Expanding into new asset classes? An easy (and cheap) way to test the market for your #equipmentfinance solutions.

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Economic conditions have finally turned in favor of the equipment purchase. Cool. In times like these though, competition increases with crazy rates and structures to win the business in common asset classes. Not cool. One of the best ways to insulate yourself from the cycles is expertise in new, diverse, even unusual asset classes. But, how do you find them?

In the real world of product development, people pay research companies to do this stuff, but in the equipment finance business we typically throw salespeople at it. And that’s at best inefficient and at worst a really expensive bad idea. Here’s a “guerilla” method to test for new equipment markets:

Scaling the potential new asset class with LinkedIn Groups.

Do a search for LinkedIn Groups having interest in the new asset class(es) you have in mind. For example, did you know that there are nearly 10,000 people in a Wastewater equipment manufacturer and supplier group? 12,000 in Semiconductor equipment manufacturing? 14,000 in generators and transformers? So what? It means that there is a significant population of professionals with a high interest in the asset class. It means there is a market to sell financing to.

Engage the credit machine.

Once you’ve picked an asset class, talk to the credit team. Begin to define what deals in the business might look like. Many of these may not have wildly strong secondary markets, so that might push you to stronger credits…but have the conversation to see where you might put the first few deals.

Buy some data.

You should never buy data. But in these cases…buy some data. It’ll be pretty bad at first, but you gotta start somewhere. Make sure you get email addresses and verify them using a verification service like Kickbox (our choice).  This doesn’t have to be expensive and a few hundred contacts is fine to start (especially for you vendor guys).

Marketing before sales.

Now that you have picked an asset class, have a general idea how you might evaluate the credits…go fishing. Develop 3-6 articles targeted to how that industry might leverage finance as a tool to make the equipment easier to buy and a cool looking industry specialized sales collateral piece with the “dedicated industry salesperson” contact. (They’re not really dedicated. Again…you’re just fishing). Push the content to the new data via email for 90 days and read the email results. Also push your content to the LinkedIn groups. Send the warm leads to sales from the email data and see if you can pick off a few deals.

If you’ve got a few leads and some strong interest by looking at the email data…you’ve got the potential of a new, unique, niche asset class insulated from competition and only spent $300-$3500 (range depending on your data purchase and marketing capabilities) on an effort that can radically improve the long term bottom line. You’ve also not wasted valuable sales time cold calling in an unprepared landscape. That’s expensive and unproductive.

Aren’t new ideas the coolest? If you ever wanna chat…give us a holler.

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