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Construction: Meet the expert, Liam Given

Liam Given is a Regional Sales Manager and industry expert within the Construction & Recycling team at Close Brothers Asset Finance. Here he tells us about his work history, the types of assets that can be financed and the equipment that is most in demand.

Can you tell me about your work history?

At university, I studied Business Enterprise and graduated in 2012. At this time, the UK was only just starting to recover from the economic crash, so jobs for young graduates without vast amounts of experience were hard to come by. Thankfully, I was accepted to join the graduate training program at British Car Auctions where I spent three years and was involved in each aspect of the business.

I joined Close Brothers Asset Finance through the training academy in 2015. The course was designed to train the next generation of sales staff. I was placed in the Construction & Recycling team. We went through an intense 12 month programme that gave us the tools needed to succeed in the finance industry as an Area Sales Manager. With the support of colleagues and the management team we were ‘set loose’ and have now been on the road for almost four years. 

Can you tell me about your current role?

My job is varied but I particularly enjoy meeting customers and suppliers. I am their main point of contact from when an agreement goes live all the way through to completion.

A typical day would consist of visiting machinery dealers and customers and then spending the afternoon/evening proposing agreements to our credit team. We also spend a lot of time at trade shows.

I’ve recently been promoted to Regional Sales Manager which means I now have a small team to develop as well as my own patch (West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and the North East). This is a new challenge in my career that I’m very much looking forward to!

How does your industry experience help you in your role?

Being new to the industry I’ve had to learn a lot…quickly! But there is an experienced team behind the scenes that have helped to develop my understanding. Working in industry specific teams allows us to really drill down to the individual needs of each customer. From the get go, I’ve been involved with a wide range of businesses of all sizes which has helped me to progress in a relatively short period of time.

What types of assets do you finance?

Basically, anything that falls within the construction, recycling or agricultural markets. For example, Excavators, Screeners, Crushers, Shredder’s, MRF Facilities and tractors to name but a few.

What machinery/equipment are you finding is currently most in demand?

As you’d expect demand has fallen across the board due to current lockdown measures having a major effect on British businesses. Although we are still funding new purchases, the bulk of our lending is now focused towards Sale and HP Back (a form of refinance). This product allows us to quickly release cash from existing assets in order to help our customers improve their liquidity through these challenging times. Agreement structures have been tailored to help our customers come through the other side in a good position. Assets included on these agreements can be anything from a multi-million-pound wash plant to a second-hand transit van!  

What technological developments have you seen in the industry?

Technology is now, more so than ever, playing a major role in our day to day lives. Businesses have had to adapt quickly to working remotely and technology has been at the centre of everything. From the finance industries point of view, E-docs, customer portals and intelligent CRM systems are helping to improve the service we can offer to our customers no end. Close Brothers have recently invested in ‘Salesforce’, the largest customer relationship management tool in the world. For me personally, it’s allowed me to fully organise my workload in many different ways, even down to planning the quickest route to my most remote customers!