"Take out the phone book, target 10 banks and work through that list," he says.
That strategy worked for Michael McKean. He is founder of The Knowland Group, a company that helps hotels fill up their meeting space.
A few years ago, as the success of The Knowland Group grew, McKean began searching for a bank that would give the growing company expanded access to credit.
"We talked to every bank in our area, at least a dozen," McKean says. "Many came back with proposals, but the terms were very onerous. Or sometimes they shifted terms."
Finally, M&T Bank came through.
"They just wanted to get our business," McKean says.
McKean says his company did not approach M&T any differently than it had approached the other banks. It was just a matter of being persistent until the right deal came along, he says.
"We did everything right, approaching the right person at each bank," he says. "We're a profitable business. I think it was just the ... credit crunch that prevented us from getting a loan."
Cloutier says the key to success with banks is to show past profitability, and to describe a well thought-out plan for future profits.
"If you aren't making a profit now, you must be able to tell the bank how you will change that in the short term, or you really won't be able to get a loan," he says.
He also recommends that businesses start small in their loan requests.
"If you need money for four trucks, ask for two," Cloutier says. "The bigger the loan request, the harder it is to get it approved."