Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Impressions Pay Off

By Mark Brousseau

For services and solutions providers, making a positive first impression is important, says Scott Swidersky (, vice president, Information Systems Division, of Quality Associates, Inc. (QAI), a 300-employee, Fulton, MD-based provider of systems integration and outsourced services. And Swidersky has the sales results to prove it. After investing in a multi-story, 120,000-square-foot corporate facility two years ago, QAI’s revenues will grow 30 percent this year – in large part from the impact of bringing prospects to the company’s swanky facility.

Swidersky spoke during AIIM's 33rd Annual Document Management Service Providers Executive Forum in Austin last week.

“It’s always difficult finding sales opportunities. And it’s difficult working these opportunities through the sales cycle. But it’s even more difficult to close sales opportunities. With this in mind, we started investing in our corporate facilities to distinguish ourselves from our competitors,” Swidersky says.

“Part of our sales strategy is trying to distinguish ourselves as an organization. We have a lot of competitors in the Washington D.C. area, and some of them are huge systems integrators – Lockheed Martin, EDS, and CSC," Swidersky explains. "We find that the positive impression our facility leaves on prospects is the single largest distinguishing factor in our sales cycle.”

In addition to helping QAI attract new clients, the facility also boosted employee morale. “And it helps in our ability to attract quality people as it shows that we are providing a career, not just a job,” he says.

QAI’s modern facility includes a learning center, where vendors can demonstrate new solutions and QAI can conduct client training; dedicated work spaces for client projects; and a lab that provides testing and product demonstration space for employees and clients alike. Since moving into the new space, QAI hosts periodic educational events for clients in its offices – providing education for the clients, while strengthening the relationship between QAI staff and the company’s customers.

“We are always inviting prospects and clients back to our offices,” Swidersky notes. “This demonstrates confidence. And confidence is a big part of the sales cycle.”

“We are proud of our facility, and it shows,” Swidersky says.

How has your organization invested in its facilities? Post your comment below.

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