Why: Because the conversation is about them—and what you can actually do to help with their particular situation.
Here are four ways to research before you go in:
1. knowledge from similar customers
Of course you must be highly confidential about your other business relationships. But if you spend a little time mapping out the trends you see in particular groups of customers you can spot some nuggets:
- Are others in the same industry struggling with financing equipment?
- Will the new tax laws affect their business—for better, or worse?
- Is foreign competition eroding their margins?
- You get the idea.
2. input from centers of influence
What do your referral sources say? Their knowledge of what’s happening with their peers is likely deeper than yours. Ask them for help with background:
- What do they hear on the street?
- What’s the discussion in their circles?
Listen for information and insights.
3. social media
A lot of bankers are reluctant to be active on social media. Get over it. You need to be on Facebook, LinkedIn and any other places where your customers are active.
Watch the social media accounts for the business and its key people. These will give you more information on what they’re pursuing, new challenges and opportunities.
- How are their customers interacting with them?
- Are their reviews?
There’s a wealth of knowledge there. Use it.
4. put the search engines to work
Search the company and their competitors. Find out more about:
- key people
- their trade associations
- reputation on employment websites
You can also access D&B and others like LexisNexis. If your institution doesn’t subscribe to these, your local business librarian does.
Does your customer need an antacid? Bring it!
Resist the temptation to go in with your Band-Aid. Bring solutions that address the heartburn and you’ll develop a healthier, happier (and profitable) relationship.
Let us help you create a better business development strategy your institution. Call Martha direct at 785.969.6203