‘A. Always. B. Be. C. Closing. Always Be Closing.’*
Even with the auspicious Glengarry leads, a business that doesn’t get its customer’s attention will not close the deal. Simply improving efficiency and reducing errors is not enough to make a business exceptional. An exceptional business draws in customers with a presentation that differentiates itself from competitors. Software can help with this, too.
The most obvious customer-interactive software is a Web site. In this digital world, almost every consumer looks for products and services via the Web. Without a Web site, a business has no chance to acquire those customers. Other potential buyers use a Web site to determine the legitimacy of a business. A one-man shop operating out of a garage with a first-rate Web site will appear more professional than a three-location chain with a ghastly or missing Web site. Further, the Web site is another outlet to solidify a brand name, so when a consumer is considering a future purchase, they’ll have an idea where to go first.
Much like how software provides clear and concise information internally, it also provides information to the customer in ways that inspire confidence. Kitchen design and CAD software produce images of the finished product so that the customers can be sure of what they’re getting. Rendering full 3-D environments of what their kitchens can look like wows and excites customers, while hasty sketches leave them with unanswered questions. Printed estimates and invoices reassure customers of professionalism, while jotted numbers fill them with doubt. A picture is worth a thousand words.
How customers interact with a fabricator will ultimately determine what they tell everyone else about that fabricator as well. Even if a fabricator provides an outstanding product, a customer who spends the entire time feeling out of the loop, confused or cheated will hesitate to recommend that fabricator to anyone else or return for repeat business. A business protects itself against accidentally dissatisfying customers when clear, concise information generated by software allows them to understand one another, and all of the data captured by the software helps identify ways to improve customer relations and anticipate customer wants and needs.
Hence software makes the difference between first prize, second prize, and “you’re fired.”
‘I find your lack of faith disturbing.’*
Software is like The Force. It works invisibly to tie everything together and grants its users more insight into and more control over their environment.
Unfortunately, the lack of visibility makes it easy to doubt that power. When asked about why they don’t use software, fabricators frequently respond with thoughts like “It costs too much.” “I don’t have time to look for it.” “It’s not a total solution.” “It doesn’t do what I want.” “I’m not that good with computers.” And regrettably, sometimes these fears can be justified, as software can be expensive, may only address a specific problem or may be difficult for a person to use.
Yet, ask a fabricator who is using software about it and they will say, “I don’t know what we’d do without it.” Software does not require blind faith. As previous sections have noted, software’s ability to save time and money and to grow into more complete solutions helps to alleviate the bulk of that concern. Beyond that, good software companies give the buyer a chance to try out their products and determine whether or not The Force is really strong with them before buying.
Software demos are the best way to determine if the software is on target with the problem that needs solving. Moreover, demos give those who are not as comfortable with computers time to get to know the thing they are buying so that when it comes time, they will have a good idea of what they are doing. These demos also help generate the right questions to ask sellers, others who use it and even oneself about it.
This way, software doesn’t need to demonstrate its ability to choke someone from across the room to prove its incredible power.
‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’*
By the time Chief Brody got his first look at Jaws and realized the danger the shark posed, it was already too late; he was trapped on a decrepit wooden boat with a crazy Ahab-wannabe for a captain.
Fabricators must recognize the danger of falling behind in the technological world because in the end, all businesses are out there on the deep blue sea, and there’s always something lurking beneath the waves. A business armed with good software sails from safe harbor in a strong, sleek hull instead of a rickety old tub. With software they have a trusty sidekick along to watch their back. With software they have a shark expert on board. With software, they have a lovable cast of characters to sing their praises to the public. And with software, a fabricator doesn’t return to shore paddling their half-eaten boat; instead, the movie ends with a really big fish mounted on a wall.
About the author: Christopher Abate is the creator of the QuickQuote estimating software and CEO of Crystallyne Enterprises. He can be reached at 508-553-9600 or via e-mail at Cabate@gmail.com.
*The headlines appearing in this article are from the following movies:
“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Hal 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey
“Must go faster. Must go faster.”
Dr. Ian Malcom, Jurassic Park
“Who’s on First.”
Abbot & Costello, The Naughty Nineties
“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”
Doc Brown, Back to the Future
“A. Always. B. Be. C. Closing. Always Be Closing.”
Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross
"I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
Darth Vader, Star Wars
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Chief Brody, Jaws