We know, we know. Click counts are declining. This has been happening for a while, it’s one of the things that bothers you and you’re wondering what to do about it—and how to transition your dealership into something more. There’s no one answer and you can still find a way forward. One way is to ask questions and build stronger relationships with your customers.
Your sales team probably already asks prospects how much they print, scan, and copy so they can offer the right products. This hopefully gets a company to sign a deal for 146 machines and the associated monthly volumes of toner and paper, but it really only scratches the surface. You need to know more about each customer for three reasons:
- Are there other printing products that you can supply?
- Are there customer needs that are not being addressed by products already be in your warehouse?
- Are there things keeping them awake at 3 a.m. that your dealership might be able to provide?
The answers all come out of the questions your sales team asks when talking with customers and prospects. Very often, the answer to one question may drive yet another question—like, “Tell me more.”
For example, when asked about other printing products you might find a customer needs fifty sheets of wide-format printing at least twice a month and sends the work outside, a process that takes three or four days. You may find that neither you nor your competitors have asked the customer about wide-format printing, yet it is something you could address—if you sold the line of wide-format printers your primary OEM offers. So, call the OEM and see what can be done to add wide format to your offerings.
Or maybe you learn that the 213 low-dollar MFPs you have placed in homes, apartments, and condos of a key customer’s employees are a big hit with remote workers but that about two dozen of the remote-workers really need the quality that comes from a higher-end device, and that every remote worker would benefit from more frequent replenishment of supplies. That is all money on the table.
And by asking about it, you learn that at 3 a.m. last night, six major customers were twitching with the idea that security cameras and electronic door locks—all living on their networks—could be breached by hackers. Is there any opportunity there?
More than Asking
These are all parts of a consultative sales process where your team asks questions and builds a supportive and partnering relationship with customers. It begins with asking questions because this is one of the best ways to get to know and understand the needs of the companies you support. But you can do more.
- Learn as much as possible about a customer’s business so you can make proactive recommendations about copying, printing, and scanning.
- Suggest solutions that could increase their efficiency. This could be as simple as recommending as adding inline stapling capability to an existing device, or suggesting a booklet making unit so a document can have more professional appearance.
- Send articles from newspapers and business publications that may be of interest, and when possible, tie it to products you offer. This shows you are thinking about them and have their needs in mind. Follow up with questions to learn more about their business.
- Ask questions that can be best answered by the people using the machines versus the IT manager or C-level executives. Things like, “We need to be able to…..” is important intel to have on hand.
- Find out how many people work from home and how their needs may have changed over the past few months so you can identify ways your dealership may be able to help.
- Offer ideas. For example, if you find one law firm is doing something another is not, is it something that another law firm can also do? And can you help them do that?
- You and your team already know a lot about you customers. Much of what you know can be turned into questions that can be used to build relationships with other customers.
Questions are the foundation of consultative sales. Never stop asking.
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