Mobilize Your Sales Force
With a 90% closing ratio and same-day turnaround on repairs, this POS VAR proves putting your office on wheels pays off.
Going into a retail or hospitality environment to demonstrate the marvels of your POS system can be time consuming, due to distractions in these fast-paced settings. You know the drill: a staff member interrupts, your client gets an unexpected phone call, a delivery arrives at the back door, etc. By the time you overcome these obstacles and perform the demo, 75% of your day may be gone, and any hope you might have of taking a demo elsewhere is shattered.
But, say you do close the sale; your job is not over. Once you install the system you need to be responsible for diagnostics and repairs. If there is a problem, how will you fix it with the least amount of downtime for your customer? And, how will you accomplish on-site repairs if your customer has policies forbidding equipment to be taken off-site because of data sensitivity? Diagnosing the system's problem(s) and finding a remedy is only the first step in some cases. Your customers may demand a front row seat to watch you make the repairs because of sensitive information in the system.
VAR R.M. "Hatter" Reynolds, owner of POS Outfitters (Geneva, NY), has faced these challenges and found an all-encompassing solution to overcome them. The VAR of POS touch systems services hospitality and retail customers in upstate New York. About two years ago, Reynolds looked at the company's demo-to-close ratio of 7-to-10, an efficiency level of 1 demo per business day, and customers' time and security demands to conclude POS Outfitters could improve its business practices. The improvements came in the form of a mobile unit (i.e. a motor coach set up with wireless connectivity) used for demos and diagnostics/repairs.
Wireless Connectivity, Integration Drive Unit Success
POS Outfitters' mobile unit cost under $30,000 and required 90 days of labor from the date of purchase to the time it was on the road. Before the unit became a reality, Reynolds and his team had to consider technology and non-technology factors from every angle. "You can't just buy a motor home and be able to do this," explains Reynolds. "For example, we had to look for a product that would be big enough to allow us to bring people onboard but compact enough to fit into businesses' parking spaces."
Once the size issue was resolved, connectivity came into play. The mobile unit features a wireless network. According to Reynolds, wireless setup for the unit was similar to other wireless installations and it took about half a day. Wireless capabilities allow POS Outfitters to connect directly to a customer's LAN. "We have a wireless bridge in the roof of the unit. It allows us to park at our customers' doors and instantly attach to their networks," says Reynolds. Also onboard the unit, Reynolds integrated multiple PCs, touch screen units, battery backups, a generator, and external connectors. POS Outfitters offers three POS solutions for hospitality and two POS solutions for retail. Ultimate Technology Corp.'s UltimaTouch, an all-in-one touch screen PC, is used in POS Outfitters' systems, and the VAR relies on BlueStar Inc. for other POS hardware components.
Control The Sales Environment, Turn Demos Into Sales
One of POS Outfitters' primary goals for the unit was to create a location where the sales environment could be controlled. "We wanted to have an area where we could take the key people interested in the equipment and run the demo for them. By controlling distractions such as deliveries, employee-related matters, and other interferences, we control the sales environment," Reynolds explains. Also, since mobile units are not highly deployed, Reynolds believes POS Outfitters' unit keeps the VAR in its customers' minds after the demo is over. "This is a competitive environment; you could be the eighth person that walks in to do a POS demo. Bringing that client onboard the unit makes us memorable," says Reynolds.
Inventory is stored onboard the unit, so if a customer has a question about one of the VAR's five different system solutions, POS Outfitters has the ability to show the customer the equipment. For example, if someone wants to do a wireless implementation and they want to see the components, POS Outfitters can show them a wireless bridge and router right then and there. Furthermore, wireless connectivity allows POS Outfitters to demo wireless products such as security cameras and wireless POS terminals.
Having on-site demos in a controlled environment combined with a see-it-and-believe-it approach has resulted in a shorter sales cycle for POS Outfitters. Before the unit, the VAR performed an in-store demo, re-approached the customer two to three days later with a price for the system, and then tried to follow up again if there were any questions. With the mobile unit POS Outfitters finds it commonplace to close the sale the day of the demo, eliminating the wait-and-see cycle altogether. The proof that the on-site demos have improved business is in the numbers for POS Outfitters. The VAR is now closing 9 out of every 10 sales demos and can easily execute 2 complete system demos a day.
On-Site Diagnostics, Repairs Keep Customers
Closing the sale is just the beginning for POS Outfitters. When the reseller is not using the mobile unit to perform demos, it is using it to service existing customers. As an on-site lab, the unit enables Reynolds and his team to perform diagnostics/repairs onboard. Reynolds alludes to a typical retail environment to justify the need for a mobile lab. "When you're dealing with a real-time POS environment, you have to fix systems and replace equipment rather quickly. The mobile unit makes this possible for us," explains Reynolds. "Doing repairs onboard gives us an edge over the traditional reseller that takes the system back to the shop to make the proper adjustments and then returns three days later."
The ability to perform repairs in the unit also allows customers with sensitive data to observe POS Outfitters while the service is completed. According to Reynolds, prior to the mobile unit's deployment, repairs to systems that were not authorized to leave the premises per company policies had to be serviced in back offices - where oftentimes no diagnostic tools were available.
Comparing the statistics before and after the unit was implemented, POS Outfitters feels this investment has proven successful. "It takes us to another level with our customers compared to the guys who are selling POS systems out of their trunks. Having the capability to demo our systems to potential customers and identify and solve problems for current customers has improved efficiency in all of our processes," says Reynolds. POS Outfitters no longer worries about distractions during their sales demos, and they take less of their clients' time because the process is now so efficient. With a 9-to-10 demo-to-close ratio, it seems POS Outfitters customers would agree.