Rising to the Challenge: Elite Dealers Discuss Overcoming Obstacles

Believe it or not, while we were capable of filling 140 pages in our December issue with the 2017 Elite Dealer profiles—and trust me, that is a LOT of information jammed between the covers—we were holding back just a little bit of information. OK, so maybe we could’ve tacked on at least another 20 pages, but carpal tunnel syndrome started to kick in. And with all of the holiday cards and packages you’re receiving this month, we didn’t want to tax your mailbox.

As a result, we’ve decided to use The Week in Imaging to provide an extended glimpse into our industry’s leading dealerships. More specifically, we’re going to use the month of December to gain insight into the biggest challenges facing our top performers, along with the measures they’re taking to address these tasks.

At Datamax of Little Rock, AR, one of its greatest tasks is communicating its points of differentiation in a relevant manner. Not wanting to spout off empty platitudes and trite hyperbole, Datamax relies on the Relevant Selling Program from Smart Advantage to focus on presenting and improving differentiation that is:

  • Objective, not subjective;
  • Quantifiable, not arbitrary;
  • Not claimed by the competition;
  • Not a given or a cliché;
  • True, past tense or fact;
  • Relevant to the customer.

“Our goal is to align our operations with our customer’s priorities – internally and externally,” Datamax wrote. “This challenges and commits us to improve our operational performance in a measurable way. In the past we would ask ‘What’s our vision and mission?’ or ‘Where do we want to be in one year, two years and down the road?’ The question we’ll ask going forward is, ‘What do our customers want this year, next year and beyond?’ ”

Maintaining focus

As dealers experience continued success across decades, one of their greatest fears is the threat of complacency. Edwards Business Systems/Virginia Business Systems maintains a vigilance against the urge to rest on its laurels.

“In the third generation of a business, so many factors can come into play to turn a successful company into an also-ran,” EBS/VBS wrote. “This is what we face every day. We need to continually look for improvement, challenge our employees, educate ourselves and most of all, deliver above and beyond for our clients.

“We are totally committed to our clients.  For when we do right by our clients, our growth and profitability are assured.”

Expanding Boundaries

With both hardware and service coming under pricing pressure from competitors and profit margins sinking, dealers such as TGI Office Automation of Brooklyn, NY, have taken to entering new territories while expanding services.

“In order to combat a depression in margins, we are expanding our geographical footprint,” TGI reported. “We are focusing on continuous additions to broaden our coverage model and developing a presence in locations just outside of our current coverage areas. This has proven to be the best way to grow. We are able to expand our territory while keeping our overhead intact by utilizing our existing infrastructure. One example of this is our plans for a new distribution center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.”

KOMAX Business Systems of South Charleston, WV, notes that overall copier sales are flat in the dealer’s geographic market, with increased competition for the dwindling population of machines being acquired by customers. To diversify its portfolio and maintain growth, KOMAX has expanded into managed print services and managed IT.

“This gives us an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with customers,” KOMAX said. “Additionally, we have had success with selling and servicing mailing equipment. This diversification has allowed us to continue to grow our sales revenue.”

Aggressive growth has proven to be a blessing and a challenge for Cincinnati-based Prosource. The changes implemented by the dealer and its resulting growth—from both a revenue and product and service standpoint—have prompted the company to focus on providing the best products, services and experience to its customers.

“We spend a lot of time trying to keep things simple, stay focused on our top priority–the customer–and reinforce the winning, people-oriented culture that Prosource is founded on,” the dealer wrote.


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.