What makes an Elite Dealer a leader in the industry? Several themes became clear to me after I read through all the Elite Dealer submissions for 2016. While some of what this year’s Elite Dealers have done to become leaders might seem obvious, what really separates them is execution. They set a goal, made a plan, and stuck to it. Let’s look at those themes and why they set the 2016 Elite Dealers apart from the crowd.
Monitor, measure, and adjust. Whether it’s for service, sales, or general business best practices, Elite Dealers have systems, processes, and infrastructure in place to analyze performance and make necessary changes in order to achieve a goal. The market is too competitive and volatile to rely only on your gut to know what your business needs to perform optimally. You need the proper tools in place and the commitment to use them.
Focus on relationships. A high percentage of this year’s Elite Dealers call themselves “family oriented.” That attitude includes both employees and customers. These dealers realize that if the people your business relies on or sells to feel you care about them and treat them right, they will go above and beyond for you in return. With employees, we see Elite Dealers communicating well and empowering them to make decisions. Employees who do exceptionally well are quickly recognized and rewarded. With customers, it’s about being proactive and willing to do what’s right even if it’s not the most profitable action for the company.
Staying current on technology. Customers expect dealers to be knowledgeable about the entire office equipment technology ecosystem, even if it’s something they don’t sell. A dealer with deep understanding of the technology landscape will have more credibility with customers and spot new opportunities sooner.
A willingness to experiment with marketing. While cold-calling and direct mail are still important and necessary, our Elite Dealers are finding new and effective ways to get the attention of and engage prospects. They often do so through a combination of social media and live events. Many Elite Dealers are proud of their websites, which offer good content marketing and have the tools and analytics necessary to make customer and prospect interactions more productive.
Community commitment and support. Being a good citizen is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business. Elite Dealers understand this, and virtually all of this year’s winners have formal programs to give back to the communities they serve. They do so with pride, and they typically have policies that encourage employees to give their time to help out charitable causes.
A service-first approach. Elite Dealers understand that they need to give their customers a reason to stay with them every day, and that means providing efficient, effective, and proactive service. Many are proud of the personal relationships their service teams have with customers. Elite Dealer service techs are often incentivized to make decisions that are in the customer’s best interest. This approach to service not only builds customer loyalty, it opens the door to selling new products and services into an existing customer base.
There are likely many dealers who belong on this list. ENX can select only from those dealers who submitted a nomination form. We encourage any dealer who believes they belong among the Elite Dealers to submit for next year. Now let’s meet the 2016 Elite Dealers.