Increasingly, iPads and tablets are becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Consider these five tips for using this technology when working with clients.
While working on a custom home, Josh Rosenthal got a surprise a builder never likes to receive. Rosenthal opened a shipment of plastic-wrapped cherry wood cabinets and discovered they had been damaged. “It was unacceptable,” says Rosenthal, who is the owner of Cabin John Builders, located near Bethesda, Md. “The finish was messed up. There were chips everywhere.”
If this had happened years ago, Rosenthal would have likely spent hours or even days trying to rectify the situation. But thanks to his iPad, Rosenthal was able to fix the situation in less than an hour, taking photos of the damage, drawing circles around the problem areas and emailing the pictures to the manufacturer.
The cabinets were quickly replaced, and the project was completed faster, satisfying Rosenthal’s client, who was then willing to refer and use Rosenthal’s company again, he says.
While tablet technology might not be for everyone, it’s becoming a primary business tool for many professionals who are constantly on the go. By taking advantage of the key benefits of tablets, professionals can use the technology to improve their business, while still maintaining face-to-face relationships with clients.
Here are five ways a tablet may benefit your company:
1. Create a Mobile Office
Rosenthal says tablets help him complete his business on days when he can’t just run back to the office. In addition to onsite sketching, sales and marketing, tablets can help professionals track inventory on the road. “For the mobile professional, it’s great for the amount of information you are able to take with you,” Rosenthal says. “The software has developed [so that] now when I go into sales calls, I can take pictures of everything, draw blueprints, upload to Dropbox and [share it with] everyone who needs it.”
2. Go Paperless — and Wireless
The portability of a tablet makes everyday tasks easier and eliminates the need for piles of paperwork and clunky computers. “A tablet is not as messy as shuffling paperwork,” says John Golden, president and CEO of Huthwaite, a sales performance improvement company in Washington, D.C. “It presents a friendly and unobtrusive tool when you’re with a prospect or a client in a way a laptop never will.”
3. Make Interactive Presentations
A tablet removes “the fuss of getting a projector set up or printing out 200 sheets of paper,” says Andrew Mikhael, a member of the American Institute of Architects and owner of Andrew Mikhael Architect, LLC in Englewood, N.J. “It changes the way you present your pitch so you can be more interactive. I can put up 3-D models and display previous project imagery and renderings, showing clients what kind of work to expect.”
4. Collaborate With Your Client
Use the tablet to work with a customer as they’re explaining their vision by sketching out specific details with a drawing application, Golden says. As you’re planning a project, the prospective client can give you his or her input, and you both can have a visual record of the project. Passing the tablet back and forth while collaborating breaks down the barrier between the seller and buyer to create a common solution, Golden says. Once a project is mapped out, just email it to the client and your office while walking back to your car, he says. “It’s a way to show the customer that you are not only listening, but that you understood what they are trying to achieve,” Golden says.
5. Process Credit Card Transactions Onsite
Streamline your sales process by using your tablet for credit card transactions onsite. Instead of having a client write a check during a sales transaction, take advantage of a card reader tool, Mikhael says. These programs usually are tied into a cloud-based system, so the transaction can be tracked and immediately added to your financial data online. That way, you can have the money from the sale in your account right away, Mikhael says.
While tablets can improve portability and onsite sales and marketing, remember the tablet is only as good as the user, Golden says. Just because you are using new technology doesn’t mean you can stop being an effective communicator. You still need to have a conversation, listen to the customer and ask informed questions about the construction or remodeling project, he says. “Use the tablet at the right times, but use it sparingly and make sure to use it for the benefit of the customer,” Golden says. “There’s no technology that will make up for fundamental selling skills.”
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