Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Why Do We Idolize The Worst Sales Characters, Ever

I've done it, you've seen it.

Heck, you've probably viewed a clip or two during one of your Monday morning sales meetings intended.

I get it.

These Hollywood caricatures display the gumption of legends - cold calling, motivating speeches, wild excesses of the selling life. Success. Power. Influence. Acceptance.

But there's more to the story, isn't there? The movies tell the entire story, but we don't replay those bad bits do we? No manager is going to show Bud's perp-walk in Wall Street. Nobody is getting motivated watching the federal cops pull into the J.T. Marlin parking lot complete with busses and tow trucks(Boiler Room).

And sure as shooting, no one remembers the ending of Glengarry Glen Ross, when Shelly Levene steals those leads.

Consider the following examples:

"Greed is Good"

Major Wall Street player earns millions through purchasing and breaking up family owned companies supported with insider information. Protagonist seduces young upstart anding ends up in prison.
- Wall Street

"Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers."

Real Estate agents complain about the leads, smart-dressed, hit-man comes in from HQ to deliver a high pressure, all or nothing, speech intended to get sales back on track. Salesman descends into chaos and steals leads.
- Glen Gerry Glenn Ross

"...act as if..."

Sharp dressed, smooth talking broker initiates new employees into the world of shady deals and illegal trading. Cold calling taken to a new low, one scene depicts a broker lying to a prospect, along with a cheering team of cohorts, and bamboozling a victim out of thousands. The movie ends with federal agents storming HQ complete with tow trucks to recover the fleet of ill-gotten automobiles.
- Boiler Room

These stories end in flames, yet sales 'mentors' still run around telling newbies to, "Sell me this pen."
Why do all sales people know "Coffee is for Closers"? Why do we cheer when Vin Diesel lies his way into a sale? Yeah, sure, we'd love to deliver that Alec Baldwin speech, or kill it on the phone like Leonardo DiCaprio. We project ourselves into those situations - understanding the dramatic and sexy scenarios - who wouldn't?


I'll tell you why. Motivating you to sell more, no matter how, is good for the OEMs and ownership. Sure, it feels good to you, right? That feeling is false and manipulative. I get it, we need to sell to feed our families and survive - that's the way the game is set up - and watching a fictitious "selling animals" provides a fleeting moment of entertainment and hours of motivation. But it is propaganda. It isn't real. If it is for you, chances are, it will end badly.

Showing rundown videos of yesterday's demons is just another symptom of the slow to change selling ecosystem. I'm not sure what we should utilize in place of these video's but there must be something; there must be thousands of quick, 30 second video's of new sales consultants spewing nuggets of re-treads.

Change, real change through turbulence, must occur at ALL LEVELS of the ecosystem, not just in the trenches. Selling will become more relevant, consultative and fulfilling after the pillars of the status quo resign to the future and ceasing to show criminals and thieves as selling examples is just the beginning.

Monday, November 12, 2018

New to Copier Sales: Of Likes, Shares and Comments

Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook — so many platforms, so little time. You’ve probably got an account on each of these social networks and more, and they can be great for connecting with family and sharing everyday life. But if you listen to the latest batch of “social selling experts,” the online world is the end of cold calls, face-to-face meetings and selling expertise.

To this, I say “horsepucky.” Google is just like the Yellow Pages, Twitter is the latest party line and LinkedIn is a fancy networking program. It isn’t that these environments aren’t germane — they’re just not the end of everything else. You may not like the online realm and I am not saying you’ve got to get out there — but you do. Online presence is mandatory.

Today, I’m going to focus on LinkedIn from the perspective of the new copier salesperson.

Building your brand

I’ve spent more than 10,000 hours online, read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween: Grover's Mill, NJ

"...We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own.

We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. 

With infinite complacence people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small spinning fragment of solar driftwood which by chance or design man has inherited out of the dark mystery of Time and Space.

Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. In the thirty-ninth year of the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

It was near the end of October. Business was better. The war scare was over. More men were back at work. 

Sales were picking up. 

On this particular evening, October 30, the Crosley service estimated that thirty-two million people were listening in on radios..." - Orson Wells, 1938.

In a world without the internet, Twitter, cell phones or email a fictitious account of an invasion from Mars scared children, and angered many.

I submit to you a feast for your ears and the kaleidoscope of your mind. Travel back when this new medium, radio, ruled and was blamed for the Death of the Stage show and rotting young minds...enjoy.

Friday, October 19, 2018

New to Copier Sales: Workflow Diagrams

"Workflow, that hot, new thing in the New Managed print Services." It's deja vu all over again.

The latest thing in MpS, not necessarily the newest thing, is "Workflow". You should be picking up  more chatter about workflow - you may even hear, "if you don't get into workflow, your dealership will die..." (Insert grain of salt, here.)

No doubt 2013 will see a BIG push of "workflow solutions": workflow software from providers  & workflow consultations from...consultants.

What does this all mean? What impact will this movement have upon the imaging industry, if at all?  Is this more hype, like color, digital, connected and MpS?  Weren't we just evangelizing "managed network services"? (there is no such thing in the IT world, BTW)

For me, workflow/BPO has always been part of managed print services - part of the evolution, inevitable as the "p" in Managed print Services fades.

As we did so many years ago learning the ways of MpS, let's start with the basics: a standard, run of the mill, definition of 'workflow' -

"Workflow is a term used to describe the tasks, procedural steps, organizations or people involved, required input and output information, and tools needed for each step in a business process." - SearchCIO

Notice this does not specifically, or exclusively, refer to production printing workflow - Job submission can be represented as a workflow, but it is NOT the only example of workflow.

To some, the idea of defining how one does their job and daily business functions, may sound complicated. Throw in the notion that workflow is usually expressed in the form of flow-charts, and the concept seems even more unreachable.

But it's not all that difficult to figure out.

All one does is determine how a process is completed, document the observed steps, and investigate bottle necks.  As a matter of fact, if you've been selling copiers or printers or even MpS for any amount of time, I'm guessing you've embarked on the beginnings of workflow.

Let's take a look at an example, a purchase requisition (yawwwwwn). The following chart reflects a very basic process from requisition to purchase order:

This is a pretty straight-forward flow with no deviation. Notice how the arrows suggest a motion or flow from one rectangle to the next.  All flowchart shapes carry specific meaning - rectangles are processes, diamonds decision points and so on.

Of course, workflow diagrams can become pretty complex and detailed.  Below is a workflow chart for a system relating to data entry.

You can imagine how detailed a workflow diagram can get.

For me, it was always easier to jot down a quick workflow on the clipboard, binder or today, on the tablet.

Here is an illustration of the decision process involved in installing a DCA, outlined on the Pad:
It makes sense to me so converting to Visio is a snap:

Approximate time to create, 12 minutes.
This isn't rocket surgery, scratching out drawings is just the beginning.  Apply your business acumen, a little software and professional consultation into the equation, ultimately exchanging your knowledge for value.

How do you develop the ability to recommend and provide workflow systems to your existing MpS clients?   Is it too much to get into?  Can be. One thing is for sure, this isn't "hype" or "noise" -  those who say so, do not get it - fain attention, then go back to work.

Welcome to the beginnings of Workflow. You won't get this stuff at the Monday morning sales meeting.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Red China Will Spy Through Your Printer and Kill With Toner

Communism: In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state.

Capitalism: Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.

I've been thinking about this ever since the drywall from China was reported to be radioactive.

We all want cheap stuff - Walmart runs that idea into the ground as does Amazon.  But for me, it has been difficult to rationalize the success communist China is experiencing with Capitalism.  U.S. Capitalism brought down the Soviet Union and Block; U.S. capitalism succeeded in Viet Nam when our hamstrung military did not.  It seems to me that blue jeans, rock and roll and McDonalds is enough to dissolve the Great Wall.

Mao Zedong
But Communist China is still Communist China and communism abhors capitalism. 

Today, why are we surprised to hear that the Red Chinese have implanted secret spy-chips in the mother boards of some of the most widely used servers in the world.  How much easier it is to plant a chip anywhere inside a printer or toner cartridge?

In addition to opening up our clouds to Red China, we've purchased killer dog food and poison drywall.  More disturbing, in order to do business in the land of Mao, international companies must share proprietary technology with their Chinese competitors.  We've been doing just that for nearly a decade.  Is it any wonder the new Chinese fighter jet looks like ours?

What does all this mean?  What can we do?
  • STOP selling toner from Red China.
  • STOP buying clones from Red China.
  • Shun everything coming from Red China.
  • Highlight HP and Xerox's American heritage.
  • Tell end-users of possible harm resulting from Chinese clones or toner.
  • Remove Lexmark from all US Federal, State, and local Government contracts - Education as well.  This is a difficult notion - I know many good people at Lexmark.  But it isn' the same Lexmark, is it?(NineStar).
The 'copier industry' is clichéd and uneventful, yet often, because of our technology pedigree, the output device and document management segment is at the tip of the spear in business innovation.

It seems odd mixing geopolitical issues with managed print services, but here we are.  We were always integrated with politics, global issues and future tech - we could be the first to call out Red China.