Why You Need More Than Great Customer Service To Win Copier Deals

As I talk to dealers around the world I keep hearing frustration that there isn’t more customer loyalty. While our equipment and solutions get more sophisticated, the actual purchase gets more commoditized. There’s too much “me too” and not enough value-driving gross profit. This leads to “buying-the-business” deals, frustrated sales reps, and dealerships with thin profits. In all of this, the client misses the opportunity to maximize their return on their technology investment.

Every so often I see a statistic that arrests my attention. This week, research from the Corporate Executive Board jumped off the pages of my new favorite book, The Challenger Sale. In this research, they surveyed 5,000 business decision-makers and asked about what drove loyalty to a vendor?

The responses were very surprising and not what you might expect:

  • 19% of customer loyalty was related to product service and delivery.
  • 53% was related to the purchase experience–specifically, did the company/rep bring valuable ideas to the table that helped my business.

We all want customer loyalty. We want them to prefer our dealership over the other options. But loyalty, it turns out, requires more than great customer service.

What Drives Only 19% of Customer Loyalty?

In the quest for loyalty, we tend to look to things that can set us apart. In the office technology and managed services worlds, the thing we go to first is customer service. As I help dealers develop marketing strategies one of the first questions I ask is, “What is your competitive advantage.” (This is a good question to ask yourself right now. Make a mental note of your answer.)
What is your competitive advantage? If I asked this to 100 copier dealers, 95 of them would say the same thing. I can almost mouth the words:

  • “We offer outstanding service.”
  • “When you call us, you don’t get an 800 number in another state. You get a real person.”
  • “Our first call completion rate last quarter was 98%”

Now, don’t get me wrong: great customer service is important, even critical. If you don’t have great customer service, you won’t be in business long. However, these days, great service is just a ticket to get into the game, not a guarantee of a win. Notwithstanding manufacturer-direct locations that may not provide great service, most deals you are in include multiple independent dealer competitors, and whether you like it or not, in the customer’s eyes, the majority of them offer great service.

“Over and over we found that customers, generally speaking, see significantly less difference between us and the competition than we do ourselves.”

Ouch.

“While we spend a lot of time emphasizing subtle differences, customers tend to focus on general similarities.”

What Drives 53% of Customer Loyalty?

This part of the research absolutely fascinated me. As a recovering copier sales rep that has now spent the last 12 years on the marketing side of the fence (if there even is a fence these days) I’ve always known that positioning yourself as an expert and educating your clients was important. However, the results of asking 5,000 decision-makers showed that 53% of customer loyalty was related to the purchase experience. Specifically, did the dealership and the sales team bring value to the table:

  • Offers unique, valuable perspectives on the market
  • Educates me on new potential issues and outcomes
  • Helps me avoid potential land mines
  • Has widespread support across the organization
  • Provides ongoing service and consultation

Wow! Over half of customer loyalty is related to things that most of us only give lip service to. We need to give more insight. We need to educate prospects. We need to be the dealership/sales rep that comes to the table with ideas that challenge the status quo.

“What sets the best suppliers apart is not the quality of their products, but the value of their insight.” 

The implications of this list are profound and I’m sure will lead to many other blog posts and webinars as we unpack this together. But for today, here are a few things that seem glaringly obvious to me.

Smart Dealerships Will Position as Experts With Great Service + Helpful Insights

The Challenger Sale goes on to talk about how salespeople need to become teachers, bringing helpful insights to prospects that add value and challenge the way they think. Dealerships must equip the sales reps to have these conversations. What does that mean?

1. Train Your Reps

Your Sales team has to be able to add value beyond handing out lease quotes and reference letters. They need substance. Find every opportunity to train your sales team on the products and solutions you sell. Go beyond the specs to the actual applications. Look at successful implementations and dig to find the real value. Make sure your reps understand how technology transforms business and equip them to have these teaching conversations.

2. Build a Teaching Brand

Be the dealership that offers tons of helpful information. Do this on your website, blog, social media, and events. Include some kind of education in every interaction with your clients. Recently, I challenged our entire company (sales, development, and support) to find a way to add value by educating our clients in social selling and online marketing in every interaction. Be the company that always adds value by teaching.

Smart Sales Reps Position Themselves as Experts

“Why should I share my precious time with you?” is the question that every prospect asks. Smart sales reps answer that question by positioning themselves as experts that have been proven to add value to business owners. You don’t just walk in and get a seat at the table unless you have something to offer. These days, this starts with a LinkedIn profile that makes the rep look like someone a decision-maker would really benefit from knowing. That includes building a great profile summary, continually sharing helpful information and a list of references from clients saying that you added value to their business. It continues through every interaction the rep has with the client’s buying team before, during, and after the sale.

What Can You Do?

19% of customer loyalty is related to service. 53% of customer loyalty is related to adding value. How will you respond to this?

This new reality energizes every project in which I’m involved these days. The Social Sales Academy equips reps to position themselves on LinkedIn as experts that can add value. Convergo Marketing helps dealers build and maintain a web presence that does more than looking like a slick, online corporate brochure—we help dealers get found online by creating helpful content and amplifying it across social media.

Originally published on  LinkedIn Pulse.

About the Author

Darrell Amy: Start Your Revenue Engine

Darrell Amy

Darrell is passionate about helping generous leaders and their organizations grow revenue and impact. He’s the author of Revenue Growth Engine and the soon-to-be-released book, Exponential Growth. Darrell motivates audiences as a professional speaker, sparks ideas in growth mastermind sessions, and serves on the board of several innovative companies.

More Growth Resources

Kingdom REI : Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy

Kingdom REI : Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy

Darrell's goal is to help ten thousand business owners double revenue in the next 10 years so they can give ten billion new dollars to Kingdom work! In this episode, Darrell shares his strategy and framework for building sales and marketing processes that can double...

The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

Without oil and grease, the most beautiful sports car with the most powerful engine will not make it out of the garage. Oil and grease reduce friction, allowing the cylinders to fire and the wheels to turn. Business is the same way. Without the right oil and grease,...

Mastering the Art of Virtual Selling w/ Darrell Amy

Mastering the Art of Virtual Selling w/ Darrell Amy

powered by Sounder The past fifteen months have brought many changes, from internal organizational improvements to reimagining and shifting outbound marketing. This evolution has fostered a new awareness of who we're selling to and where they spend their time.  It's...

Kingdom REI : Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy

Darrell's goal is to help ten thousand business owners double revenue in the next 10 years so they can give ten billion new dollars to Kingdom work! In this episode, Darrell shares his strategy and framework for building sales and marketing processes that can double...

The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

Without oil and grease, the most beautiful sports car with the most powerful engine will not make it out of the garage. Oil and grease reduce friction, allowing the cylinders to fire and the wheels to turn. Business is the same way. Without the right oil and grease,...

Mastering the Art of Virtual Selling w/ Darrell Amy

powered by Sounder The past fifteen months have brought many changes, from internal organizational improvements to reimagining and shifting outbound marketing. This evolution has fostered a new awareness of who we're selling to and where they spend their time.  It's...

Why Paying Attention Is the Key To Effective Marketing and Sales

The most important role of marketing and sales is to pay attention to the outcomes that prospective clients want. This is also the most neglected part of the marketing and sales role. Now, more than ever, marketing and salespeople must be listening and adapting. Clay...

Aligning Sales and Marketing

In this episode of Specified Growth Podcast, Darrell talks about selling an outcome instead of a product or service. He also discusses how sales and marketing can align to grow revenue, and much more. Don’t miss this episode of Specified! Originally published on...

Two Tips For Making Your Sales Forecasts More Accurate

Throughout my career as a sales professional and sales leader, I’ve been asked to assess the closing probability of the deals in my pipeline. These probabilities are used to try to create accurate sales forecasts. However, forecasts are rarely accurate, which can be...

How Customer Experience Can Create Strategic Advantage

To hit your goals you need a competitive advantage. How can you create strategic advantage in your competitive marketplace where imitating competitors seem to frustrate your efforts to differentiate? The answer for strategic advantage comes through customer...

How To Create a Great Client Experience in a Virtual World

I look forward to visits to the Apple Store. As a fan of the brand and a tech nerd, visiting any Apple facility is a joy to me. (I even went out of my way to see the visitor center at Apple’s corporate headquarters last time I was in Silicon Valley.) So, last week...

How To Protect Margins and Thrive In 2021

2021 is a make-or-break year for many businesses. Right now we need to do everything we can to protect our margins while also growing revenue. Here are three ways that you can make that happen. 1. Focus on Cross-Selling Most great companies deliver outstanding support...

Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy System & Soul

Exponential growth doesn't just happen—especially on the heels of a global pandemic. We talked with Darrell Amy, author of Revenue Growth Engine and Visionary at Convergo. He explains how having an "architect mindset" has helped him succeed in training businesses to...