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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Trusted Advisers Banker: Crystal Sharp

Commerce Bank

Posted online

If Crystal Sharp were to write a how-to-succeed-in-business manual, it would be pretty short. She boils it down to this: Listen, ask questions and answer your customers’ calls.

“My role is to foster a genuine relationship with my customer where they feel confident to let me in as an adviser in all aspects of their financial life, both business and personal,” says Sharp, senior vice president and commercial relationship manager at Commerce Bank.

“It is imperative to listen to what a client has to say and figure out what their needs are. Listen effectively and ask questions. You have to earn trust.”

Sharp’s approach works for Paula Adams, president of Penmac Staffing Services Inc.

“My team and I have worked with Crystal for years through her role at Commerce Bank,” says Adams. “Through my professional role in the staffing industry, I have worked with many financial advisers over the years, and Crystal is one of the best.”

It is an industry Sharp knows well. After earning her undergraduate degree at Missouri State University, Sharp joined Commerce Bank, where she has worked for two decades.

She started as a financial specialist and has held her current position for 13 years.

“I hope to have helped my customers to think more holistically about their finances and the options available,” Sharp says. “I put myself in my clients’ role and think of what kind of advice that I would like to receive. … As a relationship manager, I am the main contact to the client … but I also help to provide the communication network to all lines of business and get the right people in place for the conversations that need to take place.”

Direct communication is critical to providing timely and relevant customer service, Sharp says.

“I believe that conversations are a must, and instead of emailing back and forth, pick up the phone and make your customer feel comfortable enough to talk through situations and feel like they can trust you to have their best interest in mind,” she says. “Sometimes the hard conversations are what makes a relationship solidify. … Our role as a banker is to look at the alternatives and make sure that all bases are covered. I have had clients tell me that they can always count on me to ask questions that will get them to think.”

Adams agrees.

“Crystal is committed to helping her clients through her expansive expertise and dedication to helping others,” Adams says. “She provides an outstanding level of service and is a leader in her industry.”

Sharp stays current on trends and helps her customers realize efficiencies that come with automation.

“I believe in transparency and integrity,” she says. “If I do not know the answer to a question, I will not make an answer up. I want true and correct information to be provided to the customer.”

Outside of the bank, Sharp is vice president of the board of the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation and will take the president reins in 2022.

She is also on the board of the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.

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