‘Tis the Season to Boost Profits
You have undoubtedly had a busy (and hopefully lucrative) summer, especially considering that Summer 2018 was the fourth hottest on record for the contiguous United States according to a recent analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The busy season for A/C replacements and repairs is behind us, but before cold weather brings a flurry of customers in need of heating services, now is a good time for HVAC contractors and dealers to tune-up business practices to make 2019 even more profitable than 2018.
The easiest and most revenue-impacting improvement you can make for your business is to advance your payment systems and offerings. Companies that implemented an online, point-of-sale financing option experienced a 32 percent increase in sales, according to Forrester Research in 2012. Because financing providers have come a long way since that study, contractors can expect even better sales gains this winter and throughout 2019 by upgrading to the latest and greatest payment solutions to increase their customer-base, ticket sizes and loyalty.
This article will identify four characteristics that all HVAC contractors and dealers must ensure are true of their financing programs to optimize revenue flow ahead of the next busy season.
- Tiered Options for High Approvals and Personalized Financing
Customers need to know that financing is available to them for large purchases and that it can be personalized to their individual needs, which is why respondents in a survey by Vyze stated that some of the top drivers of customer loyalty included offering multiple financing options and having a high rate of credit approvals .
To meet these standards, dealers should offer both prime financing and a second look financing option. While prime financing providers like Wells Fargo and Synchrony can approve customers with prime credit scores (above 700), second look financing providers like Fortiva Retail Credit can approve customers whose scores are lower (down to 450).
We refer to this type of program as “tiered financing,” wherein a customer who is declined prime financing (tier 1), can then apply for second look financing (tier 2), which will enable contractors/dealers to avoid turning away business and approve 25-50 percent of customers who were initially declined prime credit.
In addition to addressing the customer demand for higher approval rates, these multiple options allow your financing offerings to cater to personalized payment needs.
- Seamless Applications Across Tiers
Of course, credit applications can be daunting, especially if the customer is concerned that they’ll be denied. Communicating that you have a flexible, tiered financing program helps to ease nervousness, but making the application process as seamless as possible is vital – especially if the customer is declined and needs to complete a second application for second look financing.
Paper applications are a thing of the past. They take too long, and in a world more eager for immediate response, it’s crucial that your application is digital and provides an immediate decision on approval. This rule goes for both prime and second look applications.
In fact, providers can layer the two application processes together so that a customer who is declined prime credit automatically applies for the second look option – taking time, work and stress out of the second application process. This can be facilitated through payment technology providers like Payzer and ServiceTitan that load multiple financing solutions into one platform, through partnerships between prime and second look providers. Additionally, Fortiva Retail Credit has even built the trickle-down application process into existing systems upon request. Point being, it’s important that you demand seamlessness out of your tiered financing program.
- Flexible Technology for Credit Access at Any POS
Because we’ve established that paper applications must be replaced by digital applications, you will need flexible tech solutions to ensure customers can complete the application process wherever they may engage.
Any financing provider worth your business can integrate their application process into whatever systems you are using, including on-the-go tablets, in-store POS systems, mobile phone apps or website shopping carts. This can be accomplished through simple plug-ins, browser-based applications, API integration, third-party payment platforms and other methods that tech-inclined financing providers can facilitate.
- Tell Customers Early and Often
Your personalized, seamless and accessible financing program won’t draw in as much business if the customer doesn’t know about it. It’s important that your prospective customers are aware of financing early in their research process, or they could be lured to a competitor who does a better job of communicating their options.
We recommend engaging the customer with this information early and often. This includes prominently displaying your financing options early in the sales funnel, such as on your website, mobile app, advertisements, store-front signs and any other points of contact you might have.
Access to financing information and the ability to apply for credit should be available throughout their engagement. Of course, the application will be accessible at checkout, but dealers who enable and encourage customers to apply for pre-approval before they start shopping can expect larger ticket sales from customers who know how much they can afford.
Financing is important in our industry, and now that you have some time to look at your program, why not ensure that you have the best services in place to attract and close sales with more customers? That means offering a tiered program to assure more approvals, streamlining the application process, making that application easily accessible across sales platforms and encouraging customers to take advantage of the financing you offer.
- 2019 New Year’s Resolution: Measure the Success of Your Financing Program - December 10, 2018
- ‘Tis the Season to Boost Profits - October 22, 2018
- Don’t Miss Out by Putting Off Upgrades to Payment Suite - August 17, 2018
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