The Highway to Quality Leads and Closing Deals
In the early months of 2020, twenty-two year-old Gary Parker found himself on a nature walk along a stretch of highway in Canada. As a savvy marketer in the medical spa field, the wide grip of Canadian pandemic lockdowns had quickly turned his thriving business into dust.
Swept off of his feet by the suddenness of his predicament, he turned to nature to clear his mind and found his next venture in the unlikeliest of ways.
“I went for a walk outside, and so I saw these trucks,” Parker said, “just like trucks on the road just driving. I was like, ‘everything is shut down but there’s trucks just moving things across the country.'”
Parker’s verbal description of the moment was enhanced by his scenic Zoom background when he was interviewed for the story. Parking his laptop on the hood of his car next to a real life mountain range along a Canadian highway, he explained that he didn’t have to tell me how that walk felt because he could show me. Moving his laptop camera around to show off tractor-trailers behind him in the distance, the inspiration that had come to him in 2020 was still present.
Though the country was supposedly closed for business back then, he couldn’t help but notice how many trucks were still on the highways shuttling supplies around.
“I’m a bit of a curious guy,” Parker said, “so I started Googling, like, ‘How much for a truck this big?’ and you know, they were like 70,000 bucks, 100,000 bucks. And I was like, ‘how do people even purchase these trucks?'”
Parker went on a research mission and discovered that few people, if any, were buying large trucks outright with cash, that so much of it was done through financing.
“And so I look up ‘what’s financing? How do people get truck financing?’ And then I recognized that other than truck-sales groups, there’s a section of people where their job is just to help people find the right financing methods.”
Parker thought he might be able to work with the latter group, given his marketing background, to help connect truckers with financing, but discovered the market in Canada was relatively small.
“Things really started to boom when I met my first USA client,” Parker said, because the demand in the US for truck financing seemed endless. “…in one day you could generate 100 inquiries of people who wanted financing for trucks,” he said.
Parker soon figured out that trucks were just one market in a wider industry of equipment financing, a rabbit hole of endless opportunity that led him to other big name entrepreneurs in the space like Josh Feinberg and Cheryl Tibbs. Feinberg, coincidentally, was a featured cast member in deBanked‘s recently produced equipment finance sales reality show.
Parker found common synergy with both and with their help was further introduced to the entire gamut of small business financing solutions.
“And that’s when I got fully immersed,” he said.
He didn’t want to be a broker or a lender, however, so instead he set out to focus on one very particular area of the process, lead generation. First, he built a system to help others, and then he gravitated towards creating a matchmaking system where brokers could connect with businesses that came to his company for help. The end result is his current company that many brokers have now become aware of, Fundly.
“So Fundly is an online marketplace,” he said, “where we have two things. Right now we have real-time matches, so [merchants] who are looking for funding every single day can come in free-of-charge and submit their inquiries, and we have funding members who can join for $1 a month who can see all these inquiries come in and then decide whether or not they want to pitch or share their profile with someone for five bucks.”
Parker explained it as a Tinder-style system where brokers can see the inquiries but can’t talk to the merchants unless the merchants also choose to engage with them. The upside is that when merchants say ‘yes,’ the brokers get to speak to someone that is interested right at that moment and with them specifically.
But Parker is a marketing guy, not a developer, and the execution of this required additional people to put the vision together.
“So we have a team now. Before when we just started, it was just me,” he explained. “If you’re going to write anything, let them know [about the team], because I have a hard working team who is behind every single thing and it wouldn’t have been possible, the technology wouldn’t have been possible without the team.”
Despite the business being born in Canada, Fundly is only targeting the US market because of its scope. Finding interested business owners is not even the hard part of his job, he explained, but rather the hard part is about educating brokers about how to communicate with businesses.
“I’m trying to teach our community members as they come into our orientation, what they think small business owners care about,” he said.
A big mistake for a broker, he explained, is starting off with a pitch about how many lenders they work with.
“Small business owners do not care about how many lenders you have in your back pocket,” he stated. “We’ve come to recognize a small business cares about one thing, what can you do for them? speak in terms of them.”
He imbues them with this marketing wisdom not just because he wants to improve their success rate, but also because he is adamant about making sure the businesses that come to his company get access to the right people with the right programs and prices. He doesn’t want to see these customers get a bad deal.
That Parker is a 24-year old former medical spa marketer hardly matters to brokers who recognize talent when they see it. When deBanked asked a senior executive of one reputable broker shop off the record what they thought about Parker, they responded by saying “he’s a genius.”
And besides, he’s not exactly that far off from where he started.
“The machines that some of the brokers finance, like laser therapy machines, stuff like that, I was working on the flip side, from the consumer perspective, having people sign up for high ticket packages from these machines,” he said.
And yet he’s very appreciative of how far he’s come since he went for that walk to reflect on his loss.
“God helped me. It was, it was rough, man. Yeah, not going to lie,” he said. “It was really rough.”
Toward the end of the interview, Parker had already shifted into marketing teacher mode.
“What really sets us apart is psychology,” he said. “Most people think that to get a business owner, you have to hit them and say, ‘Are you looking for the lowest terms? And you know, X, Y and Z??'”
The better approach, he explained, is to tell them that you will get them answers quickly.
“That results in a lot more funding,” he said, “because it’s not making a promise upfront, saying ‘let’s get you funds in 24 hours,’ it’s saying ‘let’s get you answers. And here’s someone to help you find these answers.'”Last modified: July 13, 2022
Sean Murray is the President and Chief Editor of deBanked and the founder of the Broker Fair Conference. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter. You can view all future deBanked events here.