darren-relationshipsIt wouldn’t surprise me if you said that, over the past two years, relationship building was a pretty low priority. That’s not to say this is a good thing – nor that it’s justified – but it’s a common statement I hear from loan officers who have reaped the rewards of the lower-rate environment.

Why work on long-term relationships when you have a full pipeline now? Because, as you know, your pipeline won’t always be full. If you took your eye off the ball during the pandemic, you may find that business is now a lot harder to come by. 

Never fear, though. There are always ways to self-correct and get back in the game. 

  1. Touch Base with Key Contacts

A top-down approach is always wise when you’re kick-starting a new activity. So start with the heavy hitters – aka your biggest and best clients and referral partners. Drop them a text, call, chat, DM, email or whatever form of communication they prefer. No asks, just a “Hi. How are you? I was thinking about you. How’s life? How’s business? Anything I can do to help?”

Simple. Genuine. Effective. Always a solid approach to reconnecting. Once the line(s) of communication has been re-established, make sure it stays open by following up on a regular schedule. Can’t remember to do so? Set reminders in your phone, along with any dates that may be important to these contacts. 

  1. Offer Before You Ask

Re-read that script above. What jumps out at you? There’s no “ask.” Sure, you’re “asking” questions, but you’re not requesting anything from the other party. In fact, you’re doing the opposite. You’re asking how they are and if there’s anything they need. 

This isn’t an accident. Real relationships are built on more than “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” They’re built on mutual respect and understanding. So put your needs to the side, see how your contact is doing and save your “ask” for another time after the connection has already been re-established.

  1. Collect Feedback

This is a different type of ask than the one above. Don’t shy away from feedback or choose to only acknowledge positive encounters. Ask for – and accept – any and all feedback. From clients. From vendors. From colleagues. You name it. If someone is willing to weigh in on you, take it. 

You can collect this feedback by gently directing clients to online review portals, or you can request it directly. This is done by simply asking how their experience was, whether the experience lived up to their expectations and if there is anything they wish you’d done differently or, similarly, if they wish anything had gone differently. Then take the feedback in and learn from it. 

  1. Find Ways to Connect

What about all the contacts that aren’t your biggest or longest-running? You don’t want to forget about them completely. Though not every client will warrant a quarterly call or Happy Birthday email, it doesn’t mean you have to leave them in the dust. Utilize your CRM system to routinely email your contacts. Send them a monthly newsletter, quarterly update, educational emails, links to presentations, etc.

  1. Educate

These reconnection communications are more about staying in touch and remaining top of mind than the hard sell. While a call to action at the bottom of these emails is always great, avoid “overselling.” Instead, focus on adding value to your contacts’ inboxes through education on a subject that you’re an expert in.

We’re all guilty of letting relationships fall by the wayside every now and then. It’s what you do about it when that happens that really counts. Don’t let those relationships and that business go elsewhere. Bite the bullet, reach out and get the dialogue rolling once again.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.