Taking Charge of the RTO Narrative

The term “rent-to-own” can conjure a variety of thoughts as different as each individual. What do your dealers think of when you say rent-to-own? What do your customers think of when you say rent-to-own? What do your friends and family think of when you say rent-to-own? These thoughts may be the result of past experiences, marketing messages, or simply public perception. Regardless of why we vary on our interpretations of rent-to-own, the fact of the matter is it has exceptional benefits when properly used. Understanding rent-to-own on a deeper level and creating that culture within your company and with dealers is key to creating happy RTO customers from beginning to end.


Many times, society tends to have a negative mindset on customers using RTO, as if they are second-class customers. It is not uncommon for these customers to be singularly classified as bad credit, no credit, unable or unwilling to fulfill their financial obligations. These transactions are inaccurately prejudged to all be high-risk customers. In today’s society, it is very common and accepted to rent, lease, or finance large purchases. We do it when we need a house, a car, or even an inconvenient self-storage facility. So why is it that when it comes to the convenience of rent-to-own for a personal outdoor structure, we allow the negative impression to overshadow a program that allows customers to take control of their lives in so many ways? In essence, it is all a perception problem. The first step to overcoming this problem is by educating and understanding RTO for what it truly is and engraining that into your company culture.


The first thing that comes to mind when you mention rent-to-own are the big chain franchises in the furniture and electronic world. This is no surprise, as they are the key players in the national rent-to-own landscape to the masses. However, to compare our outdoor structure industry with their product industries is no different than comparing apples to oranges. Our products are designed to be lifelong products with exceptional quality and lifespan. How can you compare something of this magnitude to products that, by design, become obsolete within a couple of years and need to be upgraded? If we view rent-to-own on our products the way we view renting a home or leasing a car, we will begin to see it for what it truly is, a great program that makes our products accessible to the masses, regardless of their economic status.


Your customers need to feel valued and cared for by your team. Training your staff to engage in small talk and earning their trust is a key factor in a great RTO transaction. When your staff adequately takes the time to learn what is driving the customer’s need for your product, it opens the door for leading questions that will ultimately give the salesperson the details they need to know as to why this customer would be a good candidate for the RTO program. Without making things uncomfortable, it allows the customer to divulge their driving force without feeling devalued. Their need may in fact be the lower payments. It might be they are not sure they want to own, but still want the convenience of on-site storage. It might be they plan to pay off early but just don’t have the full amount now.

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