BECOMING ELITE S So your largest account now refers your best major account sales rep to a commodity buyer even though your solutions are far more sophisticated than ever before. And direct organizations are telling your larg- est customers that their service is better than yours because they are the manufacturer. You have won all kinds of awards from manufac- turers and put your technicians through all sorts of training only to find out that everyone else who represents that same manufacturer in your territory has done the same thing, and is producing the same exact awards and certifications as evidence of their dealership’s superiority. Not to mention that your savvy customers also know which awards can be bought and/or are based on a tally of purchases from manufacturers. Some are based on or backed by expensive advertising campaigns that stress customer satisfaction or guarantees - yet are not differentiating the independent dealer against larger organizations. Worse yet, many of these vehicles are perpetuating a commodity impression that most independent dealers want to avoid. Yet, it still remains a constant that the quality of the service a dealer provides will make or break their equipment sales.
“Differentiation in the market has never been more difficult to Dealers Talk Firsthand achieve,” says Steve Rolla, Senior Partner, BEI Pros. “That’s why two Wanting to hear from dealers who sought improved service operations by years ago we set out to identify implementing the Elite 100, imageSource spoke to three dealers citing excellent those dealers who would make the results: John Heiser of MT Business Technologies, Mansfield, Ohio, Michael Chambers commitments necessary to achieve of Central Copiers, Long Island, NY, and Brian Peltier of Corporate Business Systems, an elite level of service, as defined by our Elite 100 program’s Springfield, Missouri. performance levels. Our agenda was to clearly select a group of dealers in the top markets in the U.S. then implement a viable MT Business Technologies, OH new service standard to result in their customers’ clearly recog- John Heiser has been the president of MT Business Technologies nizing them as the best option for quality service performance.” for over 18 years. His dealership covers the cities of Mansfield, Cleveland, Rolla, throughout his business career, understands the Dayton and Toledo Ohio. Heiser said his organization’s service produc- importance of crafting the strategic “differentiating factor” tivity and profitability had improved dramatically after the assessment that formulates to a successful outcome. According to Jerry and implementation of the Pros action plans. Heiser claimed he was Newberry, President, BEI Pros, “Steve is a rarity in that he began looking for a way to make his dealership grow while others around him his career as a service executive who then expanded his career to were ﬂoundering. become president of three leading (office product) dealerships. “My markets, like all others, are filled with manufacturer-direct organizations and In addition, he achieved quality recognition at companies such mega dealers like Xerox/Global Imaging. We needed something that set us apart. I found as IKON (including CEO of the Year award) and Global Imaging the Pros Elite 100 program has done that for us.” Systems (receiving the Chairman’s award), consistently using Within weeks of completing their training, MT set up their first virtual sales call with optimal service methods as the key differentiator in the market- a major account. “Prior to the call (presentation) where we were now assisted by the place. Steve is also recognized as the co-author of the industry’s Pros executives, we were just neck and neck with our larger competitor. By the end of well-known ‘service benchmarking model,’ in conjunction that call, I felt we were ahead in our end users’ minds, including their six sigma group with Tom Johnson (Global Imaging’s founder/CEO). Without who lauded our efforts to benchmark ourselves against the best in the industry with our question, Steve knows service performance inside and out.” Pros.” Continues Heiser, “The BEI Pros exec team has helped us improve all aspects of Good dealers understand that they must differentiate from our business including our Total Output Management (TOM) MPS program. Overall, I’ve their competition in order to prosper. They’ll choose credible learned that when you bring in quality professional consultants with in depth knowledge methods to consistently improve service operations, preferring and experience in all areas of a dealer’s operation, helping to promote measurable profitability first over plaque awards. It takes a process founded results as those we’re achieving now in Service, the investment in the program becomes on a proven track record of success. one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.” Central Copiers, NY Michael Chambers became one of the owners of Central Copiers eight Differentiation in the years ago with his partner Sean Infante. Prior to getting together with market has never been Sean, Central was a very stable, albeit small dealer, in Central Long Island. more difﬁcult to achieve. Michael had come from a large company environment where he had been the perennial #1 Major Account Rep in his market. Michael left IKON when everything started to get centralized. He had learned a long time ago that Ultimately, the “Pros team” set out to build a process whereby functions like dispatch, billing, accounts receivable and inventory control they could use their collective expertise to identify and develop were a very big part of his success formula. When he teamed up with Infante, and with the top 100 independent dealers’ service organizations in the the local touch that Central Copiers brings to the market, the company grew dramatically. United States. For them, the selection became the first operative Along with this growth however, came exposure to areas that were not core strengths of word in their process. either executive. Their equipment growth was running at record rates but their Service organization’s productivity and profitability did not keep pace. They needed a consultant to assess their situation and help develop an action plan. Within a few months, Central put into place a strategic action plan and procedures prescribed by the Pros team. In a short amount of time the initial investment they made had been paid and their Service function was back on track. “We have made use of every aspect of our training to improve our business. The strategic planning model the Pros taught us was invaluable in preparing us for our growth, now and in the years ahead,” says Chambers. “They sorted out our MPS program and made it a much easier business model for us to succeed with. We feel fortunate to have been selected as an Elite dealer for Long Island, and we’re prepared to take on any competitor with this Ultimate Differentiator.”14 imageSource September 2010
From Selection to Certiﬁcation Corporate Business Systems, MO Smart companies listen well. In almost all cases, the Pros Brian Peltier, president of Corporate Business Systems (CBS), with the would review input from manufacturers’ reps, suppliers and owner of CBS, Jim Quesenberry, have spent the past 20 years developing an dealers to help them qualify the best two or three dealers in outstanding customer-driven culture in their mid-western market. Like so a market, then select the one dealer they felt had the most many other dealerships, the growth they’d achieved over the past two years commitment or was the best choice to work with to achieve was not what they had been used to. Rather than accept the excuse of the their Elite (service program) status. Like any good action plan, it economic downturn, Brian and Jim took the opportunity to upgrade the quality gets put into motion. of everything that Corporate Business Systems does. First, the process for a selected dealer to achieve certification After working with the BEI Pros team who had conducted its assessment, begins with an onsite assessment of their entire organization, they began working on developing a strong marketing theme around CBS’s achievement with an intense review of the Service Organization’s results, of their Elite 100 certification. Shortly after they were certified, they asked the Pros procedures, and policies. A detailed write-up follows the team to participate in a major account sales call where they were going head-to-head assessment with customized action plans that are focused on with one of the manufacturer’s mega dealer organizations. The PROs team outlined their putting the processes, the accountability and measurement own individual experiences as executives with deeply centralized organizations and why, systems in place. BEI Pros then trains the service executive(s) in their opinion, the ﬂexibility of a locally owned dealership like CBS was superior. The in Advanced Service Management Techniques in a three-day prospect listened. workshop. The company’s president and the Service executive(s) Peltier states, “Prior to that sales call it was my belief that CBS was in second then come through the Leadership Skills, Goal Setting and place. After the call, CBS was back on top – and soon we had the deal in hand.” Peltier, Strategic Planning workshop. Finally, all functions get trained in pleased testimonial fashion adds, “Our relationship with the Pros executive team has onsite in Elite customer skills. Importantly, on the last day of the been a true partnership in every sense of the word. No other program we’ve launched has certification process, the Sales Organization is trained on how proven its value in such a short period of time.” to sell their new, exclusive status as the only Elite 100 dealer in their market. At this point, BEI Pros goes into the “growth mode with our We are the Elite dealer’s dealers.” To round out an all inclusive plan they will supply conscience and coach, marketing collaterals to help promote the dealer’s newly acquired service status; from personalized leave-behinds to not their critic ﬁrst. website assistance featuring the dealer’s Elite 100 certification. “In multiple machine sales,” says Newberry, “we appear on True to his strategy, Rolla says, “Dealers need a real differ- the sales call with a virtual presentation of our dealer’s above- entiator today to succeed. We specialize in providing it. There industry benchmark capabilities. To date, this type presentation are still 50 more markets where we need to select a dealer, has accounted for over $2,000,000 in equipment sales for the so naturally we’re interested in talking with all independent first group of certified Elite 100 dealers.” Talk about partnership… dealers who would like to be considered for this In addition to the incremental selling capability, BEI Pros type opportunity.” place their proprietary PIVOT system as an Icon on the systems It takes innovative people to redefine service benchmarks. of their Elite 100 dealers. Each month, they ask the d e a l e r s You need better solutions, effective to download critical performance data so that they strategies, and a commitment can see that the dealer continues to to change your current status perform at an Elite level. “If their to long-term success. It’s performance drifts from our about finding an opportunity benchmarks we come in to assist to do things better…differ- and coach them back to expected entiating yourself to become performance levels,” says more Elite. Rolla. “We are the Elite dealer’s conscience and coach, not their critic first.” After having spoken to over 200 dealers, BEI Pros’ first 20 dealers were confirmed and to date, barely six months after the program’s official launch, nearly 50 dealerships have met the criteria or achieved the PROs ELITE 100 certification. Contact www.BEIPROs.com for information.16 imageSource September 2010