The problem with selling money for equipment. #equipmentfinance

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Just finished a batch of “Immersion” meetings with a bunch of new customers and heard an old turn of a phrase that made me throw up in my mouth a little. When asked to describe how they went to market, they said, “we sell money”.  Well…in a crude sense…yeah. But if that’s all you’ve got man, you better work for the lowest cost of money player in the market because if you don’t…you’re gonna get crushed.

Could equipment finance companies be at fault for the rate shopping customer? I mean, did a generation of bad go-to-market, “we sell money”, “deal doer” companies train them to be that way? I think what that comment demonstrates is just how little strategic emphasis there is on building a value-added and differentiated client experience in the equipment finance business. So how do you sell value in equipment finance? There are a million answers to the question, but here are a few ideas…

  • Focus on the asset and the Life cycle management benefits
  • Build a marketable pre-qual platform
  • Bundle baby bundle: Service contracts, options, accessories, installation, etc.
  • Do some homework on turning rentals into leases
  • Understand maintenance implications and new technology efficiencies

Most important of all: market your process

Equipment finance companies often talk about how great their service is, but they don’t explain what that means. And that’s really dumb. First, you can’t realize great service unless you are ALREADY a customer. Second, who wouldn’t say they have great service? Table stakes. Finally, if you just take the time to write down your process (particularly the back of house customer experience) many of you will find one of your biggest competitive advantages is something you don’t talk about. Others of you will find that you need to work on this and build a customer experience you can sell for real value to your customers. Either way…ignoring the marketing implications of the process in a service oriented business is a huge miss.

Marketing plays a huge role in messaging and positioning your unique place in the market. The more differentiated, the more value you bring and the less rate is an issue. Companies talking about these things aren’t selling money, they’re selling a better way to acquire, fund, manage and dispose of the mission critical assets companies count on. If you ever wanna talk about minimizing the rate-based competition…give us a holler.

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