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Within the past few years the LeverEdge has become one of the nations fastest growing, more recognizable residential water treatment suppliers and ISPC has changed the way the industry looks at consumer financing.
Water Quality Products asked Mark Schabes, director of marketing for ISPC, how the LeverEdge and ISPC have developed a unique opportunity for water treatment dealers and why they’ve realized such success with their approach.
WQP: What is the difference between LeverEdge’s three proprietary product lines offered to network dealers? Which has proved to be the most popular?
Mark Schabes: SteelTec is a product line made of 14-gauge, 316 surgical stainless steel with brass-bodied, nickel-plated valves. Like all our proprietary brands, this line is protected by a lifetime manufacturer warranty and is supported by a variety of marketing materials and a consumer website.
The Avian brand features good aesthetics, flexibility, robust performance and affordability; visually these systems don’t stand out like the others, but don’t judge this book by its cover. Avian has been a very successful brand for the LeverEdge.
The newest brand, extraPURE, has been developed jointly with GE Water & Process Technologies. The systems are manufactured with a stainless steel outer body and polyglass inner tank. The control valves provide advanced capabilities and consumer-friendly features. ExtraPURE systems present information on a full color LED display that can be remote-mounted. A unique sanitation cycle cleanses the media bed during each regeneration cycle by creating free chlorine from the brine solution.
SteelTec and Avian have about a six-year head start on extraPURE in the market place, so more dealers are currently selling one of these two proprietary brands. That being said, we fully expect extraPURE to dazzle its share of dealers as well.
WQP: What specifically makes ISPC stand out from other financing companies in the market?
Schabes: Gaining a customer’s confidence can be complicated by a closing process with multiple forms and confusing agreements. By simplifying this process down to a single one-page contract, ISPC ensures fast, easy closings. We also offer a speedy approval process, high approval ratio and quick payouts to merchants.
ISPC promotes a variety of different payment options such as no-interest/no-payment plans and low minimum monthly payments. In 1995, ISPC started the 991® program that offers a 9.9% APR with a 1% minimum monthly payment. More recently ISPC introduced Crazy 8s, with an 8.8% APR and 0.8% minimum monthly payment. ISPC offers these promotions without limiting them to being “introductory offers” and without painful penalties if a consumer should miss or be late with a monthly payment. In addition, ISPC offers these programs to all customers, not just those with excellent credit histories.
WQP: What benefits does ISPC see in providing both primary and secondary financing?
Schabes: More approvals, of course. Water dealers spend a great deal of time and money to present their products and make a sale. Nothing is worse than going through the entire process to make a sale and then having your lender reject the credit application because of less-than-perfect credit. By offering both types, ISPC can dramatically increase the number of installed sales. Another major dealer benefit is utilizing one finance company and one finance agreement. If secondary deals have to be processed through specialized lenders, the sales force has to revisit the customer, sign new paperwork and sometimes quote different terms. This scenario consists of more work and leads to more cancellations.
WQP: Does ISPC only offer financing for dealers who purchase their products from the LeverEdge?
Schabes: Yes. ISPC and the LeverEdge are under the same private ownership. ISPC is not available to just anyone. Our water merchants all purchase their products from the LeverEdge. This makes our financing exclusive just like our products. Our dealers have the added benefit of ISPC’s financing and the comfort of knowing that local competition won’t have access to the same options.
WQP: How does the LeverEdge compare to a typical OEM supplier relative to dealer support?
Schabes: LeverEdge provides dealer support in a number of ways. We excel in providing support materials to help promote the proprietary brands we manufacture. LeverEdge’s brands of equipment come with marketing and sales support that more aggressive, sales-savvy dealers seek. Combine this support with our exclusive finance company, ISPC, and we think LeverEdge dealers have some very unique tools at hand.
The LeverEdge’s technical support is provided mostly from three full-time experts who have logged more than 60 years experience collectively. Usually onsite technical training is provided as part of a new dealer conversion and introduction to LeverEdge products.
WQP: What other benefits do ISPC and the LeverEdge offer dealers?
Schabes: We want to reward our most productive dealers and we’ve chosen to do so in a different way. Rather than going to a traditional convention that is pretty much all business, we promote the fun and downplay the business. Every year we organize five-to seven-day trips to some really exotic destinations. This July we’ll be hosting approximately 150 people for a memorable trip to Costa Rica.
Dealers qualify by reaching a dollar volume sales goal with the LeverEdge over a 10-month period. In addition to this incentive trip, ISPC announced an incentive trip of its own this year, offered only to the top six ISPC merchants. It will feature a week long Mediterranean cruise in September that departs from Venice and makes stops in Italy and Greece.