Kate Cline: How can using smart technology and apps enhance the sales process?
Kathleen Fugler: Smart technology can enhance the sales process for dealers in many ways. For example, using an app that houses product catalogs can help dealers eliminate heavy, possibly dated product catalogs, and instead rely on digital editions of product manuals, spec sheets and more. Using digital catalogs also can save dealers time and money. When out on a call, dealers do not have to fumble through multiple books looking for products; instead they can use an app’s search feature. Because apps are updated more easily and frequently than printed books, the information on the app is likely current, versus a potentially outdated catalog.
Technologies should be viewed as an extension of the sales process, a tool to enhance the buyer’s experience, and, in turn, potentially increase a dealer’s close rates. Consumers are attuned to the digital world we live in and they expect companies big and small to be just as on top of the latest technology trends as they are. Dealers who embrace new technologies can position themselves ahead of the competition with their modern sales approach, provide customers with a greater buying experience and ultimately become more successful in the long term.
Cline: What are some tips for dealers on integrating apps and smart technology into their sales presentations?
Fugler: Dealers should use technologies as an extension of their sales presentation versus making [them] the center of the presentation. For example, when a dealer goes on a sales call, he or she can use iPad apps as visual tools to represent the benefits of treating water. The technology does not replace the person; instead it enhances the experience for the customer and dealer alike.
In addition to apps and smart technology, dealers should remember that their companies’ websites are also part of the sales process—one that begins long before a customer reaches out to them for a quote. Consumers expect a Web presence, and research has found that homeowners do 60% of their research online before they even enter a brick-and-mortar store. In order to stay relevant, dealers need to use their websites to their advantage. Additionally, your website should be up to date with accurate contact information and user-friendly navigation. A website that is difficult to navigate can easily send a customer back to Google, looking for another dealer.
Cline: What are some dos and don’ts of using apps during sales presentations?
Fugler: Do customize the app to fit the individual customer’s needs. The presentation will feel more personal.
Don’t make the app the center of the presentation. It should be used to enhance the buying experience, not replace it.
Do be familiar with all aspects of the app before you introduce it in your sales presentations.
Don’t forget to charge your device each night.
Do collect customer data while following applicable privacy laws. This can be used to craft personal follow-up e-mails or reminders—like when it is time to change their filter.
Don’t forget to practice with the technology. It may take a few tries before you feel comfortable.
Cline: What dealer apps does Pentair offer?
Fugler: Pentair introduced its suite of apps in summer 2014. We offer four apps at no cost to our partners: the Water Treatment Benefits App, the Tech Connect App, the E-Binder PRO App and the Pentair Filters App.
Cline: Do you know of any anecdotes from dealers of a time when an app made the difference in making a sale?
Fugler: Yes. Chris Del Campo, owner and general manager of H2O Solutions LLC, was an early adopter of our Water Treatment Benefits App. He told us that when he used the app, he saw an increase in his close rates and decrease in pitch times. According to him, the app “provides a clear description of the challenges homeowners experience with their water and how our solutions can resolve them.” Chris said the app is a “game changer” for H2O Solutions LLC.