Log in

ISM Article

Targeting Small Shops to Build Big Business

4 Aug, 2003 By: Jay Wallus imageSource

Targeting Small Shops to Build Big Business

We've all seen them-Bill's Copier
Repair, AAA Copier Service and Supplies…small repair and service companies
that are run from the home or small office and operate primarily out of the back
of a truck/van. The majority of these technicians worked for larger dealerships,
saw the service rates that their company was charging and decided that they
could make a killing in the marketplace by opening their own business and
charging "a little bit less" because they didn't have all of the
overhead costs associated with running a large dealership.

Off they went into the exciting
world of entrepreneurship. "I'll be my own boss" and "make my own
hours," they say. While the lure of entrepreneurship has drawn thousands of
people to start their own equipment service businesses, and I applaud every one
of these people for the courage to go it on their own, I also need to explain
the realities and difficulties that lie ahead for technicians, and how
salespeople can find new opportunities with these service-based businesses.

In regards to making money, in
addition to service, these small businesses will generate some equipment sales.
These sales, however, are typically limited to "skating in" new boxes
from a wholesaler to upgrade current accounts, refurbishing their own upgraded
equipment to sell to current accounts, or buying boxes from a local dealer (at a
typically higher margin) to sell to their current accounts.

These businesses can make a fair
profit using the above mentioned methods-in the analog world. The problem is
that these methods have a very short shelf life and, unless a technician can
branch into selling connected boxes in the digital world, the profits made from
servicing machines may not be enough to sustain a small business. Technology is
growing and these businesses must have a plan to address the changing needs of
their clients.

A Win-Win Sales Scenario Many small
service-based businesses were established years ago based on an expertise in
analog copiers. Today, the presidents of these companies often know little about
digital and even less about networking. Often working 60-70 hours per week doing
calls, ordering parts/supplies and bookkeeping, few of these companies have the
time to pursue sales or technical training despite the digital transition
underway in larger dealerships.

It was during my time as a copier
salesman that I came across an opportunity that to this day benefits both the
small service-based business and the larger dealerships' sales staff. One
afternoon, the president and sole-proprietor of a small service-based business
was in our dealership buying parts and stopped by asking to speak with me. He
began to tell me that he knew he didn't know how to sell digitally connected
equipment, didn't have the time to learn and most of all - never wanted to learn
(how to sell them that is). He also knew that I knew just about everything on
the subject of selling digital boxes and that I never wanted to be a tech.

He had worked for years as a tech,
developed lots of trust with his clients and had a huge database ripe for some
digital upgrades. After a bit of negotiating, we came to the agreement that he
would call me when his client needed a digital box. He was the most honest
one-man band I had met at the time - he only upgraded his clients when it was
truly necessary and introduced me to his clients on the phone to tell them about
our arrangement.

The arrangement was that I would
sell the box under our dealership, help meet our company's OEM quota, make my
commission and install the box on the network. He, on the other hand, would pick
up the service and supplies after the installation and had access to our
digitally trained techs and parts when he needed them. If things went according
to plan we would both win and, within a short time, I began to get two to three
easy closes or "lay ups" a month from him. Not bad for a ten minute

Many of these small, service-based
businesses don't like salespeople (that old sales vs. service thing) but are
coming to the realization that if they can't sell to IT people and talk their
talk, then they will run out of clients to service. This arrangement worked well
because we could trust each other-any other way wouldn't work. Recognizing
limitations and looking for solutions allowed the smaller business to perform
and offer updated services to his customers. And, for little time and effort,
this arrangement brought the dealership extra earnings, local name recognition
and the potential for future business.

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