What do banking relationships and romantic relationships have in common? You’d be surprised to know how being fundable is, in a lot of ways, being dateable. Join Merrill Chandler as he finally gets into a full discussion of a metaphor that he has been using over the years. From checking out prospects, to dating and courtship, getting engaged and getting committed, banking relationships are all about open and honest communication between lender and borrower, much like in romantic relationships. So uncanny are the similarities that the only real difference between personal and banking relationships is that with the latter, you can be polyamorous and get away with it. Listen in and learn how you can have the makings of a deep, mutually-respecting business lending relationship.
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The Secret To A Successful Banking Relationship
It’s finally here. I’ve been working on this using bits and pieces of this metaphor for literally a decade and now is the day. We’re going to be comparing building business banking relationships to personal love and romantic relationships. Here it is. I’ve used it so many times that you guys need to hear it start to finish and everything inclusive. We’re going to be talking about how building a personal relationship like a romantic relationship. How it is part and partial? How it is identical in every way to building a business banking relationship that’s going to deliver you hundreds of thousands or millions in business lines of credit. Let’s get started.
First of all, there are six areas. Five areas but one is a given receive. There’s checking them out, curiosity, each way. You’re creating interest, they’re creating interest, but there’s the checking out process. We go to the dating section then a part of our relationships, both personally and with our businesses, then we go into courting. Courting is not dating but courting is not engagement, which is the fourth area of engagement and then there’s the committed relationship. I say committed relationship in honor of folks who aren’t able to get married yet and seal it but it is a long-term committed relationship.
Checking Out The Prospects
Let’s go through each one of these and see what you think. I love this metaphor. Number one, lenders are trying to create interest in you by mailing you offers. In my bootcamp, in the book, we talk about never respond to offers but what they’re doing is you are interesting enough. Usually, it’s because of your income. It isn’t necessarily because of your credit score because people have 580 credit score and still may get offers but there is enough interesting about you to open up a dialogue. Just like you’re at the coffee shop, somebody finds you interesting, she approaches you, and says, “I like the book you’re reading.”
There’s enough interest to start a conversation, dialogue, or create to see if there’s anything here. That’s the curiosity stage. Who is this lovely person? Who is this dashing gentleman? Who is this borrower? Who is this lender? The way we demonstrate interest is by wanting to achieve a goal. It may be buying a home or getting a car. Even a credit card but we express interest in they make us offers but they also make very attractive offers inside of, let’s say their websites. If you google what’s a great miles credit card then you’re going to get dozens of mentions. The way they speak, the language, offer, rebates, points, all of those things are how they create interest in you so that’s the offer.
They show interest in us by doing a soft poll, a promotional inquiry on your credit report. They’re now pinging you. They’re checking you out. They’re saying, “Who is this person because they look interesting to me?” They’ll do what’s called a promotional ping. They can also do known as a soft inquiry. A soft inquiry doesn’t harm you. It doesn’t even tell you that the lender is checking you out, just like somebody watching you play volleyball. They’re like, “He’s awesome.” “She’s a spectacular player. She’s cute.” “That guy is so fit.” Whatever it is that we’re looking for but they don’t even know we’re being checked out.Your credit score is your attractiveness quotient, but your borrower profile is where the depth is #GetFundable Click To Tweet
They don’t know that you’re checking out the banks by looking at their offers and you don’t know that they’re checking you out by doing soft polls, promotional inquiries, etc. I get to cover it in more detail. One of the reasons why I tell people not to respond to the offers that you see, don’t put in the promotion code, because all of a sudden, you’re telling them, “You’re great. Come on over.” All of us have learned over our relationship cycles is that anybody who is too interested, our curiosity drops. Somebody is too interested, then all of a sudden it’s like, “I don’t know, fine. I’ll go to coffee.” There’s not the excitement. There is not the tease. There’s not the inquiry.
That’s why I say when a bank or a lender sends you an offer, don’t respond there. Go to the bank and say, “What do you get?” knowing you’re already checking it out. Those offers are all about the tease. You’re looking to create interest but notice what we do. Let’s go back to that volleyball in the park idea. We’re fit. We’ve been playing volleyball. We’re looking for someone that would be interesting to us to share our time and energy with. We have gone through the work to put ourselves in shape. Whatever shape looks like to you, financially, we want ourselves to be in shape but that does not mean an 800 plus credit score. Being in financial shape is going through what we discussed in the bootcamp, no bounces.
Having a new zero, impressing lenders, both current lenders and future lenders. You’re in financial shape so that when somebody looks at you, they’re like, “Damn, gorgeous. I like them.” On the surface, they look awesome and they fit my criteria. Notice personally and our business banking relationships have the exact same dynamic. When they check you out, you want to demonstrate that you are awesome. That is an amazing borrower profile, so when they do that soft poll, they’re like, “This is interesting. This woman is amazing on paper.” We’re doing the same thing when we’re checking them out. We’re looking at their websites for the credit instruments or otherwise. We’re like, “This is awesome. They got 80,000 miles on Southwest Chase card for the business.”
On its face, I’m totally into this bank’s offer like your volleyball players would be or somebody sitting at the coffee shop then it’s making contact. Every one of us put our best foot forward. How do we make content? How do we go from the curiosity, the checking out stage, the checking them out, them checking us out? The way we begin the dating process is they do a hard inquiry. Think of a hard inquiry in the online dating. You have a profile in an online dating. That’s your borrower profile. If you’re in an online dating, we could even talk about Tinder. You swipe left or swipe right.
You look at Tinder, and there are other dating sites that you use this, you swipe right because they fit that initial curiosity that you have for a partner, business making partner, or a personal partner. When they dive a little deeper, they’re going to check out your profile. Lenders look at your borrower profile but they’re not just looking for that score. Your score is your attractiveness quotient, “He’s an easily on an eight.” That’s your initial score. The score has no depth as we’ve learned in the book, in my bootcamp, in the momentum mastermind. The borrower profile is what has the depth. Your personal dating model, they’re going in and they’re checking out all of your details. The things that you have produced about yourself. The good news is in the banking world, in the lender-borrower relationship, you can’t lie.
It is the truth. They get to see your borrower behavior. Think of it this way. When they’re checking out your profile, you’re showing them your priorities, likes, and dislikes. That’s equivalent going to Facebook and they see your profile. In the personal world, you look at the profile and check out your LinkedIn profile. Everybody calls it, “I stalked this guy because I want to ask him out. We work together.” They Facebook stalk and LinkedIn stalk and Tinder stalk, whatever the platforms that they’re using. What’s the difference between that and the lender is stalking you on the Experian, TransUnion, or LexisNexis?
They’re checking you out in every way and you’re showing them who you are. We call it in the bootcamp and our university your borrower behaviors, your borrower profile but you’re showing your traits, your tastes, your borrowers, and your behaviors financially. Think of it personally as someone looks at your Facebook page and it’s like, “They’re a Netflix binger. They have 50 top videos, and they have no activities outside.” That’s going to tell an outdoor enthusiast like, “They’re cute. I’m interested at the shallow level but I don’t like watching TV that much.” They’re going to the gym. They start looking at who you are. In the 21st century, anybody is checking you out on all the available platforms before they may even ask you out.
Finding The Right Fit
They don’t want to waste their time going any kind of connection or depth until you are interesting to them. Once they’re interested, then it moves into dating. The way we ask each other out is you submit an application to one of the offers, credit cards that you’ve seen, or otherwise. Let’s start with credit cards. We’ll move in a deepening relationship with the other credit instruments. You get a credit card. You’re not responding to the mail offer or the online offer, clicking a button, and putting in a promo code. You’re not doing that but you do like what they’re offering. “I love that Chase Southwest card or that Chase United card. I’m all-in with those things on the business side.” You begin an electronic relationship.
This electronic relationship is the soft poll initially for what’s my sense of them. It goes into a hard poll and that hard poll is, “I want to know everything I can about you,” says the lender to the borrower. That hard poll is the first date. That first date is where the lender and you meet. They review your profile and say, “I want to start something with you.” Let’s say that the credit card is dating. I’m going to use Chase because I’ve got a whole bunch of instruments from them, so I’ll use Chase as an example. Chase does a hard poll and I put in all the goods inside my application. They review my application, and they’re like, “I like you. Let’s go out. I’m going to give you a credit card.”
How much they like you is that’s a $500 secured credit card or a $25,000 unsecured credit card and they’re going to base that on how solid your profile is. Let’s go at what that means in the dating and moving into courting. When they review your profile, they’re going back 24 months and they want to see how good are your relationships. Are there any diatribes on Facebook that’s where you’re going off on a partner or your ex. Do you have similar values or goals? This is the dating moving into courting. “I’m going to test you out. I’m going to trust you with my love,” says the man or the woman to the person who’s seeking their attention. The lenders are saying, “I’m going to test you. I’m going to give you a little love. I want to see what you do with it. I want to know that I can trust you.”The best long-term relationships are built on the risk of mutual destruction #GetFundable Click To Tweet
How is that not exactly like personal relationships? We’re stepping on thin ice. We’re like, “I like them. What about this? I’m going to test it out. I’m going to take them home to meet my parents. How do they do? Let’s go hang out with his brothers and sisters. Let’s go hang out with his or her friends.” All of a sudden, you’re now integrating your lives together as you go through this dating process. As you move towards courting, you’re asking the questions because the presumption here is each party is looking for a long-term relationship. Lenders are looking for a lifetime relationship. You’re looking for a lifetime relationship.
Let’s move the metaphor through those stages. Do you have similar values and similar goals? Do you have each other’s back while you’re courting? Did you stick up for your beloved while they were in a fight with a friend? Did you stick up for this partner? The lenders want to know how you showed up for your previous lending partners. That’s all in your profile, your borrower behaviors. They want to know how you treated them. Was it with deference and respect? Was it consistent and dependable? Are you that crazy boyfriend or crazy girlfriend that goes off bipolar because you’re not ready? You’re not a very mature partner yet in a relationship and nobody wants a long-term relationship.
Most of us don’t want a long-term relationship with someone who’s going to whip sauce through the rest of our days. Do we get serious in the same way? The lenders are saying, “Do they prioritize me?” You’re saying, “Do they prioritize me?” Here’s a couple of examples of what that means. Think of prioritizing me is the lender offers you a chance to do a moratorium on payments and you didn’t because you didn’t have to, even though they wouldn’t necessarily know whether or not you need it. If you would have asked, they would have done it because they offered it to you, but did you take advantage of something and take from the partnership rather than give to the partnership? Did you prioritize them in that relationship just like our personal relationships?
Am I a priority? Do you want to go to that backgammon tournament instead of going with me to see my family? Navigating, and negotiating those priorities. Are you a good partner to a relationship with parents, with children, with former spouses? Are you good to them afterwards? How many times have we heard, “I’m dating my next ex-boyfriend or my next ex-girlfriend?” We begin with the end in mind. Are you good to the people that you are no longer working with? Somebody looks at your auto loan and says, “How do they treat that previous auto loan?”
Yes, it’s paid. It’s no longer active, but how do they treat it? Were they good to that lender? Is there drama associated with it? We look at Facebook and all of our social media for places where there’s drama in our personal relationships and all those same dramas show up in bankruptcy courts, collection agencies, or in internal collections at a bank. Do we have drama? Even if we couldn’t pay a bill in the past, what would the lender say about you? Were you transparent? Were you cooperative? Were you always updating them on how things were working? There are codes. For installment loans, it’s R1-R54, revolving accounts and installment loans is I1-I5.
Do you realize that normally, you can get be marked as an I5 for an installment loan? The lender has the ability to grade you as the higher or the worse, they may give you an I1 because you were delight to work with even though it was charged off. They have the ability to evaluate you as a borrower by using the I or R series, installment loan or revolving. An R5 is a horrible indicator but you might be an R1 and still have a 90-day late. How do you treat the decline in these relationships? Is this borrower trustworthy? Is the lender trustworthy? When things got tough at COVID, did your lender bail or did they lean in and make offers to you?
The question is, did you use it when you didn’t need to? See how our relationships go back and forth like do you leverage your wife’s financial reputation to make yourself look bigger or better, or vice versa. Do you collaborate as a partnership on how both of you raise your financial reputations, personal reputations together as a team? How are your lenders responding to COVID? How are possible or future lenders responding to COVID? How do they show up? Every one of us know that during times of stress is where we reveal our true colors. Our partners, both banking, personal, family, parents, children, everybody in the universe, when they’re under stress, that’s the truth of them, at least under stress.
What’s been your commitment to your lending partners? By the way, your credit profile is way more extensive than Facebook or social media, Instagram, and LinkedIn could ever be, far more revealing to the future lenders and financially romantic partners are going to check you out. How do you fare with previous partners? The other thing is as you’re courting, what’s their long game? What’s Chase’s long game? I can tell you right now, Chase wants me to have every single one of their credit instruments for the rest of my life, credit card, credit line, business loan, auto loan, mortgage. They call it wallet share of how much money I spend every month.
Getting In For The Long Haul
They want the biggest slice of that wallet share and what does a meaningful relationship look like to Chase? Most of you have done it at some point in your dating relationship where you were courting. You’re like, “This is cool. I’m digging this. This is working.” Before you got engaged, it was like, “What do you want out of life?” What does a meaningful relationship mean to you? As I said earlier, you got to match values and priorities. If each of you have different priorities or different values, this isn’t going to go very far. When you’re going from courting a lender, engaging with this lender, a credit card is an important relationship builder but I’m not putting a credit card in the engagement process.
Engagement means I’m going to give you the most precious thing that I have. That is the heart and soul of my offer. A credit card is like, “Let’s go skiing. Let’s play around. Let’s do our thing. Let’s have fun.” A business line of credit is a business loan. For lenders, it requires much more commitment. That’s when we become engaged. Once we have developed, it could be a few months or few years but in our model, we want to go through the six months of dating and courting before we start the process of saying, “Why don’t we take this to the next level?”Good relationships thrive in honest and clear communication #GetFundable Click To Tweet
How do lenders deepen their relationship with you? They say, “This is the most precious thing that I own. It’s called a business line of credit. It can be abused easily and I’m holding it back until I know more about you.” That’s why the credit card is such a great way to spend 90 days to six months minimum of showing them your priorities, your values, that you have their back, that you prioritize them, all of those things that we talked about. Everything that we talked about, you’re consistent, you’re dependable, and you have other amazing relationships. They take by offering or you guys negotiating coming to the place in your relationship where you are raising the bar. Lenders increase their risk significantly by going for a business line or a business loan.
What is that risk? How have you proven up? What is your profile? What are your borrower behaviors? Now that you’ve been with them, have you translated those previous borrower profiles that they’re aware of from other relationships? Have you translated those over to your relationship now with Chase? They’re increasing their risk and you’re increasing your risk. All of a sudden, they give you $50,000 to $100,000 business loan. They’re at risk and you’re at risk because if you do not handle it well, your entire financial world will fall apart for 5 to 7 or more years.
It will completely decimate you. Isn’t it the best long-term relationships mutually assured destruction? You’re both at risk. You’re both scared and you’re both wanting this to be the best. You want to take that sacred instrument that they’re giving you and show them, “Look what I can do. This motivates and inspires me. Everything that you’re giving me, I’m creating a bigger and better world for both of us.” In turn, they’re saying, “I trust you enough to give it to you. Please, don’t disappoint. I trust you, go for it. Can we do it on these terms?” That’s what the automatic underwriting criteria is. That’s what the automatic limit increase criteria is.
Deepening The Relationship
They’re saying, “I’m going to take this back if you don’t operate. Please, honey, make me feel safe.” How many of us in our personal relationships have either had that conversation or wanted to have that conversation, “Please, honey, make me feel safe?” “Yes, I believe in you. I want to take the risk with you but please, make me feel safe.” Isn’t that what we’re doing? By following those traffic guidelines and slowly building on that relationship. We go from engagement to a committed relationship because they’ve now given us a business loan or line of credit but we deepen that relationship by getting the other instrument too.
We don’t have to outside of this metaphor, but they are all-in. That’s what a committed relationship means, guys. You cannot have a personally, professionally, or a truly committed relationship unless you’re all-in. They even have bellwether dates. The 25th anniversary is your Silver Anniversary. Your 50th anniversary is your Gold Anniversary. You’re all-in. Everything I got is yours. You say, as a borrower to the lender, “All my priorities, I’m going to protect this relationship with everything that I got. With my life. I’m going to protect this relationship because you believed in me and I want to make you feel safe because the more you give me, the more we prosper together.”
Remember, the lender doesn’t make a dime unless he or she lends to you. He doesn’t make a dime without lending but you get to make your partner feel safe. That’s the entire process for building upwards of $1 million in business lines of credit. In a good committed rate relationship, you don’t make assumptions. You have open, honest, and clear communication. You have the hard conversations. There’s transparency. If something is going wrong in your side of the relationship, you call them up and you say, “I’m telling you right now, I’m at risk. Something is going south for me. I want to tell you and I want to work out a way so that we can create a win for us even if I have to step back a little bit before we move forward. Please understand.”
In a personal relationship, I’m being called to join the service, to go away. We need a long-distance relationship but I want to maintain this relationship and it’s going to be hard on us but I’m committed to this relationship and you do the things necessary to stay open and transparent in your conversations. In personal and business banking relationships, the biggest treachery, the biggest cause of failure for our relationships is our fear of coming to the other and telling them what’s really happening for us. I know bracketing this part of the conversation from all of the lender seminars and meetings that I’ve been attending. The subjects always include numerous ways of how do we use that transparency to nurture our relationship further.
That’s where the moratoriums are coming from. That’s where the payment deferments are all coming from. They want to preserve the relationship. You guys have heard me say in other times, 2008, it was scorched-earth policy. They wanted all the houses back. Everybody was repo-ing and foreclosing on houses. They found that that model didn’t work because they burned every relationship they ever had and there were long-term negative effects. Now, they’re nurturing these relationships but we get to show up, transparent, honest, and forthright in our conversations with them. Some of you that are new to all of this and you haven’t learned the strategies for protecting your limits.
Many lenders are lowering limits exactly how you pay down a balance so that ruins your utilization because you’re always near 100%. There are ways to negotiate that with lenders but you have to go through the curiosity stage, the dating stage. You’ve got to nurture this relationship and you’ve to give them proof that they can trust you to keep that limit a little higher. These are the things that make our long-term relationships prosper. As a little sidebar, the funny thing is our banking relationships versus our personal relationships are polyamorous. That means we can have healthy, powerful, productive relationships with more than one lender.
It is a little more difficult but we can have multiple loves when it comes to building relationships with banks and we get to take care and nurture every single one of them. We get to make a stand for who we are. We get to display proudly our borrower profile like our online dating profile, Facebook, or professional LinkedIn page. It doesn’t have to be a personal relationship. Stand behind who you are and create a borrower profile that looks amazing to a lender. It creates interest. They want to date you, they want to invest in you, they can test you, and see that you are a standup gal and guy so that you have the makings of a powerful, profitable, and deeply self mutually respecting business lending relationship. I will see you next time.
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