Don’t be just a deal doer. Lead a vendor finance business

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It’s great to have a sales team of “deal machines”. But leadership of a vendor finance company is a different thing. It requires you to be bigger, look above the tree in front of you, forecast the direction of the wind and adjust the sails. It requires setting strategy, structure, a view on the competitive landscape and a long term value proposition that helps the sales team win in all business climates.

Deal doers follow the market. If a class of assets is hot, that’s where their volume comes from. Deal doers churn salespeople. Hire them, give them a quota, a computer and a phone and tell them to run from the bullet you just fired at them. Deal doers struggle with differentiation and are constantly complaining about spread compression and rate based competition. Deal doers are short term focused and never understand why they are a solid #3 or 4 in the vendor’s choice of lenders. “Business is pretty good right now”. “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken”. And then prepare for the layoffs when the business cycle turns.

Take a look at your management teams, your senior sales leaders…and yes…even yourself: Are you just a deal doer? If you are struggling being honest with yourself, take this test. Review the following statements:

We help vendors across many industries sell more because of our experienced people that understand your business.  We are different because of our deep commitment to providing high quality service through the deal and beyond and the desire to put relationships first. We offer fast, flexible and competitive financing for your customer’s equipment that is adaptable to a wide variety of credit circumstances.

Does this sound like you? If it does, you have just written the introduction and value proposition for 80% of your competition and if you can’t be and sound different, you’re just chasing deals and hoping sales guys do all the work.  Strong markets will enable a certain success as long as you have a consistent execution platform, but weaker markets will feel rather unpleasant. And the real growth most of you are chasing will be elusive in all climates.

Here’s some hard truth. Most of our business leaders in vendor finance are pure finance geeks or former sales “deal machines” and the business leader thing is not a natural step for most of them. Over the years we have found ourselves doing far more than a marketing company normally does because we coach the transition from deal doer to business leader. Marketing is an important player in that process, but just a part of a far larger journey.

Over the coming days, Sawbux will be publishing a series of articles on the architecture of a real go-to-market strategy for vendor finance and at least one customizable model for long term success in the business. Many of you will agree, some will not…but either way it will force to stop and think about who you are and what you are doing. And at the end of the day, that’s a good thing.  Wanna chat? Give us a holler.

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