Arranging a rental finance plan is about to get easier and, according to national rental finance company RentSmart, on-the-spot approval can now be done without tying sales staff down.
Its SmartCall service means all resellers are required to do is ring the office and put the customer on the line. While RentSmart is dealing with the customer, sales consultants can be serving someone else.
The SmartCall service is an in-house, over-the-phone approval system for rental plans up to the value of $15,000. Having introduced an Internet-based 24-hour phone and fax approval system last year, RentSmart has now moved to the next level in quick, on-the-spot finance.
The concept of rental finance has been gaining popularity over the last two years, and many IT retailers including most of the majors have reported significant sales success with it. One retailer we spoke to said: "You can increase the floor traffic through rental pricing, and close deals on the spot while preserving your margins."
According to RentSmart managing director Ned Montarello, the fact that some of the largest retailers have taken on this product is recognition that it is the best form of finance for the business market. "It is the only finance product that Officeworks offers in store," he said.
Officeworks marketing manager Chris Grodski described the SmartCall system from RentSmart as a value-added service for its core business customer. "We've been using RentSmart since June last year and it currently accounts for one in 10 PCs we sell," he added.
Dick Smith Electronics has been using the RentSmart system throughout all of its outlets, and a DSE spokesperson confirmed it has adopted the SmartCall system in its "Powerhouses" at Bankstown and Penrith in Sydney and Carnegie in Melbourne.
"It was a great idea but created too much paperwork for us," said Gervais Adolphe, business dev-elopment manager at Perth reseller and notebook specialist Portacom. "Now with SmartCall, after we've closed the sale by quoting the monthly payments, all we do is put the customer on the phone and RentSmart faxes back an approval for the customer to sign."
20 per cent
Adolphe estimated 20 per cent of Portacom's sales are now done through rental finance.
The IT channel is a major focus for RentSmart. "Eighty per cent of our contracts are for bundled up computers, printers and scanners. We are clearly positioned in the IT marketplace, and our product is seen as supplementary to bank finance as they are moving away from transactions less than $10,000," Montarello explained.
Montarello claimed finance accounts for about 40 per cent of the PC market in the US and UK, while in Australia has already reached greater than 15 per cent.