Log in

ISM Article

Becoming Elite

7 Sep, 2010 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

Becoming Elite

So your largest account now refers your best major account sales rep to a
commodity buyer ‑ even though your solutions are far more sophisticated than
ever before. And direct organizations are telling your largest customers that
their service is better than yours because they are the manufacturer. 

You have won all kinds of awards from manufacturers and put your technicians
through all sorts of training only to find out that everyone else who represents
that same manufacturer in your territory has done the same thing, and is
producing the same exact awards and certifications as evidence of their
dealership’s superiority.   Not to mention that your savvy customers also know
which awards can be bought and/or are based on a tally of purchases from
manufacturers.  Some are based on or backed by expensive advertising campaigns
that stress customer satisfaction or guarantees - yet are not differentiating
the independent dealer against larger organizations. Worse yet, many of these
vehicles are perpetuating a commodity impression that most independent dealers
want to avoid.

Yet, it still remains a constant that the quality of the service a dealer
provides will make or break their equipment sales. 

“Differentiation in the market has never been more difficult to achieve,”
says Steve Rolla, Senior Partner, BEI Pros.  “That’s why two years ago we set
out to identify those dealers who would make the commitments necessary to
achieve an elite level of service, as defined by our Elite 100 program’s
performance levels.  Our agenda was to clearly select a group of dealers in the
top markets in the U.S. then implement a viable new service standard to result
in their customers’ clearly recognizing them as the best option for quality
service performance.”

Rolla, throughout his business career, understands the importance of crafting
the strategic “differentiating factor” that formulates to a successful outcome.
According to Jerry Newberry, President, BEI Pros, “Steve is a rarity in that he
began his career as a service executive who then expanded his career to become
president of three leading (office product) dealerships. In addition, he
achieved quality recognition at companies such as IKON (including CEO of the
Year award) and Global Imaging Systems (receiving the Chairman’s award),
consistently using optimal service methods as the key differentiator in the
marketplace. Steve is also recognized as the co-author of the industry’s
well-known ‘service benchmarking model,’ in conjunction with Tom Johnson (Global
Imaging’s founder/CEO).  Without question, Steve knows service performance
inside and out.”

Good dealers understand that they must differentiate from their competition
in order to prosper. They’ll choose credible methods to consistently improve
service operations, preferring profitability first over plaque awards.  It takes
a process founded on a proven track record of success.

Ultimately, the “Pros team” set out to build a process whereby they could use
their collective expertise to identify and develop the top 100 independent
dealers’ service organizations in the United States. For them, the selection
became the first operative word in their process.

From Selection to Certification

Smart companies listen well. In almost all cases, the Pros would review input
from manufacturers’ reps, suppliers and dealers to help them qualify the best
two or three dealers in a market, then select the one dealer they felt had the
most commitment or was the best choice to work with to achieve their Elite
(service program) status.  Like any good action plan, it gets put into motion.

First, the process for a selected dealer to achieve certification begins with
an onsite assessment of their entire organization, with an intense review of the
Service Organization’s results, procedures, and policies. A detailed write-up
follows the assessment with customized action plans that are focused on putting
the processes, the accountability and measurement systems in place.  BEI Pros
then trains the service executive(s) in Advanced Service Management Techniques
in a three-day workshop. The company’s president and the Service executive(s)
then come through the Leadership Skills, Goal Setting and Strategic Planning
workshop. Finally, all functions get trained onsite in Elite customer skills.
Importantly, on the last day of the certification process, the Sales
Organization is trained on how to sell their new, exclusive status as the only
Elite 100 dealer in their market.

At this point, BEI Pros goes into the “growth mode with our dealers.”  To
round out an all inclusive plan they will supply marketing collaterals to help
promote the dealer’s newly acquired service status; from personalized
leave-behinds to website assistance featuring the dealer’s Elite 100

“In multiple machine sales,” says Newberry, “we appear on the sales call with
a virtual presentation of our dealer’s above-industry benchmark capabilities. To
date, this type presentation has accounted for over $2,000,000 in equipment
sales for the first group of certified Elite 100 dealers.”   Talk about

In addition to the incremental selling capability, BEI Pros place their
proprietary PIVOT system as an Icon on the systems of their Elite 100 dealers. 
Each month, they ask the dealers to download critical performance data so that
they can see that the dealer continues to perform at an Elite level.  “If their
performance drifts from our benchmarks we come in to assist and coach them back
to expected performance levels,” says Rolla. “We are the Elite dealer’s
conscience and coach, not their critic first.”

Dealer Talk Firsthand

Wanting to hear from dealers who sought improved service operations by
implementing the Elite 100, imageSource spoke to three dealers citing excellent
results: John Heiser of MT Business Technologies, Mansfield, Ohio, Michael
Chambers of Central Copiers, Long Island, NY,  and Brian Peltier of Corporate
Business Systems, Springfield, Missouri.

MT Business Technologies, OH

John Heiser has been the president of MT Business Technologies for over 18
years. His dealership covers the cities of Mansfield, Cleveland, Dayton and
Toledo Ohio.  Heiser said his organization’s service productivity and
profitability had improved dramatically after the assessment and implementation
of the Pros action plans.  Heiser claimed he was looking for a way to make his
dealership grow while others around him were floundering.

“My markets, like all others, are filled with manufacturer-direct
organizations and mega dealers like Xerox/Global Imaging. We needed something
that set us apart. I found the Pros Elite 100 program has done that for us.”

Within weeks of completing their training, MT set up their first virtual
sales call with a major account.  “Prior to the call (presentation) where we
were now assisted by the Pros executives, we were just neck and neck with our
larger competitor. By the end of that call, I felt we were ahead in our end
users’ minds, including their six sigma group who lauded our efforts to
benchmark ourselves against the best in the industry with our Pros.”  Continues
Heiser, “The BEI Pros exec team has helped us improve all aspects of our
business including our Total Output Management (TOM) MPS program.  Overall, I’ve
learned that when you bring in quality professional consultants with in depth
knowledge and experience in all areas of a dealer’s operation, helping to
promote measurable results as those we’re achieving now in Service, the
investment in the program becomes one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.”

Central Copiers, NY

Michael Chambers became one of the owners of Central Copiers eight years ago
with his partner  Sean Infante. Prior to getting together with Sean, Central was
a very stable, albeit small dealer, in Central Long Island. Michael had come
from a large company environment where he had been the perennial #1 Major
Account Rep in his market.  Michael left IKON when everything started to get
centralized.  He had learned a long time ago that functions like dispatch,
billing, accounts receivable and inventory control were a very big part of his
success formula.  When he teamed up with Infante, and with the local touch that
Central Copiers brings to the market, the company grew dramatically.  Along with
this growth however, came exposure to areas that were not core strengths of
either executive. Their equipment growth was running at record rates but their
Service organization’s productivity and profitability did not keep pace.

They needed a consultant to assess their situation and help develop an
action plan. Within a few months, Central put into place a strategic action plan
and procedures prescribed by the Pros team.  In a short amount of time the
initial investment they made had been paid and their Service function was back
on track.  “We have made use of every aspect of our training to improve our
business. The strategic planning model the Pros taught us was invaluable in
preparing us for our growth, now and in the years ahead,” says Chambers.  “They
sorted out our MPS program and made it a much easier business model for us to
succeed with. We feel fortunate to have been selected as an Elite dealer for
Long Island, and we’re prepared to take on any competitor with this Ultimate

Corporate Business Systems, MO

Brian Peltier, president of Corporate Business Systems (CBS), with the owner of
CBS, Jim Quesenberry, have spent the past 20 years developing an outstanding
customer-driven culture in their mid-western market.  Like so many other
dealerships, the growth they’d achieved over the past two years was not what
they had been used to. Rather than accept the excuse of the economic downturn,
Brian and Jim took the opportunity to upgrade the quality of everything that
Corporate Business Systems does.

After working with the BEI Pros team who had conducted its assessment,
they began working on developing a strong marketing theme around CBS’s
achievement of their Elite 100 certification.  Shortly after they were
certified, they asked the Pros team to participate in a major account sales call
where they were going head-to-head with one of the manufacturer’s mega dealer
organizations.  The PROs team outlined their own individual experiences as
executives with deeply centralized organizations and why, in their opinion, the
flexibility of a locally owned dealership like CBS was superior.  The prospect

Peltier states, “Prior to that sales call it was my belief that CBS was in
second place. After the call, CBS was back on top – and soon we had the deal in
hand.”  Peltier, in pleased testimonial fashion adds, “Our relationship with the
Pros executive team has been a true partnership in every sense of the word. No
other program we’ve launched has proven its value in such a short period of

After having spoken to over 200 dealers, BEI Pros’ first 20 dealers were
confirmed and to date, barely six months after the program’s official launch,
nearly 50 dealerships have met the criteria or achieved the PROs ELITE 100

True to his strategy, Rolla says, “Dealers need a real differentiator today
to succeed. We specialize in providing it. There are still 50 more markets where
we need to select a dealer, so naturally we’re interested in talking with all
independent dealers who would like to be considered for this type opportunity.” 

It takes innovative people to redefine service benchmarks. You need better
solutions, effective strategies, and a commitment to change your current status
to long-term success.  It’s about finding an opportunity to do things
better…differentiating yourself to become more Elite.


for information.

WebinarCase Studies and White PapersSand Exchange Blog

imageSource Magazine Quick Links
Upcoming Events
ITEX Expo & Conference
©2015 Questex, LLC. All rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited
Please send any technical comments or questions to our webmaster