It’s nearly impossible to teach fiscal responsibility to most consumers, according to researchers at universities and nonprofit agencies. But alternative small-business funders and brokers often manage to steer clients toward financial prudence, and imparting pecuniary knowledge can become part of a consultative approach to selling.
Still, nobody says it’s easy to convince the public or merchants to handle cash, credit and debt wisely and responsibly. Consider the consumer research cited by Mariel Beasley, principal at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University and co-director of the Common Cents Lab, which works to improve the financial behavior of low- and moderate-income households.
“For the last 30 years in the U.S. there has been a huge emphasis on increasing financial education, financial literacy,” Beasley says. But it hasn’t really worked. “Content-based financial education classes only accounted for .1 percent variation in financial behavior,” she continues. “We like to joke that it’s not zero but it’s very, very close.” And that’s the average. Online and classroom financial education influences lower-income people even less.
The problem stems from trying to teach financial responsibility too late in life, says Noah Grayson, president and founder of Norwalk, Conn.-based South End Capital. He advocates introducing young people to finance at the same time they’re learning history, algebra and other standard subjects in school.
Yet Grayson and others contend that it’s never too late for motivated entrepreneurs to pick up the basics. Even novice small-business owners tend to possess a little more financial acumen than the average person, they say. That makes entrepreneurs easier to teach than the general public but still in need of coaching in the basics of handling money.
Take the example of a shopkeeper who grabs an offer of $50,000 with no idea how he’ll use the funds to grow the business or how he’ll pay the money back, suggests Cheryl Tibbs, general manager of One Stop Commercial Capital, Douglasville, Ga. “The easy access to credit blinds a lot of merchants,” she notes.
Entrepreneurs often make bad decisions simply because they don’t have a background in business, according to Jared Weitz, CEO of New York based United Capital Source. “Many of the people who come to us are trying their hardest,” he observes.
Weitz offers the example of his own close relative who’s a veterinarian. That profession attracts some of the brainiest high-school valedictorians but doesn’t mean they know business. “He’s the best doctor ever and he’s not a great businessman because he doesn’t think about those things first. What he thinks about is helping people. That’s why he got into his profession.”
Entrepreneurs often devote themselves to a vision that isn’t businesses-oriented. “They start a business because they have a great idea or a great product, and that’s what excites them,” Grayson says. “They jump in with both feet and don’t think much about the business side.” The business side isn’t as much fun.
Merchants also attend to so many aspects of an enterprise—everything from sales, production and distribution to hiring, payroll and training—that they can’t afford to devote too much time to any single facet, notes Joe Fiorella, principal at Kansas City, Mo.-based Central Funding. Business owners respond to what’s most urgent, not necessarily what’s most important.
For whatever reason, some business owners spiral downward into financial ruin, bouncing checks, stacking merchant cash advances and continually seeking yet another merchant cash advance to bail them out of a precarious situation, says Jeremy Brown, chairman of Bethesda, Md.-based Rapid Advance.
Weitz advises sitting down with those clients and coming to an understanding of the situation. In some cases, enough cash might be coming in but the incoming autopayments aren’t timed to cover the outgoing autopayments, he says by way of example.
Informing clients of such problems makes a demonstrable difference. “We can see that it works because we have clients renewing with us,” says Weitz. “We’re able to swim them upstream to different products” as their finances gradually improve, he says.
The products in that stream begin with relatively higher-cost vehicles like merchant cash advances and proceed to other less-expensive instruments with better terms, says Brown. Those include term loans, Small Business Administration loans, equipment leasing, receivables factoring and, ultimately the goal for any well-capitalized small business—a relationship with the local bank.
Failing to consider those options and instead simply abetting stackers to make a quick buck can give the industry a “black eye,” and it benefits none of the parties involved, Tibbs observes. But merchants deserve as much blame as funders and brokers, she maintains.
Prospective clients who stack MCAs, don’t care about their credit rating and simply want to staunch their financial bleeding probably account for 35 percent to 40 percent of the applicants Tibbs encounters, she says.
Just the same, alt-funders continue to urge clients to hire accountants, consult attorneys, employ helpful software, shore up credit ratings, keep tabs on cash flow, calculate margins, improve distribution chains and outline plans for growth. It’s what helps the industry rise above the “get-money quick” image that it’s outgrowing, Weitz, says. Many funders and brokers consider providing financial advice an essential aspect of consultative selling. It’s an approach that begins with making sure applicants understand the debt they’re taking on, the terms of the payback and how their businesses will benefit from the influx of capital. It continues with a commitment to helping clients not just with funding but also with other types of business consultation.
“It’s not so much selling as building a rapport with clients—serving as a strategic advisor or financial resource for them, identifying their needs and directing them to the right loan product to meet those needs,” says Grayson. “They should feel they can call you about anything specific to their business, not just their loan requests.” He also cautions against providing information the client will not absorb or will find offensive.
Justin Bakes, CEO of Boston-based Forward Financing also advocates consultative selling. “It’s all about questions and getting information on what’s driving the business owner,” he says. “It’s a process.”
Consultative sales hinges on knowing the customer, agrees Jason Solomon, Forward Financing vice president of sales. “Businesses are never similar in the mind of the business owner,” he notes. “To effectively structure a program best-suited to the merchant’s long-time business needs and set a proper path forward to better and better financial products, you need to know who the business owner is and what his long term goals are.”
“It’s taking an approach of actually being a consultant as opposed to a $7 an hour order taker,” Tibbs says of consultative selling. “I like to teach new reps to think of it as if you were a doctor. Doctors ask questions to arrive at a final diagnosis. So if you’re asking your prospective customer questions about their business, about their cash flow, about their intentions of how they’re planning to get back on track.”
Learning about the clients’ business helps brokers recommend the least-expensive funding instrument, Tibbs says. “I really hate to see someone with a 700 credit score come in to get a merchant cash advance,” she maintains. The consultative approach requires knowing the funding products, knowing how to listen to the customer and combining those two elements to make an informed decision on which product to recommend, she notes.
Consultative sales can greatly benefit clients, Weitz maintains. If a pizzeria proprietor asks for an expensive $50,000 cash advance to buy a new oven, a responsible broker may find the applicant qualifies for an equipment loan with single-digit interest and monthly payments over a five-year period that puts less pressure on daily cash flow.
It’s also about pointing out errors. Brokers and funders see common mistakes when they look at tax returns and financial records, says Brown. “The biggest issue is that small-business owners—because they work so hard— make a profit of X amount of money and then take that out of the business,” he notes. Instead, he advises reinvesting a portion of those funds so that they can build equity in the business and avoid the need to seek outside capital at high rates.
Another common error occurs when entrepreneurs take a short-term approach to their businesses instead of making longer-term plans, Brown says. That longer-term vision includes learning what it takes to improve their businesses enough to qualify for lower-cost financing.
Sometimes, small merchants also make the mistake of blending their personal finances and their business dealings. Some do it out of necessity because they’re launching an enterprise on their personal credit cards, and others act of ignorance. “They don’t necessarily know they’re doing something wrong,” Grayson observes. “There are tax ramifications.”
Some just don’t look at their businesses objectively. Take the example of a company that approached Central Funding for capital to buy inventory in Asia. Fiorella studied the numbers and then informed the merchant that it wasn’t a money problem—it was a margins problem. “You could sell three times what you’re wanting to buy, and you still won’t get to where you want to be,” he reports telling the potential customer.
Consultative selling also means establishing a long-term relationship. Forward Financing uses technology to keep in contact with clients regularly, not just when clients need capital, Bakes notes. That cultivates long-lasting relationships and shows the company cares. As the relationship matures it becomes easier to maintain because the customers want to talk to the company. “They’re running to pick up the phone.”
The conversations that don’t hinge on funding usually center on Forward Financing learning more about the customer’s business, says Solomon. That include the client’s needs and how they’ve used the capital they’ve received.
“We have our own internal cadence and guidelines for when we reach out and how often and what happens,” says Solomon. Customer relationship management technology provides triggers when it’s time for the sales team or the account-servicing team to contact clients by phone or email.
Do small-business owners take advice on their finances? Some need a steady infusion of capital at increasingly higher cost and simply won’t heed the best tips, says Solomon. “It’s certainly a mix,” he says. “Not everybody is going to listen.”
Paradoxically, the business owners most open to advice already have the best-run companies, says Fiorella. Those who are closed to counseling often need it the most, he declares.
Moreover, not everybody is taking the consultative approach. “New brokers are so excited to get a commission check they throw the consultative approach out the window,” Tibbs says.
Yet many alt-funders bring consultative experience from other professions into their work with providing funds to small business. Tibbs, for example, previously helped home buyers find the best mortgage.
Consultative selling came naturally to Central Funding because the company started as a business and analytics consultancy called Blue Sea Services and then transformed itself into an alternative funding firm, says Fiorella. Central Funding reviews clients’ financial statements and operations between rounds of funding, he notes.
Consultations with borrowers reach an especially deep level at PledgeCap, a Long Island-based asset-based lender, because clients who default have to forfeit the valuables they put up as collateral—anything from a yacht to a bulldozer—says Gene Ayzenberg, PledgeCap’s chief operating officer. Conversations cover the value of the assets and the risk of losing them as well as the reasons for seeking capital, he notes.
No matter how salespeople arrive at their belief in the consultative approach, they last much longer in the business than their competitors who are merely seeking a quick payoff, Tibbs says. Others contend that it’s clearly the best way to operate these days.
“The consultative approach is the only one that works,” says Weitz. “Today, everything is about the customer experience. People are making more-educated, better informed decisions.” What’s more, with the consultative approach clients just keep getting smarter, he adds.
The days of the hard sell have ended, Grayson agrees. Customers have access to information on the internet, and brokers and funders can prosper by helping customers, he says. “Our compensation doesn’t vary much depending upon which product we put a client in so we can dig deeper into what will fit the client without thinking about what the economic benefit will be to us.”
Even though the public has become familiar with alternative financing in general, most haven’t learned the nuances. That’s where consultative selling can help by outlining the differing products now available for businesses with nearly any type of credit-worthiness. “It’s for everybody,” Weitz says of today’s alternative small business funding, “not just a bank turn-down.”
“You don’t need a f-ing mentor,” is the opening line of a short online video delivered to camera by Gary Vaynerchuk, the celebrated high energy marketing and sales guru. In the video, he concludes by saying: “Enough with the mentor horseshit. Go f-ing execute. There’s unlimited free mentors on f-ing YouTube. Go f-ing work.”
A discussion with industry insiders suggests that Vaynerchuk’s sentiment is somewhat controversial.
“Without mentorships, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am now,” said Josh Feinberg, co-founder of New Hampshire-based Everlasting Capital, a brokerage that has twice made it onto the Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest growing U.S. companies, ranked #323 in 2017.
“Mentorship doesn’t just mean asking people for advice,” Feinberg said. “It means being able to build relationships with people who are on a greater level.”
For instance, Feinberg said that he and co-founder of BFS Capital, Cathy Bass, would speak about how she and others grew BFS, how they go to market and what is most important to them.
“And I was able to implement some of that into my own company,” Feinberg said.
Joe Cohen, who runs Business Finance Advance, a brokerage in Brooklyn, said he has mentored dozens of people, mostly his employees, throughout his career.
“You have to instill a solid work ethic,” Cohen said. “And you have to lead by example. Not by dictating, ‘You do this.’”
As for Vaynerchuk’s assertion that there are “unlimited free mentors on YouTube,” David Korchak, Managing Member of Primary Capital, a funder in Brooklyn, makes a clear distinction between a social media celebrity and a mentor.
“I don’t understand how anyone can say they have a mentor in someone with two million followers on Instagram,” Korchak said. “What did this person do for you? Maybe he helped you get to the gym in the morning…but that’s inspiration, that’s not mentorship. That’s the difference between someone posting a video on Instagram and someone sitting down with you at a desk and showing you ‘This is where you made a mistake. This is how you can make sure you don’t do that again, and this is how you can make it better for the future.’ That’s not inspiration, that’s guidance. And a mentor is a guide for you.”
But Chad Otar, a veteran MCA broker in New York, said that he agrees with what Vaynerchuk was trying to communicate in his video
“You can have a mentor,” Otar said. “But at the end of the day, you have to put your blood, sweat and grit into it. A mentor can only do so much.”
When asked if Otar has a mentor, he said it’s his brother, who introduced him to the MCA industry. This leads to the question of who can or ought to be one’s mentor?
“A mentor can be anyone in the industry who’s been there before,” Cohen said. “Someone who can tell you what’s going to happen if you do this and what’s going to happen if you do that.”
Cohen said that when he started out in sales years ago, his mentors were older colleagues of his on the sales floor.
“I saw in them commitment to the job and how they worked diligently to make every deal happen,” Cohen said. “They never gave up.”
Some ISO owners even pay to train their managers to be excellent mentors to their salespeople, like Edward Deangelis, founder of the fast-growing Pennsylvania-based brokerage, Amerifi.
Deangelis said that he has used Sandler Training for the last seven years, both for himself and his team. His managers go to Sandler Training’s management boot camps once or twice a month for 3 to 4 hours.
“They learn skill sets on how to be an excellent sales manager,” Deangelis said. “How to cultivate your team rather than just be a boss. And to really ask [their] salespeople what they’re struggling with.”
Deangelis also has a CEO coach that comes to the office once a month for him. He said that the coaching has helped him in many ways, including in his personal life.
Feinberg said that you really have to choose your mentors carefully because a lot of people can talk themselves up into being something they’re not. And he said that one person in the business who said he would guide Feinberg in the right direction ended up stealing his deals by the end of the relationship.
“Look at media exposure,” Feinberg suggested. “If they seem big but you can’t find them in the news or you haven’t seen proof, it’s probably not someone to take advice from.”
Drink up closers! Research led by Professor Steffen Petersen from Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute suggests that drinking coffee is not that bad for your heart.
The study examined more than 8,000 people across three groups of coffee drinkers, those drinking less than 1 cup per day, those drinking 1-3 cups per day, and those drinking more than 3 cups per day. Those surveyed in the 3rd group drank an average of 5 cups of coffee per day but multiple people reported drinking as much as 25 cups per day (or even more!). Even for them, “no increased stiffening of arteries was associated with those who drank up to this high limit when compared with those who drank less than one cup a day,” the report said.
Although the report did not reveal the identities of those surveyed, deBanked suspects the individuals drinking 25 cups of coffee per day are sales closers. For one, these individuals clearly did not put the coffee down.
Dr Kenneth Fung, who led the data analysis for the research at Queen Mary University of London, said “Whilst we can’t prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn’t as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest.”
“We’re still getting resids from a company 14 years later.” That’s what Phil Dushey said about a factoring client he has at Global Financial Services, a New York-based financial brokerage firm he founded.
He was speaking at deBanked’s “Broker Fair” to a room filled mostly with MCA brokers. Years ago, in the early stages of the merchant cash advance industry, brokers would earn residual payments from credit card processing companies when the merchants were converted from one merchant account to another to make the advance possible. Brokers also got residuals from MCA funders that would pay them over time as the merchant paid back.
Now that MCA companies rarely ever rely on credit processors and since they started to offer brokers their entire commission upfront, the concept of residual payments for MCA brokers became history. But for MCA brokers interested in broadening their product offering, residuals can resurface as a revenue stream if they embrace factoring.
Dushey later conceded that residuals from a factoring client lasting 14 years is highly unusual. What is common, though, is to get residuals that last four to five years, he said.
Ed DeAngelis, founder of Amerifi, a brokerage of 12 in Pennsylvania, said that brokers’ residual payments can be anywhere from 8% to 15% of what the factor collects from the merchant. He presented what he said was a realistic example of a merchant factoring a $100,000 invoice. The factor might typically take a 2% factoring fee, or $2,000. And the broker might take 10% of that amount, or $200, for every month that the invoice is outstanding.
“It’s a steady drip that makes a puddle,” DeAngelis said.
Of course, for a larger invoice, like for $500,000, the broker would get $1,000 a month, as long as the client keeps factoring. But DeAngelis said that most factoring companies have a one year agreement and that most clients stay with their factoring company for two to three years. And some, like Dushey’s client, stay for as many as 15 years. Since DeAngelis opened his brokerage two years ago, he said that all of his factoring clients are still in their agreements.
Eyal Lifshitz, CEO of BlueVine, one of the larger factoring companies, said that MCA brokering definitely pays more upfront, whereas factoring is more about building a book of business.
“There are factoring brokers that make quite a lot, but I would say they probably focus on larger deals,” Lifshitz said.
Lifshitz wouldn’t disclose the average size of a BlueVine factoring deal, but his estimation was that the industry average was $250,000 to $500,000.
“What we’re trying to build is a 20 to 30 year sustainable business,” DeAngelis said. “…So we’re trying to build those small residuals because five years from now, who knows? With regulations [in] cash advance, it may not be around. We’re already diversifying our portfolio with all these other traditional products so we’re not cash advance dependent.”
Not all brokers of factoring deals make residuals, according to Frank Capozza, founder of LiquidFSI, which provides factoring services to doctors offices. He said that he works with select brokers and they generally don’t get residual payments from his company. Instead, he pays them an origination fee.
Still, it seems more common for brokers of factoring deals to receive residuals. But it might not be for everyone.
For MCA brokers interested in also offering factoring, Lifshitz said: “They need to understand the product and what merchant could fit the criteria. It is more complex to understand than MCAs in my opinion.”
You’ve seen them on social media. Now you can see them in person. Josh Feinberg and Will Murphy of Everlasting Capital will be doing a joint presentation on how to scale your broker shop at Broker Fair on May 6th at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
Limited tickets are still available. Register now at Brokerfair.org
The Everlasting Capital co-founders will be presenting at 3:15pm on May 6th in the Promenade Suite. To view the full agenda, CLICK HERE.
BrokersAccess to the conference as a broker
- Full access to the May 6th conference
- Complimentary access to the post-event cocktails on the rooftop of The Roosevelt Hotel
- Your conference badge will identify you as a broker
Funders/LendersAccess to the conference as a capital provider
- Full access to the May 6th conference
- Complimentary access to the post-event cocktails on the rooftop of The Roosevelt
- Your conference badge will identify you as a direct capital provider
General AdmissionAccess to the conference as a third party
- Full access to the May 6th conference
- Complimentary access to the post-event cocktails on the rooftop at The Roosevelt
What Am I?
- You are employed by a non-bank business financing Broker/ISO — OR — You are an independent sales agent
- You are NOT employed by a direct lender or direct funder
- Broker Fair reserves the right to verify your selection.
- Your conference badge will identify you as a broker
- You are employed by a direct capital provider whether it’s loans, merchant cash advances, factoring, or other products
- Your conference badge will identify you as a direct capital provider
- You are not employed by a broker/ISO or direct capital provider
- Your conference badge will not display a specific business model designation
- You will have the same conference access as a funder/lender does
On average, I sign up one ISO every time I post a message on LinkedIn, says Jennie Villano, VP of Business Development at Kalamata Capital Group. They don’t all end up submitting business, she adds, but overall it works. It costs her nothing more than her time and it produces results.
Villano is among the growing crowd of industry insiders attempting to convert social media posts into measurable business. With more than 600 million users on LinkedIn, there is no question about the potential to reach clients. The prevailing wisdom is that you need to be on social media and sharing, but share what exactly?
New Hampshire-based Everlasting Capital is building a window into the business lives of co-founders Josh Feinberg and Will Murphy. One of their recent social media posts focused on their search for a new office lease, while another was a video stream of Feinberg making a real live cold call. The rewards span the gamut, from merchants seeking funding to offers to speak professionally in front of large audiences. And it’s not just about them. “We have worked with our employees to get confident on camera which is making them a lot more comfortable on the phone,” Feinberg said.
Anthony Collin, CEO of New York-based Smart Business Funding, also attests to LinkedIn. “We definitely generate sales from posting online,” Collin shared, explaining that it was a mix of ISOs and merchants who reach out. Collin said that he and two others in the company meet weekly to generate ideas for the daily posts. They try to make the posts timely, either related to something going on in the industry or to current events, like national elections.
For Jennie Villano, it’s not always a sales pitch. She has posted about being a single mom and about how to keep an upbeat attitude. “Your co-workers, your friends. Are they positive, or are they always complaining?” Villano asks in the video. “Try to surround yourself with positive people who see the best in everything.” She’ll typically extend the offer to do business in the videos that she makes and shares, but not all of them. She shares 2-3 videos a week and her posts typically receive thousands of views.
Sometimes a video needs a little bit of priming to draw the viewer in. Everlasting Capital, for example, filmed an executive making a sales pitch in their conference room to company CEO Josh Feinberg. But it’s something you must watch, or so the title of the post suggests, because they say the executive drove 10 hours to the office for the opportunity.
Though other social networks are being used in full force by many industry players, LinkedIn is definitely a platform to consider. “We’ve gotten tremendous value from posting to LinkedIn,” Smart Business Funding’s Collin said.
Sales expert Kindra Hall will present at Broker Fair 2019 to teach attendees about the irresistible power of strategic storytelling. If you want to learn to sell differently and use the power of storytelling, her keynote is something you won’t want to miss!
According to Hall, the shift from a transactional economy to a connected one has people scrambling; when surveyed, companies admit they believe a substantial portion of their revenue is under threat as a result. Businesses, brands, sales forces, marketing teams and leaders at all levels are desperately trying to capture attention and resonate with consumers who expect more. Is there a secret weapon? A silver bullet to humanize and connect? Yes. The answer is strategic storytelling.
The problem? In its rapid rise in popularity, “storytelling” has been reduced to in-actionable jargon. Every day businesses and individuals miss critical opportunities to connect with their elusive audiences in powerful and profitable ways because they lack a storytelling skill. Until now.
About Kindra Hall
Kindra Hall is President and Chief Storytelling Officer at Steller Collective, a consulting firm focused on the strategic application of storytelling to today’s communication challenges. Kindra is one of the most sought after keynote speakers trusted by global brands to deliver presentations and trainings that inspire teams and individuals to better communicate the value of their company, their products and their individuality through strategic storytelling.
What began as a storytelling assignment in 5th grade, grew into a passion for not only telling stories, but a mastery for teaching others the methods and science of storytelling so they can better tell their own.
She was a National Champion storyteller (yes, they have those), member of the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Network and has her master’s degree in communications where she conducted original research studying the role of storytelling in defining and revealing organizational culture.
Kindra is a former Director of Marketing and VP of Sales. Today, Kindra’s work can be seen at Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com and as a contributing editor for SUCCESS Magazine. Kindra’s message spans all industries and her clients include Facebook, Hilton Hotels, Tyson Foods, Target, Berkshire Hathaway and the Harvard Medical School. Her much anticipated book will be released by Harper Leadership in the fall of 2019.
Alternative funding brokers come from all different backgrounds, but for many them, being a broker is not their first job in sales. Some sold equipment, some sold cars and others sold homes. They were realtors. deBanked found two alternative funding brokers with a background in residential real estate and we asked them to compare the similarities and differences between selling a home and selling money.
Alex Alpert is the owner and CEO of Philadelphia-based Solomon Commercial Lending, which provides clients with a wide variety of funding from SBA loans, equipment leasing, factoring and some MCA. Before starting his company, he had worked as a residential realtor for about five years. When asked about his approach to selling a home versus selling money, he sees them as very different.
“When I consider non-investment home ownership, it is 100% emotional,” Alpert said. “If you think about it, the most expensive and most intimate and emotional purchase that you’re ever going to make is going to be your home. As people, we pour ourselves into our homes. Our homes speak so much about our personalities – what we like, what we don’t. It’s literally like a biography [of someone.]”
Alpert spoke about the intangibles involved in residential real estate, how a lot of it is about the feel of a home, which is highly subjective.
“Instead of you manipulating what they want, it’s just guiding them to reach that ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Alpert said. “I didn’t walk around the house with them and say ‘This is the bedroom and this is the bathroom.’ I would stay back and just say ‘Take a walk around, see how it fits, jump in the bed if you want to, and see how you feel.’ And when they came back down, one of my common first questions would be, ‘Can you picture yourself living here?’ Because that question makes you visualize yourself waking up there. If you can pick up on what the person is showing at that moment, you can guide them better…I think I’m successful because I’m honest, I’m transparent, and I will tell you things you won’t expect. And at the end of the day, that’s how you build referrals and address the needs of an emotional transaction.”
On the other hand, Alpert sees non-primary home deals as more transactional.
“When it comes to business, it’s much less personal,” Alpert said. “People will certainly do their research on who they engage with. Most all of my business comes from referrals. But still, you don’t know me from Adam, and you’re sending me over everything…With [business transactions,] it’s based on need and your ability to serve that need. The emotional part, just from the start, is not that present. It’s a need and solution type of approach.”
Alpert will work with clients with tens of millions of dollars in revenue. But he acknowledged that for some of his smaller “mom and pop shop” clients, transactions can be emotional, like with a small town dance studio client he is helping to secure a 7(a) SBA loan for.
James Celifarco, President of Horizon Financial Group in Brooklyn, which offers mostly small business loans and MCA, currently works as a realtor as well. He doesn’t see much of a difference in the way he approaches residential real estate clients versus small business merchants.
“I think they’re very similar in that if [people] are buying or selling a home, it’s their most coveted possession,” Celifarco said. “It’s what they’ve worked the hardest to obtain. It’s their biggest asset. And it’s the same thing when dealing with a business owner. Business owners are probably more passionate than a homeowner. Either way, if you’re dealing with a business owner or a homeowner, it’s their prized possession.”
While not using the word “emotional,” Celifarco seemed to suggest that non-residential real estate deals are just as emotional.
“[For both homeowners and business owners,] you really have to deal with kid gloves in that they play very close to the vest,” Celifarco said. “You have to have a certain approach where they feel comfortable speaking with you about their home and their finances or their business and their finances. They want to know that their information is protected.”
Celebrity residential real estate agent Ryan Serhant, who spoke at Broker Fair 2018, said that he lives be three rules to successful in real estate: Follow up, Follow through and Follow back. The last refers to following back a client on social media. This part might not always apply, but Celifarco said that the same persistence is required regardless of the sales client.
“It’s all sales,” he said. “You eat what you kill. You close a deal, you make money. You sell a house, you make money. If you don’t, if you’re not reaching out to your clients, you’re not going to make any money. It’s the same in that you get paid for how hard you work.”