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This post piggy-backs off comments by Glenn Burroughs, Senior VP with PNC Business Credit, about what business borrowers are, or should be, looking for in a lender.

Your lender should take time to understand the business and find creative, flexible solutions for the company. The company should understand the lender’s credit processes, its reputation for getting deals done and how the lender typically reacts if the business underperforms.

So answer these five questions. If you cannot answer yes, fix that. Then brag about it!

Do you take time to understand the business?

If so, how do you demonstrate that. It is not enough to just say you do. Take a look at the bank advertisements, everyone is saying it. How about case studies on your website?

Are you able to and do you find creative, flexible solutions for the company?

Once again, be sure you share that information with prospects and current customers alike. Specifically. Give examples. Tell stories. Show how you can apply what you have done for others for the business you are talking with.

Do you clearly communicate your credit process to your borrowers? 

If yes, could you do it better? How about checklists of what to expect and when?  The only surprise your business borrowers want are the good kind. You got them a better rate than expected, done sooner, with less hassle. Any other kind of surprise is a bad thing.

Do you have a reputation for getting things done?

If yes, how do you spread the word? Testimonials on your website and in your promotional materials? Ask for referrals from happy customers and then go a step further, and ask if they’d email their recommendation directly to the prospect?

Do you have a positive process for the next steps if the business underperforms? Is it something to brag about?

I was cleaning up after one of my tax return analysis training workshops and got to chatting with a lender. Turns out he had been a business owner and at one time, the business got into difficulties. He said it was the best thing that happened to him when his loan got flagged and turned over to ‘special credits’. Those lenders had experience in helping turn things around and specific advice that was the key.

This one is a tough one to find the way to brag about, but can be a key factor for a business that is going through a rough patch. It does not take a genius to predict some rough patches ahead.

If you cannot say yes yet, fix that. But that is not good enough.

In order to keep customers and win prospects, you need to brag (tastefully) and specifically. Saying “We take the time to get to know our customers” is like saying nothing…because everyone says it. Giving specific examples makes it believable.

What are the other key factors that will set you apart when your current customers and prospects are shopping for a lender?

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Linda Keith, CPA

Linda Keith CPA is an expert in credit risk readiness and credit analysis. She trains banks and credit unions throughout the United States, both in-house and in open-enrollment sessions, on Tax Return and Financial Statement Analysis.
She is in the trenches with lenders, analysts and underwriters helping them say "yes" to good loans.
Creator of the Tax Return Analysis Virtual Classroom at www.LendersOnlineTraining.com, she speaks at banking associations on risk management, lending and director finance topics.