‘When your help transforms farmers’ lives, that’s a great feeling’

Rural Asset Finance sales director and farmer’s son BEN WOOD reveals why he loves his work

WHEN asked about the best part of his job, RAF’s regional sales director Ben Wood doesn’t hesitate: “Being on farms, talking to farmers about farming. That’s the biggest buzz for me.

“I am passionate about the countryside,” adds Ben, who grew up on his own family’s farm. “I love just chatting to our customers about their businesses. Often it’s nothing to do with the project we’re financing – I just love this industry and being part of this community.”

But, he says, his obvious love of all things agriculture enables customers to connect with him, too. “I’ve had lots of customers say ‘it’s so nice to talk to a finance person who really understands what I’m talking about, who knows one end of a tractor from another.’”

His natural affinity with farmers means he’s passionate about helping them, too. “We’re in this fortunate position of being able to make their dreams come alive,” he says. “When you can help them to buy something, to start a new income stream, or restructure their finances in such a way that they can go and earn more money, which grows their business and even sometimes transforms their lives, that’s a great feeling.”

Ben’s day to day job, he says, is essentially customer relationship management, either helping farmers directly or, sometimes, assisting machinery dealers by organising finance for their customers in a way that helps both parties’ cash flow. “But although we might start with a tractor or a combine, we take the time and trouble to learn about the farmer’s business and what their wider ambitions are, and build up a rapport with them. Often two or three months down the line they will give us a call asking how we can help them with a different project.”

That rapport, says Ben, is why customers keep coming back to Rural Asset Finance. “Customer service, that’s 100% the main reason our clients like us,” he says. “Not only do we take a real, genuine interest in what they’re trying to achieve, not only do we speak the same language, not only do we work with them so we create a solution together that works for them. But also, they know they can pick up the phone, text us, WhatsApp us, email, however they want, and they will get hold of us, and have a personal service, dealing with one person, from the first phone call right through to when the agreement’s finished.

“And even when that agreement is finished, we stay in touch. Just because you’re not doing business with them right now, you don’t switch off to them. Farmers often face tough times, and we know that from our own personal experiences. Something as simple as the weather can impact your income but also your buying decisions, but things still need buying. We are available to help them navigate those difficult times and hopefully our personal service means they trust us sufficiently that if they need something, we’re the first people they call.”

And when that happens, that buzz he gets from just talking about farming is even better. “It’s a great feeling to be able to help someone. We want to do a good job for our customers and it’s brilliant to feel you’ve really achieved something for them.”

Find out how Ben can help you with your next project by contacting him here.

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