TECHNOLOGY IN THE TRADES

BY TAYLOR STEINBERG – CORPORATE SALES TRAINER, KNAPHEIDE

Technology in the trades is an avenue of learning, exploration and utilization for all of us during the pandemic. We continue to search and utilize the best technology for efficiently addressing our customer’s needs. Salespersons, those willing to utilize new technologies, continue to build their success by creating customer solutions with dozens of communication technologies. Let’s examine some of the more popular ones utilized today.
Many industry communication protocols have not changed and remain core to your success. The first requirement is understanding the communication platforms your customer prefers. The Ford dealer that was recognized in the Summer 2020 issue of FordPros services their fleet customer with over 500 vehicles by using three old school and proven communication technologies – phone, text and email. All appointments were arranged and many transacted by phone and the customer in this case used no other social media platforms for communication.

PHONE – The old standby.
TEXT – Very popular – very secure –
how many words per minute can you type
with two fingers?
EMAIL – Very popular for RFQs and important
documents even with digital signatures.

Popular communication platforms at Knapheide include Phone, Text, Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram along with Web-EX. Others with which customers may be comfortable include WhatsApp and Zoom.

David Quach & Kayla Baker, Marketing and Support Specialist/Graphic Designers at Knapheide, share comments about Social Media:

FACEBOOK – Focused on the end users; ideal for collecting sales leads, reviews and comments – both positive and negative.
PROS – Ideal for posting tons of user photos dispplaying your products. Good for dealers to build reputation with end users, promote brand awareness, low-cost marketing, easy way to provide customer support and connect with existing/potential customers.
CONS – Bad customer experiences can result in negative feedback on social pages.

TWITTER –Utilized to repost/distribute information – not a strong platform in this industry.
CONS – Generates product sales information only but no leads. Customers share opinions only.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS– All PROS – Great for posting engaging videos of product walk-arounds, tutorials and receiving customer stories and product reviews. Provides customers with a variety of ways to consume information – including text, illustrations and audio to increase user engagement. Useful to react to the customer’s needs through conversation.

INSTAGRAM – Ideal for still photos and photo carousels featuring product values.
PROS – Good for responses from customers. As the title illustrates – Instant telegram.

LINKEDIN – ‘All business’ fosters communication among manufacturing, distributors and dealers.
PROS – The most positive aspect of LinkedIn is the creation of additional business connections and business friends.
CONS – No negatives per David Quach, Marketing Support Specialist.


SOCIAL MEDIA SUMMARY
All of the platforms reviewed have value in their individual application. Most businesspersons have positive experiences with all of these for their operation. To achieve the best return, one must study their usage and follow each platform extensively – don’t start unless you are ready to commit. They all have their own algorithms and by studying each one, you will find the good, the bad and the ugly.

VISUAL AND GROUP COMMUNICATION

WEB-EX – Excellent for business video conferencing by any size group for as long as needed. Make sure your hardware and software are functioning correctly to eliminate hassles. Test your system before the next big event as your IT department will need to be your friend. Many options here in addition to Web-ex: Zoom, Microsoft Team, GoToMeeting, Skype, RingCentral and others. Pick your poison. See Zoom description below.

WhatsApp – Very popular for families; you can establish a group of individuals to share information – securely send photos, documents, comments, information, etc. to all persons in your group.

From Lorraine Steinberg, my wife & Retired Educator, also known as the Expert Computer Lady:

ZOOM – An excellent no cost video meeting platform providing thirty minutes of use and warns you with ten-minutes left for a maximum of 40 minutes. Longer use licenses are available for purchase.
Lorraine tells us – “Zoom has a few challenges – using old and new hardware systems together, individuals using Apple and Microsoft together along with different versions of Windows is a real headache. The originator has no control over their customer’s hardware. Experience tells us Zoom works best with laptops – Compatibility of hardware can be an issue”.

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