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MARCH 2013



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Technical Support And Application Knowledge . . .
A Dealers Upper Hand To Profit -
by Gene Brett

In today's world of buying empowerment brought on by the ability to search through endless web sites to find a product you need, what is often lost in the process is a concern for what happens after the purchase. When that product is a piece of equipment that will play a vital role in the buyers success, they should completely understand the application they need it for and be able to get the proper technical support locally to protect their purchase. We equipment dealers all know now that this many times does not happen as it did in the past. Many manufacturers will allow highly application based equipment to reach the buyer through untrained resellers without regard for proper installation or after-the-sale technical support. This many times hurts the Brand name but the beat goes on. The buyer may have been seduced by internet price, may have purchased the wrong machine for the application and may need the proper training to even run the thing. They may have purchased the wrong thing from the wrong place at a not so great price after all. Should the full service support dealers complain to un-listening ears or seize the opportunity to profit?

Only the best dealers can bring it. Can you? Move on from the manufacturers that are not interested in protecting their name or yours. After-the-sale-support is extremely important to your clients. Service Support Technicians are a vital link to your customers. Technical Support is your product to manufacture. You should know the costs to produce it and this support should be priced to profit. Support and Preventative Maintenance Agreements are one of several support products you should have a handle on. Value-added Support packages for installation, rigging, training, labor warranty, software should be products in your portfolio to sell.

Today's digital equipment industry is constantly changing. Specialized technicians must repair machines and satisfy customers. You will never satisfy someone who has purchased the wrong machine for the application, so beware if you set out to fix up a poor purchase. If you are always looking for a competitive edge, why not promote, sell and perform your own maintenance agreements and value-added packages. Don't sit back chasing break-fix service revenue only. This can set you apart from the competition especially if you promote these support products properly to your clients and prospects and you train your staff how to sell them as products for profit.

Learning how to operate and manage your support product more profitably and efficiently never ends and requires commitment. Nothing gets you there better than a great mix of service agreement offerings. Every step you take in this regard is an opportunity to profit. FIX seminars available from associations like BTA or viewing the still relevant NAGASA Model Service & Maintenance Agreement here can get you started.

Don't be hesitant to quote and charge as a line item any Value-Added Support Product you can produce with confidence. It will set you apart. You will attract the best manufacturers who need this kind of focus and you send a message loud and clear to the buyer who cares or has taken the wrong purchase path in the past.

Application based equipment should never be viewed as a commodity. Equipment requires support and application knowledge before, during and most importantly after-the-sale. Properly produced, priced and promoted Support Products can lure that empowered buyer to you and it will keep a satisfied customer coming back. A Dealer capable of protecting brand name and driving focus with the ability to test and demonstrate an equipment application need will lure the most profitable manufacturers. They both need Dealers who can bring it and we are not easy to find sometimes these days.

{short description of image}Gene Brett is COO / CFO of E. Thomas Brett Business Machines, Inc. a family owned and operated equipment dealership in Horsham PA serving the Mid-Atlantic region. The company supports equipment in the Graphic Arts, Digital Print, Print Finishing, Binding, Mailing, Packaging and Office Equipment industries and has received multiple Dealer Communicator Magazine Top 10 Dealer recognitions. He has 43 years industry experience as owner, technician, service manager, salesperson and officer and frequently has spoken on technical service support topics at industry events. He currently also serves as the Business Development Director of American Dealer Group (ADG). Learn more about his company at www.etbrett.com. He can be reached at Genebrett@aol.com, or 215-674-4114.

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