Winning the sale…and growing your customer base
I’ve been in sales for most of my career – which is to say more than 25 years. I’ve learned the ups and downs of the game through trial and error and from several mentors over the years who’ve helped steer me in the right direction. As a veteran of the finance industry and a former small business owner, I’ve learned a few keys to success for creating lasting relationships with customers. The following are a few highlights for winning the sale and growing your customer base in the process.
Focus on the customer, not yourself. Ask open-ended questions to learn as much as you can about the customer’s business and their current situation. This will help you determine whether the client truly needs and will benefit from your offering.
Solve a Challenge
Provide a solution to a challenge or problem the client is experiencing. What pain can you help solve? Can you help them free up cash? Acquire the technology or equipment they need to operate or expand? Bundle multiple lease items? If you can offer an optimal solution you will prove your value and help set the course for a long-term partnership. Read more and comment.
Cash may be king, but smart business owners can benefit from strategic use of alternative financing options.
“Brad Bayless, vice president of Englewood, Colo.-based Dynamic Funding Inc., notes that businesses of all sizes can benefit from such financial options. In the company’s 18 years, it has provided leasing services for the acquisition of high-dollar equipment for companies within the automotive industry and beyond. Regardless of the industry or size of company, he says, the utilization of alternative financing can make solid business sense.” Read more.
What capital expenditures have you been putting off?
By Brad Bayless
With the dog days of summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to take inventory of your business needs for the remainder of the year. We know many companies have been getting by the past few years with their existing IT systems and equipment to avoid overleveraging themselves as the economy faltered.
Many business owners have put off making important capital expenditures, but the tide may be changing. Even communications giant, Verizon, recently announced that it expects to increase its capital expenditures this year from its previous estimate of $16.2 billion to something between $16.4 billion and $16.6 billion. Read more.
According to the 2013 ELFA Software Guide, the following are the top tech acquisitions, upgrades or trends for this year.
Capital improvements are on the upswing with the increasing economic outlook and software companies report business is on the rise. Companies who have put off updating their IT platforms may find that this the ideal time to invest in overdue software upgrades.
2. New Business Intelligence Tools & CRM Solutions
Implementing automated workflow systems and more streamlined processes through new technology will allow for more accurate reporting, data collection and improved customer tracking.
3. Self-service Platforms
Some companies today are looking at how investing in new self-service technology can help reduce staff and other overhead costs and put certain businesses processes in the hands of customers, vendors and partners.
4. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is certainly the new model for many companies who want solutions that are cost-effective, flexible and easy to expand. With cloud computing, users can access data from anywhere without the hassle of maintaining, hosting or supporting servers and software in house.
5. Lease Accounting Changes
The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board rule changes are expected to take effect in 2017 and this may effect current and future equipment leases. Now is a good time to evaluate your current IT system, especially old platforms that are difficult to change, and discuss your options with a commercial finance partner.
According to the Metro Denver Economic Corporation’s Monthly Economic Summary for June 2013, consumer confidence in Metro Denver is at a five-year high and the region continues to add new jobs at a steady pace.
Consumer confidence in the Mountain Region, which includes Colorado, rose to 89.1, the highest point since March 2008. The index showed significant improvement on a monthly basis, rising by 23.6 percent and increased by more than one-half (51.8 percent) compared with May 2012.
“Consumers are more optimistic about future job prospects and the state of the economy,” explained Patty Silverstein, president of Development Research Partners and chief economist for the Metro Denver EDC. “Consumer confidence jumped by almost 90 percent between April and May, which paints a positive picture for what’s happening economically on many fronts in the Metro Denver region.”
Metro Denver’s employment picture advanced greatly between March and April, as the area added more than 17,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest point since December 2008. These great strides in adding new jobs were also reflected in several positive business rankings for Metro Denver. Read more.
All’s Fair That Ends Fair In This Economy Fair Market Value Leases May Offer the Best Value
With the current state of our post-recession economy and expected growth from companies in 2013 as we pull out of the doldrums into more optimistic times, I am bullish on operating or fair market value (FMV) leases as the most prudent option for equipment leasing today. In this ever-evolving business environment, FMV leases give business owners and CFO’s maximum flexibility and often lower monthly payments while reducing the risk for the technology to become outdated or obsolete. In today’s business climate, these are critical factors to facilitating emerging growth. According to a recent survey of small to middle-market business owners by Forbes Insights and CIT, more than four out of five executives said their companies made at least one capital goods purchase of significant cost within the last year. And the same number said they will make an additional acquisition within the next six to 18 months. More than one-third reported that the business need was “too strong” to delay the equipment purchase.
Rise of the Fair Market Value Lease
Those sentiments related to making essential equipment purchases have been echoed by our own clients, my colleagues in the industry and the small to mid-sized businesses we meet with regularly. I’ve been in the equipment leasing industry for most of my 30-year career and I have never seen a landscape more ripe for FMV leases than today. I believe wholeheartedly that companies today are evaluating the next steps in terms of technology platforms and overall improvements to enhance their operations and manage growth. With that kind of momentum in the business marketplace, flexibility is a must and undoubtedly one of the cornerstones of a true operating lease. The five big keys to FMV leases in today’s economic climate include:
Less Risk: The lessor owns the equipment as well as the risk associated with ownership
Keeps Equipment Up to Date: Lessees can return equipment at end of lease, especially valuable for technology related equipment, can refresh with no penalty, and are only paying for the useful life of the equipment.
Tax Benefits: Advantages can vary
Flexibility: Payment plans range from variable to fixed, seasonal to deferred with a variety of options for the lessee.
Less Restrictive than Bank Financing: With today’s technology landscape changing too quickly for anyone without a crystal ball to know exactly what to do, operating leases truly offer the flexibility to be able to respond to the changes in technology when it comes to leasing the necessary equipment. Companies who may opt for a fair market value lease can adapt to market changes without the unwieldy burden of being tied to any specific equipment or software brand, supplier or platform. They also offer a distinct advantage at tax time.
Picking a Payment Plan
Once a lessee has settled on operating lease, evaluating the various payment plan options is the next step. A company’s accounting, budgetary requirements and cash flow management may require a customized structure, but typical FMV payment plans include:
Fixed Plan: Offers consistent monthly or quarterly payments
Seasonal Lease Plan: A seasonal leasing plan works best for businesses with cyclical or seasonal changes in cash flow due to the operating schedule or other factors affecting cash flow
Deferred or Skipped Payment Plan: This plan allows a customer to begin payment of the lease typically 30, 60 or 90 days after taking possession of the equipment according to the agreement.
Additional payment plans may include: bundled financing for equipment, installation, and training or conversion and upgrade leases.
Making sure customers have every advantage available in the marketplace is the key to providing the best service and delivering real value to create long-term relationships. Our advice to clients today is: invest in the necessary resources to grow your business without over-leveraging and, if possible, keep cash readily available for your operational needs. We can heighten the overall value of our industry by serving as advisors—offering a variety of financing options, explaining the important qualities associated with each one and helping clients accommodate new growth by having the proper systems in place. By offering the option of an FMV lease during the consultation process, a business owner or CFO may seize the opportunity to stay current on technology trends and deliver the most up-to-date equipment and software to their employees to increase productivity and stay ahead of the competition. And with an FMV lease, a company will only be responsible for the useful life of the equipment and have the ability to refresh as needed—ending the cycle of outdated technology and moving toward greater efficiency, while taking the strain off their balance sheet.
Read the entire Newsline publication featuring Brad’s article here.
How to know when to upgrade your IT systems. And how to pay for the improvements.
“Are you feeling inclined to make some much-needed improvements to your current technology and equipment? Are you in a position to accommodate new growth or additions to your workforce with the proper systems in place? Well, you’re not alone” Read the full article.
Use your capital wisely. And take the strain off your balance sheet. Read the full article by Brad Bayless. “For those of us in commercial finance, our advice to business owners today is: invest in the necessary resources to grow your business without over-leveraging and keep cash readily available for your operational needs.”