We catch up with SAF’s Ed Rowe.
Ed, how long have you worked in sales / finance?
I’ve been in sales since leaving school, and in finance since the mid-1980s.
Back in the 80s I arranged finance for equipment into Nursing and Residential Homes, before co-founding Medical Equipment Finance Limited in 1994.
MEF was one of the earliest entrants into the NHS leasing market, financing a wide range of equipment into the NHS, and became a market leader over a period of 11 years. During this time the company become part of Broadcastle PLC, which was then acquired by Siemens Financial Services Ltd in 2005, where I spent the next 3 years.
I worked on a consultancy basis for various companies including SAF for a number of years before becoming full time Sales Director of SAF in January 2016.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Whilst having my first coffee of the day I check my phone for any work-related e-mails or voicemail messages that have come in overnight, and prioritise them accordingly.
After breakfast I’ll either drive into the office and return any voicemail messages on the way, or if I’m working at home I’ll start dealing with any urgent requests for lease quotations and other matters which need my immediate attention.
Having got any urgent matters dealt with I will then start to deal with the day-to-day tasks like putting together the text for a supplier customer’s website or point of sale brochure, and following up enquiries from equipment suppliers who are interested in the services SAF are able to provide. Alternatively, I may be going out to meet a potential new supplier which could be anywhere in the UK!
I attend quite a few exhibitions across the country where our supplier customers are exhibiting to support them with any finance-related enquiries. It’s also great to connect with other exhibitor suppliers who may be interested in partnering with SAF so that they can offer their own customers financing options to help them secure sales where the customer may not have immediately available capital, or would prefer to use it more effectively in their business.
I also regularly attend the sales meetings of our supplier customers and work with their sales team to ensure that all business opportunities are maximised, which often means me speaking to the end user customer or accompanying the supplier to a meeting where I will discuss the finance aspect while they talk about the technical side.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’d have to say when one of our supplier customers wins a sale which they wouldn’t have won had it not been for SAF’s involvement and input.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Probably the biggest challenge is changing the mindset of suppliers who have always sold their products on an outright purchase basis, and getting them to realise what a powerful sales tool a finance option can be. It can be a long, slow process but it’s very satisfying when they win their first sale because of our involvement and actually see the benefits for themselves.