Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Death of the Copier Sales Person - The Return


I wrote about the struggles of a copier sales person back in August.

As the year comes to a close, I am vividly reminded how difficult Selling is by a string of posts over on Copytechnet.com- one simple transaction through the eyes of a customer.

I think anyone can view the string at "First time copier buyer, need advice.." - I will summarize.

It seems that a small software developer finds itself with some extra money at year's end. In an effort to shelter some of this excess, capital investment(s) back into the company abound -

From the forum:

"...originally they wanted to buy a color laser printer (HP) and a document scanner (Fujitsu). then they said that it would nice to have a copier in the office. so I did some research, and came to the conclusion (right or wrong I am not sure) that a color multifunction will be best.
the speed requirement also came from them.

it is probably an overkill, but the owner needs to spend money by the end of the year (also getting three 52" LCD TVs, server, laptops, phone system expansion, etc)..."

The poster has been charged with "making the decision" on a new copier 0r printer or scanner based on a $7,000 budget and some rudimentary specifications dictated by the "owner"(oblivious to print, copy, scan and the overall impact to the bottom line of each).

After at least three separate "flip-flops" the company's final decision was to go with a Kyocera TASKalfa 400ci color system. The Kyocera was ordered without a service agreement.

The decision evolved through single function color laser with a separate scanning unit, Canon and Ricoh color, finally to the Kyocera.

In the final act of this odyssey, I posted the following comment:


"AVI,

I must commend you for posting the history of your transaction - waving your dirty laundry out like that is exceptional, even in the age of "internet anonymity"

Congratulations should also be extended to your "boss" and CFO - for sheltering a few thousand dollars at year end.

Unfortunately, this is as far as the congrats will go...I personally have not been involved with a "simple" transaction like this for over a year now, and I find myself even more relieved after witnessing your company's decision process - indeed, I even feel a little sorry for you.

Put aside manufacturer representations, "dual scan" capabilities, service, output quality or even first copy out times(gag) - the internal PROCESS you let us view is invaluable.

Your company just helped commoditize an industry.

You say:

"I highly recommended that we get a maint contract, and if we do not want to, we should just get a plain color printer, but both the owner and the CFO overruled me... They want to "control their costs".

it is their money after all.

-avi"

Again, thank you for your transparency.

I know I am not the only one shaking my head as I read your post - technician, sales or end-user, I am sure that most of us have seen this too many times - usually AFTER the purchase, coming in to clean up the mess, debate why the service call call is so expensive, and then decide to never deal with a small-time, yahoo again.

But, no service agreement in order to "control their costs" ? It's so laughable, I won't even bother going into it.

By the way, what kind of Kyocera dealer sells his product without a service agreement? Is this the ilk that become Kyocera dealers? Does Kyocera certify anyone with "a pulse"?

Customers like this cheapen the industry and the talent within, but primarily because we inside the industry allow it. Whoever sold this machine saw a quick 6k out the door before year end - no concern about customer service, no discussion of "true" costs, no value-add.

However, one of the smartest sales managers I have had the privilege to work with once said, "...we tend over complicate this. Sometimes, a sale is just a sale..."

Yeah, sometimes you need to dumb it down, hold your nose, and take the order...


See also,

Damn The Torpedoes, Fire Your Customers!



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1 comment:

  1. Greg:

    Yessir, good points, I also wrote about this post. I found it odd that out of everyone who answered did not focus on whats really important. Are they an authorized dealer, how long have they serviced this product, how long has the product been on the market, references from clients. Pretty much it was about speeds, feeds and price, as my father once told me, "what do you expect from a pig, but a grunt. Here's my post on this http://mfpsolutions.blogspot.com/2008/12/purchasing-copier-printer-scanner.html

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