Let’s talk about the one thing every tech sale has and will continue to have until the end of time—the customer needs to decide how they will pay. Whether they are investing in devices, software, servers, storage, switches, reserved instances, etc., they need to figure out where the money to invest is coming from. Options can range from using their own cash on hand, drawing down on their bank line of credit, using a credit card, or leasing.
Have you considered that these are all forms of financing? Yes, even when your customer uses their own money to pay for tech, they are financing. Every company has an internal cost of capital. If they choose to use their own cash on hand, they must determine if the opportunity cost is worth more for the particular IT investment or if they should use that money elsewhere.
So, where does that leave you, the tech seller, in trying to figure out how to deal with the same challenge faced in every sale with so many options?
It leaves you in a good position. According to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s 2022 Survey of Equipment Finance Activity, technology is one of the most frequently financed assets (this applies to hardware and software). Helping your customer determine how they’ll finance their tech solutions is a way to differentiate yourself.
If you’re thinking, “”I’m not a leasing or financing expert”” that’s OK. This is where you work with a specialist. Bottom line: The financing aspects of your tech sales aren’t boring. They’ll grow your business.
1. You’ll grow your margins and accelerate your IT upgrade cycle.
One of the biggest benefits to leases is that they’re commonly made in low monthly payments over two- or three-year terms. These terms give you an opportunity to have predictable refresh sales, but more importantly, allow your customer to keep up with the latest tech while paying a lower price without the need for extraordinary discounts. In most cases, IT upgrades are at a minimal monthly cost, allowing them to maximize the budget that in many cases they already have allotted.
2. You’ll problem-solve during a time of economic uncertainty.
By offering your customers a solution to sustain their business through economic uncertainty you build trust. Not only will it help them in the short-term, but it shows that you’re there for them through thick-and-thin. They’ll remember that when it comes time to refresh their equipment, or when comparing your company to a competitor.
In times when customers are looking to hold onto cash, offering financing allows them to take advantage of price discounts and avoid future price increases. For example, with a software or maintenance deal, the customer can take advantage of a multiyear commit on a term license, lock out future price increases for the committed years, preserve cash while spreading out the expense over the term, and do it all at a fixed interest rate.
It’s a win-win situation: The customer saves money and gets the latest tech. Financing saves them time and financial stress, while also keeping their business running.
3. You’ll offer sustainable IT solutions.
More and more, today’s customers are focused on sustainability—they want to do business with environmentally conscious organizations and businesses are responding.
Some specialized financing or leasing providers can often offer IT asset disposition (ITAD) services with the lease contract. The services start when your customer returns devices at the end of their lease term (i.e., they want to upgrade to new hardware). ITAD services typically include:
- Device transport: The ITAD provider will often pick up the assets after the end of the contract.
- Device reuse: The asset is returned to its original operating state and performance so the asset can be resold (reused).
- Device recycling: This is where device components, such as computer chips, are reused.
In addition to sustainability, companies are concerned about what happens to confidential data stored on their devices. It’s a big deal. Recently, financial services company Morgan Stanley allegedly lost track of 42 servers with unencrypted customer data. The Securities and Exchange Commission fined them $35 million.
4. Most importantly: You’ll position yourself as a trusted adviser.
According to a recent IDC survey of IT decision makers, 70% said they looked to their solution provider (that’s you) for financing options. Part of being a trusted adviser is understanding your customers’ needs and challenges. Many of those challenges revolve around money. When you work with a leasing provider, you can often help your customers overcome budget barriers so they can get the tech they need. In turn, you’ll grow your business.
When your customers succeed, so do you.
The last time I checked, success was anything but boring.
JOE IAVARONE is the head of program management and technology sales (Americas) at DLL, a global asset financing provider. Iavarone is responsible for strategy development, commercial leadership, and developing innovative payment solution programs for technology manufacturer, distributor, and channel partners. He also leads DLL’s program for one of the world’s top device manufacturers.