Vendor Finance Strategy Foundations—Being a rock star asset/industry specialist

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Most common American Idol judge feedback: “You really made it your own”. Meaning that they did something lots do and made it very unique. As an industry/asset specialist in the vendor finance business, we think there are some basic items to being a real rock star and across a sea of sameness, me too provider landscape…make it your own.

Stick out your hairy rock star chest.

Wander to a few of the vendor finance industry specialist websites if you will. Other than more pictures of trucks (or their asset of choice) they talk about 100% financing, cash flow benefits…yada, yada…the same old stuff.  They don’t demonstrate their expertise very well at all. In other words, their biggest strength is not overpoweringly displayed to the audience that could benefit most from it. Same is true in most of their sales conversations.

If you do trucks every day all day (as an example) you have extensive history and understanding of not just the assets but the people working in the industries that need the assets. Far too often when a new dealer is introduced to you, they have to work too hard to experience your experience. Don’t be shy…let them know how much you know. Put your ideas, thoughts, unique messaging tailored to these dealers and their assets, give them trends in the assets, marketing techniques to leverage finance as a tool to sell more, etc. If you are not doing this, you are simply not maximizing the opportunity in front of your business.

And if you have trouble coming up with real thoughts and insight tailored to the asset class and industries…then ask yourself: Are you really a specialist or just a deal doer?

Ballads, Metal and Pop

Even the best rock stars have long realized they have to mix it up to be successful in the long term. To keep with the analogy, if trucks are your thing…don’t let yourself be too concentrated on class 8 OTR. Develop segments of your specialty. Moving, Dumps, Private Fleets, Delivery, Step Vans, Trailers, Wreckers, Food trucks…we could go on and on. If you love and are really good at an asset class, odds are lots of industries benefit from the use of those assets. Develop a messaging strategy and even promotional offering targeted at a segment or segments within the specialty. This provides for diversification when the economy gets bumpy and most importantly it makes you look really cool and different to the dealer.

Be a band, not just a lead singer.

Control the band. Many times we hear companies say it’s not our company that differentiates, it’s really our people. And specifically our salespeople. That’s true of course, but be careful. If your value proposition becomes “we hire, great, experienced salespeople” then your customers will follow them when the rep leaves and you’ll find yourself doing crazy things to keep a salesperson who’s a little too big for their britches so to speak. You’ll also have little to no youth on the bench which is a huge problem in our business…and maybe all this is why we have a huge problem.

At the end of the day, there is no Mick without the Stones. No Bono “with or without” U2 (get it?). So don’t build a business that is completely dependent on a salesperson or group of salespeople carrying you.  Build a business development approach that great salespeople succeed in and one that allows you to build younger salespeople.

Forward.

Our vendor finance strategy series has covered leadership, being a generalist and now being a rock star specialist. From here we will go forward with more thoughts on a customizable business development architecture for long term success. Wanna chat? Give us a holler.

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