Working With Motor Dealers

Adam Mepham, BPF Motor Sales Director; Interview with Car Dealer Magazine, February 2019

Does it sometimes feel like every time you look online, the world of motor finance has evolved into something you might not quite recognise? Whether that’s ever-changing market dynamics; additional regulatory expectations; Generation Z demands for an increasing digital and omni-channel experience; an uncertain economic horizon rife through the headlines; or changing views on the future of motor fuels…

Adam Mepham, Motor Sales Director from Barclays Partner Finance, believes that we can get through the challenges of today’s ever-changing market dynamics thanks to innovation, collaboration and an ability to constantly evolve.

“What is absolutely key is that we support our partners here and now, but also focus on the long-term plan for all of our businesses. What is it that we can do today, what can we control today and what can we learn for the future?

“It's also how we deploy digital innovation to deliver and exceed consumer expectations, and how we’re able to exceed dealer expectations.”

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Despite a dip in overall UK sales car figures during 2018, buyers have flocked to the forecourts – and it’s here where Mepham believes partnership and innovation will lead the way, through a strong collaboration between dealer and finance partner.

“I think that when we look to 2019, the significance of who dealers choose to be their partners is more important than ever,” said Mepham. “It’s important that dealers ensure that their finance partner is working with them on a shared agenda and understands their business goals.”

And working together is a key theme for Barclays Partner Finance. Dealers and Area Sales Managers share a close working relationship, with a consistent exchange between the two helping to create stronger ideas and innovative new strategies.

“Meetings are very collaborative conversations discussing how we can support dealers in achieving their objectives, but also, as an outside organisation we can sometimes give them a different perspective – for instance, when it comes to the customer journey. Our partnerships also provide the opportunity for us to share our insight and understanding that we have developed across the Bank.”

"It's important that dealers ensure that their finance partner is working with them on a shared agenda and understands their business goals."

It’s that new view of things that keeps a business with 300 years of experience fresh. “We like to get our dealers thinking about how the consumer is changing, and how they need to adapt to meet changes in consumer buying behaviour. We’re seeing much more of a retail model evolving in the motor market.”

This year will see the company introduce a variety of new initiatives reflecting some of its findings in the retail sector. “It’s going to be exciting when we start looking at the innovations that we can bring into this sector in 2019 and beyond off the back of that retail experience,” says Mepham, and its why dealers could benefit from partnering with Barclays Partner Finance.

And Barclays Partner Finance is applying this collaborative spirit to areas outside the forecourt, too. “A key part of our objective here is engaging with that wider community. One of our core values is stewardship and that means supporting our local communities, leaving things better than we found them and giving back. Our team do an incredible amount to support local and national charities, for instance, our Northern team completed the Great Scottish Half Marathon to raise funds for Children’s Hospices across Scotland (CHAS), raising over £11,000.

“We think that type of activity is absolutely key in driving the right ethical approach to our wider business. And it’s a process and ideology that puts people at the heart of what it does.”

The result of this process speaks for itself. “Our dealers consistently rate our account managers at 9+ out of 10 when we do our client surveys,” says Mepham, showing that the close-knit approach that Barclays Partner Finance adopts is one that rings true with dealers.

“What that is evidence of is that our dealers can see that we add significant value at the sharp end. Our Area Sales Managers use a consultant-based approach, partnering with dealers to provide advice and guidance we have access to across the Bank; our Area Sales Managers are a tangible part of the business who would be missed if they weren’t there.”

Another key part of 2019 for Barclays Partner Finance is Car Dealer’s CDX event at Farnborough International in June, for which it is a headline sponsor. “We’re really excited about it, and the thought that struck me about CDX last year was the diverse group of suppliers and clients that were there,” said Mepham. “From my perspective, I was able to have conversations with virtually every kind of supplier that we would want to engage with, as well as every single type of client that we would want to speak to as well. It was great to come together as a motor community and exchange ideas.”

With a considered approach, exciting new strategies and initiatives, Barclays Partner Finance is hugely enthused about what the future holds. As a customer and client centric business, particularly when it comes to innovation, the relationships they hold are key to their success.  In 2019, they will look to deepen existing and establish new strategic partnerships, by leading the way in Point of Sale finance in an ever-changing marketplace.