If you don’t offer financing, have you ever stopped to think about why? Here’s a guess: when a business doesn’t offer financing, it’s often because financing seems like more trouble than it’s worth. You’ve gotten this far without it. The last thing you have time for is babysitting long, drawn-out financing transactions. And customers don’t ask for financing much, anyway. So why bother? Why fix what isn’t broken?
Lack Of Financing Can Turn Good Customers Into Someone Else’s Customers
Here’s why: broken things don’t always advertise their brokenness. Take customers and financing—or the lack of it: many of your customers would love to take advantage of the benefits of financing—better cash flow, affordable payments, no hit on existing credit. But most of them won’t ask you for financing. If it’s not made clear that you offer it, they’ll just assume it’s not an option. Which is okay, as long as the budget’s okay. When the budget gets tight, however, customers may begin looking elsewhere for equipment and software, even though they’d prefer to do business with you. Even if they’ve only ever done business with you.
Budget—and the need to keep other credit lines open—casts a long shadow. It can turn away even the most loyal customers. And most businesses can’t afford to turn many customers away, especially their backbone customers, the ones who have been with them for years (decades, in some cases).
That’s one reason to offer financing, but it’s not even the best one.
Financing Helps Vendors Become Solution Providers
Financing can be about more than simply giving your customers an easier and more affordable way to pay. Integrated into your sales process, it can completely change the conversation. Rather than being forced by budget to buy equipment when they’re able, customers with access to financing can begin thinking about the longer game, about buying when it’s the right time to buy. Buying when it can make the biggest difference in the way they do business, not when circumstances dictate. They can start thinking about deploying complete solutions that give them a strategic advantage, instead of trying to piece one together bit by bit and only when their accountants give them the OK.
Financing Green Lights Solution Thinking
Financing gives customers permission to seek solutions. It gives them the flexibility and buying power to think bigger. And it gives you the opportunity to become a solution provider, a vendor that solves problems instead of one that simply sells equipment, like dozens of others.
That’s powerful. It turns your sales model from one centered on individual transactions to one based on solutions. It turns tenuous, episodic relationships into strong partnerships that evolve right along with the customer. And it’s made possible by financing.
Modern Financing Is Not Your Dad’s Financing
Speaking of what’s possible, it is possible get all the benefits of financing—for your business and your customers—without hassles, massive paperwork and hours of back-and-forth with a financing rep. At least it is now, thanks to forward-thinking financing companies and advanced communication technology.
Financing today is fast. In fact, some finance companies can get back to you with a decision in less than 60 minutes. Not just on small deals, either—whether a customer is financing $10,000 or $150,000, you still get an answer in an hour or less. Since the deals that drag out are the deals that fall through, it’s in the finance company’s best interest to get back with a decision quickly.
Then there’s the paperwork, that never-ending, ever-growing pile of pulp strewn everywhere. But assuming your financing solution provider uses modern technology (and not all do, sadly) there’s really not much of that—just a quick application and a short, easy-to-understand contract.
And reps? They’re the face of any financing company, and the better ones know it. These reps know your business—often, they’ve worked with vendors like you for years. They’re empowered to not only take an application but to serve as a partner in the sales process, helping salespeople build bigger, better deals with financing tailored to a customer’s business needs—and they know those needs, because they work with them every day. Even better, they handle all the backstage details, from start to finish, freeing up your salespeople to do what they do best.
So if you haven’t considered financing lately, take another look. Your customers are.