|Power Up Your Prospecting Part I
A few years ago, we ran a series of articles covering key guidelines for equipment finance brokers to adhere to when prospecting for dealers and/or customers. All in, there were ten recommendations to follow. We updated the series with some new information, new techniques, and new ideas. The first of three installments is presented in this issue of our newsletter.
As an equipment finance referral agent in today's competitive market, finding - and keeping - customers is vital to the health of your brokerage. So how can you find an ample supply of prospects that need financing to acquire the assets necessary to grow their businesses so you in turn can grow your business? Learn how in the first of our three-part series on ways to turn opportunities into funded deals.
#1: Identify Your Target Market
Answer some clarifying questions. Are you targeting dealers, customers or both? Are you specializing in one type of equipment or industry, or are you a generalist? Do you want to work with customers with a certain level of credit worthiness, or take all comers?
Next, determine what each market considers important. If your focus is dealers, you'll likely learn they want someone who can handle everything on financing a deal. Then position yourself as a broker who lets them do what they do best: sell equipment.
If your focus is customers, or "end-users", determine how different types of equipment and financing can help them. Then position your brokerage as one that caters to their business.
Then add lenders into the mix. What kind of equipment do they underwrite? What credit histories do they accept? Does the lender underwrite start-ups and/or owner-operators? Does it handle small or mid-ticket? And what about rates? A prudent referral agent fully understands each lenders' approach to credit, and what factors typically trigger an approval or decline.
#2: Talk Solutions-Not Numbers
The real solution that brokers offer customers is what the equipment can do to improve their business: cut costs, expand capabilities, increase revenues.
For example, with a construction contractor, ask, "What does it cost you to dig a foundation?" After listening to his answer, say, "Would you be interested in cutting the amount of time it takes you to do this by 30 percent?" That gets his attention! Now have a conversation that helps the owner visualize the benefit to his business-rather than selling financial terms.
This requires you to become an expert in the issues your customers face-and how you can solve these. Marketing 101 teaches us that people run away from pain faster than they run toward features and benefits. It's true: this is much easier to do if you specialize in a particular area, such as "yellow iron" heavy construction equipment.
Regardless of the type of equipment you focus on, the principles remain the same. Understand the pain your customers feel and offer well thought-out examples of ways to alleviate it. Not through the acquisition of a loan or lease, but through the myriad ways this equipment will help save time, improve efficiency, and generate income.
#3: Make Friends with Gatekeepers and Voicemail
We wish our calls would be immediately answered by the right person. That rarely happens. Here's what to do instead of getting discouraged by gatekeepers:
- Write a "script" of what you want to say and practice it.
- Ask a question that only the person you want to speak with can answer, reducing the chances you'll be passed off to someone else.
- Help assistants feel important, increasing the likelihood you'll discover when the decision-maker is in and can take your call.
Voicemail gives you the chance to deliver your ideas in your words:
- Be concise about the pain you can solve and focus on for the prospect's business.
- Call after hours-so the decision-maker likely hears your message first thing in the morning.
Stay tuned for parts two and three of our series on prospecting.
Want more details? Get the entire "Referral Agent Prospecting Toolkit" by contacting Don Cosenza at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 203-354-6018.
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