The Importance of Being Coachable
One of my favorite things about what I do is interacting daily with incredibly intelligent, highly driven, and successful people. People who make a difference, drive change, and, ”subvert the dominant paradigm,” to quote Thomas Kuhn. Founders, Presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, in other words, people just like you... And, while dealing with you and folks like you is a pleasure, it can, at times, be very challenging. The same traits that make successful leaders can sometimes make them difficult to coach. Why is this important? Because a lot of what we do at Blue Willow Group involves coaching C-level executives through conversations with lenders. Bottom line - well executed lender interactions lead to term sheets. Well executed lender interactions begin with a pre-call strategy & coaching session. Read on to help us help you.
As a reminder, our typical workflow is as follows:
Basic review of financial information to validate fit and soft-circle with lenders to determine high level interest (no cost or obligation to client)
If fit and interest are verified, an agreement between client and Blue Willow Group is executed
Formal credit process including presentation development and data-room creation complete
Blue Willow Group handles initial lender outreach and lender questions
Calls scheduled with client and lenders interested in working towards term sheets
Blue Willow Group to provide pre-call strategy and coaching session with client to ensure positive and efficient interaction with lender(s)
Lenders issue terms
Blue Willow Group to review terms sheet(s) with clients and determine best course of action
Due diligence process
By the time lender calls are scheduled, the process has moved a good way towards the ultimate goal of funding a capital facility. The initial interactions between prospective lenders and clients are crucial to the success of the rest of the process. Here are some keys to success with lender calls:
Listen to your advisor. Our team talks to lenders day in and day out. We know them well and each has their own style and preferences. We cater our interactions to their preferences. We tailor our emails, credit presentations, and calls, etc., deliberately to make our interactions easy for them. We will provide strategy and direction for the call to ensure your company has the greatest opportunity to receive favorable terms from lenders.
Answer the question that’s asked. The purpose of the lender call is for both you and the lender to ask and answer questions. When a lender asks a specific question - just answer it. Avoid excessive detail and straying from the question to a tangential subject. If more color is required, the lender will ask for it, but keeping things simple is the best place to start.
Be confident in what you don’t know. While you should always be well prepared for a call, lenders don’t expect you to to know everything - even about your own company. Many of our calls result in some follow-ups to lender questions. Better to follow up with the correct information than to make a guess at something and have it become an issue later.
Ask your own questions. Lenders welcome questions about pricing, structure, etc. They are all very transparent with their process and structure and are happy to tell you about their business as you are to discuss yours. In many cases this call is the beginning of a long-term mutually beneficial relationship that can span many years.
As always, I welcome feedback and discussion on this or any other topic. Reach out with any questions or comments and let me know if I can be of any service to you.