Thursday, September 20, 2018

The H8full Cold Call: #ManagedPrintServices


Newbies, take caution. Some say phone cold calling is dead. But, for the new copier salesperson, the phone is your lifeline. For you, the cold call is alive and well. For you, it’s dial for dollars or hit the bricks. It is a miracle anyone survives. Yet, some do, some even thrive.

The phone, a mirror and the Yellow Pages. That’s all it took for the rise of copier empires and fulfilled selling destinies — the stuff of legends.

I once loved to cold call. Back then we called them “phone blocks.” Phone blocks filled Franklin planners. Appointments paid for diapers, private school and vacations.

Read the rest, here.

Friday, September 14, 2018

What Customers Say About You...After you Leave the Room

Oconomowoc, Wi.
Edited, 9/2018

For all the managed print services sales classes, books, seminars, webinars and white papers I've seen, nobody talks about the, "Golden Minutes".

Wouldn't it be interesting to hang around after a customer presentation and hear what your prospect say about you, your presentation and offering?

Think about it, you've planned, written or created the perfect proposal and slide deck. After 45 minutes of flawless, formulaic presentation you've trialed for a signature, clarified, isolated and answered objections, moving the opportunity down the sales funnel - you can practically smell the 'share of wallet'.

You obtain as much commitment as possible, short of gaining a signature.

After the handshakes, promises of follow up, "Looking forward to working with you." statements and thanking the receptionist, you find yourself in the parking lot, debriefing with the team. You're talking about them, as they are talking about you.

The most important conversation is the one held 5 minutes after you leave -
Do you think they comment on your choice of colors for your Powerpoint? How about all your credibility references? Are they looking forward to being your partner or adding you to the vendor list?

I've had conversations with clients who've paid me to help them bring in a program.

I am telling you, from coast to coast to coast, you, the sales professional and your prospects ARE NOT ALIGNED.

I've been there five minutes after vendors, partners, OEMs, supplies, dealers and VARs make stellar and expensive presentations. I've talked about you with all manner of C-Level and director types, its not pretty. Actually, it is sad.

Here is a summary comments I've heard with my own ears:

"I can't believe we sat through a 35 slide presentation. It could have been two slides." - SMB, North Carolina

"They didn't seem to listen." - 1,110 employee corporation, Southern California

"Sales people. They talk too much. All he did was repeat my questions - and his answers." - 100 employee, heavy equipment dealer, Wisconsin

"Wow. That was painful." - Healthcare, North Carolina

"We don't like dealing with sales people because of what she just did. She didn't listen, spun our questions around, and kept to her agenda, not ours." - Global, Fortune 100 conglomerate

I could go on . I could mention the wholesale distribution company in Washington, D.C., spa manufacturer in Rancho Cucamonga, property management firm in Milwaukee or water testing lab in Riverside, California.

On and on and on, constant over time, across verticals and company size. It would be easy to blame the myriad of training courses that dot the landscape and span the decades. Past and present courses treat symptoms, not the cause.

In today's 'just-in-time-Everything as a Service' mentality thirty day cycles and quota's are killing any hope of sustainable business models. The transition should come from higher up the integration chain - but it won't. The cure is organic, from the ground up.

It comes back to personal accountability and self-training and I'd love to help.

Drop a comment, or ask a question.

###

- If you're rolling your eyes because you know this isn't about you, perhaps its better you don't think about conversations behind your back.

Ignorance is bliss.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Copiers: Let Go of the Past



Copiers, printers, scanners, fax, print servers, cloud print, duplex, scan-once-print-many, color, analogue to digital, laser, inkjet, managed print services, to managed services...our turbulent path has crossed many borders, hills and valleys.

Lots of things have changed since Chester pulled together his seven steps and yet, much remains the same. The print world moves slow.  Like a river cutting the Grand Canyon, real, significant change occurs over decades(which seem like eons).

For the Change Agents, this is the apogee of frustration.  We saw the true meaning of managed print services, and the future of print.  The signs were there before the HP split, before the debacle that was Xerox/Fuji.  

We predicted the need to shift from selling from boxes to solutions to business acumen, in 2007. We saw the "P" change to "p" in MpS.  The time was then.

Along the way, a few early adopters burned the ships.  Back then, what we saw as secular most called a fad.  I remember presenting the Internet of Things back in 2012.  Interesting and way ahead of the curve.

No longer frustration; we're morose. It is sad to look at the missed opportunities.Volumes are dropping so how can an OEM still release 13 or more new models?

Is it ignorance? No, everybody is printing less and has been for a decade.  Its not a secret.
Is it stupidity? No, back in the day, these folks were THE technology innovators.
Is it the continued propagation of a bygone belief that if you build it, they will buy? Yes.  More succinctly, it is the undying grip on the past, unrelenting fear of change and stubborn faith that if "we can hang on, we'll flourish".

Although purchasing devices, customers are placing a reduced number - worse, if there is a copier on every floor, nobody is using it.  Volumes are down to around 2,000 images a month.

The consolidation continues, independent dealers coagulate and OEMs dissolve, as the niche works through its annihilation.

Options are getting scarce, but there are painful opportunities: Medical equipment, BI, Energy Management, and more.  We've just got to let go.

Fortunately, we see the end is near.

We can make plans, see friends, write letters and move to the next stage, confident and aware.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Advice for New Copier Sales Reps: What Have You Gotten Yourself Into?

The following content is intended for new copier representatives. But if you’ve been around the copier block a couple of times, participated in demo-ramas and are considered a seasoned selling professional, I implore you to read and comment. Not for my edification - you owe it to the industry to help fix the future and advise the next generation. So let them know what’s up, the good, the bad and the ugly.

So you’re new to selling. Welcome to the greatest show on Earth where all the clichés apply:

"Learning here is like drinking from a fire hydrant.”

“This is baptism by fire.”

“It’s sink or swim.”

“Remain calm, everything will be OK.”

Over the next few months, it will be my honor to regale you with legends of glory and doom; with stories of heroic tragedies and mundane existence; with tales for your enjoyment and possible tutelage.

My story is a simple one. I began selling technology in 1988 and tripped into “copiers” in 1999. I’ve worked with AFLAC, Cintas, Océ, Panasonic, Industrial Videos, IKON and multiple VARs, from Michigan to California to North Carolina to Wisconsin.

Let me be clear - I am NOT A SELLING EXPERT. There was a time when..

Read the rest, here