14/06/11

By Rob Warlow

Very rarely is success achieved without going through a vigorous preparation phase and when it comes to getting a business loan it’s no different. Getting that elusive ‘yes’ from the bank is tough enough in today’s climate but to attempt it without fully preparing yourself is going to substantially reduce your chances of success.

Recently the CEO of the UK’s Forum of Private Business said that the time has come for business owners to think objectively about how they appear to potential lenders. Preparation is one of the key factors in how you come across to lenders.

Here are some steps you can take prior to the meeting to ensure you are fully prepared.

Write a Script

Whilst the bank will have your Business Plan reading it on its own cannot help him assess the real person behind the business … you.

To make the best of this opportunity you have to prepare a script which sells you and the business. Take each aspect of your Business Plan and write a list of the key points you think are vital for the bank to know.

Against each point, write down your key thoughts and then play around with how you would phrase it. You don't want to ramble on and put the Manager to sleep, so make your comments focused, interesting and not too long.

Also invest some time coming up with questions you may be asked, so all that remains for you to do is practice your delivery.

Your pitch should include the strengths and weaknesses of both you and your business. Yes, the pitch is about presenting the positive aspects of your business and the opportunities waiting to be exploited, but it is also right that you acknowledge the negatives. Any experienced banker will pick up on the flaws in your Plan so be up front and honest and weave this into your pitch.

Prepare Strong Opening and Closing Statements

Two of the key elements of the script which forms your presentation are your opening and closing statements. In any given situation people will tend to remember the first and last thing about a meeting or conversation. With this in mind your opening and closing statements have to concisely sum up what you want from the bank and portray confidence in your ability to achieve. The words used and your pitch have to be up beat and positive.

Your opening remarks must be powerful and compelling, so whatever you do, don't start the interview with a line such as,

"I know you probably can't help me but.........."

Start off with a weak statement like this and you may as well pack up and go home immediately. Start off with a killer opening statement such as,

"Thank you for seeing me today. I trust you’ve had the chance to review my Business Plan. As you will have seen I am looking for a business loan to purchase additional machinery which will allow me to double my production capacity to meet the growing demand I can see for our product."

Sharp, punchy and to the point.

Similarly, your closing remarks have to be just as focused. A weak close such as, "Oh I do hope you can help me", is not going to get you what you want. Your closing statement has to be upbeat and positive, such as,

"Thank you very much for your time. I'm sure you can see that I'm fully committed to making this venture succeed. The loan I’m asking for will assist in taking the business to the next level. If you want to know more, give me a call. If not, then I look forwarding to receiving your answer soon."

Learn Your Script

An actor's job is to go on the stage and make people believe he is the person he's trying to portray. He does this by thorough preparation, which includes learning his script, how to stand and sit, and how to put across meaning in what he says.

All of this is achieved through knowing and understand his script and learning it. You have to think like an actor. Your script is your Business Plan and the list of key points you feel are important to get across.

Knowing what to say and how to say it will portray as a professional who is worthy of support and that's your aim. Someone who stumbles over their words and whose sentences are full of "ums" and "ahs" will not impress.

A salesperson that has a prepared sales pitch will reap the benefits, and so it will be for you in your dealings with the bank when you have a well prepared and rehearsed presentation.

About The Author

Rob Warlow helps business owner’s deal with their banks to obtain funding or to assist in re-building damaged client-banker relationships. He has written a book called ‘Loan Sharp: Get the Business Finance You Deserve’ which is available on Amazon or via his website, www.businessloanservices.co.uk

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