Transitioning from your Print and Copier Roots to get ahead of the Competition
To quote Brent Hoskins, Executive Director and BTA Editor, “Our industry [business technology] has a rich history of significant transitions… the inherent nature of change is that new, lucrative opportunities abound.” I couldn’t agree with this sentiment more. Change means new opportunity, and in the business technology industry, new opportunities are on the horizon. As this industry continues to consolidate and the sales environment gets more competitive, one of the key issues I hear from the dealer channel is “how do I differentiate from the competition so I don’t have to sell everything only on price?”
In order to differentiate you have to be open to new ideas and to potentially changing what you’re used to doing. Expanding your thinking could lead to expanding your installed base into other markets in order to get ahead of the competition.
Did you know there are approximately one million meter customers in the United States? If you’re a mailing dealer you’ve been thinking about this number from the beginning. But if you’re not, then you are probably not aware that in any given year there are hundreds of thousands of meter customers who are in need of new equipment. This could be due to their current meter contract expiring, poor service from their provider, or failing and faulty equipment. The opportunity in the mailing industry is open for hunting season.
ADVANTAGES OF INTRODUCING MAILING
Mailing has been around for a long time in the copier and print world, but many dealerships haven’t spent the time or been educated on understanding the advantages of what mailing can do for their business. If you look at a copier dealer’s installed base, I would venture that 90% of those customers have mailing equipment. That means that up to 20% of these customers are looking for new equipment each year, and an additional revenue opportunity is being missed. The same is probably true for your installed base.
Another missed opportunity is your competitor installed base. By not having mailing in your product catalog, you are less likely to get a foothold in your competitor’s base. Imagine offering mailing and going after your competitions customers, how many meters could you place?
Since they are not currently offering mailing, your chance to win the meter sale is high. Now the relationship is in place to replace their competitive copier and printers with yours, adding a whole new level of revenue to your stream.
When looking to diversify into any new product lines, you need to consider your manufacturer very carefully. Some things to consider from a meter manufacturer are market opportunity, product quality, service, support, pricing, compensation, market development funds, quotas, dealer structure, and potential channel conflict. As a dealer, you want to make sure that the manufacturer is well-equipped to support its dealers. Do your research, get references, ask other dealers about their experience, and then make your decision. After going through this process, the answer should become fairly clear.
Mailing is still a very good industry that provides dealers with plenty of revenue and margin opportunity. However, to really grow will require some level of diversification of product offering. If you are not in mailing today, you should take a look as there is a great opportunity to grow your installed base and grow revenues from your existing base. What’s great about mailing is it’s a complimentary product line to copiers and printers. It also provides great differentiation from your competition. Diversification provides additional revenues – sales and recurring – from your own installed base. It also provides an avenue to grow your installed base of customers. Now that’s a winning formula!