Published May 6, 2016 | Updated July 14, 2020
Keeping your business competitive means continually evolving and improving the way you provide solutions to customers in order to support their agility in the market. And that’s never been more true than now, when the challenges facing businesses are greater than ever.
Here are nine tips to help you develop, promote and deliver the integrated solutions your customers need to navigate a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty.
- Look for ways to minimize required customer inputs of physical resources and time. Not only does this take work and worry off your customer’s plate so they can focus on core business, it keeps them from going elsewhere for parts of the solution you don’t offer.
- Develop and promote complete solution kits with equipment, software, financing, installation, updates, maintenance, disposal and everything else included. Be sure to offer options across a range of price, size, and functionality points.
- Match ongoing solutions with an ongoing payment model, not upfront payouts that strain cash and force business owners to recoup investments over time
- When talking price, focus on the price of a value-added lifespan solution, not the prices of individual equipment, software, and services.
- If you don’t have the resources to provide a service that’s part of the solution, outsource it. But do everything you can to avoid disrupting the perceived continuity of your solution. In other words, keep customers focused on you as much as possible, even if others provide parts of your solution.
- Try to eliminate occasions for customers to shop elsewhere. Take end-of-life equipment, for example: promote financing that supports seamless equipment retirement and replacement to preserve solution continuity beyond the lifespan of any one piece of equipment.
- Don’t make a customer buy supplies. Include them in the solution and its payment plan. Again, this preserves continuity and keeps the solution easy, hands-off and consistently associated with your business.
- Sell uptime, not service contracts. No one really wants to buy a service contract, but everyone wants uptime.
- Use a “show, don’t tell” approach in your marketing. Instead of telling customers you offer solutions and getting bogged down in all the details, show them the results they could see in their businesses for one affordable payment each month.
Dealers who succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace keep a close eye on customer needs and continually adapt and reinvent to meet those needs. But while the specifics will change, customers will always need complete solutions that integrate tightly into their businesses, without a lot of fuss and hassle.
Financing is as much a part of a complete solution as equipment, software and services. That’s why offering a financing solution that supports the integration your customers are looking for and provides a strategic tool to flexibly manage cash and credit can help you close faster and sell more every day.