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When Zero Equals More

No interest if paid in full in 12 months, monthly minimum payments required.

I’m an idiot. Last week one of my friends asked me if our business is affected by rising interest rates. I smugly replied our business is mostly cash based, with clients spending large sums of money on their American Express cards. He seemed puzzled that we weren’t doing any business based on the 0 percent for 12 months model. Truth be told, I’d never taken it seriously, assuming it would attract under-qualified prospects. Turns out I was dead wrong. So wrong.

It all started last Friday on our daily sales huddle call. We all hop on a conference call for no more than 10 minutes each morning to go over any challenges and talk about how we’re going to win the week. A few sales reps mentioned waiting for BrandSource Credit Card applications to be approved so they could put their sales on the board. I’d heard a few mentions of our BrandSource Credit Card business over the past few years, but never so many examples in one huddle call. I called up one of our salespeople (JD) after the call and decided to ask him some more questions about the program and how it works. It’s what you’d imagine. He described offering clients the ability to spread out their spend with us over 12 months for 0 percent. Promotions run anywhere from 12-24 months with 0 percent interest and minimum payments due throughout the term. JD used to work for a company we acquired and told me they used this closing tool eight out of ten times with great success.

Also by Henry Clifford: Are You Ready for “Resimercial”?

Lightbulb! I realized in my call with JD we’re leaving money on the table due to a strange sociological phenomenon. No one will ever self-identify in a sales consultation as not being able to afford the project. Other objections will surface, masking the true reason we’re not going to do business. We’re (actually, just me) failing at giving our prospects permission to avail themselves of these great 0 percent promotions. Everyone loves a turnaround story, so here’s the beginning of our process getting religion with cheap money and helping our prospects take advantage of a great deal.

Effective immediately, we’ll be taking some basic steps to broadcast the availability of 0 percent promotions. Here they are. I’d love to hear what’s working in your business in the comments. Feel free to “welcome” me to something or call me Captain Obvious. I live for that:

  1. Marketing: I’ve asked our marketing and social media vendors to come up with some exciting ideas to promote 0 percent for 12 months. The louder we can shout about it, the more permission we’re giving those prospects who wouldn’t otherwise know about it.
  2. Psychology: We want to understand more about what triggers certain buying behaviors in our key target audiences. The more we understand the emotional side of buying, the better we’ll be at understanding when to talk about 0 percent and when to shut up.
  3. Research: We’re going to call all our customers who decided not to work with us over the past 12 months and ask what factors drove the decision. My guess is this one is worth at least $50k for spending next to nothing.

Also by Henry Clifford: Working Pain for Gain

Are you closing more sales using 0 percent interest in your business? Let’s hear about it!

Stay frosty and see you in the field.