Distinguishing your brand, creating a niche, and cultivating a voice that resonates with customers can be challenging. So, when a small company makes huge gains – quickly, you can’t help but wonder: how did they do that?
The MPS Group, a Texas-based, exclusively Xerox channel partner, tripled sales in just one year. You’re probably saying ‘is this possible?’ Well, yes. It is, and their President and Founder, James Thomas, was kind enough to share his vision and insight regarding their rapid growth.
From repair shop to print solution provider
Formerly Printer Solutions, The MPS Group, is a locally owned small business, serving San Antonio since 1999. They started off as a repair shop with a few technicians, built on James’ firm belief that “if you are doing only one thing, you better be doing it well.”
Over time, satisfied repair customers began asking advice on equipment purchases more and more often. In 2009, James added equipment, supplies and a showroom and then used their unparalleled reputation to propel growth. A few years later, in 2014, James took another bold step. He stopped working with many different vendors and partnered exclusively with Xerox, complete with a showroom design to match the Xerox colors. Since that move sales have tripled and continue to rise.
I asked James what advice he would give other small business owners with similar goals. Here is what he said:
Five pieces of advice for small businesses
Define your mission and take risks
The first step is to study your competition. What are they doing right or wrong and how can you deliver a better service or solution? Don’t be afraid to take risks and differentiate yourself. Understanding who your customers are and what they want from you is key. Customers come first. Always, and honesty is a winning strategy for The MPS Group. They tell prospects: “we’re not going to sell you a dump truck when all you need is a pickup.”
Define your value after the sale
The MPS Group’s commitment to honesty is present at every step of the sale. They’re the first to admit, “we’re not the cheapest but we will be here for you when you need it. You have a direct line to our CEO at all times and you’ll love the level of service we provide.”
Service after the sale is a huge part of The MPS Group’s success and brings new clients through word-of-mouth referrals. As James says, “we’re small, we’re local, and we’re accountable.”
Take pride in being a small business
“Bad news doesn’t get better with age.” You’re a small business, take that in your stride and run with it. James has great affection for his market and understands how people in San Antonio want to do business. Because of this, The MPS Group is that much more successful. “Motivate your sales force, contribute back to your community and be honest. It will all be reflected back in your sales pipeline”, says James.
Motivate your sales team, contribute to your community & be honest - it will be reflected in your sales pipeline
Use all available vendor resources
The MPS Group became an exclusive Xerox partner due in large part to the array of tools, people, and knowledge available. For instance, SharedVue Social helps to take the worry out of posting relevant and engaging content across multiple social platforms. James sees social as a “captive audience” and the beauty of social media happens when you find the most effective platform for your business and post consistently. For MPS Group, the two best platforms for their audience are found on Twitter and Facebook.
Couple SharedVue social with email campaigns and newsletters created in the Xerox Impact Marketplace and lead generation activities are a snap. Fully utilizing both tools helped The MPS Group triple sales this year.
Talk to your customers
Your current customers are your allies in staying relevant and running a successful business. Ask them what you can do better, how you can help make their job easier and what they would like from you. Engage them in the conversations that inform your next steps for growth.
Find out what works for your business
Not every business runs the same way nor do they achieve the same results. What The MPS Group accomplished in one-quarter cannot be attributed to a single variable, but a multitude of them. Take these thoughts into account and put them to action within your business. The sky is the limit.
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