Stairlift supplier Handicare has a new boss at the helm who is intent on delivering new and improved support for its dealer partners. Scrapping classroom training and a new programme to develop retailers’ commercial abilities are just two of the initiatives she hopes will help her partners to grow. AMP caught up with Clare Brophy to hear about her plans for the coming months.
What are you looking to achieve in the new role, especially in regards to your dealer network?
With dealers in particular, I want to support them in growing their businesses, not just for today but also for the future. We’re investing heavily in a comprehensive partner programme that rewards partners’ commitment and loyalty, in the shape of fantastic benefits and incentives. We have a number of partners already on board and I’ve started some initial trials that I would like to roll out to our existing partners to increase their commercial activity. We’ve got product training but I’d also like to include some new specialist commercial training. I have lots of experience in the commercial sector, from starting a business from zero to £30m. I have experience doing what our dealers to essentially, so I can offer dealers so much support and advice on how to get from where we are today to wherever they want to go. That’s looking at lead generation, handling calls, conversion, what point of sale to use, how to drive new business, how to follow up on calls.
“The main thing in the trial that we started with our dealers is offering this commercial activity. I don’t want to go down the classroom training route.”
What support can you offer to dealers?
Before I went into this new role I’ve essentially been just a dealer. I know the struggles, I know the pressures, I know the challenges, I know what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been there over the last 20 years so hopefully can offer some help and advice to dealers. There are going to be some partners that don’t want any support at all and that’s absolutely fine, but for those that do want it I would like to make sure that we offer that to them and help them grow their businesses.
How are you looking to expand your dealer network?
I’ve inherited a strategy which aims to concentrate on specific dealers. I’d like to be able to grow our network of dealers in as many ways as I possibly can. In regards to what packages, benefits and schemes dealers get when they come on board, it can vary based on size and scale, but for me it’s about choice and I’d like all dealers to be able to give their potential customers choice in product.
“I have experience doing what our dealers to essentially, so I can offer dealers so much support and advice on how to get from where we are today to wherever they want to go.”
What initiatives do you have in place to help retailers grow?
The main thing in the trial that we started with our dealers is offering this commercial activity. I don’t want to go down the classroom training route. I want to offer trained telesales experts who have done the job for a long time and are still speaking to customers today. I would like them to go and sit with our dealers and offer coaching. It’s real on-job training instead of the classroom approach. My gut is telling me that this is something that’s really missing from the market and it’s the added value of this training, not the typical training lots have had previously. I can’t repeat enough this isn’t going to work for all our dealers but it will be on offer for those who want it. It’s a very interesting and exciting time in the market and the market is changing all the time. I’ve seen so much happen over the years but at the minute it just feels like there’s lots of competition and that isn’t going to go away. There’s enough out there for everybody but it’s just what added value we can offer our dealer proposition.
How are you ensuring you have the shortest lead times?
It’s high on the agenda for us. The market is actually driven lead time down, which isn’t a bad thing. That forces everyone to improve efficiency and a lot of customers that are now being offered next day installation. At Handicare we have a fast-track service that we would like to implement for those customers that want something quick, but also have standard lead times. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to pushing ourselves and creating challenges for ourselves, driving lead time down.