Emerging Leader – Bryan Spence, Vice President, Business Development At LEAF Commercial Capital

  April 14, 2011

Article by Abigail Sutton for

Spence Is Driven By Results With A True Customer Focus

Bryan Spence has a unique customer-centric approach, a strong sales acumen and consistently develops innovative solutions for LEAF’s Dealer/Reseller partners; for this and more Spence joins the Emerging Leader ranks this month. As Vice President of Business Development, he and his team are responsible for identifying equipment Manufacturer/Distributors and software providers in need of customer finance solutions along with identifying new financing products to help LEAF’s partners be successful in their respective markets. Crit DeMent, CEO, proudly promotes Spence’s nomination, “He was immediately identified as a potential leader early within his tenure and by working closely with the LEAF management team, over the last ten years, has grown into a well rounded key resource within the organization.”

Spence is responsible for developing strategic alliances with Manufacturer/Distributors, distributors and captive finance organizations within LEAF’s target markets. LEAF refers to these programs as Major Account Platform (MAP) partners. LEAF develops MAP programs with industry leading providers of technology and software, telephony, healthcare, office equipment and light industrial equipment. Spence joined LEAF in its infancy in May 2003, when the company was less than 20 employees strong, as one of its first sales representatives. “The early days of LEAF were very exciting. We were out building our Dealer/Reseller base and our name in the market. Right now it feels as if that energy is back. We are implementing new programs, expanding our existing relationships and really capitalizing on the need in the marketplace for a strong, experienced, small-ticket, Dealer/Reseller focused leasing company” he said.

In developing new Dealer/Reseller programs, Spence and LEAF utilize their MAP 360° Full Circle Assessment that sets LEAF apart from other leasing companies. Before entering into a new program relationship the client’s business is explored inside and out, “we look to understand their business, make an evaluation of their current customer financing program and determine where we can provide value. Whether it is by helping them increase profits, accelerating sales, retaining customers, reducing DSO’s ‘(days sales outstanding)” Spence said. MAP 360° involves a task force of LEAF leaders to create the client-specific program. Each member of the task force represents their respective department at LEAF and collectively they work together to develop a business plan which includes each functional group’s process procedures and service standards. “We put a lot of resources into developing a program and collectively we are all responsible for its success” Spence added.

A Business Model Backed By Thorough Research And Open Communication

Spence excels at communicating both with clients and internally which aligns well with LEAF’s unique and partner-focused business model. At LEAF business development is more than simply a sales role. Everyone is involved in the success of their program relationships. Spence explains, “Credit, operations, accounting, customer service, asset management and IT are all involved in the building the unique components of each program. Bringing the team together to develop the best program to meet our partners’ needs is something we excel at.” He and LEAF take pride in their client research, planning and implementing original solutions while offering superior communication and follow-up along the way. More than a commercial finance and asset management company, LEAF takes a holistic approach to serving its partners. Spence goes above and beyond a sales role by working to develop and execute dynamic solutions for their partners as well as being a spokesman for the company with its investors and lenders.

For this research and care associated with developing every program for each partner, they have been known to comment that LEAF, “really took the time to understand our business and build a customer finance solution right for our needs. Partners feel valued because LEAF and Spence’s team took time to understand their particular needs as a business, along with their goals and challenges. “If you’re not dealing or interfacing with the customer on a day to day basis, you don’t understand how you are serving them. It’s necessary to understand how the work you’re doing is affecting their business and whether it’s a productive partnership” he said. Their comprehensive solutions range from complete backroom support to a full service offering, which includes sales, marketing, promotions and training activities. Each program’s business plan identifies the sales, marketing and training activities focused on the initial program roll-out and the first years’ key activities. “This way we will know what we will be doing each quarter for the next 12 months. That kind of follow-through helps us get the results that our partner is looking for. It’s a great feeling when you first present that detailed plan to a prospective partner and then subsequently you go over the results in the business review meeting and you’ve helped them reach their goals” Spence said. This thoroughness and personalization is rare from a commercial finance company

It’s an approach the management team has been using and evolving for over 25 years. Once they understand their partners’ goals and objectives they implement a custom solution and consistently follow-up, measure results, monitor progress and make adjustments as needed to better serve the partner’s focus. LEAF offers a full life cycle of products and services to help partners truly maximize their financing.

Excelling With Consistent Customer Loyalty And Engagement

Spence’s friendly, helpful demeanor along with his unwavering work ethic streamline well at LEAF. His customers stay loyal based on a few factors which include LEAF’s innovative products, the ability to keep them engaged with the marketing team and the strong relationships forged throughout the process. He elaborates, “This is more than just a Dealer/Reseller/client relationship. I know about their kids and families. Once they trust that you’ll do a good job for them, they tend to be pretty loyal. It also goes back to not just being a funding source.” Spence all too easily awards the credit to LEAF and certainly, their business model works. Every client wants understanding and confidence in knowing that their concerns and challenges are real and deserve introspection. One gets the sense that Spence can handle anything that comes his way and is proud to work alongside the LEAF team everyday to help solve another partner’s dilemmas.

Spence attributes his work ethic to his parents who instilled the importance of hard work at a young age. He started working as a paperboy at 11 years old. Decades later, in the leasing world, he says, “I’ve been very fortunate. Within sales and business development I’ve worked with the best in the business. I’ve collectively picked things up along the way and acted like a sponge and absorbed [best practices]. I’ve been able to learn diverse skills from a variety of very successful people.” Also, like the level-headed leader that he is, in times of conflict, he tries to remain calm and not react immediately. “Act only once you fully understand the situation. Once emotion gets involved it can cloud your judgment” he said. As a new father of 4-month-old Zachary, balance is important to him now more than ever. “Obviously, at this time there are a lot of demands both in my career and at home. I think you can sense when you are losing your balance and that’s alright for a period of time but realizing and acknowledging it is very important” he said.

In today’s economy, it’s important now more than ever to offer something that sets you apart from the pack. Spence represents an emerging leader by proudly offering superior customer service to his partners and backing it up with a knowledgeable sales base. Through the LEAF model which includes impeccable research and planning for every partner-client through their MAP 360° program, they build consumer confidence, one client at a time. LEAF and Spence have a collective model that includes every department at the organization to develop the most comprehensive and individualized partner program which best serves the partner’s needs. It’s this personal attention that other sales teams, let alone commercial finance companies, often lack. As Mr. and Mrs. Spence instilled the value of hard work in their son Bryan at an early age, Zachary has an adept role model in his father who will likely do the same. The sky is the limit for each of them.

About The Emerging Leader: Bryan Spence

Bryan Spence, Vice President of Business Development has been with LEAF since 2003. He is responsible for the development of strategic alliances with major Manufacturer/Distributors and other origination sources. Prior to LEAF Bryan held various sales and sales management positions with Fidelity Leasing Corporation and CitiCapital Technology Finance.