July/August 2009

Putting the "Value Added" Back Into Reselling

By: Jeffrey Katz

In today’s incredibly volatile economy, it is critically important to deliver value to your customers in new, highly differentiated ways.

The traditional selling of Point of Sale systems and upgrades has been justified predominantly through cost savings. This ledger-based approach to selling and adding value through saving money works in a stable economy. When there is a bottom line, IT and other capital investments make perfect sense for your customers and for your business.

For the past decade it seemed as though the flow of new retailers and new opportunities would never cease ... right until it did.

The minute bumps hit the economy, this sales approach fails to add the value your customers are seeking to help them stay in business. Cost minimization and expense management sales strategies don’t apply when there is no bottom line from which to invest.

As your customer’s confidence and the economy continue to decline, new strategies and new definitions of value need to be introduced into your sales processes.

“Everything is working fine. What ELSE can you do for me?”

If you’re already hearing this from your customers, you’re not alone. If you aren’t hearing it yet - be ready - you will be very soon.

Retailers (and VARs) in all market segments are seeking solutions to help them weather this storm. Don’t just help them weather the storm - help them expand their business and position themselves to dominate their market when consumer confidence and the economy rebound.

Instead of beginning a conversation with a customer by talking about additional cost savings opportunities, loss prevention, basic sales reporting or other, traditional leads, imagine starting the same conversation by asking...

“What is the Web doing for YOUR business?”

This isn’t an easy question to ask because it isn’t an easy one to answer. However, as the Web continues to become the cornerstone of the economy you have to be prepared to have this conversation.

Today, the Web is about far more than a website, a reprint of a brochure or a “Contact Us” link. Today, the Web is a constantly evolving, dynamic platform for commerce focused on delivering easily accessible answers to questions, quickly executed transactions, real-time communications and social referrals.

To this end, you also need to be asking your customers:

  • Are you using Facebook and other social sites to communicate with existing customers and help them introduce new prospects to your business?
  • Are you using Twitter and email to provide quality customer service and real-time marketing offers?
  • Are you paying attention to Yelp! and other review sites to monitor what the market is saying about your business?
  • Is your website optimized to be easily found by searches from Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft?
  • Is your website designed to provide excellent customer service by enabling simple and quick transactions?
  • Is your website designed to support your customers who are increasingly using iPhones and Blackberry’s as their main way of accessing of the Web?

Not only are these opportunities valuable for your customers, they are also valuable for you and your business.

It’s time to put the Value Added back in your Reselling by capitalizing on the opportunities the Web presents. As an integrated component of your customer’s Point of Sale system, you are the one who can deliver these solutions.

If you’re not already thinking about answers to these questions, and how you can help your customers grow topline revenue, you should. Your competition surely will be.

Proactive VARs are taking action and gaining strategic advantage. Are you?