Asset finance specialists have suggested in a Lend webinar that brokers could use the EOFY period to understand their SME clients’ growth plans and broader funding requirements.
Commercial finance lending platform Lend recently held the LendEd What’s Driving Asset Finance live interactive webinar, with the virtual panel event hosted by the recently appointed head of asset finance, Andrew Moulds.
Part of Mr Moulds’ role includes working closely with Lend’s head of third party, Donelle Brooks, to support brokers to diversify their offering with commercial finance as part of its new industry initiative.
The webinar was their first collaborative initiative, with panel members including FleetPartners national sales manager, small-to-medium enterprises (SME), Darren Smith; group and general finance general manager Matthew Richards; Grow Finance managing partner James Ross; and Pepper senior business development manager Scott Thompson.
According to Mr Moulds, the webinar provided brokers with updates on the growth and decline of various asset classes, and tips on how to adapt to the volatility in the value of assets, and how to initiate conversations with SME clients to maximise the EOFY period.
During the webinar, Mr Smith said that he would encourage brokers to use the end of financial year (EOFY) period “strategically” by speaking with their SME clients to understand their business growth plans and needs, and broader funding requirements.
He suggested that brokers could assess a client’s vehicle mix, and focus on not only whether the client is going to require additional vehicles, but more broadly, the whole-of-life cost of ownership.
He said: “This includes factors like maintenance, depreciation and fuel costs, and assessing operating lease versus alternative models of finance.”
The importance of client communication was emphasised during the webinar, with Mr Richards urging brokers to prioritise communicating with their clients to help counter remote operations.
“It’s very easy to get disconnected,” Mr Richards said.
“It’s the old age. If you’re not talking to your customers, someone else is, and that’s very much happening at the minute. A lot of our best brokers are back out there hitting the ground hard, knocking on doors, seeing people face-to-face, and understanding what the clients need moving into the future.”
Mr Ross agreed with this sentiment, and added that investing in marketing or designing an engagement plan with clients across the life of their loan is crucial for brokers, as is reviewing a client’s needs holistically.
He said: “The more you engage with a customer, the more opportunity there is to understand their business, and cross-sell other solutions – for instance, whether it be business loans, debtor finance or trade finance.”
Mr Thomson highlighted the importance of brokers “getting your ducks in a row”, stating: “We rely heavily on documentation, like bank statements and contracts. It’s prudent to take the time to be thorough and get all your paperwork together to avoid unnecessary delays or losing the deal.”
Furthermore, Mr Thomson advised brokers to “really know their client”, including where they have been, where they are now, and where they are headed in the future.
“Putting a bit of a story in place will really help a credit analyst not just look at what’s on paper but assess the client contextually,” he said.
Commenting on the webinar, Mr Moulds said it was an opportunity to listen to different perspectives about key asset finance industry drivers, current trends, and what both SME clients and brokerages alike should be considering to maximise the EOFY period.
He said: “The webinar was also a great platform to educate brokers with broader asset finance industry knowledge and empower brokers to have more educated conversations with SME clients to help stimulate EOFY activity.
“Having a conversation about an SME client’s borrowing strategy and financial position is really, really crucial, particularly when considering future business funding requirements and growth plans.”
The webinar panellists’ comments have come amid recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that an 11.6 per cent rise in machinery and equipment investment had propelled business investment levels in the March quarter, the strongest rise since December quarter 2009.
Meanwhile, data from major banks such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank has shown that businesses are purchasing new equipment and vehicles in record numbers, while there has been a spike in business car financing since January 2021 compared with last year.
You can find out more about federal budget measures and top EOFY tips in the June feature, The taxman cometh.
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.
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