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How to Position Your Dealership as a Team of I.T. Experts

4 Feb, 2014 By: Darrell Amy, Dealer Marketing Systems

Do your clients see your dealership as a credible source of I.T. services?  Whether your dealership currently has a full I.T. services offering or you simply plan to build one in the near future, a critical part of your success stands on your clients’ perception of your capabilities. 

You can have a team of networking experts that rival Bill Gates’ team and a network operations center that could launch the next Mars Rover.  However, if your clients don’t see you as a trustworthy source of I.T. solutions your success will be sabotaged.

There are many things you can do to position your dealership as a credible source of I.T. services.  In this article we will focus on what I believe are the top three things that can have the biggest impact:  looking like I.T. experts, sharing helpful information and telling the story.

First, Look Like I.T. Experts

You have to look like an I.T. company.  In today’s online world, prospects form first impressions of your dealership in a matter of seconds.  If you talk to a client about your I.T. service but they look at your website or collateral and don’t see anything about networking support they will get skeptical. Nothing kills a sale faster than a nervous client.

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes.  Yes, they know your company as the copier dealer or printer service provider.  You may have connected the printers to their network.  Possibly you did some scanning integration.  But do they really see you as a company that can handle all of the complexities of supporting their network.

Your dealership needs to begin the process of looking like an I.T. company.  Every time a prospect or client encounters your company they should learn about your networking services.  This should include:

-              Your Website:  Make sure a substantial part of your website features explains your network support capabilities.  Even if you have a separate website for your managed network services offering, your I.T. services should also be a big part of your dealership website. 

-              Your Sales Collateral:  From your dealership brochure and sell sheets to your sales presentations, I.T. support needs to be a core part of what you do. 

-              Your On Hold Messaging

-              Your Vehicle Wraps

-              Your Advertising

Making the investment of time to position your company as an I.T. expert could return big results.  You will find more opportunities surface when your market sees you as an I.T. resource.

Share Helpful I.T. Information:
If you want to build trust educate your clients.  Marketing guru, Jay Abraham, talks about the paradox of knowledge:  the more someone knows about a topic, the more questions they have.  Where do they go to get answers to these questions?   They go to the place that educated them.

To build trust as an I.T. provider share helpful ideas with your clients and your market.  Think about the challenges and questions your prospects have related to technology.  Make sure your dealership is providing answers to these questions.

In the effort to more tightly target the custom blog posts we do for our clients I started surveying sales teams.  I want to know, “What are the biggest questions you are getting from your prospects?”  We’re also looking to the internet to see what people are searching for in the I.T. space.  This helps guide the content we create so that we can make sure our dealer clients are sharing information that is helpful to prospects in the area of information technology.

Another way to share helpful information is through special reports.  There are many hot topics in the I.T. space.  For example, I just completed a special report titled “The Top Cyber Security Risks Faced by Businesses—And What to Do About Them.”  This type of information can be highly useful to your clients and prospects.  Of course, the end of the special report recommends that they actively manage their network through a managed network services arrangement.

Share the answers to questions on your website’s blog or in special reports and share this information through all of your channels: 

-              Company social media (LinkedIn Company Page, Twitter, Facebook Page, YouTube)

-              Sales rep social networks (LinkedIn)

-              Online advertising (Google Adwords, LinkedIn)

-              Email

-              Lunch and learns

-              Webinars

Sharing helpful I.T. information slowly positions your dealership as an I.T. expert.

Tell the Story
Recently, I interviewed a non-profit that had four locations and about 50 workstations.  The goal of the interview was to create a success story that the dealership could use in their sales process and on their website.  The foundation was already working with the dealer for copiers and printers.  The relationship of trust yielded one of the dealership’s first managed I.T. services contracts.

The feedback from the client was powerful.  They love the managed I.T. arrangement.  The CFO of the foundation went on-and-on about how they are benefitting.  The case study is dripping with juicy quotes that make the dealership look like the absolute best solution for someone with I.T. problems.

Why are case studies so powerful? Credibility. You can tell your customers that you are good at I.T. until you are blue in the face.  What is going to tip the scale are other business people saying that you are good at I.T. service.  You may only have one or two clients using you to manage their network.  Leverage these clients to grow.  Even if you are only doing a small part of their I.T. ask them to vouch for you. 

Writing success stories is not hard.  You need to uncover the challenges, the solutions and how the client benefitted.  Look for real quotes from the client that you can use. There are many other things you could do to position your dealership as a team of I.T. experts.  All of the efforts you make in this direction will pay long term dividends as your market begins to know and trust you as a team of I.T. experts.

*Darrell Amy will present on this topic at the ITEX Expo, March 11-13, 2014 at The Rio Hotel, Las Vegas. See full event agenda at http://www.itexshow.com

Darrell Amy, Chief Innovation Officer, Dealer Marketing, works with dealers across the US and Australia to help them position their dealerships for success in solutions and managed services. He has trained thousands of sales people in solution selling; visiting hundreds of dealer locations. With 20 years’ experience in the office industry, he has worked for an independent dealer, a national organization, and a hardware OEM.  At DealerMarketing.net or damy@dealermarketing.net | 214-224-0050 x.101 (*Check out our blog at http://www.dealermarketing.net; I share best practices for “How to Write Killer Case Studies.”)

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