I believe tablets are ready for use as sales tools. They are small and light, making them easy to use. The struggle is the lack of software … or is it? The software is catching up quickly and there are very few things I can’t handle on a tablet now. Will it replace a laptop? Not for everything a laptop will do, but let’s face it, most sales people use their laptops to look up a piece of information on occasion and to enter orders. This and more is something a tablet is very good at.
Much has been written about using mobile devices at work, but from what I see, most only use them for looking at their Facebook page, Tweeting something, or posting a picture to Instagram. Is that all that mobile devices are good for? Not even … and I’ll cover some of my uses next, then later we’ll look at going heavy duty with work.
Selling is hard work, not doubt about it. I’m always asking myself, how can we make it easier, better, more efficient. I believe one way is by using technology for the tools they are. Technology itself does not make sales easier, but it can make it more efficient.
Today I am writing this article on my Nexus 7 tablet to see if a salesman could enter information into a tablet quickly and easily. Some will say I’m cheating because I have my Verbatim blue tooth keyboard connected, but again, I say, use the tools. A very inexpensive keyboard turns this tablet into a data entry machine. Still not a full laptop, but remember, most information a salesman enters is short notes about a planned meeting, short notes after the meeting, or adding something to the to-do list.
I know this isn’t the end all, be all, but it shows a proof a concept once the appropriate software is made available. So now the question is about software. What can you use? How can you use it? I’m glad you asked because that will be next.
Are tablets ready for business? This is a question asked more each day. Here is how I answer that question. While businesses are asking the question, sales people are carrying their own tablets on sales calls.
I first witnessed this almost four years ago when a salesman I was working with left his big heavy laptop at the office when we left for a day’s work in the field. He did, however, carry his iPad under his arm, which I thought nothing of at the time.
At our first stop, he jumped out of the car, iPad in hand and I watched closely. As we talked with the customer about different products he needed, the salesman recorded each item on the tablet. When asked about a particular item, he brought up a picture from the web, showed the customer, and recorded another sold item on the order for he used.
Did the company issue the iPad? No, it was his own device and was not formally vetted for use in the field by anyone from IT. It was light, fast, easy to carry into an office and it instantly caused a reaction from the people in each office. I was hooked.
Normally between calls, my conversation with the sales person is about the previous call. What went well, what could improve … but not this day. I was asking questions about how he used the tablet in his work day. How did customers and prospects react to it when he was by himself? (It’s always different when two people go in together) Had he witnessed an increase in business by actively engaging the customers with this technology?
That was when I knew the tablet would come into business. It was a natural tool to use in front of customers. It was instantly on, it was easy to hand to the customer to look at a picture or watch a video, and customers were talking and asking questions. This is a customer engaged … a huge plus for any sales person.
I have begun using my Nexus 7 in my daily workflow at the office. I’ll write about the details in another article.
How does your company look at tablets? Has there been any discussion? Are people using their own equipment like they do with their cell phones?
I’d really like to know how this is playing in other industries. Talk to me …