One of the best ways to build a business brand is to add significant and unexpected value to every business transaction. The value exchange starts with the equipment transaction itself. But in order to build truly strong brands, additional value must be added at every step of the way in the transaction itself and over the life of the customer relationship as well.
A brand is essentially the reputation of a business. It is an expectation of consistent quality service and value. A brand is far more than a marketing buzzword because it is based on what a business does and how it operates, rather than on simply what a business says about itself. A solid and reputable business brand is a fundamental element of effective marketing and a cornerstone of business growth. The “brand equity” that a business derives from, its brand translates directly into dollars from growth and expansion. When it comes to building a solid brand however, many equipment vendors don’t know where to begin. So here’s a good example of how to build a brand by adding value far beyond basic equipment transactions.
Most sales people would agree that when a sales discussion finally gets to the topic of price, things often break down rather quickly. In fact, many sales people avoid this topic until the bitter end, because it’s not only uncomfortable to talk about, but if not handled correctly it can completely derail all of the hard work that’s already been invested in the transaction. The fear is that the customer will hear a number that is way too high and simply walk away.
The best way to counter—in fact, to completely eliminate this situation—is to meet it head on. By converting the issue of price from a net-negative to a net-positive, an equipment vendor will not only close more transactions, but will build their brand in the process. If the sales force can focus on adding value to the transaction instead of avoiding the issue of price, sales will increase right along with customer satisfaction.
One of the best ways to do this is to use private label equipment financing. This is simply the process of offering customized lease programs to customers under the framework of a business brand. A financing partner originates, documents and services the leases, and does all of the work necessary to manage and administer them over the life of the contract. But from the customer’s perspective, it appears as though everything is being done by the business itself.
There are many reasons to do this. First of all, and probably most importantly, providing lease financing to customers is a tremendous value add that will help to close more transactions. Leasing is one of the most effective equipment acquisition methods available because it conserves valuable cash and existing credit lines. Lease financing can be tailored to fit the budget of virtually any business, making an equipment acquisition exceptionally affordable.
Leases can also be structured to include all of the services, supplies, and support necessary to maintain a piece of equipment over its useful life. The customer makes one convenient and consistent payment every month, streamlining the billing process and simplifying bookkeeping efforts. All of these additional costs can be financed at the same time, once again conserving cash and saving money.
But lease financing—particularly lease financing that has been branded with a private label—has another very significant benefit as well. Lease financing creates a financial bond between the customer and the equipment vendor, which over time can turn into a long and profitable business relationship.
Furthermore, when the customer decides that it needs new equipment, if a leasing arrangement is already in place, it becomes even easier to acquire the new equipment. When the customer decides that it’s time for new equipment or for an upgrade, making a call to the equipment vendor is the next logical step, and the lease is easily modified to include the new equipment.
Clearly leasing is one of the most effective methods of funding an equipment acquisition. But when equipment leasing is offered as a branded service, it becomes even more powerful. The bond and business relationship between the equipment vendor and customer become even stronger and more lucrative.
The beauty of an in-house, branded, private label leasing program is that, with the right financing partner, it’s very easy to do. The leasing company provides all of the services relating to the lease, but it’s all done behind the scenes. From the customer’s perspective, everything is done directly by the equipment vendor. Not only does the number of brand “touches” increases every month, but the customer’s perception of the vendor expands as well, since a small vendor probably couldn’t administer a comprehensive and professional leasing program.
Lease financing is the most logical and cost-effective method of acquiring equipment. Every equipment vendor should offer lease financing to its customers—that’s a given. But a private label equipment leasing and finance program enables an equipment vendor to significantly strengthen and promote the business brand as well.