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  • Content Expert: Banking

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    Since the start of the pandemic, disruptions in the economy have gone from an unpredictable occurrence to an everyday reality. Various issues across industries, ranging from the displacement of workers to pain points with the supply chain have created an environment of uncertainty.

    That’s why it is more important than ever for businesses to add value at every turn, so they can continue to drive sales and retain business. And while we can’t control the overall economy, we can control what we do.

    From working with business customers around Montgomery for 20 years, I’ve seen trends in what works for driving value. With that in mind, here are steps to consider:
    Connect more frequently. Stay in front of your clients by bringing your communication A-game. From quickly responding to calls and emails, to sharing proactive ideas, now is the time to show your clients that they are top of mind and that you are ready to help them.
    Take that extra step. Frequently, the success of one of your company’s services will depend in part on other people, so be ready to go outside your own responsibilities and help someone else if needed. For example, if our closing team or credit team are busy and need help to address a certain challenge, I offer to jump in. This approach ensures things keep moving forward and builds a strong and effective team.
    Communicate efficiently. Different situations warrant different mediums of communication. Some situations can get bogged down in back-and-forth emails, while a phone call can settle the issue more efficiently. I have said it time and time again, pick up your phone and talk through issues! You can always memorialize the conversation with a subsequent email to clarify and confirm. In-person communication, meanwhile, continues to be the most effective way to drive value as all parties participate in both verbal and non-verbal communication.
    Manage expectations. From the start of any business relationship, set realistic expectations, both with your team and your client. Don’t over-promise; instead, check with everyone involved to determine what is realistic and then hold everyone accountable. At Valley, we’re constantly communicating with our credit and closing teams about their workloads so we can set reasonable timeframes for us and our clients. A client recently requested to close a real estate transaction in a timeframe that was improbable, given the current environment. However, we were able to provide options for the transaction that satisfied our client.
    Tackle the tough stuff first. Problems don’t go away no matter how much you might want them to. If there is an issue, address it quickly. Working through the challenges up front creates a mutual trust between you and your client or coworker as you move forward.
    Dean Peevy is a vice president and commercial banker for Valley Bank in Montgomery. Born and raised in Montgomery, he has been a banker for 20 years. He can be reached at dpeevy@valley.com or 334-270-3003.

    © 2022 Valley National Bank is a Member of the FDIC and Equal Opportunity Lender.
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