If you are approaching your Bank for finance at some stage you are likely to have a face-to-face interview. In these situations it’s all too easy to let the Manager dominate the interview with all his questions. You should join in as well! After all, the purpose of the meeting is not only for him to assess whether you are the type of person the Bank can lend to but it’s also for you to assess him. This is why in advance you have to prepare some questions to fire at him.
There are a number of good reasons why you should ask questions during the interview.
o Asking questions shows you can think for yourself and that you are confident enough to challenge something you don’t understand
o Questioning demonstrates that you have an enquiring mind and having that is important in business
o Asking questions is an excellent way of checking the listener’s understanding of what you’ve told them; it gives you the chance to put right any misunderstandings or misconceptions they may have
o Asking questions is also a good way of building rapport with your Bank Manager
o Don’t forget that this is going to be your chance to decide whether you want to do business with this person. Having a Bank Manager whom you can get on with as an individual is good for the business. You need someone whom you can ring up and feel comfortable with, someone who comes across as being interested in your business
o You should have questions about the cost of the loan; how long it will take to set up, the rate of interest, the fees and a host of other things. You need to sort these out early on in the relationship, before it’s too late
o Questions can be used as another method of positively manipulating the Manager. One technique to use in your questioning is to build an assumption into the question. For example ask the following questions:
o “How long would it take before my loan is available?”
o “Would I be able to pay lump sums off my loan without any penalty?”
o “What interest rate are you going to charge me?”
You can see that in these questions there is an in-built assumption that the loan will be agreed! A bit presumptuous and bold but on the other hand it again demonstrates confidence in your ability to succeed.
You can’t rely on your quickness of mind to come up with all the relevant questions on the spot, so you need to take time before hand to come up with all the questions you want to ask. Get a pen and paper and put down all the questions you can think of and then review them and remove the ones you don’t want.
In addition to the questions already shown above, here are some ‘non assumptive’ questions you can and should ask:
o “What do you know about the industry we are in?”
o “Do you have the ability to make decisions on requests to borrow money, or are you answerable to someone else?”
o “Will you be available to talk to you if we have any problems, or will we end up in a Call Centre?”
o “How long are you going to be here in this job before you move on?”
The answers to these questions will provide you with more information on the person who is going to be looking after your interests. In so doing by the end of the interview you will be able to assess whether you can do business with him just as much as he can assess if he’s comfortable with you.
If you don’t prepare your questions in advance then forgetting about key issues becomes more likely. Not only will you have wasted your time but also that of the Bank’s; not a position you want to be in if you want to impress your Manager!
Small Business Success