We are so proud to share that KLC team member Lesley Farmer participated in a panel discussion at the NEFA 2020 Virtual Funding Symposium. Lesley was joined by Guy Selinka of Streamline Financial Services and Cory Damm of Time Payment.
The panel covered the necessary changes to be able to continue to effectively sell during COVID.
Here’s a summary of a few of the questions and answers:
What changes, positive or negative, have you seen across clients (customers & vendors) and industries since the pandemic started?
Guy: “We’ve had an influx of applications, not necessarily good quality applications, so we’ve had to add more screening questions as a result to get to the good ones on the initial call.”
Cory: “We’re really looking at how we’re supporting our vendor partners and the vendor originated business. We’re focusing on finding new ways for our vendors to serve their customers. As a result, we’re able to launch unique customer-centered tools to help support their customers.”
Lesley: “We’re doing a lot more small deals. Quantity is up and deal size is slightly down. We are requiring a COVID statement in their words in the application. In addition, more pay off requests and refinancing.”
What are you/your company doing to deal with/manage these changes?
Guy: “More on the screening questions to add to your process: ask about industry experience, asking about discretionary funds and checking bank statements as usual. Finding out a lot more up front before we get too far into the process.”
Lesley: “DocuSign has been a huge saving grace for us during COVID to be able to serve our customers.”
What changes have you seen across banks/lenders since the pandemic? What are you/your company doing to deal with/manage these changes?
Guy: “There used to be a lot more middle ground. Now we’re seeing some really tough applications or not good applications. So, we’ve expanded our sources to get the deals across the finish line, working through how loans are affecting their cash flow, etc. and making sure everyone involved has a really thorough understanding of each deal. Thankfully, it seems to be getting a bit more stable now.”
Cory: “We’re now seeing in spite of the fact of record cases, that capital markets are really getting aggressive and innovative to spur new applications and find new applications. Bring back deferred payments and trying to find good ways to deploy capital. Finding those good operators and applications to find the opportunities to help them grow and navigate this together.”
How have you pivoted/changed your marketing/strategies for getting new business?
Lesley: “Staying in front of banks and customers as much as comfortable, people want to talk. If you can show up and say hi and be a positive, enjoyable part of their day. They know you care about them personally. We’ve done a lot of deferrals, but we’re supporting our customers in the way they need us now which is the best we can do. Getting to know people personally and talking about anything other than work too. It’s huge.”
Guy: “Making sure we see our vendors. We’re doing auctions still and most interaction is there. But it’s varied depending on which state our reps are and how shut down it is. There’s a saying I use, ‘No pain, no change.’ So we really work on finding the pain, and uncovering the need by talking to tour customers. If we’re not talking to our customers consistently, then we don’t know how we can serve them.”
Cory: “Getting back to basics. Build strong relationships. Be in front of your customer and understand their business intricately. Add value wherever you can first. Where are your customers trying to adapt to manage through COVID? Are they wanting to grow or are they struggling? What can you do to support them?”
Seeing the current virus case numbers and moving into the holiday season, what (if any) tips/suggestions can you offer NEFA members for finishing 2020 strong or preparing for a great 2021?
Guy: “Keep your foot on the gas. Make sure you’re giving them valuable information. Make yourself relevant in all your customer and vendor relationships.”
Lesley: “Keep plugging along and talking to people. Show support so that when they can reopen they will reach out. Keep hustling!”
Each of your companies also holds some of their own paper. How have you managed/are you currently managing payment deferral requests?
Lesley: “I am seeing a second round of folks asking for deferrals with states closing businesses back up.”
Additionally, below is a question that was submitted by the audience:
What are the opportunities in 2021?
Guy: “A couple obstacles to overcome, some of our customers utilized SBA loans to buy equipment. Overall, just listening to the market and being alert to surroundings.”
Lesley: “ I did a lot of business in the family entertainment market and it has changed so much or gone away. Manufacturing and construction is really bug in our Midwest area. Robots are really big right now too. We’re really focusing on what we can do virtually and how we can market ourselves online through associations. Stay relevant and in front of people.”
Cory: “For us, the restaurant business will eventually come back so what other changes are going to occur? Franchisors pivoting their models constantly. So, how fast can we pivot with our customers? Will be the name of the game.”
Watch the full video below:
Interested in learning more about KLC and how team members like Lesley Farmer partner with you to provide exceptional service? You can reach Lesley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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