The Service Department: How You Can Prepare for the Future

Last month, we discussed the current environment of our industry and the challenges facing it. In this issue, our next step is to examine the opportunities that exist within the service department and how you can leverage them to remain relevant going forward.

Learn From Those Leading the Way

When we look at the leading players in the acquisition market, what do we see in common? They get deep and wide with the customer. Marco is a very good example of that process—if it touches a Cat 5 cable, it sells, supports and services the products. Recently, it became the IT department for a hospital. Who is going to sell the hospital anything, other than Marco?

The more you can provide clients with all the devices and services they need or want, the more secure your relationship with that client becomes. Anyone who wants to take the client away from you will need to service and support all the equipment you provide.


One of the presentations at the BTA national meeting in Orlando...

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Moving Forward Requires Making Changes

Moving Forward Requires Making Changes

There are a couple of adages that highlight the need to keep changing.  One that comes to mind is “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you have always gotten.”  Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” In my last post, I highlighted the need to keep learning as an individual and as a business.  For the learning to be really valuable, we must apply it to our lives and our businesses.

In many cases, our businesses exist in a rut.  We keep doing the same things over and over because that is the easy and safe course.  The problem with a rut is that dug deeply enough it can become a grave. The corporate landscape is littered with the decaying hulks of business that thought it was enough to keep doing what they had been doing.

We will discuss how companies can avoid this result and some of the necessary...

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Sell Less and Make More

expand services leasing Dec 01, 2020

What the Manufacturer Is

When talking to dealers and attending trade shows, I often hear the manufacturer referred to as their partner.  Manufacturers love to position themselves as the dealer’s partner.  We are going to discuss the relationship between you and the manufacturer.

Not Your Partner or Friend

When you think about a partnership, typically you think about a mutually beneficial arrangement where both parties are concerned about the well-being and success of the other.  This would be a true partnership.

In the same manner, a true friend would want what is best for you.  A friend would not be solely concerned with how they benefit from the relationship.

Your Vendor

The manufacturer is interested in selling you product.  They have a factory, and they sell what the factory produces.  They sell this to you whether you need it or want it.  They have a warehouse that they want to empty into your warehouse. 

If they make an effort to...

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Why Seat Based Billing is Better for the Dealer

Why SBB is Better for the Dealer


In the last post, we discussed some of the differences between seat-based billing (SBB) and managed print services (MPS). In this post, we will look at how the differences affect the profitability of service, and why SBB can be more profitable and makes it harder for the competition to undercut your pricing.


While it may seem that this program is designed to solely benefit the dealer, I will be discussing in-depth in my next post how it can be a program that benefits the client as well. When crafting a proposal, share some of the cost reduction with the client, resulting in a win-win situation.


Truly managing print improves profit

In the conventional MPS program, truly managing the print output will reduce the client’s cost. It does this by moving the volume to less expensive devices and controlling what is printed in color. The resultant savings are good for the customer but...

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Why Seat Based Billing Should Be Part Of Your Strategy

his is the first of what will be a four-part series on seat-based billing (SBB) and why it should be an important part of your strategy now and in the future.


SBB versus MPS

In theory, both structures serve to help a client manage their printing costs and provide control over what is printed and how. In most cases, MPS has just become a cost per page (CPP) program covering the company’s printers. While this may not be all bad for either party, it doesn’t fulfill the potential of the concept.

Control and accountability

One issue in all organizations is the need to identify who is printing, what they are printing and where they are printing documents. Recent events have highlighted the importance of being able to locate the source of a document and who generated the document.

For organizations that have and may need to print sensitive documents, (in other words, every company) it is vital to make sure that they have the ability to track who printed...

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Aligning with Customer Needs Through Seat Based Billing

In my previous posts, we talked about what Seat Based Billing (SBB) is, and why it could be good for your company, but what about your customers?  We need always to remember that our business exists to serve our customers.  For long-term success, our offerings need to be good for and desired by our customers.

What customers want

Many of the things that our customers want are obvious, but not necessarily available with our current programs.

Reduced expenses. One thing that every business tries to do is to manage costs.  The cost of copying and printing is an area where this is especially true.  When they see the monthly bill and the overages in color, it creates frustration with the cost.  It also creates concern because they don’t know how much of those costs are necessary, and how much are employees printing personal documents.

Document security. This concern is becoming more important with increasing attention to privacy...

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Thoughts from Print 18

inkjet Dec 01, 2020

I recently had the privilege of spending two days at the PRINT 18 show, and while this is not a complete review of the show, several things stuck out in my mind that I wanted to cover.

Ink was everywhere

My first impression was that everywhere I looked, there were inkjet devices. PRINT 18 is a show tailored to commercial printers, and I didn’t see any traditional presses. I saw both toner-based and inkjet-based digital presses from the traditional copier manufacturers and many inkjet devices from nontraditional manufacturers. This move to inkjet was especially noticeable in the wide-format arena. It seemed like every aisle had inkjet wide format printers from manufacturers that were new to me.

 Manufacturers moving to industrial print

One trend that has been progressing over the last few years is moving to industrial print by the major copier manufacturers. The pace of that change is increasing, and it is understandable. For most manufacturers, the opportunity...

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How Sticky Are You With Your Customers

I had the opportunity to attend two great events in October. The first was the Seat Based Billing Roadshow held Oct. 17 in Asheville, NC. The second event was the BTA Fall Colors meeting, also held in Asheville, NC on Oct. 18-19. One idea discussed at both meetings was the need for dealers to get “sticky.”

What Does it Mean to be Sticky?

West McDonald

For most of us, the concept of being sticky is not pleasant; we don’t want our hands, our face or our clothes to be sticky. In the context of business, being sticky is very important.

When we are discussing being sticky, we are talking about our ability to become essential to our clients. The stickier we are, the tighter and more enduring our relationship with them. We want our customers to be customers for life.

New customers are expensive and difficult to acquire. Too many times, we let our current customers slip out of our grasp; they leave for the promise of savings, or better service, or a variety of other...

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BTA: Education and Events Make a Difference for Members

training venues Dec 01, 2020

When I was asked to write about difference-makers, I thought immediately of a number of individuals that have made a difference in my career. There have been managers and peers that have helped me get better at what I do. I have had the privilege of working with and supporting some amazing companies. The Business Technology Association has been one of the real difference makers in both my company and my career.

There are a variety of services that the BTA provides, and I will highlight a few.


These are just a few of the benefits that I have been helped by over the years.

Pro-Finance: This course covers financial benchmarks that are used to manage the majority of dealers around the country and also in evaluating the value of a dealership when buying or selling.

FIX: This class covers how to profitably price service and helps attendees understand the financial impact of decisions made in the service department.

Webinars: There seems to be an unending series of...

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What is Your Exit Strategy

exit strategy Dec 01, 2020

One fact that all business owners need to consider is the absolute unavoidable fact that they will leave their business at some future point.  Since that is a fact, then we need to examine the steps that an owner should take to prepare for that eventuality.

One of the principles outlined by Steven Covey in the “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” is, to begin with, the end in mind.  His premise is that as individuals, we should think about the legacy we want to leave behind and then work toward achieving that goal.

The same principle should govern an owner's view of his business.  Ask yourself, What do I want my business to look like when I walk out the door for the last time?  Do I want to leave a thriving business with happy employees, satisfied customers and reap a solid reward for my endeavors?  Or, do I want to leave a smoldering heap of ashes behind that is of no value to anyone?

Begin with the End in Mind

We will discuss several...

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