, Getting to Yes with Your Banker is packed with tips and advice about how to choose the right banker and how to build a solid relationship with him or her. The previous article in this series covered giving your banker what he or she wants.
Courting Your Banker
Long before you ask a bank for money, you need to begin building a relationship with your banker. You can start by opening a business checking account and getting to know everybody at the bank, but — particularly if yours is a new business — you should not expect to walk into a bank with a business plan and borrow some money.
The first step is to decide which bank and which banker you’d like to work with. Once you’ve identified the banker, it’s time to work on meeting him or her and on developing a relationship. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know that this bank is the right one for you and your business, and you’ll also know that the banker you have targeted has the lending power to approve the amount you need and is familiar with (and favorably disposed toward) your type of business.
If a friend referred you to the banker, have the friend arrange a lunch meeting for the two of you. Although your first substantial meeting with the banker should be at your office or place of business, a friendly introduction over lunch is an effective way to get acquainted and see if there is potential for a long-term relationship.
“It’s a good idea just to swing by the bank, pick him up — make it easy on the banker,” Greg says. “Lunches are important to bankers. We’ve got to eat every day, so we might as well make it count by spending time with clients or potential clients.”
Take a proactive approach to locating the right banker for you and your business. Do your homework and you may find that you can even get your banker to pick up the check as you take the first step on the road that leads to yes.
Meeting the Family
As with any courtship, it won’t be long until the relationship needs to involve more than you and your banker. Meeting other important players at the bank is vital to solidifying a successful banking relationship.
A good banker will encourage you to meet other employees at the bank, from the tellers to the bank’s other officers. You should take the initiative to build relationships with these bank employees.
Most meetings with your banker should be face to face — and, with the exception of the get acquainted lunch meeting, these meetings should be held in the banker’s office as often as possible because that gives you more opportunities to establish relationships with bank employees. Another reason you should meet at the bank is that it’s a lot easier to tell you no over the phone than it is to tell you no face to face.
In the next article, we will discuss more about courting your banker and why you don’t want to work with a relationship banker.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, business owner, consultant and peer bench marketing leader, combines over 35 years of entrepreneurship with an extensive resume in consulting, speaking and business writing. Ron can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, 817-834-3625 or by email at rons@MrMissonPossible.com.