Pot Sweeteners: Adding Value to a Deal Brings Contracts Across the Finish Line

The request for proposal (RFP) is music to the ears of any dealer. Unlike its cost-conscious brother, the request for quote (RFQ), it’s not a down-and-dirty search for the bottom line. The RFP is a blank slate of sorts, mainly because it is a client/prospect’s cry for help. Assistance is needed, and oftentimes, the customer doesn’t know what it doesn’t know…or what it needs.

That’s where you, the swashbuckling day-saver, pounce on the scene, ready to ask those wide-ranging questions that drill down to the pain points. Tools are fantastic, and you’re there to discern exactly what tools are needed for the job.

In this week’s State of the Industry report on contractual success, we offer a look at some of the pot sweeteners that truly add value above and beyond the initial engagement.

Dawn Abbuhl, Repeat Business Systems

On the subject of tools, Dawn Abbuhl—president of Repeat Business Systems in Albany, New York—is a big proponent of Ricoh’s Streamline NX fleet management program, which she believes has been an essential piece for customers. Whether the conversation centers on security, usage, efficiency, or reducing paper, many roads ultimately lead to electronic workflow. Being able to perform approvals and accounts payable online can lead to more extensive conversations…and opportunities.

“When we have meetings with potential new accounts, we’ll ask how they’re handling electronic workflow,” she said. “Oftentimes, they’re not; they haven’t done anything in that regard. Then we’ll ask how they’re managing their fleets, doing patches, updates/firmware updates. That’s when you find out they have to go to every single machine, and it’s been causing certain problems.

“When you’re the first vendor to bring those problems to someone’s attention—which we typically are—your credibility is really high. It’s a good feeling to know you’re really helping them and providing an important solution.”

Team Mobilization

Rich Brandenburg, DME

The clearest path toward bolstering the overall value of an agreement has its roots in bringing customers in for a facility tour and meeting key members of the dealer’s service, logistics, admin and IT teams, according to Rich Brandenburg, senior vice president of sales for Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises (DME) of Cincinnati. It can help underscore the overall value beyond the numbers on a page.

“We have found software is critical in these solutions. However, it’s the ability to show the customers how well you support the solution,” Brandenburg said. “A majority of these opportunities have something in place but there is never anyone showing them how to use it after it is installed and in place. That’s where we come in and the customer immediately awards us trusted advisor.”

John-Austin Shepard, Nauticon Office Solutions

For Nauticon Office Solutions of Gaithersburg, Maryland, the ability to increase its average deal size by nearly 25% during the pandemic period has been a significant boon for the dealer. Leading the charge have been offerings such as PaperCut and eGoldfax, according to John-Austin Shepard, vice president of sales.

“Any supplementary product that can help a client become more streamlined, secure and mobile has been a huge value-add in our talk tracks,” Shepard noted.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.