Points of Differentiation Enable Elite to Rise Above the Rest
We have reached a critical juncture in the office technology industry, as consolidation among the ranks of dealers and manufacturers reflect the changing and shrinking landscape. While competition increases and the demand for more managed services outweighs the pure hardware play philosophy, the core foundation of what it means to be an Elite Dealer generally doesn’t change. However, the ability to transform and adapt to both changing technologies and evolving customer needs will go a long way toward determining whether a dealer will prosper and flourish, or get chewed to pieces by the consolidation machine. Our list has swelled its ranks to more than 110 Elite Dealers, and we’ve identified some of the common themes that have distinguished them from the competition.
This remains a people business. Trite though it may sound, customers prefer to do business with individuals and companies that they like. The same can be said for employees; work can either be drudgery or a joy, and it is up to the dealer to foster an environment that is collaborative, friendly and attuned to the needs of its employees. The Elite Dealers have established themselves as customer-centric organizations that take the time to get to know their clients’ specific needs and challenges. A real person answers the phone, and chances are, they know customers on a first-name basis. Elite Dealers care for their customers and employees in equal measure. By empowering their ranks to make critical decisions and take ownership of the client, Elite Dealers set a mark of excellence internally and externally.
21st Century marketing techniques. While an Elite Dealer is well versed in all of the traditional marketing methods, a willingness to leverage the digital age is essential to long-term success. A dealer uses search engine optimization (SEO) to help drive more visitors to its website while employing pay-per-click (PPC) ads that can help potential customers identify them as purveyors of targeted hardware and solutions. Social media is also an effective tool for targeting prospects, sharing information about the dealership and the latest technologies available to customers. Facebook pages, in particular, provide a platform that enables Elite Dealers to show a personal side that is endearing and engaging.
Willingness to educate clients. An Elite Dealer is not only current on the latest technologies, it takes the time to share its knowledge with customers through hosted educational seminars. By bringing in clients, prospects and area businesses of interest, Elite Dealers offer subject matter experts, including vendor partners, to speak on a wide range of topics. This also sets the stage for future business engagements.
Demonstrating support of the community. In another nod to focusing on the people aspect of business, the quality of an Elite Dealer can be measured in the time and resources it provides to area, regional and national charities. It’s not enough to write a check. An Elite Dealer sponsors and participates in fundraising events, particularly those in support of nonprofit, health and educational clients. It is imperative for dealers to set aside an allotment of paid time off per employee that can be dedicated to the service of organizations that help make their communities a better place to live.
In short, quality sales, technical service, admin and support staffs are just the tip of the Elite Dealer value proposition. If you believe your dealership has what it takes to be an Elite Dealer, we encourage you to submit a form for next year. Let’s meet the 2017 Elite Dealers.