Recent reports from a variety of industries reveal that some early adopters have taken the lead. Like a laptop, the tablet can enhance the seller’s productivity, but the true advantage is the way it boosts the buyer’s experience, enabling faster decisions and more up-selling. This post will focus on four cases and examine the impact on their sales processes.
Real Estate: Matthew Ferrara, sales effectiveness consultant and author of a recent blog post Sell on the Go with your iPad lists 8 ways that a tablet can turbo-charge the sales process for real estate professionals. In a recent conversation, Matthew told me that the iPad “makes technology transparent, unlike the walled fortress of a laptop.” The size and shape of the device makes it easy to pass to client, and the finger-tap/swipe interface makes it simple for a novice to operate. Built-in GPS enables buyers to investigate local properties and efficiently plan home visits. The photo and video cameras enhance the buyer’s ability to visualize and compare properties instantly. Apps for real estate brokers are becoming more sophisticated every day.
Window & Door: Apex Energy Solutions, a window and door dealer with operations in about a dozen markets, has been working on an iPad sales presentation since the company first learned about the device. A report by John Swanson in the May 2011 issue of Window & Door magazine describes the transformation. With the iPad’s vivid interactive graphics, customer presentations will be a “game changer,” says Michael Foit, Apex president. He points not only to the effectiveness of the computer presentation itself, but the comfort factor that the iPad app will provide. “The sales person will no longer be faced with the formality of the kitchen table. Everyone can sit in the sunroom or on the front porch. And the homeowners aren’t just listening to the presentation; they are a part of it.” Apex made the move to the iPad to take advantage of the low barrier to learning with an iPad, a technology that is “just a lot more approachable.”
Automotive Repair: The tablet can also expand sales and marketing efforts. In the April issue of Auto Dealer Monthly, Kimberly Long describes how the iPad transforms a customer service representative into a sales person, integrating up-selling directly into the registration process when a customer drops their automobile for service. A Chevrolet dealership in Charlotte, NC nearly doubled its gross profit per repair order since revamping the service operation over three years ago. The service manager noted that the tablet computers he implemented not only helped streamline the process in the service department, but also helped build credibility with customers – something he said can be one of the biggest challenges to up-selling.
Pharmaceutical Industry: As an increasing number of doctors adopt smartphone and tablet technology for their own use, their desire to be communicated to in the same way is rising. Among the 100 physicians surveyed in a study reported in The Sales Graphics Blog, 8 out of 10 doctors said that digital detailing is the same as or superior to paper-based visual aids. The instant-on, always connected tablet or iPad can save 30 minutes per presentation, meaning increased productivity in even the most time-strapped clinical environment.
Not every sales process is ready to make the shift. I also spoke with Mike Jones, the head of Business Innovation for U.S. Sales Operations at Xerox and he notes that, “the form factor, instant availability, and access to business-critical information provides a sales rep with everything they need to manage their business.” Mike said that Xerox is already delivering demos and product information that sales reps can display on iPads, paving the way to a future hardware transition. But for now, the need to create content like cost justification spreadsheets and customized presentations still demands the full functionality of a laptop.
These cases provide ample proof that an iPad or tablet can enhance the buyer’s decision-making process, speed up the sales cycle and increase revenue. Please reply with comments to this article or send a tweet to @makingthenumber to add your expertise. In an upcoming blog post, I will review the key factors to consider as you evaluate transforming your own sales process.