When Merchant Cash Advance isn’t the Right FitAugust 12, 2013 | By: Sean Murray
“I know you do a million in gross sales monthly but since you process only $5,000 in credit cards, we can only approve you for $7,000.”
Before ACH repayment became mainstream, the MCA industry was incredibly restrained in its ability to help businesses. A merchant seeking a half million dollars with the cash flow and size to back that request up was being told that the absolute best they could get would be maybe $10,000, and that’s with a 100% holdback in place instead of the industry standard max of 30-35%. It was an awkward sale for both parties.
To pitch a business owner generating $12 million a year in sales a paltry $10,000 is like telling your boss that the only thing you did at work this month is forward a single e-mail. To the business owner, they’re probably left wondering if lending really has dried up that much or perhaps they’re wondering if they’re just talking to the wrong people. Some of these mismatched situations actually turn into closed deals. I can personally remember one where a semi-serious request for $2 million became a $6,000 signed contract. I think they waited only 24 hours before applying for a renewal. The majority of these sales calls go nowhere though because what’s being offered is not a fit for what is needed.
It’s okay to have mismatches in life. As a salesman, your product is not the right solution for EVERY problem, no matter what your rebuttal script says. If a man is wheeled into an emergency room with 7 deep stab wounds, Johnson & Johnson is going to have to pass up the opportunity to offer him Band-Aids as the answer. A million Band-Aids might work, but they’re not the right solution.
In 2013, I am hearing a wider call to diversify product offerings to stay competitive. Yes, offering a fixed daily repayment loan based off of gross sales is a nice way to compliment the purchase of future credit card sales, but that’s not really diversity anymore, that’s a necessity to stay alive. By really diversifying, I’m talking about financial products beyond daily repayment loans and advances. Almost everyone agrees that being able to service more deals is a good thing but when it comes right down to it, they may see it as a distraction from their main focus.
We’ve all seen a friend or two bite off more than they can chew by trying to broker an SBA loan or commercial real estate deal. There’s no shortage of financial companies sitting on the periphery of the MCA industry waving a flag that says “if a deal isn’t compatible for you, then send it our way.” They don’t really speak the MCA language though and they expect you to do a lot of the closing and negotiating on your own. Some of these deals take months to process and if the lender believes the deal is only a one-time thing, they might not even pay you for it. Ugh! Looking at it from this perspective, perhaps it’s better to just stick with MCA and let every other type of deal fall by the wayside, that is until you look at your marketing expenses again and wonder…
An inbound lead is one that you’ve already paid for, so if they’re not a candidate for a daily repayment loan or advance, then what is the most efficient way to monetize and service them? Who can you really depend on to make servicing it a reality and how long will it take? How easy will it be? I searched beyond the industry for answers but began to find them inward. It seems New York City based Strategic Funding Source has recognized the need for product diversification and is eager to assist account reps in servicing more clients and closing more deals. Your marketing dollars are already spent, so now it’s time to monetize what they’re bringing in. There is a universe beyond daily repayment deals and if you hope to stay ahead of the curve, I recommend you become intimately familiar with programs like invoice factoring and accounts receivable factoring. You can and should be doing deals of this nature every month, not once in a blue moon.
While I like to consider myself knowledgeable on a wide range of financial topics, Lenny Leff, who heads Strategic Plus, a new division of Strategic Funding Source, has offered to write his own regular column on Merchant Processing Resource.
I spoke to David Sederholt, Strategic Funding Source’s COO, about this first in regards to Lenny’s role at the company:
“Through this new division of Strategic Funding Source, led by Lenny, we can say ‘yes’ to more businesses seeking capital to grow and are not limited to cash advance and loan products. We take a human approach to financing and know that the needs of small business owners are as diverse as the businesses themselves. With more product offerings, we are able to continue to be true partners to the small businesses we finance.”
– David Sederholt, Strategic Funding Source COO
Lenny’s posts will provide guidance and information about opportunities outside of MCA. After a few in-person meetings, I think he is uniquely positioned to discuss this topic, especially considering his prior experience in the MCA industry. I asked if Lenny would introduce himself in this post and he added the following:
“I am happy to be joining Strategic and look forward to sharing my 15+ years experience in factoring and asset based lending. The blog will give business owners and ISOs the opportunity to learn more about the different solutions and alternatives available when they go to someone offering a one-stop shop; Purchase Order Financing, Invoice Factoring, Equipment Leasing, Healthcare Lending to Business Loans and MCA. Our goal is to expand the knowledge within our community and help our partners find customized financing for their clients. We are thrilled and excited to share our insights with Sean and the Merchant Processing Resource site.”
– Lenny Leff, Strategic Plus
When the deal doesn’t fit, will you try to sell it anyway? Will you throw it out? Or will you try to monetize the lead you’ve already paid for? I don’t like the first two options… and I’m sure many of you don’t either.
Learn more about Strategic Plus at http://www.sfscapital.com/news/view/3596
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Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, a 10-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper investor, the co-founder of Daily Funder, an alternative lending speaker, consultant, writer, and enthusiast. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.