Technology Adoption Will Keep You Moving Forward6 Jun, 2013 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company
After spending time at the ITEX Expo recently, I came back with a lot ideas as well as a lot of questions. Our industry is clearly growing and changing, and the dealers that have the foresight to adapt and adjust will evolve successfully...and those who don’t will likely get acquired or fall short of their mark.
As today's office moves toward a value add service industry I have seen a tremendous increase in demand for anything from software, hardware, or service related needs. Our customers look for us to have the answer for all their problems. After all aren’t we their “Solution” provider? As effective new technologies become more and more prevalent, we need to clearly realize how to “adopt” and “adapt” to the increasingly wide uses of technology to day to advance the office industry. It’s time to learn how to set up not only ourselves, but implement key changes in our sales and technical staff to succeed in this tech-oriented arena overall.
Being the geek that I am, I like to break down everything into formulas to better understand.
Thus, the formula for realization is: Awareness + Understanding + Action = Realization
To put some action into creating a better sustainable dealership of the future I recommend these steps:
Steps #1 – Clearly define what you sell to staff and clients:
It’s easy to get caught up in all the offerings that we have the ability to sell and support today, don’t let your dealership get carried away by mere rhetoric of solutions, workflow, or optimization. By clearly defining what we/you sell will make it much more real and realistic to handle and teach your staff to adapt. It’s clear to me that the copier dealer today must prepare their dealership to sell 5 core products or offerings:
3. Applications/ Software
4. Document Management
5. Managed Services
Step # 2: Remember what goes around comes around
One of the hardest things I have had to do is get successful hardware reps to buy into selling a value ad solution or service offerings. Too often I would get the common excuse of “it will simply prolong the deal” or “there’s no money in that deal”. I finally started making ground with the concept of “What goes around will eventually come around” as explained below, where we agreed to the following:
• If you’re in a deal with No Competition – Simply Sell Hardware
• If you’re in a deal With Competition – Sell a Solution (HW + Software) (DM)
• If you call on a customer where there’s no Hardware opportunity – Sell a Service (MPS, MS) because by selling that service hopefully it will come around to a HW opportunity
• No Competition – Sell Hardware (Keeping Margins)
Step 3 – Teach your staff to be a Team
Too often than not I see a lot of companies struggle due to the “Ego complex” of their staff. The days of dealing with that “500 lb. “gorilla sales staff are no more, don’t tolerate anyone who won’t buy into the team concept. The companies I see that are thriving in today’s marketplace, are the ones who have created a Team selling environment. These companies have invested in critical support personal who understand the technical talk track to engage and establish IT needs and paired them with the Account Manager who has mastered the relational sale.
Step 4: Have a Plan
Regardless of what you or your company chooses to focus on, have a plan. It amazes me, the number of individuals or companies I come in contact with, that seem to “cruise” through their day to day work with no set plan of action. If you want to go somewhere, get directions, have a plan, and stay the course.
Yes, without question, our changing business environment is happening, but instead of considering it an unfathomable problem, challenge yourself to take advantage of the array of opportunities emerging, albeit it seemingly challenging. To those companies which are prepared to adapt and deal with today’s changes, there will be advancement.
Eric Stavola MS.CIS, M.ED, MCSE, MCSA, N+, CDIA+ is Chief Operating Officer for WITT COMPANY. For info on Office Technology Products & Services visit witt-company.com or email http://estavola@Witt-Company.com