Every year, a marketing company and a third-party research firm get together and ask a few thousand businesses what they think about the office equipment buying experience. One point that jumped to the top of the list was…

4 out of 10 settled for a “disappointing” office equipment buying experience because they had unrealistic payment expectations.

These customers walked out of the experience “disappointed” for a reason that had nothing to do with your equipment and maybe even your sales team. They simply didn’t understand the financing. And if 4 of 10 customers are feeling this way, this gap creates a big obstacle for customer satisfaction and return business. Or maybe…a big opportunity!

Most small and mid-sized business stakeholders are not copier finance experts. They don’t understand the issues that lenders often evaluate when making credit decisions or the lifecycle issues that go into determining the term and end-of-life options. They may assume the process will go as smoothly as a time in the past when challenges weren’t present…but it may not. They may assume your sales team understands the ins and outs of financing and credit before they assemble the quote…but you may not. Assumptions like these kill sales and leave customers disappointed.

But by discussing the financial need early, you might be able to identify these gaps up front. Once identified, you can counsel them on how the financing process works, what the components of the financing are and how they solve problems. And more importantly, you can leverage your finance program partner. A solid financing relationship should be shoulder-to-shoulder with your sales team on a transaction-by-transaction basis. When it works well, the sales team brings in the financing expert to walk through the business and personal issues that will affect how much equipment the customer can afford, what the end of term implications are and even uncover additional needs or opportunity. This education can help position the customer for success not just with this transaction, but also in the long term.

Bringing in the financing partner can also help insulate the equipment dealer from precarious private conversations and potential credit challenges. If handled well, even these challenging situations can be turned into rental or used equipment opportunities while rebuilding a credit situation. The financial partner can qualify the prospect for the equipment dealer, maximizing the sales time on only the most qualified buyers with the ability to purchase that aligns with an equipment package that meets their needs.

In most customer service situations, dissatisfaction happens more with the expectations set at the outset than they do with actual service failures. Expectation setting is never more important than when it comes to a customer’s ability to afford the solution. It can be more than disappointing…to a smaller business owner it can be demoralizing. But by bringing in a trusted financing partner up front, you can avoid these landmines, maximize sales efforts and even build a differentiated or more positive customer experience.

At LEAF, we help office product sales teams by making your equipment easier to buy. Our customized solutions solve real problems – like making sure each customer has a strong understanding of the finance process. To begin a discussion, reach out to your LEAF Account Champion.