Business is based on relationships, and the relationship between a business and its banker is critical to success—for both parties. A business needs a bank to support its growth, and a bank needs customers to survive. A banker who fails to connect with his or her clients might find those customers moving their business elsewhere. Likewise, a business that fails to connect with its banker might find that it’s missing out on key products that can help it grow.
As a financial marketing agency, we help banks and credit unions initiate—and deepen—these relationships. As CFO, I am keenly aware of the importance of this relationship, as well as how tenuous it can sometimes be.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, banks looking to build stronger relationships with business should focus on the “Three T’s”:
- Talk—Create an open dialogue and be honest, even if the news is negative.
- Time—Cultivate and grow the relationship. Allow the dynamic to flourish.
- Trust—Mutual respect and honesty is the foundation to success.
What would I like from my banker? I’d like him to:
- Check in on me quarterly. Find out how I’m doing and if there any changes that my company is facing. I’m not afraid to ask for your advice and guidance.
- Be a good listener. Learn about my business and the challenges that I face.
- Invite me to social functions. A social environment allows us to solidify the business relationship.
- Keep me in the loop. Let me know when there are rate changes or changes in technologies.
- Be available. Use your support staff when necessary, but make your presence known.
What do you think? Share your ideas on how financial institutions can strengthen their customer relationships.