Business Lending: Sell The Whole SolutionNovember 26, 2015 | By: John Tucker
The year of 2015 went by rapidly, as it felt like yesterday that I was sitting back in my office chair, reading an article from the March/April 2015 edition of deBanked Magazine, composed by Ed McKinley, a man with nearly 40 years of journalism experience.
McKinley began a discussion about a “year of the broker,” based on analysis, interviews, and criticism of the mass new entrants of brokers into our space within recent times. I have spent the better part of this year continuing this discussion both here on deBanked and within our industry circle, with discussions that have been both conventional, out of the box, and even at times peculiar. Speaking of peculiar, this brings us to the opening of this discussion, in which I must quote RuPaul.
RuPaul once stated that, “life is about using the whole box of crayons.” In my opinion, if you can figure out the profession of sales, you can pretty much figure out most of everything there is to life. And if RuPaul is right in that life is about using the whole box of crayons, why do so many of the mass new entrants of brokers within our industry, believe they are going to properly sell a merchant without using the whole solution?
It’s common knowledge that every individual crayon provides its own distinctive color, which in and of itself creates its own distinctive value, as value in this case is based upon where the color fits on the page to provide its role in the total coloring scheme. But just like crayons, every part of our alternative financing solution provides a distinctive value that altogether creates the whole solution for the merchants we serve.
(Q) + (S) + (P) = THE WHOLE SOLUTION
The Whole Solution equation is based on three letters. “Q” stands for Quality, “S” stands for Support and “P” stands for “Pricing”. How many brokers within our industry focus only on offering the “Q” and “S” portion of this equation, without the “P” portion? How many brokers within our industry focus on offering the “Q” and “P” portion, without the “S” portion?
Quality is all about bringing to the merchant what they deem to be value, and in our space (alternative financing) that means capital when they need it. Thus, you should have a comprehensive resource network of alternative financing products from merchant cash advances, alternative business loans, equipment leasing products, factoring, purchase order financing, and more, with approval amounts that can solve the working capital needs of the merchant. This creates value.
This is all about your professional competency, merchant servicing and merchant education.
- Professional competency is all about you and your team having knowledge of the industry, the various products, the competing products, the market trends, understanding your merchant’s industry, and understanding how the product could help (or hurt) the merchant in achieving their operational objectives.
- Merchant servicing is all about providing tools for your merchant to manage their account with you, such as online access to statements, balances, transactions, or at least providing such information in a monthly statement. It also includes having easy access to live support agents during business hours to properly handle merchant questions, payment issues, collection issues, as well as there being an option for payment modification if a situation warrants it.
- Merchant education is all about educating the merchant based on the big data analytic information that you have currently, and how they can use this to help their business in various areas such as how to qualify for more conventional financing, better marketing strategies, etc.
In our industry, proper pricing is based on utilizing risk-based pricing, which is to price a merchant based on their paper grade. This can only be done after efficient pre-qualification of the merchant to understand where they stand.
Some merchants have low risk measurement, thus, they are A+ Paper and A Paper. Some merchants have moderate levels of risk, thus, they are B and C Paper. Then some merchants have higher levels of risk, thus, they are D and E Paper.
A+ Paper: Should be priced similar to a P2P lender’s pricing schedule, which includes longer terms up to 60 months. These terms and conditions mirror that of a conventional loan.
A Paper: Should be priced on 6 – 18 month payback cycles. The shorter ranges of 6 – 8 months having 1.09 – 1.20 pricing, 9 – 10 months having 1.22 – 1.24 pricing, 12 – 15 months having 1.25 – 1.32 pricing, and 18 months having 1.28 – 1.35 pricing.
B and C Paper: Should be priced on 6 – 12 month payback cycles. The shorter ranges of 6 – 8 months having 1.22 – 1.26 pricing, 9 – 10 months having 1.28 – 1.30 pricing, and 12 months having 1.35 – 1.45 pricing.
D Paper: Should be priced on 4 – 7 month payback cycles. 4 – 5 months having 1.28 – 1.35 pricing and 6 – 7 months having 1.40 – 1.45 pricing.
E Paper: Too high of risk to usually find a decent approval.
I usually debate other sales professionals (within our industry and outside of it) in regards to selling the whole solution.
Some believe that if you put majority of the focus on quality and support, then you can literally price your client however you prefer, including well above their marketplace pricing.
Some believe that if you just focus on providing the lowest price, then you can get away without having the best quality and support functions.
Both of these approaches are selling the partial solution, but the whole solution should always be the best solution as it provides the best in quality and support, while tying in a proper pricing model for the client based on their standing in the marketplace. This leads to client longevity, loyalty and stickiness. That’s why I believe the best approach is to sell the whole solution.Last modified: November 26, 2015
John Tucker is Managing Member of 1st Capital Loans LLC, as well as an M.B.A. graduate and holder of three bachelor's degrees in Accounting, Business Management and Journalism. Tucker has nearly 9 years of professional experience in Commercial Finance and B2B Sales. Connect with Tucker on LinkedIn by clicking (here), or contact Tucker at Tucker@1stCapitalLoans.com or at 586-480-2140.