CFOs are often the decision makers when it comes to picking bankers, accountants and other financial service providers. How does your bank stand out from the crowd and build connections with CFOs? Here are five tips to help you connect with leaders in finance:
1. Don’t sell too soon. CFOs spend a lot of time turning down financial service providers who are determined to make a sale. When building a relationship with a CFO, focus on understanding what matters to him or her. Pay close attention to responses to your questions and resist the temptation to pitch your products and services until you truly understand their financing needs.
2. Learn their lingo. The accounting profession relies on extensive use of acronyms and jargon. To build a connection with a CFO, take the time to learn their language. For example, CFOs often talk about “discretionary cash flow,” “return on investment” and “hurdle rates.” Speaking on the same terms will help deepen your relationship.
3. Subscribe to trade magazines. Next time you visit a CFO’s office, ask how he or she stays current on emerging issues in the industry. Alternatively, take note of any trade magazines and journals on the CFO’s desk or in the company’s reception area. If possible, subscribe to some of these publications and read them in your downtime. If you find an interesting article, consider mailing copies to CFOs who might find the article interesting. Always enclose a handwritten note along with the article describing why you thought they would benefit from reading the piece. Remember: Your goal is to stand out. Everyone emails the CFO, but few take the time to send a handwritten note.
4. Monitor the media. CFOs often write and speak on topics of importance to their profession. Create Google Alerts with the names of your CFO contacts to receive updates on articles or speeches they deliver. Pay close attention to topics that your CFO-contacts speak and write about — these topics likely provide windows into what really matters to them.
5. Create CFO roundtables to introduce them to other business leaders. Help your CFO contacts build their professional networks by creating CFO roundtables that involve other senior executives within the community. By facilitating these connections, everyone in your network benefits.
Even in the biggest cities, close-knit professional networks are likely to develop, allowing those in the “inner circle” to grow and prosper. Are CFOs part of your business network? When CFOs benefit from their connections with you — through referrals to and from others in your network — it’s probable they will want to do business with your bank in the future.
If you have questions about building relationships with CFOs, please contact Marvin Willis at 404-874-6244 or fill out the form below.