Offering leasing agreements to your customers in house can be a boon to your business, and better all, it doesn’t require any substantial upfront investment from you. You can find many companies, such as EFG and others, who specialize in creating programs for vendors to offer leasing agreements to their customers. While establishing a financing program can be easy, finding a partner who can create it for you requires careful consideration. After all, the company you choose will reflect upon your own business.
Finding the right financing partner requires knowing the right questions to ask. We’ve put together a list to help guide you through the process:
1. “WHAT IS CUSTOMER SUPPORT LIKE?”
Customer service is the lifeblood of any business. Your financing partner should be able to provide excellent support — that means fast response times and the ability to actually answer customer concerns. This is something where you should research the customer reviews — not just the partner vendors, but the actual lessees. See what their experiences are like as well, because your customers won’t come back to you if your financing partner is difficult to work with or completely non-responsive.
2. “WHAT IS YOUR APPROVAL RATE LIKE?”
Offering a financing program is pointless if your customers cannot qualify for it. Be sure to ask your potential partner what their approval rates are like and whether they are willing to work with companies that might have less-than-stellar credit. A company that is more open to working with businesses of all types will allow you to expand your customer base.
3. “DO YOU WORK ON AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL?”
If your business serves an international clientele, you need a financing partner who has similar experience and expertise. Make sure that the company you choose is adept at structuring international agreements so that you can make yourself even more attractive to prospective clients.
4. “DO YOU OFFER MARKETING SUPPORT?”
Being able to offer a leasing solution to your clients is great, but it is equally important to know how to market those options. A quality partner will provide you with tools and show you the best way to promote your leasing programs so that you can increase sales. This can include help creating printed materials or even creating an entirely new marketing strategy.
5. “DO YOU OFFER CUSTOM/FLEXIBLE FINANCING OPTIONS?”
One of the primary benefits to leases is how flexible they are. Whereas a bank that issues a loan will expect a monthly payment regardless of circumstances, leases allow you to tailor payments to the lessee’s best interests, whether that is waiving the first three months of payments, allowing seasonal skips for companies that don’t operate year round, or another creative solution. Leasing options built around the client will differentiate you from the competition.
6. “WHO WILL HANDLE INFORMING CUSTOMERS OF ANY DENIALS?”
While leasing can make equipment accessible to those who might not have the cash upfront or who are otherwise unable to obtain financing, you will still come across some potential customers who aren’t eligible for any sort of financing. It is a good idea to make sure the financing company is willing to handle rejections, rather than expecting your staff to deliver the bad news and provide the reasoning for it. Likewise, your partner should be willing to explain why the rates offered aren’t as attractive as a client might have hoped.
7. “HOW SOON BEFORE AN APPROVAL NOTICE GOES OUT?”
The faster you can get financing approval for your customers, the more likely you are to make a sale. Make sure your partner is responsive and able to provide an offer in a reasonable time frame. You should also check how they alert customers to approvals or rejections.
8. “WHAT APPLICATION METHODS ARE AVAILABLE? HOW EASY IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS?”
Every business operates on its own terms, with its own preferred methods of communications. If your partner only allows over-the-phone applications, you may want to look elsewhere. Being able to apply for a leasing option online, over the phone, or via a paper application allows you to cater to your customers’ needs.
Likewise, a simple application, one that doesn’t require extensive information or documentation, will be less likely to drive away customers than a lengthy, involved process.
9. “HOW ARE PAYMENTS HANDLED?”
Some financing partners will present you with the entire value of the lease up front, while others will simply direct the monthly payments to you. Either may work for your business, but you should be aware of how the partnership will affect your own cash flow.
Likewise, it is important to ask who will handle collections if one of your customers falls behind on payments. Setting up an in-house department to manage all of this can be difficult, and so having a partner who is capable of managing collections will put less of a strain on your resources.
10. “WHAT KIND OF FEES DO YOU ASSESS?”
Be clear about what sort of fees your potential partner may assess — both to you and your customers. Customers will be unhappy if they feel they are being “nickle-and-dimed” with endless service fees and miscellaneous charges, and it will ultimately affect your business’ reputation. Likewise, you should make sure any fees your partner might charge you don’t negatively affect your own bottom line.
11. “DO YOU RESELL CUSTOMER INFORMATION?
At the end of the day, your customers are your customers — and they should remain that way. If your financing company is reselling your customers’ information and they are being inundated with calls and email offers for services they have no interest in, they will blame you. You can avoid a massive headache later by asking about the issue up front.
Partnering with another company to extend flexible leasing options to your customers is a great way to grow your business. EFG has decades of experience in the field, including expertise in international financing, as well as a large network that allows the company to present flexible solutions based on individual customer needs. If you are ready to take your business to the next level and generate more sales, contact us today!