Many business owners believe the only options when purchasing Apple equipment are buying direct from Apple's web site, ordering from an Apple store as a regular retail customer, or tapping an authorized reseller. However, based on my own experience, there is another, more effective option: Apple's in-house business advisors.
Apple Business Team members
Apple, it turns out, maintains a small army of technical sales advisors who are dedicated to assisting businesses in reviewing needs, matching products to objectives, preparing recommendations, determining pricing, and even completing purchase transactions and delivering merchandise. It's a pretty good deal, all things considered. To get started, organizations just need to contact a Business Team member at any Apple retail site.
Apple's Business Team assists organizations in determining whether it makes more sense to purchase a top-of-the-line iMac or a Mac Pro. They can also assist business owners in determining whether MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs might best meet an organization's needs, whether iPad 2s can fulfill expectations and save money vs. the purchase of potentially unnecessary iPads possessing Retina displays, and in answering similar questions.
The business advisors aren't limited to just selling Apple products, either. They've provided assistance for me in the past, recommending fast external storage units capable of storing terabytes of files. The advisors' familiarity with Apple products, combined with knowledge about which third-party products work well, is a compelling combination that organizations are unwise to overlook.
Appointments aren't required, but I've found it most helpful to first contact the Apple Business Team members before arriving. In many cases, especially when I've needed equipment in a hurry, Business Team members have proven most helpful by closing specific transactions and having pre-paid equipment ready for me to pick up, even when long lines (such as for a new model iPhone) were present. There was no need to wait in line. Instead, I simply gave my name, showed my identification, and picked up my order.
Most business owners associate added value with added cost, which is unfortunate. Organizations that contact Apple's business advisors will discover the associates offer competitive pricing. In fact, the Apple business advisors I regularly work with are capable of not only specifying the best products but also making recommendations, offering discounts, and even completing the sales transactions and ensuring the resulting order is shipped to the location I require.
Flexible purchasing options
Paying by credit card is one of the options available to organizations working with Apple's Business Team. Apple's business advisors can also assist companies with implementing lease programs, payment plans, and financing options, which are all attractive options for many firms seeking to open an office, upgrade old systems, or expand.
What method does your organize use for purchasing Apple equipment? Have you taken advantage of the Apple Business Team? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.