Once upon a time, there was a business owner. She was so in love with the new equipment she needed, she spent countless hours of back and forth with the dealer to ensure she’d get just what she wanted. One day, when the stars aligned, she found just the right configuration she so desired. But she never really thought too much about how to pay for it. And then she started settling for less than the dream.
Unfortunately, this is all too common for equipment dealers. The lack of up-front preparation for the finance process can lead to frustration on both ends of a transaction and a difficult experience. There is a simple solution that can better position your sales team for success and give your customers the confidence to buy.
We are all familiar with the “pre-qualification” process of home ownership. Because of the complex nature of mortgages, it only makes sense to have a firm grip of how the asset is going to be purchased before you spend too much time in the purchase process. The process for acquiring financing for commercial equipment can be drastically simpler, but by establishing a fast pre-qualification process you can dramatically improve the efficiency of your sales process.
A quick pre-qualification program can:
- Help your sales team work with more qualified buyers
- Focus the customer on only the equipment they can afford, rather than wishing.
- Open the eyes of the customer to more equipment once they see how affordable one item might be.
- Give your customer confidence in the buying process
- Keep your sales team away from “maybe laters” and “what ifs”
How to establish a pre-qual program
To establish a reliable an effective pre-qualification program, you should lean on your finance partnerships to carry this important responsibility. Their expertise with the financial side of the equipment business can guide the client in the right direction, insulate you from confidential and challenging conversations while allowing you to keep your focus on the equipment. It is also beneficial to partner with an equipment financier that has access to a wide range of offerings—from good credit to challenged credit—that can offer more customers a better chance for success through financing.
At American Financial Partners, we help manufacturers, dealers and vendors with finance programs that grow sales and improve relationships. Our pre-qualification efforts help clients dream bigger and realize options that may have thought were out of their reach. And if we do that for them…let’s face it…you might win a little too. If you would like to discuss how to establish a pre-qualification program for your equipment sales, Let’s talk.
“We leave the financing to the customer”
- Nearly 6 out of 10 business owners secure their financing at the dealer
- Business owners are 3 times more likely to buy from a dealer that offers a finance program over one that doesn’t.
“My customer would rather get financing from their bank”
- 64% of business owners prefer to finance equipment with an equipment lender versus their bank.
- Banks fund dealers an average of 23.3 days later than equipment specific lenders.
“We never lead with a payment.”
- 6% of commercial equipment sales teams lead with a payment
- 69% of business owners value payment over purchase price
“Equipment Specs and Brand are more important than price.”
- 63% of equipment sales teams believe asset specifications and brand are the most powerful points in the decision to buy commercial equipment.
- 11% of business owners believe asset specifications and brand are the most powerful points in the decision to buy commercial equipment.
- 84% of business owners look to price/payment as more important that asset specification and brand
Don’t let old attitudes about finance hold you back. At American Financial Partners, the only thing old school about us is how we treat people. We break down the walls built by years of big, impersonal lending experiences offering more choice, a smarter approach and better results. If any of these stats hit home…in a very uncomfortable way…let’s talk.
[source: 2015 Sawbux-Greenwich Study of Commercial Finance Decision Making]
Thank you Jennifer for sharing this great post!
My daughters have an amazing math teacher. Her innovative approach to math also teaches valuable lessons for life. Math, she says, isn’t about getting the right or wrong answer – it’s about “the struggle.” Learning how to keep going, even when things get tough, is the critical skill to master. As she points out, the world’s best mathematicians often spend years working on solving a single, complex problem.
Mastering the struggle isn’t always easy – not in math, and not in life. But day after day, ordinary people overcome the odds and push through hard times to achieve great things. It’s examples of this resiliency and persistent spirit that give me the most inspiration. Seeing others overcome incredible challenges makes me want to be a better person in my own life, in my job and with my friends and family.
I’ve included some examples of people mastering “the struggle” that give me inspiration. I hope they’ll do the same for you.
Disaster Survivors – I have been thinking about this a lot since last month’s Boston bombings, which provide a tangible example of how resilient people are – both those immediately affected by the bombings and their friends and neighbors all across the city who supported them. Knowing that in some parts of the world, bombings and other tragedies are everyday occurrences, and that still, people manage to move on with their lives, take care of their families, and just keep moving forward, is such an inspiration to me. It reminds me that we cannot take any person or any amount of time for granted. We need to make the most of every moment.
Change.org Petition Starters – Every day people all around the world face overwhelming challenges and use the Change.org platform to make sure others don’t have to face the same obstacles. One example that inspires me is the story of Cally Houck, a California mom whose two daughters tragically died after a car they rented from Enterprise – a car under recall for safety concerns – burst into flames on the highway. Cally spent years fighting Enterprise with a lawsuit and finally reached a settlement. But in the process, she learned that Enterprise hadn’t actually done anything illegal by renting out the car; a federal loophole let companies like Enterprise rent out recalled cars to unsuspecting drivers. Cally couldn’t let other parents suffer the loss of their children through a completely preventable tragedy – so she started aChange.org petition demanding Enterprise stop blocking legislation that would close the federal loophole. It took a long time to get Enterprise to agree, but Cally persevered, working with senators, consumer advocacy groups, and the media to get the word out about her petition and hold Enterprise accountable. Finally, last October, after Cally had devoted almost a decade of her life to this battle, Enterprise responded to the pressure. We can all thank Cally’s relentless struggle for safer roads – and safer families.
Breakthrough Students – As I’ve written about in several other posts, many years ago, I founded and ran a program called Breakthrough to launch high potential, underserved middle school students on the path to college. I consider myself so lucky to have worked with the kids who attended Breakthrough; many of them were facing major challenges at home and in their neighborhoods, yet all were willing to put in massive amounts of time and energy to set their lives on a different path. It clearly wasn’t easy, but they were dedicated to making it through the struggle, and their lives have dramatically changed as a result. In fact, the woman who now leads the Breakthrough program in Pittsburgh was one of my very first students! Today, Breakthrough students all around the country continue to prove they can master the struggle it takes to be the first in their families to attend college.
My own children – It is amazing to watch what kids are capable of and how they can move through life’s challenges relatively unscathed (assuming we, as parents, don’t do too much to stand in their way). From picking themselves up after a loss in a sports activity or a school election to recovering after an injury (each of my daughters, unfortunately, has already had a serious one), kids are incredible at managing “the struggle.” Watching my daughters tackle their challenges head on, including those really tough math problems, makes me want to be a better mom.
Seeing the potential in others – be they my own children or inspiring Change.org petition starters – motivates me to do more myself. When I see what people are capable of, even in the most challenging of circumstances, I’m reminded that we each have that potential within us.
And, I’m inspired by you! The stories you tell and the comments you leave on LinkedIn are often very moving and always so appreciated. So please chime in again – what struggles have you endured in your job or in your life, and what inspires you?
Jennifer Dulski(@jdulski) is president and COO of Change.org, the world’s largest petition platform. With 35 million users around the world, Change.org empowers people everywhere to create the change they want to see. http://change.org. This post was written as part of a series in conjunction with LinkedIn’s 10th anniversary.
I don’t mean to SCARE you but…..
Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of this year. The bonus depreciation benefit will save you thousands if you take advantage of equipment purchases now!
Examples of Tax Savings
If there is any question on whether to wait to make that big purchase until next year or now, a major deciding factor to be considered is the Section 179 and/or Bonus Depreciation with an equipment lease.
Why Should you Lease?
Contact Us Today!
Visit our website to apply for credit online or calculate your estimated monthly payment.
Lease options are NOT just for new equipment. We are able to offer leasing on all types of used equipment:
Screen Printing Equipment
…..Just to name a few!
Who says that buying “new” is the best option? Used equipment is often available at a lower cost and often just as good as new. Remember to keep RTF in mind for all of your financing needs.
Contact Us Today!
Visit our website to apply for credit online or calculate your estimated monthly payment.
Meet Josh Penman, RTF’s new National Business Development Director
Red Thread Financial (RTF) is pleased to announce the addition of Josh Penman to our growing sales team. Josh joins RTF in the capacity of National Business Development Director.
Josh brings more than 12 years of broad experience holding high-profile positions at top-rated financial institutions. At U.S. Bank, Josh was the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding sales and leadership contributions while working within the Business Equipment Finance division. Most recently with Flagship Credit Services, Josh successfully increased volume and fostered new relationships while serving as Vice President of Business Development.
His experience in the realm of sales and leasing is proven through his track record of consistent growth and the successful management of various national sales portfolios. Josh has a constant drive to find the most effective and advantageous solutions to meet the needs of his clients.
In addition to his financial acumen, Josh is a great father to 4-year-old Alivia and he adores his wife, Danyel. He enjoys golfing and fishing, and Josh loves the Minnesota Twins and Vikings.
Josh’s office is based in Minneapolis, MN. His innovation, charisma, and knowledge of the financial industry continue to result in the establishment of trusting and fruitful professional relationships.
We are excited to have Josh on the RTF team!
Memorial Day stirs up a broad spectrum of pride, emotion and individual memories for Americans.
Just picture an early morning parade filled with kids, bands and fire trucks bringing a community together at their local cemetery. There, citizens unite to hear recollections of the selfless sacrifice given to maintain the freedoms we enjoy today. We hear the 21-gun salute and see shiny red paper poppies twisted around buttons as we look through the crowds of people listening with tears and respect. Visions of warm, sunny Memorial Day afternoons with red, white, and blue flags flying proudly, burgers grilling, kites soaring, and kids of all ages floating on inner tubes marking the beginning of summer in America. There is no better feeling, is there??
Most importantly though, memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who served and died for our nation.
At Red Thread Financial, we looked into our own families and discovered how our relatives directly contributed to this nation’s dream of freedom and opportunity. Here is what we found!
- A husband with 26 years of ongoing service in the Air Force.
- A father whose Army service took him to Germany and later to Desert Storm with the National Guard.
- Two grandfathers who proudly served in the US Armed Forces.
- A grandfather who served in the Navy during the Korean War.
- A father who served in Army Intelligence from 1958-60.
- A grandfather who served in World War II alongside three of his brothers.
- A father who served in World War II, a brother in Vietnam, and husband in the National Guard.
- A great-uncle who served in World War II and liberated prisoners held in a Nazi Concentration Camp.
As we talked to our families, we all learned a little more about our country’s history. Each of us felt a depth of personal gratitude to the veterans within our own families as well as a renewed sense of patriotism.
Today, Red Thread Financial would like to recognize and say THANK YOU to the men and women, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who are committed to the service and protection of our United States of America.
We trust you. We believe in you. We respect you. And, we THANK YOU!
Any VETERAN approved for financing during the month of JUNE receives $100.00 off of Documentation Fees.
Our offices will be CLOSED on Monday, May 28th, in honor of the Memorial Day holiday. May your holiday be safe and filled with the spirit of America!
Spring has finally sprung and Mother’s Day is right around the corner! In addition to being career women, most of us are mothers too. How wonderful to have a day of recognition and celebration in honor of being a MOM – the best job ever!!
Just like quilting, motherhood is multi-faceted. It can be pain-staking at times and requires patience, precision, and a lot of care, but the payoff makes all the work worthwhile!
As a mother of four, I have spent plenty of time worrying and rejoicing about my children. Quilting has been a constant in my life over the years. The quilts I’ve made remind me of the good times, and the tough times, our family has shared over the years.
Motherhood, like quilting, has those occasional days when we may not feel super glamorous…but, each time I present a keepsake quilt to one of my kids, I feel like a STAR! Did you know; there are MANY famous women who find comfort in the art of quilting?
- Marie Osmond – Singer
- Sally Field – Film Star
- Phyllis George – 1971 Miss America and TV Personality
- Edith Nesbit – Author
- Vanna White – Wheel of Fortune Co-host
- Reba McEntire – Singer and Actress
All of these working women are quilters AND mothers too! Aren’t we in good company? We may not be defined as “celebrities” in the traditional sense of the word, but when we quilt, we are stars in the eyes of our friends and families!
Here’s a little tip: Each time I give a quilt away, I include a handwritten card that notes the quilt design name, the year and occasion for which it was made along with my favorite little saying…“A blanket may warm the body, but a quilt warms the soul.”
Happy Mother’s Day from one mother to another!
Research indicates that more companies are seeking and securing vital financing from their vendors as other forms of credit remains tight.
According to the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) 2009 Small Business Credit Card Survey, 30% of business owners said they relied on vendor credit over the prior 12 months, compared to roughly 18% who did so prior to the credit crisis.
Not all vendors are willing to take the risk of extending interest-free pay cycles to 60 or 90 days, but vendors are seeing that type of request more frequently, The Wall Street Journal reported. Vendors shouldn’t have to take that “finance” risk. By partnering with one or multiple leasing companies, vendors have the option to offer competitive finance and lease programs to their customers to help increase sales. Many of the vendors I talk with today are losing sales because people simply can’t afford to pay cash for the equipment, they don’t want to spend their cash on equipment right now or their bank can not finance them. Vendors also run the risk of not being paid or being paid slow by the customer once the equipment is delivered. Leasing offers many benefits to the customer, but also benefits the vendor by offering upfront payment to the vendor in some cases and more importantly, definite payment.
I’ve seen vendors lose deals to competition because the competition offers financing and they didn’t. Offering a finance programs doesn’t cost you anything and if it can help you make or save a sale, why not?
If you are a vendor and do not offer a finance or lease program today, or at least have a company you can refer your customers too, it is time to consider making a change. In the market we are in, anything to help you make a sale should be something considered and sought after.
Showcasing your equipment or the projects over which you have labored for hours to create at a tradeshow venue can be stressful and exciting at the same time. Tradeshows can attract business people and craftspeople with similar talents from across the country and around the world.
Presentation is everything, right? We adapted a nifty article to help you put your best foot forward at the next tradeshow event. Enjoy!
11 Ways To Stand Out At A Trade Show by Heather Allard
Attending trade shows is an incredible way to gain exposure, get publicity and even find sales reps for your company and products. But let’s face it—hundreds or thousands of companies attend the same trade shows, so you’ll need a way to stand out. Here’s how.
1. Present a pristine product. Shiny and new. Don’t forget to bring more than one. Not only do you need enough to make a presentation in your booth, but also replacement product in the event you sell one of your creations. While customers may be sympathetic, you only have one shot to make an impression.
2. Pick a card, any card. You’d be surprised how many trade show attendees forget to bring their business cards. Your business card should include all the ways people can contact you: phone, fax, e-mail, website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Most importantly, include your name.
3. Have a mobile office. Your trade show space will be your office away from home. Be sure to bring all the office supplies you need to conduct business. Some suggestions:
- Sales brochures.
- 2-part order forms (a copy for the customer and a copy for you).
- Credit card forms
- Stapler, calculator, pens, paper clips, push pins, straight pins.
- Masking tape, gorilla tape, packing tape (seal boxes at show’s end)
- Tide-To-Go pen.
- A pressed table cloth in case the table is not draped…this finishes your booth and provides storage space underneath.
- Extra light bulbs, extension cords, and a power strip.
- A sign with your company’s name.
- Plenty of business cards.
4. Make follow-up easy. Bring an expandable file for orders and business cards. You will have all of your post-show work in one neat handy place. Be sure to write details on the back of the customer’s business card. Things like, “took catalog,” “ordered,” “call in two weeks”—any information to prompt follow-up after the show.
5. Wear comfortable shoes. You can’t stand out if you can’t stand up. Get shoes that are comfy and stylish. Sneakers are a no-no unless you have a medical condition that requires them.
6. Be prepared with an elevator pitch: (an insightful story you can tell a complete stranger within a brief elevator ride to give them an understanding of who you are and what your business does.) Have a story about your product, what inspired it and what it does. Talk about features and benefits. Is a similar product on the market? Be able to articulate the difference between yours and the competition’s without “negative selling.” Point out the positive differences about your product without mentioning the negatives of your competitor’s. For instance, if you’ve heard that your competitor has back-order issues, let buyers know that your product is in stock and ready to ship.
7. Create foreshadowing. Do an e-mail blast and postcard mailing a few weeks before the show. Always include “Come see us at XYZ show” with the dates and booth number.
8. Show proof of promotion. Buyers love to see you support your product with strong advertising. Be sure to feature any editorial placements and upcoming advertisements prominently on your trade show display.
9. Lure them in with a sweet treat. Place wrapped candy in a dish. Chocolate will slow them down every time. They may not buy, but they stopped and looked.
10. Mind your manners. Etiquette goes a long way, even at trade show.
- Show up on time. Don’t leave your booth early.
- Keep your booth neat and clean.
- Have plenty of brochures and catalogs on the table so a buyer may just take the literature if they choose not to stop for the sales pitch.
- Keep banners and display materials within the booth limits.
- Greet buyers when they stop at your booth.
- Always thank buyers for stopping in.
- Work on your hand shake. A firm handshake exudes confidence.
- Get a manicure. Your personality, enthusiasm, and hands are sales tools.
- Be friendly and have fun!
11. Most importantly, be open and inviting. Say “hi” to everyone that comes your way. If you look like you’re enjoying yourself, you are more approachable and interesting.