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Closing Deals Takes More than the Old "We Have Great Service" Line

9 Mar, 2004 By: Jay Wallus imageSource

Closing Deals Takes More than the Old "We Have Great Service" Line

unique selling proposition (USP) is a tool that will help distinguish your
dealership from the rest of the office equipment marketplace. According to
Rosser Reeves, who first coined the phrase in 1961, “Each sales presentation
must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just in words, but it must
communicate that buying my product or service you will get a specific benefit.
The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not
offer. It must be unique—showcasing a distinct feature of your company or a
claim not otherwise made in that particular industry. The final determining
factor is that your strongest suit must be so strong that it will pull over new
clients to your product.”

is there a real benefit to doing business with your dealership? Is your company
truly distinctive in the marketplace and are you offering what other dealerships
do not or cannot? Taking the time to develop a USP will help your dealership
find its unique qualities and profit from them.

Step At A Time

Like anything else, there are steps to building a USP. The trick is to do them
all. I often ask dealerships what their company’s biggest strength is. Most of
the time I receive replies like, “Service,” “We give great service” and “Our
strength is in the services we provide.”

that’s all well and good, what do the words “great service” actually mean? If
you’re going to do it right and find your USP, you must first define your
company’s real strengths. Can your dealership claim to have any of the

  1. Price Advantage—Does your company buy below end column pricing?

  2. Talent—Do your techs all have a minimum of ten years in this industry?

  3. Unique Service Features—Can your dealership deliver service beyond the market
    standard? Does it offer timely service guarantees?

  4. Location—How close is your dealership to business circles or high-end

  5. Technology—Do you offer software, services and tracking capabilities to

  6. Because we must take the bad with the good, the second step is to make a list
    your company’s weaknesses. Below are a few examples:

  7. Limited Buying Power—Do you only buy one box at a time?

  8. Inventory Issues—Does your client have to wait for product from OEM warehouse?

  9. Location—Are you too far away to reach the client’s location quickly?

  10. Company Size—How does your staff, especially techs, compare to the

  11. Services and Support—Does it take more time to service products because your
    techs are not trained in new technologies and digital products?

next logical step is to learn the strengths and weaknesses of all of your
competitors. This will allow you to leverage your strengths against their
weaknesses. Begin by consulting with your sales reps and technicians. They’re
the ones out in the field day in and day out. They can tell you all that you
need to know—from their existing accounts to accounts they have lost and why.

of the companies you service have other dealers servicing other equipment there.
Why not find out what your accounts like/dislike about them? Another way, is to
check out the competitors’ websites for information. Some dealers have even gone
as far as to call their competitors for pricing, delivery and service response
time! Find out who your true competitors are. Is there a “pattern” you’ve
spotted? Did you see anything in common or different than what you’re offering?
What “holes” did you spot in a specific competitor’s market position?

Reaching New Heights

Once all the work is finished, the lists are written and the research conducted,
it’s time to put all of that knowledge into action. The great majority of the
time, it’s not about the bells and whistles—it’s about the salesperson’s ability
to communicate to the potential client the specific way that your dealership can
help them solve their individual problem. With all your dealership’s new found
information, salespeople will be able to not only solve problems, but identify
problem areas that your dealership could help with. Here’s one strategy that I
developed for a client who also offered office products along with his
copier/fax/printer line:

Purchasing Agent, we’ve learned that that labor costs as a percentage of the
total cost of running an office represents 92 percent. This is followed by
facilities with four percent, capital equipment at two percent and only one to
two percent of the total costs of running an office being used on office
products and IT supplies. What would you rather me do? Save you 20 percent on
your office supplies or make your labor (which accounts for 92 percent of costs,
remember?) five to ten percent more efficient? Do you know what the definition
of a filing system is? It’s a finding system. My dealership has built a system
to help you construct all of your files so that you can actually find what it is
you’re looking for – no more wandering around looking for the sales order for
XYZ Company. I know that the current supplier hasn’t shown you such a system –
have they? Do you think it would make sense for us to discuss this further?”

Working with the clients, we had developed a system that would save them money
on labor costs using the dealership’s products. We had come up with a real USP—something
that prospects would actually listen to.

bottom line is there is no shortcut – it takes work. If you’re willing to put in
the time and effort, you’ll find that it helps a whole lot. So, next time a
salesperson gets that appointment and they ask you why they should buy from your
company, you’ll have a lot more to say that just, “great service.”

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