How Small Business Lending is More Challenging Than a Typical Sales Role
Congratulations! You’ve just hired an incredible salesperson! She’s personable, articulate, and intelligent … but she’s never worked in small business lending.
Still, you feel her strong prospecting skills and knack for uncovering needs, presenting solutions, and closing deals are enough to make her your next small business lending superstar. But small business lending is a bit more complicated than other types of sales.
In addition to typical sales skills, small business lenders must be able to qualify businesses (to determine whether they can sell to them); assess business, industry, and financial risks; and evaluate management’s strategies for addressing those risks.
While most salespersons just need a “yes” from the customer, small business lenders must first identify a solution that satisfies both the customer and the loan approver. Oftentimes, the solution that’s approved isn’t the one the customer requested or expected; other times, the request is declined, and the lender must deliver negative news.
What’s exciting about lending, however, is that there are many customer touchpoints, which presents lenders with multiple opportunities to establish themselves, as well as their financial institution, as trusted, knowledgeable partners, who are able to provide valuable insights to small business owners.
So how can your new small business lender bridge the gap between a traditional sales role and the lender’s role, position herself as a trusted partner, and improve the odds of a successful outcome for the customer and the financial institution? The answer is by having more-effective conversations.
Small business lenders must view every conversation as an opportunity to add value, both for their customers and their financial institution. They must know how to engage business owners in ways that demonstrate their credibility and build trust but also yield the information they’ll need to evaluate the opportunity. They must know how to develop—and share—financial insights with the customer and the loan approver. Finally, they must know how to present solutions (and even declines) in ways that continue to position themselves and their financial institution as engaged and interested in the best outcomes for the business.
Learn more about how our small business lending training solutions can help your small business lenders succeed.