In the days following the beginning of the pandemic, selling in the ink and toner industry has continued to evolve with the key factor being CHANGE. The importance of change and adapting to a new environment has remained paramount to the success of business relationships. While sales are slowly beginning to recover, many have yet to see the healthy revenue numbers they may have been experiencing prior to COVID-19 and the shutdown.
Many recent industry forecasts show negative growth in the immediate and upcoming future. We all need to realize that these are forecasts based on trends and opinions. Just like the weather forecast, they can be wrong and in many cases miss their target. The goal is to remain positive and make sure that YOU are doing what you can to affect the future success of your business and make your mark in your industry. Traditional ink and toner sales may have decreased but the need for services has increased. For instance, Canon USA has implemented new solution based initiatives where instead of focusing on just selling large format printers, they are focusing on selling bundles with software for signage. Now dealers and end users can create and print signage for health and safety communications to provide to their customers. If you, as a reseller, struggle to sell the printer, you can always sell the final signage solution or even provide that as a free service to your customers to maintain that relationship. Look at other areas you can provide service to your customer beyond your core offering of what you would normally provide them.
How we reach our customers has also evolved. From Zoom meetings, FaceTime, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc., you can offer remote technical support. Many OEM manufacturers are now offering virtual demonstrations live and on-demand featuring new products or reviewing current offerings. You can also provide virtual demonstrations to individual one-on-one groups where the only tools you would need are Zoom and a smart phone. You can demo products, field questions, and even offer promotions, call-to-action discounts, technical support and virtual routine maintenance.
A challenge with working in these digital platforms are the certain technical difficulties you will experience occasionally in a virtual sales environment. Internet service disruptions, presentations freeze, connections lost, kids interrupting, etc. As long as you know in advance that, these things MAY happen, you will be able to handle these situations with ease, working through them with minimal interruption and frustration. As long as you have a backup plan or remain calm when glitches occur, you will demonstrate your professionalism to your customer, keeping them at ease and maintaining their trust. Combine that with humor to lighten the situation never hurts either.
Just remember, COVID-19 has evolved and changed the way we all do business. Continue to adapt and evolve with the changing tide and you will ensure your own success!
We have created a free eBook titled “6 Feet of Separation: Navigating Business During These Unprecedented Times” that can provide additional tips and suggestions. You can download this free resource here.