Generating revenue is—or should be—the focus of every business. The challenge is that there are many other things that a business needs to do in order to be profitable and to grow. Problems can start to develop if these other activities dilute the focus on sales that every business needs to concentrate on.
As self evident as this concept seems, it is not always easy to put in place, particularly in light of the many different challenges that an equipment reseller faces, along with general economic uncertainty. It is very easy to get so caught up in the daily details and challenges of business that the ultimate objective—generating revenue—becomes a little cloudy.
Particularly in the office equipment industry, most owners, executives and managers have no trouble focusing on sales—that is what they do and they know how important it is. Furthermore, just about everyone in this group has an added incentive to focus on sales because their compensation is tied to it. The problems start to occur when the organization as a whole loses its focus on revenue generation. When employees start to think that their jobs are more important than taking care of—and selling to—the customers, the results can be serious.
With that in mind, here are 5 things that an equipment dealer can do in order to regain a focus on revenue generation and to put the business on track for long-term growth and success.
1. Create a sales culture
Everyone knows the importance of sales—or do they? An office equipment reseller business is a busy place, with many different departments working together to grow the business. When it comes to selling however, every department needs to understand the importance of sales and to support it in any and every way possible. The sales force and management team should already be aware of the critical importance of sales. A true sales culture however includes everyone. Service, support, and administrative personnel, along with anyone else who works in the business equipment dealership should understand the value of each and every customer, and the importance of selling to them.
2. Train everyone on your team to sell
Selling critical business equipment for a living is a challenging career that requires a great deal of professional training and developed expertise. The truth is that not everyone can be a successful equipment sales person. Nevertheless, everyone in an organization that is truly dedicated to selling and that prides itself on having a sales culture should know the basics of selling. At a minimum, the entire team, regardless of what department they work in, should understand the product line—in a fair amount of detail—and what problems those products solve. All of the employees should clearly understand how the company provides value to its customers and just as importantly, why it is unique in the marketplace. Finally, everybody on the team should be trained to talk about the business whenever, wherever and to whomever they possibly can.
3. Focus on delivering maximum value to your customers
Regardless of what kind of products they sell, equipment dealers invariably face stiff competition in the marketplace. The best way to differentiate one equipment reseller from all of the others competing for the same business is to deliver maximum value to every customer. Impeccable customer service is one way to do this. Following through on every commitment is another. When it comes down to it, however, the more problems that an equipment dealer can solve for a customer, the more likely it is that they will win the business. One way to do this is to offer a wide range of services—perhaps bundled with other services offered by other providers—that provide enormous value in many different areas of the customer’s business.
4. Make it easy to buy from you
Selling equipment is not an easy undertaking. Apart from the inherent complexity of the products themselves, there are always a multitude of details to take care of before the transaction can close. Once the equipment is delivered, there are service and support issues that must be managed, along with billing, collections and of course, making additional sales. Regardless of how complex the entire customer relationship becomes however, it’s essential to make it as easy as possible for the customer to be able to buy from you whenever they need something. One way to do this is to make sure that internal systems are set up to be customer-friendly. Another approach is to offer customers long-term maintenance and support agreements—perhaps bundled with their initial financing—that allow for quick and easy upgrades to new equipment when necessary.
5. Include financing options early on in every transaction
One of the biggest objections that equipment sales people face is the dreaded “sticker shock” that can stop a sales process dead in its tracks. Even when customers desperately need new equipment, a price that they consider too high will almost always kill the transaction. By introducing creative financing options as an integral part of the transaction early in the sales process, the sales person can eliminate concerns about price almost entirely. Instead, the ongoing sales discussion centers around the needed features and functionality of the solution, along with an affordable monthly payment. Once a customer determines that not only is a proposed solution going to solve problems but that it is also affordable, the transaction can move forward smoothly. The reality is that creative financing options can become a very powerful closing tool when properly positioned and pitched.
In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, equipment dealers and resellers are constantly seeking every possible advantage to give them the edge they need to grow and succeed. There is often a tendency to try the next latest-and-greatest “secret to success” that promises to solve all of the problems a business faces and that ultimately results in massive growth. Even worse, it is often easier to try 10,000 different things than it is to do only a few—the fundamentals—exceptionally well. A focus on sales is one such fundamental. By making a conscious commitment to focus on sales by every employee in every department, an equipment dealer can position the business for sustainable long-term growth.