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Dealers Helping Dealers
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Sharing Insight, Questions Asked & Answered

Since it was founded in 1926, the primary focus of the Business Technology Association (BTA) has been to facilitate opportunities for dealers to help other dealers through the sharing of insight, ideas, strategies and experiences. This is often accomplished through attendance at BTA events and educational workshops, as well as participation in peer groups.

Recently, BTA solicited questions from a number of BTA member dealership employees. They were asked: "For your own benefit, what questions would you like to ask of other dealers/employees with the hope that the answers could help you in your dealership?"

Below are questions submitted. To provide members a resource for future use, these answers and others can be found using by clicking the question links below. This is a members-only benefit, so you will need your username and password to access the responses. Additional questions and answers will be added to this member resource over time and appear in Office Technology magazine.

Do you have a question you would like to ask your fellow dealers and dealership employees? If so, simply email your question to with the subject line: "Dealers Helping Dealers." Office Technology will share your question with the full dealer membership with a request for answers.

  1. With dropping margins and page volumes, what avenues is your dealership taking to regain a competitive edge and build margins?
  2. If you could offer advice in terms of the number-one "must do" in order to be successful in this industry, what would that be?
  3. Looking back at the history of your dealership, what decision did you make that has had the most profound impact on the progress of your company?
  4. What three product and services diversification strategies do you believe will best position the BTA dealer for the future?
  5. What do you believe is the best go-to-market strategy for managed IT services?
  6. How are you managing meter-collection activities? What tools are you using? What happens when your client won't install a DCA or allow automated meter-collection activities?
  7. How do you manage supplies fulfillment for your contracted customers so you aren’t sending too much toner, thus affecting your profitability?
  8. What process do you have to drive client referrals?
  9. Are you using PrintFleet, FMAudit or any monitoring software, not just for toner supply orders, but as part of a proactive service approach? Are you monitoring fuser levels, image units and transfer belt life so you can stock techs’ cars accordingly? If so, to what degree has this benefited your service operation?
  10. How are you managing unlimited or flat-rate service plans? What is done if the customer exceeds the original estimated print volume? And what is done to prevent customers from becoming "print shops"?
  11. With the continued decrease in copy volume, have you found a method for generating revenue on the increasing number of scans? If so, please explain.
  12. Ours is a small dealership in a very rural area. We cover multiple counties. Often, it is a one- to two-hour drive between customers when we have to make service calls. How can we keep our CPC rate competitive, yet still cover the cost of travel?
  13. What industry resources can you recommend to determine an accurate & independent company valuation without a commitment to sell the company?
  14. How do you charge clients for supporting the software you sell? Do you charge by the hour, the call, a set number of support hours or an annual help-desk contract? What is included in the support services?
  15. Back in the day, we used pay phones. Now just about everyone is carrying a cellphone; most of us are probably using smartphones. Surely many dealers chose to provide cellphones, as not all technicians had them. I still carry two phones — work and personal. For those techs using smartphones, data allowances can be a factor if also using the phone to download manuals, parts catalogs and firmware. My question is: How are other dealers handling this today? I see three options: (1) provide cellphones; (2) pay a monthly stipend to compensate the technicians who must provide their own; or (3) rely on the technician to entirely provide (and pay for) the cellphone. For those dealers who are paying a stipend, a follow-up question would be: How much are you paying?
  16. What initiatives are you taking to deal with a seemingly stagnant industry? With managed print services (MPS), document management services (DMS) and managed network services (MNS) being exhaustively pushed to clients, what’s next?
  17. Has your sales team redefined who you are? Or, are you still selling the same way you did two years ago? If you have “redefined,” how so?
  18. When selling maintenance for production machines, do you add additional costs for any accessories (i.e., Fierys, GBCs and Plockmatic options)?


May 27-28 Questions & Answers
  1. What is your outlook for 2021? What changes do you see coming?
  2. For commission-only account executives, are you offering any additional incentives? Have you adjusted your monthly/quarterly quotas/goals? How so?
  3. What concerns do you have about getting forgiveness for Paycheck Projection Program (PPP) funding?
  4. What are your ideas and recommended best practices for creating a safe workplace when your dealership fully reopens?
  5. What type of inside sales approach are you taking and how is it working out? Or, are you switching from an outside to an inside sales approach in general?
  6. How has the pandemic reshaped your long-range growth plans? Do you anticipate bringing back all employees who have been laid off as result of COVID-19 by June 30?
  7. Are you changing your business model away from "copiers" and, if so, what is your new focus?
  8. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
May 20-22 Questions & Answers
  1. What contingency plans are you making for post-Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding?
  2. What can you share about your plans to restart the sales process?
  3. What are the top three investments [in time OR money] that you have made in your business during the pandemic and why?
  4. Do you know a good, reliable source for gloves and masks to be worn by technicians when they are on-site at a customer location?
  5. Are you looking to use this time to either buy or merge with another dealership?
  6. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
May 13-14 Questions & Answers
  1. How are you dealing with the decline in printed pages?
  2. Do you see the print volume in your MIF ultimately coming back at 100%, 80%, 70% or less?
  3. What are your thoughts on client employees continuing to work from home at some level moving forward and the impact this could have on page volumes in the office once we are able to return to normal?
  4. If you laid off an employee during the pandemic, would you allow that employee to go to work for a competitor without "raising a stink"?
  5. If you have an employee missing work with a doctor's note (under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act), and you received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, are you having that employee use PTO first, knowing you have PPP funds and will get a tax credit?
  6. If you received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, what is your plan for those funds? That is, are you focused on spending it all in a fashion to maximize forgiveness or do you plan to treat it like a loan and use it for other expenses/uses?
  7. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
May 6-7 Questions & Answers
  1. If any of your pre-COVID-19 pandemic employees are currently furloughed or laid off, do you think ALL of these employees will ultimately return to work at your dealership?
  2. How to you help your employees be less fearful of contracting COVID-19 when going into a client's office?
  3. What does a "phased approach" for a dealership look like for a return to work?
  4. What is your assessment of the level of success your dealership is having with virtual meetings with customers or among employees, as opposed to face-to-face meetings?
  5. Are you ramping up training and certification for sales and service staff members in software or web-based solutions as a result of COVID-19?
  6. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
April 29 - May 1 Questions & Answers
  1. If you have received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, have you brought back all of your previously laid-off employees even with today’s less-than-full workload, despite the possibility of having to lay them off again?
  2. Beyond Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, what other types of funding have you applied for and received?
  3. Which product or service offered by your dealership has been the least affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  4. What are your top three current income streams, outside of the traditional "copier" business?
  5. Long-term, do you think that the dealer channel will return to regularly having one-on-one meetings with clients, given the limitations of video conferencing?
  6. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
April 22-24 Questions & Answers
  1. Have you furloughed income producers, or just admin and support employees? How have you determined which employees to furlough and which to lay off?
  2. How are you keeping your salespeople motivated during the pandemic?
  3. What are some ideas for generating new sources of revenue during the pandemic?
  4. What platforms are you finding to be the most secure for webinars?
  5. What are your plans regarding sales team head count and deployment in the long term?
  6. By what percentage would you estimate that page volume across your MIF has decreased in the past five weeks?
  7. By what percentage do you currently estimate your business will be down in 2020?
  8. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
April 14-16 Questions & Answers
  1. Have you been approved for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding?
  2. How have you changed your compensation plan for sales reps during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  3. At this point, are you planning to enforce CPC contracts in April, May and June?
  4. In the event that one of your customer-facing employees tests positive for COVID-19, what protocol do you have in place to notify your customers?
  5. What steps are you taking to ensure your employees’ safety?
  6. Once the U.S. economy is "back open," what changes do you expect will come in the future for our dealerships, in terms of working remotely, etc.?
  7. How much longer do you think you can remain in business with a stay-at-home order in effect for your sales area?
  8. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
April 6-7 Questions & Answers
  1. How are you taking advantage of the extra time you have to assist and protect your dealership for the day that life returns to normal?
  2. How are you handling employee compensation, benefits and hours (for furloughs, layoffs & terminations)?
  3. What percentage of 2020 revenues do you expect will be lost in your dealership as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  4. Larger companies may be in a better position to weather the storm. What can small dealerships do to make it through this?
  5. How are you handling health insurance for your employees during this crisis?
  6. Are there any general comments you would like to share?
March 23-27 Questions & Answers
  1. What percentage of your staff is working from home?
  2. Which of the following applies to your dealership: we have furloughed; we have laid off employees; or we have not furloughed or laid off employees?
  3. How are you evaluating/tracking your employees' performance while they are working from home?
  4. Have you shortened the workweek? If so, how are you handling pay? (March 23-27 responses)
  5. How are you managing your cash flow? (March 23-27 responses)
  6. How are you handling inventory levels? (March 23-27 responses)
  7. Have you been able to file a claim on business interruption insurance and, if so, how did you word that claim?
  8. How are you handling monthly service base payments for customers that do not have employees working in customer offices?
  9. What assistance have you received from manufacturers or leasing companies?
  10. How are you handling lease deferrals when service and supplies are included in the lease?
  11. How are you handling calls from customers to relocate equipment to their homes?
  12. How do you "pitch" document management without coming across as taking advantage of the hardship of the customer?
  13. Are your customers asking for deferred payments? How are you handling those requests?
  14. What sales efforts have you found to be effective at generating sales opportunities amidst this crisis?
  15. Are there any general comments you would like to share?

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