5 Negotiations That Save You Money on Equipment Leases

While companies slug through this financial crisis, their equipment ages, frequently breaks down and needs replacement. Business owners and customers want technology that runs faster and leaps tall buildings in a single bound.

How do you pay for these Superman wonders? What financing is best for your business?

After you decide to replace the five-year-old “antique” digital press, add new production capacity or update your computers, you enter the confusing finance world. Traditional payment options are cash, the bank or leasing.

What’s right for your business? You want to invest your money wisely. No surprises! No “Gotchas.”

There are five negotiations in every equipment decision that will save you money.

1. Equipment Cash Purchase Price. Focus on the right equipment, not the monthly payment. Keep your eye on the total cash purchase price. Every $1,000 discount reduces the lease payment. The lease negotiation is the fourth step not the first. To receive the biggest discounts, negotiate as if you are a cash buyer.

2. Trade-In. Check out used equipment dealers, online sites or talk with  industry experts to determine values. Face the hard facts. The used market is flooded with equipment, so don’t expect much for yours. Do not mix the trade-in negotiation with the new purchase.

3. Existing Lease. If you still owe on the old equipment, negotiate the payoff yourself. Do not allow the new equipment supplier to negotiate with the incumbent leasing company.  Early termination payoff discounts may be possible if you negotiate yourself. Reread the old lease contract to uncover possible discounts.

4. New Equipment Lease. All leases contain “Gotchas.” All leases are negotiable, if you only ask. If you are uncomfortable negotiating complex lease lingo, find an advocate to negotiate for you. The negotiator who will save the most money will be familiar with your equipment, current market lease rates and equipment lease contracts. After ink is on paper, options shrink.

5. Maintenance Agreement. Some leasing companies bundle the lease and maintenance costs into one payment. This can cloud early lease buyout and termination payoffs. Keep maintenance payments on separate contracts. Ask questions if service is not satisfactorily defined.

Adds Value With Purposeful Presentations

Think Through Purpose

What’s the reason for the presentation in the first place? Figure out the main reason and stay focused on it. You might ask yourself whether any of these purposes fit:

o To provide status

o To obtain approval

o To sell a product

o To communicate a program

o To propose a new business opportunity

o To convince management to fund a project

Know Your Audience

What does the audience need to know? Keep your information fine-tuned to your audience’s needs. When presenting to executive management don’t focus on the nitty-gritty details. Instead focus on the bigger picture. Present the return on investment and any obstacles you need management’s help to overcome. However, presenting to a project team focuses on the detailed and action-oriented items. The purpose of this type of presentation is to answer questions such as what needs to happen by when and who’s responsible.

Get to the Point

Keep it brief. Use only as many slides as needed to convey your message. Avoid presentations more than twenty slides long. If you can’t say what’s needed in twenty slides, you had better work on refining your message. The longer your presentation the less it will be remembered. You don’t want your audience to tune you out. Keep it short and straight to the point. People will appreciate you not wasting their time.

Let’s review what we have learned about presentations with purpose. First we determine the reason and purpose for the presentation so you can stay true to the main points. Second we think about the audience so the message is tailored to them. Lastly, we keep it brief by saying only what is necessary to convey the message clearly.

Practice Before You Preach – How to Prepare For a Strong Presentation

Can you guess what most people who are worried about their presentations refuse to do? Practice.
- Scott Berkun from Confessions of a Public Speaker

You’ve spent the time creating a great presentation. You’ve carefully selected your content. You’ve decided what stories, facts and illustrations to use. You’ve put together a good looking set of PowerPoint slides. You’ve thought about how you’ll transition from point to point in your presentation. But have you taken on the hardest part about doing a presentation? Yes, I’m talking about actually rehearsing your presentation!

Below are some tips as you prepare for your next presentation that will help you take your concept from script to wonderful delivery.

Step 1: Use your script or detailed outline

What to Do:

If you’ve developed a script or a detailed outline, read from your notes out loud at least three times (or as many as it takes to become comfortable with your material). Read it standing up. As you go through the presentation, use your visual aids. Click that PowerPoint slide. Play that video clip. Press the button on the machine you’re demonstrating. Make all the motions just as you plan to do during the actual presentation.

If at all possible, practice in the space where you’ll be giving your presentation. If that’s not available, rehearse as near to the actual conditions as you can get.

Why Do It:

Reading from your script or outline several times helps you to visualize the pages, the words and the sections of your presentation. This will aid further recall of the words when you move to the next step of the process.

By working through the presentation in this manner before going to the next step, you’ll start to see where your presentation is awkward. The awkwardness may come from the phrases you use. It may come from the transitions from one topic to another. It could be you’ve forgotten to mention something in the first part of your presentation that you refer to later in your presentation. You’ll find out what actions such as clicking a slide or demonstrating an application don’t work given how the material is flowing. This gives you a chance to see how you need to adjust your presentation to make your material flow and fit into the time space you’re allotted.

I often find myself needing better transitions between topics, moving or deleting slides, rewording how I plan to say particular phrases and it’s much easier to see what changes are needed by physically talking through the presentation and making the needed adjustments. It almost never works in real life how you envisioned it in your head.

Step 2 – Develop a Key Words Outline & Rehearse with It

What to do:

Assuming you have a long presentation and can’t memorize the entire thing, develop a one-page outline which lists the major parts of your speech and key words to remind you what is included in that section.

Then, practice your speech working through each section, referring to keywords when needed to jog your memory of what comes next. Try delivering the speech two or more times in a row, then give yourself a break and come back and deliver it three or four more times. Expect to fumble and miss things the first few times you do this. Expect to need to sneak a peek at the full script the first few times to see what you missed or find that great wording you wrote down earlier. But force yourself to go through the whole presentation using only your key word outline. Again, do this out loud, standing up, as close to the real location as you can get, using any visual aids or equipment you plan to use.

Why Do This:

Survey what makes a presentation boring and you will find among the most popular answers – “when a speaker reads their speech.” No matter how well crafted or brilliant your words are, if you read your presentation, you will be less effective than a speaker who knows his content and delivers less than perfect wording doing so with confidence and looking the audience in the eye. Force yourself to give up your notes and go to a keyword outline. Force yourself to practice repeatedly with the keyword outline to ensure you know your material and can go from point to point in your presentation. I love how Scott Berkun puts it in his book, Confessions of a Public Speaker: “I don’t practice to make perfect and I don’t memorize…My intent is simply to know my material so well that I’m very comfortable with it. Confidence, not perfection, is the goal.” It’s not about memorizing but internalizing your message. It’s not so important that you get the wording exactly right. What’s most important is to sincerely communicate your message. This approach allows you to be “in the moment” with your audience so you can adjust to what ever happens in the room and serve your audience best.

Step 3: Watch Yourself – Video Recording and Using a Mirror

What to Do:

At least once or twice during these rehearsal times, practice in front of a mirror (even if you can’t use your visual aids during that rehearsal) so you can watch your facial expressions and your hand gestures as you practice. Or better yet, record yourself with an audio recorder, video recorder or both.

Why Do It:

Watching yourself will help you to see and hear any annoying habits that could detract from your message. It give you the ability to ensure your body language reinforces your message. Video is especially good at pointing out any distracting behaviors that can detract from your message. For extra credit, watch the video with the sound off, then listen to yourself without watching the video. It can be a rude awakening. But better that you see it for yourself and fix it, then have a negative impact in getting your message across to your audience.

Step 4 – Memorize Certain Parts

What to Do:

Memorize the important parts of your presentation. Memorize the opening – particularly the first few sentences. Memorize the closing – the powerful ending that you want to leave your audience with. And if applicable, one or two sentences that you really like.

Why Do It:

Memorizing those key parts will make a big difference in how you connect with your audience. Memorizing the opening allows you to deliver those lines while making great eye contact with your audience. Memorizing the close gives you another chance to make sure you give your audience more great eye contact as you leave them with your final message.

You can also practice in the car, in the shower, brushing your teeth, or in your mind as you prepare for a presentation to help reinforce your speech. But the best rehearsal will be standing on your feet, speaking out loud, working with your visual aids.

So practice more and worry less.