Integrity: How does your funding provider measure up?

Integrity: How does your funding provider measure up?

 

Integrity.

 
It’s something you’d naturally expect from any company you work with. Unfortunately, being forthright, professional and honest isn’t always standard operating procedure these days.
 
When you’re dealing with something so critical to your staffing company as funding, it’s imperative that you know your dealings with that company will be professional and honest.
 

 
If a funding company isn’t upfront about true costs, services or what they will or will not do for you, the relationship can deteriorate quickly. You may find yourself in a position where your bottom line is negatively impacted, as is your ability to service your customers or grow your business.
 
The sales process isn’t always indicative of how a relationship will play out once the contract is signed. So, how do you know if a prospective funding provider has integrity and shares the values you feel are important?
 
It can be hard to get a feel for how a company operates and treats its clients before you actually do business with the company. So, how do you determine that BEFORE you sign a contract?
 

We’ve outlined three traits to look for:

 
  1. They’re professional.

    This goes beyond dressing the part. Being professional also involves being knowledgeable and representing the industry well. Company employees at all levels should be easily accessible and willing to speak with you about any questions or concerns. You shouldn’t have a difficult time getting someone to answer a phone, returning your phone call or answering a question.

    Also listen carefully to how they speak about others in the industry. Do they bad-mouth competitors or disclose confidential information about another client? This can be an indicator as to whether or not you’re dealing with someone who is respectful in all business dealings.
  2. They’re upfront and open.

    The last thing you want is to sign a contract that contains terms you didn’t discuss or weren’t aware of. Your prospective funding company should be upfront about any and all terms of the contract, including the pricing structure, any additional surcharges or fees, parameters for qualifying new customers or anything that could impact your bottom line or your ability to grow.

    They should also be willing to walk you through their pricing until you have a clear understanding of your true costs under their model. Not only does this help you make an informed decision, but it can also allow you to accurately compare their proposal to other proposals you’re considering. A professional funding company shouldn’t be afraid of you shopping around. They should help you understand differences between their funding proposal and any others.

    Also beware of a funding provider that dangles a low rate during the sales process, but then indicates you don’t qualify for that rate during the underwriting process. This can be a red flag that the relationship may cost you more in other ways, as well. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk away from the relationship at that point, and they shouldn’t excessively pressure you.
  3. They have a consistent message.

    Consistency is important in two respects: in the message from the sales person during the sales process, and in the attitude of everyone you work with at the company.

    Negotiating terms of a contract is one thing — a company may make a better offer to “sweeten the deal” and bring you on board. But being inconsistent in the sense of backing away from commitments they initially made can be a warning sign. They should always be upfront about what they can and cannot do for you.

    The forthright, knowledgeable and professional attitude of the sales person should be evident in employees throughout the company. This means that everyone you work with — from the person who answers the phone, to the accountant answering a question on taxes, to the president or CEO — all share the same energy and focus on serving you. You should get a sense of pride in who they are as a company, no matter with whom you speak.

    Not only does this ensure the level of professionalism is consistent in all your dealings with that funding provider, it also demonstrates that the company fosters an overall culture of professionalism and integrity.
 
And that’s really what you’re looking for — a company that places a value on integrity and fosters it throughout its organization. When that focus is present, it can’t help but spread into all their dealings. Working with a company that is open, honest and has integrity can be the difference between a successful, long-term partnership and counting the days until your contract expires.
 
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