How to Convince Your Customer to Upgrade before the Competition Does Blog Feature

By: GreatAmerica on July 14th, 2019

How to Convince Your Customer to Upgrade before the Competition Does

Why Upgrade? Do It for the Joe, Office Equipment Dealers!

Oh, the upgrade. A special kind of sell. It can be a tricky one considering you’re not technically selling a new solution. You’re selling the same product in a new model, and in your case, the product is a printer or copier. A new model may have new bells and whistles and improved features, but at a high level, it meets the same need. This presents a challenge, because why would your customers buy the same thing twice, especially when the second sell involves change? Change is hard!

Let’s explore the concept of upgrading using an example we can all relate to. We all hustle through this world on our own unique paths, however there is one common tie that binds us together – caffeination! You’d be hard pressed to find a kitchen without this appliance; though usually tucked away in a corner, you’ll find a very real, but humble MVP: ahhh yes… the coffeemaker! While it varies in size, color, and capabilities, this unit serves one crucial and consistent purpose: making the coffee that fuels the hardworking people grinding it out from 8 to 5 each day. 

We count on this gadget every day to deliver a cost-effective yet reliable result. At a fraction of the commercial alternative’s going rate for your average bean product, it also allows you to shamelessly stay pajama and slipper-ridden during consumption – a major plus if you ask me

But lately, your coffee has been trickling into the carafe in a less-than-desirable state: grounds float around in what looks like a grimy pool of melted tar and it smells like burnt toast. Starting your morning with the frightening realization that your hardworking coffeemaker is on its last leg of life is not ideal. 

Good Housekeeping would suggest a quick decalcification via white vinegar to do the trick. But alas, the time will come when routine maintenance simply cannot keep things running smoothly—pun intended. 

Investing in a new coffeemaker would undoubtedly incur a capital expenditure and in addition, it could present friction caused by the mere act of change. We humans do detest change, don’t we? For that reason, we’ll use the deteriorating machine until we can’t. We’ll put up with the murky output until there is no output, when we’ll finally break down and begrudgingly head to the closest Target where we’ll pick up a new one. 

On Average, Printers & Copiers Have a 5 Year Lifespan

Alright. So as an Office Equipment Dealer, you are probably wondering how my coffee example really relates to selling a printer upgrade. But just like you, your customers aren’t keen on change either. Whether it is a case of poor print quality, recurring paper jams, poor network connectivity or a need for toner that has become obsolete, it all points to an opportunity to help your customer optimize their workflow efficiency and ultimately improve productivity. The challenge is making them see that before someone else does.

The average regularly-sized copier has a five-year lifespan. No amount of tender love and care can offset the reality that everyday wear-and-tear will eventually take a toll on an asset.  Let’s explore how we can overcome a couple of common obstacles to selling an upgrade.

Help Your Customers Make the Cost-Benefit Analysis

Help your customers understand that there are unnecessary costs involved in maintaining an older machine, whether that means acquiring supplies that are becoming obsolete or endless service calls and associated impatience while awaiting a servicing technician. Not only does this add up to more unnecessary funds, it also equates to unnecessary frustration. And when time is money, consider the monetary investment equivalent to operating at a less-than-ideal print speed and quality.

Show Them How a Change can Equal Growth

Change is scary, however the term ‘upgrade’ is suggestive of a positive improvement, so make sure that is what you are selling. Show your customers how going from an outdated MFP/copier to an advanced, new, and sleek one will improve their life. Identify which features and accessories will best fulfill their needs, and incorporate these into the solution—think improved print quality given technology advancement and consider the software add-ons that could allow efficiency gains and workflow management. 

Just Buy the Coffeemaker Already!

A coffeemaker is only one key contributor to a productive morning routine. Though we don’t like the idea of change, in the coffeemaker example, it’s easier for a consumer to “get there” – to understand that it’s necessary. After all, you need caffeine to energize you for the productive day ahead!

Similarly, an office copier or printer is only one of the many moving elements that keep a business operating at peak performance—but it contributes nonetheless. While your customer may not recognize an immediate need, they also may not realize what positive impact could await them if they do upgrade! Understand that if you don’t help them realize the benefits of an upgrade, someone else will. Don’t wait for someone to swoop in and deliver an asset your customer can rely on. We have enough unforeseen elements holding us back from gaining a competitive edge—don’t let the opportunity to be the trusted hero slip by.

If you are struggling with customer retention, take a look at these four key factors to consider when evaluating your business’ approach to building relationships with a strong foundation.   


GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. and is dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers for a lifetime. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and now has offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. In addition to financing, GreatAmerica offers innovative non-financial services to help our customers grow.