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Defined Steps to Selling Services

1 Jul, 2014 By: Eric Stavola, MSCIS,MCSE,MCSA,N+,CDIA+

Endeavors in MPS and now “Managed Services” has made it abundantly clear that we have moved away from selling a commodity to now selling services. As office hardware becomes less and less expensive via competition, and is not an ongoing sale (like supplies), companies are learning how best to sell their knowledge and services in effort to grow and stay prosperous.

Most dealers understand the importance of Managed Services for their cliental, but when I talk with dealers across the United States, there is one constant theme that many dealer principles are still asking: "How to I actually expand this portion of my business?"

If you consider your dealership primarily as a "Managed Services Provider," you should be setting your sights on attracting your smallest and largest customers at enterprise levels of value-added services to take your dealership to another echelon. Simply put, you should want to “bring more services to the table of your current and potential customers" in the hope of bringing more value to your dealership.

Consider these 3 streamlined steps and the principles behind them to help bring in more wallet share from your customers:

Step # 1 - Strive for a Partnership More Than a Relationship

By definition, a relationship is a state of “connectedness” between individuals, especially an emotional connection. Selling, in general, has always been about relationships. Sales professionals across America are continually striving to achieve some connection with their potential customers.

In the copier world, a relationship typically must be achieved through the sales process.  This relationship usually lasts through the sales cycle and slowly gets transitioned from sales to technical once the deal is signed. The goal for "Managed Services" needs to go beyond the relationship to secure a partnership. By definition, a partnership is a business venture created by a contract or is a cooperative relationship between people or groups, who agree to share responsibility for achieving some specific goal. The foundation of doing business begins first with a good relationship, which results in a good partnership.

 Step # 2 – Get Customers & Sales Reps Used to Selling Monthly Reoccurring Revenue

So many dealerships are struggling with the leap to selling IT services, and one huge mistake that I see many dealerships make is trying to make the leap all at once. Understand that one huge difference from selling a commodity to selling services is that we are now looking for monthly reoccurring revenue. In effort to get both sales and customers used to this, I recommend all dealerships increase their “SaaS” offerings and product portfolio. Some suggestions are as follows:

•         Add Small Monthly Fee to MA Agreements for Driver Upgrades

•         Cost Control Software

•         SMTP Server usage for Scan to Email

•         Monthly Back-Up Storage

By opening the door to these small services, it will inevitably clear a path for more IT related projects and/or managed service offerings.

Step # 3 – Change your Story

            One thing all good sales reps have in common is that they are good story tellers. For years when selling copiers or hardware their story seemed to revolve around 3 factors:

•             Speed–the old adage of speeds & feeds of device

•             Cost–selling value vs. the price tag

•             Reliability–handing out product research reports

Times have really changed, and so have our customers’ needs and wants; thus when training your sales reps make sure you are supporting them in their efforts for key talking points, including a new story around the following areas:

•             Mobility–hand held devices/tablets have made this a necessary talking point

•             Accessibility–the flexibility to access to our documents anywhere on any device

•             Unity–as technology evolves, we need solutions to unify multiple data sources/workflows

•             Security–good talking point with IT; who is getting more comfortable with “bring your own device/BYOD” concept; they’ll want ideas & support for increased security

Eric Stavola, M.ED, MS.CIS, MCSE,MCSA, CDIA+, N+, is  Chief Operating Officer, WITT-COMPANY. (619) 379-3009 (cell) or email: estavola@witt-company.com

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