Friday, November 30, 2007

Ask, Nicely

How do you introduce new technology to your franchisees? Recently McDonald's announced they were going to start selling premium coffee/cappuccino for about 50 cents less than Starbucks. The catch? Their franchisees had to buy the cappuccino machines. This adds financial pain to the adoption of new technology. And, this announcement got me thinking, If you work with franchisess, how do you introduce new technology to them? Sometimes a parent corporation will decide to adopt some new innovation - perhaps a computerized order-entry program. Do you provide the technology at no charge to your franchisess, knowing the savings will come in faster order processing and improved customer service, or do you require your franchisess to shoulder the burden of the cost? Many times franchisees worry that the installation of new technology could disrupt their business, require a major commitment to training, prove unreliable, or worst of all, cost them customers. How do you overcome this reluctance?
Let's take this out of the franchise situation, and instead, put your Tool SalesPerson hat on. How do you overcome reluctance on the part of your customer to adopt new technology? Maybe someone has read about a great new scanner that utilizes never-before-seen technology. They're interested, but frankly, a little intimidated. Here's how you can overcome their reluctance to buy:
1 - educate yourself. Make sure you understand the key benefits this new tool will provide. Make sure you can explain them.
2 - keep it simple. Don't try to explain all the bells and whistles at once. Stick to the highlights.
3 - allow your customer to hold the tool. While they are holding the tool, tell them how easy it is to use, and what jobs it does faster or easier than the tool they use now.
4 - Still not sold? Ask them if they'd like to take it for a "test-drive". Teach them the basics of how to use it, then offer to let them keep it for a week. If, after a week, they don't want it, you take it back. More then likely, the test-drive will seal the deal and you'll sell the tool.
Another way to sell more tools is to create disciples. If you can sell something to the skeptic, sometimes you can turn that person into your best spokesperson.
In the end, of course, the way you sell tools is - you ask for the order.

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