This is always an exciting time of the year. As office technology dealers close the book on 2017, sales departments prepare to focus on the coming year. The teams have huddled to forge a game plan that will make 2018 their best year ever. These plans are either crafted to build upon past successes or were completely rewritten to avoid disasters of the previous year.
Herein lies the beauty (or warts) of the sales mantra. Flat or minimal growth might as well be a loss. After all, there aren’t many business plans that strive for 1 percent growth. Thus, for many dealers, the onus is on obtaining enough net new business to hit that magic number.
That is the primary challenge facing Thermocopy of Tennessee. The dealer has set aggressive market share increase goals, which calls for advantageous pricing, market differentiation or dissatisfaction with a current vendor to penetrate a new account. The company has outlined its approach as such:
- Pricing: Thermocopy shares its market goals with its major manufacturer, which provides competitive pricing to go after new business in the form of lease buy-outs and offers prospects substantial discounts. The manufacturer also provides discounts directly to Thermocopy, and the dealer offers its sales reps incentives for net-new business signed.
- Differentiation: One of the tools Thermocopy relies upon as a marketing tool is its Net Promoter Score. The third-party certification is not utilized by the dealer’s competition. Of the more than 7,000 customer surveys sent out in the past year, only eight yielded negative comments.
Thermocopy also promotes its significant experience with clients needing the highest levels of security, and can back it up with ample success stories. The same can be said for its success and comprehensive experience in solutions selling.
Service excellence is also a key point of differentiation for Thermocopy. Its service team was awarded the 2017 RFG Circle of Excellence. Of the 1,700-plus technicians tested nationwide, Thermocopy accounted for 20 of the 137 techs who scored the requisite 90 to gain Prestige recognition.
- Vendor dissatisfaction: Thermocopy would rather extol its own virtues than belittle its competitors to gain new business. “We never talk negatively about the competition but utilize our metrics to enable the prospect to draw their own conclusions,” Thermocopy wrote.
Spreading the Word
Advance Business Systems has built a solid reputation and amassed market equity within its hardware offering. Now the Cockeysville, MD-based dealership is concentrating its efforts on driving awareness of its other offerings, namely managed print services and managed IT, in order to increase penetration among clients.
“In order to better educate our customers and prospects on our diverse offerings and the benefits to their businesses, we utilize a number of strategies,” Advance Business Systems stated. “Outside of advertising and marketing, we provide rigorous training for all employees to understand the components of all products and services in our portfolio. We believe every member of our team is a brand advocate and can cultivate opportunities in every interaction with customers and prospects.”
Advance Business Systems’ sales team is focused on providing business reviews to all customers in an effort to better serve their organizations and provide recommendations on other services or products that would offer a competitive edge or allow them to better meet their goals. This often results in expanding the dealer’s relationship with current customers as well as providing referral opportunities to bring prospects into the fold.
One of the more common challenges dealers face is the ability to provide the lowest-priced equipment and services. Millennium Business Systems of Cincinnati, for one, strives to offer fair and competitive pricing, but the pressure makes it increasingly difficult to compete while maintaining high service standards and practices.
“Instead of caving to the price equals value mentality, we are combatting this with providing a more consultative approach during the sales cycle, building trust as a reputable brand and creating partnerships with our clients,” the dealer stated. “Our sales approach is well-rounded and includes cost justification, redeployment recommendations and detailed analysis on their existing equipment. When given the opportunity to present this type of strategy, we become much more successful versus looking solely at the bottom dollar.”