Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Investing Is Easy, Getting Investors Isn’t

With the success of entrepreneur investment shows Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, you’d think if you came up with a great idea, getting someone to back that great idea would be easy.

Think again.

These are tough times. Millions of people have been displaced in this economy than ever before – even the Great Depression of the 1930’s wasn’t so bad.
Which makes me wonder why the bean counters that track our economy STILL refuse to call this period in economic time what it really is – a depression – but that’s another story.

I’m in the process of raising funds for what will be the next big thing. We know it will be the next big thing, because we’ve based it on the successes of other companies, combined those successful elements, and created something which no one is doing here.

We’ve got a sound business plan, lots of additional documentation, and we’re in the process of forming our teams, of handpicked people to lead us to success.

When I mention in passing what it is I do, people perk up, and immediately show interest.
When I go to potential investors, they to show immediate interest, but when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is, they suddenly become very quiet and defensive.

Or worse, they try to sell me on their investment ideas, so that I become the investor.

Like my bank – or now former bank.

A great way to lose a client is to say “no.”
A sure way to lose a client, is to continue to try to sell them on a product or service, without actually HEARING them and their needs.

My bank, BMO Bank of Montreal, kept trying to sign me up for a business account, without any inclination of whether they would even consider providing a business loan, or business line of credit. They wanted to hook me by the nose, by getting me to sign on for a business account product AND THEN they’d talk about business loans and lines of credit.

I don’t want to start a business account until I know the bank is fully behind me, or at the very least, has the best business products suited for my business.
And I felt like I was in a used car dealership, as the young Asian kid, with horrible English, continued to ask me to sign up for a business account, completely ignoring my needs for start-up funding.

Small Business Banker for GTA Central – or at least that’s what it says on her business card – didn’t even have current literature I could review with her on current business banking information. When I initially if she had any information, she pointed me to the website – which although useful, wasn’t why I took the time to come in and meet with my branch.

Upon my telling her directly that she wasn’t very helpful, she got up and brought me BMO Bank of Montreal’s Better Business Banking Guide, which was dated 2011 and already had pen markings from others she had tried her sales pitch on.

And again, although we’re looking for the best financial institution to deal with, we’re looking for more than just a place to invest our business dollars.

We’re looking for a place which provides the financial support services which a business needs, not just an account number to make some banker earn her commission.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I believe in building relationships, and working with people to achieve great things. I don’t believe in just buying a product or service from just anyone, and hoping for the best.

BMO Bank of Montreal lost my business, because they failed to listen to my needs. I got a pre-rehearsed sales pitch, instead of someone actually hearing what I was looking for.

Ironically, I went next door to the neighbouring Bank of Nova Scotia, and immediately met with the Branch Manager, who actually listened to my needs, and provided some real information which I could use.

Maybe they’ll earn my respect – and my business.

Which is a great loss to BMO Bank of Montreal, because we will be huge. 

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