Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas from the Death Of The Copier


The other day I was at a local tavern and ordered up the "Christmas Special" - a martini.  She prepared the beverage and presented to my mother and me.

With a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face, she said, "Merry Christmas!" adding, "I'm so happy we can say Merry Christmas.  Last year we weren't allowed."

She scurried away with a spring in her step.

The gears in my head started turning.  

I have never, ever, felt the need to simply wish somebody, "Happy Holidays."  To me, it sounds like a cop-out.  When others wish me Happy Holidays,  I cringe a little inside, and return with, "Merry Christmas."

In the past, it felt like wishing people Merry Christmas was an act of bravery - it isn't.  I'm glad the pendulum has finally swung this way, at least on this subject.

From all of us here at DOTC to all of your, Merry Christmas!




Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Scanning: Let's Widen The Scope Of Managed Print Services, Again.



I started my MpS journey back in 2007 - not as early as some, but before most.

Back then, I saw MpS as a bridge into managed services.  In 2008, I proposed my first end-user based billing program.(similar to the current SBB)  We estimated usage based on job description - front office folks printed more than shop floor, HR printed more that general office and Marketing utilized more color.  Pricing was based per job description.

Soon after, I suggested MpS was BPO because including document management software within an MpS agreement seemed a natural.

DOTC espoused end user data, behavior modification and workflow in the early days coining the word "BeMod".  The phrase did not take hold.

I introduced the idea of fully integrated management systems: we should combine device data like usage and supplies history(DCA) with the number of service calls (ServiceNow) for each device and all costs associated with operating each device(E*Automate) displaying these data points on floor plan and adhering to the ITAM model.

I pitched the benefits of 'server-less' printing before it became a thing in the MpS world, recommending partnerships with PrinterLogic.

I pondered the ability to sell everything as a service.  How about coffee and water, commercial HVAC equipment, energy systems or even tele-health? Who best to lead this transformation than those designing and selling managed print services?

We made the jump from equipment sales to services long ago...right?  Of course, few jumped on the above suggestions (until years later).

Most held on to old fashioned models - scratching out an existence, hoping for that magical merger.  Big dealers got bigger, tripling down on copier sales with outside investment;  they started silo'd, managed services practices.

Some OEMs surrendered.  Lexmark went to China, Xerox went to pieces, HP self-bifurcated.  Ricoh treads, Canon sells cameras, Konica Minolta is gaining, and MpS rolls the stone, resurrected.

Today, how can we widen our scope, yet stay within a safe, low risk zone? What action can we take, that recognizes the move away from paper, without inciting panic and denial?  Medical equipment and energy management were too much.

How about scanning?(Okay, not just scanning)

Studies show copies and prints per device have been falling for a decade or two, I wonder if scans have increased?  I mean in order to transform from paper to digital, there are plenty of paper documents in need of digitization.

Here's my latest recommendation: Embed digital capture into every managed print services engagement you write.(I know, not all THAT revolutionary.)

Today, every business can move into the digital realm at a fraction of the cost.  There are plenty of strong capture and document management programs in the ecosystem - Kofax, DocuWare & Nuance to name a few.  Not everyone needs these high-end systems, but most need something.  

The Benefits

Separate your MpS program from others. The 'down the street' deals address nothing more than cost per page and automatic toner replacement.

Discussing scanning/digitizing is a natural topic within the managed print services engagement, and can help you close more MpS deals.

But how do you get started?

What to look for in a simple solution for your clients:
  • Low cost of entry
  • No SME requirement
  • Basic workflow
  • Proven(globally)

I have the answer; an easy to propose, configure, support, and sell software system.

greg@grwalters.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Advice For New to Copier Sales Reps: Ask More From Your Prospects


In your new world of copiers, training is a big component of the ecosystem — so big it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant. By now you’ve probably come to understand that most of life’s challenges will not be solved with algebra or understanding inheritance and polymorphism — learning how to learn is the best lesson.

So it is now with your new copier position. You may be deft at taking notes, creating flashcards and memorizing basic facts, but I’ve got to tell you, not one prospect is going to establish a relationship if all you know are the paper weights and first-copy-out times for 100 different models.

Unfortunately, your dealer principal and sales manager will demand you know the specifications of every model on the show floor. It’s a tug of war between learning what the “industry” thinks is important and what your prospects see as relevant.

More important than specifications is learning everything possible from every business you visit — no matter the outcome. The first appointment is the time for introductions and getting to know one another; all it takes is 20 minutes to understand how your prospect runs the business and the challenges they face every day. Don’t waste time on your company introduction/value proposition slide deck — YOU are the company

Successful selling professionals utilize the “two ears, one mouth” strategy when getting to know the inner workings of a prospect’s organization. It may sound simple...Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sales Revolution Built On Hope? Careful what you wish for...




The game is changing; but it always has been.  
The way businesses align purchasing is shifting; but it always has been.
New marketing platforms are emerging; but always have been.
Sales is evolving; but always has been.
There is talk of a selling rebellion; but there always has been.

There's chatter about the new selling, the new way businesses are buying and how the sales professionals of today had better change our ways. We've got to multiply our efforts ten fold, continue to cold call and embrace social media.

Today, "Kings", "Cowboys" and "Warriors" populate our little niche and we've got professionals "saving the industry one copier at a time". Worthy, noble and authentic efforts - I'm all for self-branding and rebellion.  I question the focus of our current emotional revolt.

Words mean things -

Revolt: refuse to acknowledge someone or something as having authority
Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system

So yes, we as a profession, are in the mood for revolt and revolution. It's understood the selling representatives are the Rebels but who are we 'rebelling' against? Who are the bad guys?



Are we taking on the old-school mentality? Assaulting old techniques is one thing, but these are outdated tools, not the root of evil.

Maybe we're rebelling against our prospects and customers - not the brightest idea.

Conducting a revolution against other sales people is self-destructive and most likely a strategy our nemesis relies upon. From the outside, it must look like we're a bunch of self-loathing, never good enough yahoo's running around spewing "transformation, this" and "the new way of that...".

To summarize:
  • Revolting against prospects and clients is not the way.
  • We are not our greatest enemy, we will not self-destruct.
  • The "Evil Empire" is not the past.
Again, who is the enemy?

I know who. If you're a sales trainer, you're not going to like it.  If you're a sales manager, you're not going to like it.  If you're selling anything through a tiered channel, you are not going to like it.  Heck, I don't even like it.

The target of our revolution are those who inflict quotas, false ideals and untrustworthy sales techniques: OEMs, Mega dealers, and vendors of the day are the enemy.
I have moved from certainty to doubt, from devotion to rebellion. 
- Phil Donahue
I am the last one to call for unionization - unions kill - but an organized resistance is the only alternative.  I'm talking about a guild of selling professionals - similar to the Screen Actor's Guild.


So who is in a position to organize contemporary selling professionals?  I have no idea but a great start would be for sales people to think differently:

start selling for yourself
form your own brand
invest in yourself



CAUTION: Rebellions require blood.  The cost of freedom is never free and all revolutions, have casualties.  Who, in this cause, will give all?  Who will create change through sacrifice?

  • Will any of the new sales trainers step up to form The Guild or continue taking money from the establishment?
  • Will mega-dealers change the way reps are paid or continue to support an archaic standard?
  • Will OEMs get rid of their tiered approach?
  • And who in their right mind would join such a movement, let alone LEAD against these most formidable foes?
I don't have the answer to that question.  I can say finding a leader within the Empire(OEM,Trainers, MegaDealers) is at best dubious.  Perhaps an older, wiser Rebel will make their way center stage.

Caution: As a metaphor, in the movie Rogue One, can you recall how many of the small rebel team survived?

Nobody.

Sales Revolution?  What Revolution?

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?

Why?

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.

More:

Killer Toner
MpS, Terrorism and Third Party Toner

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

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Ten Things All Great MpS Practices Have



1. MPS Specialists
2. Separate P/L
3. Outside MpS training
4. MpS specific software tools
5. Comp plan that includes:
    • Hardware
    • Monthly service revenue from:
    • A3 & A4
    • Managed(IT) Services
    • Renewals
    • Separate service team
6. Separate help desk
7. MpS vendors(vs. copier)
8. OEM neutral
9. Single Services contract for:
    • Copiers & Printers(A3 & A4), Paper
10. IT services
BONUS: All Managed Services Network Assessments embed an MpS study; MpS is part of the Managed Services proposal

#managedprintservices #gregwalters #MPS

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

DOTC/AOTC: Annihilation of The Copier #copiers #managedprintservices




Death: the passing or destruction of something inanimate

The Death of The Copier isn't about the end of you - like looms and typewriters, - DOTC is a lens into the passing of an industry; growth and expansion, not terminus.

The industry is NOT dying.  It is being annihilated.

Annihilation: the conversion of matter into energy, especially the mutual conversion of a particle and an antiparticle into electromagnetic radiation.
"...conversion of matter into energy..."

We're living in the organic process of evolution, that's all.

Notice we aren't "moving through a organic process..."  Because we're not moving, more specifically, Xerox, Ricoh, HP, Canon, Konica Minolta, Epson, Kyocera, and everyone else have been standing firm believing the new world will flow around them/Us.

The tide has been coming, the signs blatant for all to see:


  • Why didn't Xerox start the move from hardware into services back in 2010? (or 1973)
  • Canon has alternatives, but hasn't made the move. 
  • Ricoh seemed to be on the right path back in 2009, but took a left turn somewhere between here and MpS nirvana, which was the door to the managed services panacea.
  • Lady Blue(HP), the most expensive dust pan in history,  will sweep the fragments and splinters, toss them into some 3D printer, spitting out picnic tables.

They all saw it coming, they all knew.  But why believe in the revival of paper?

It is the human tendency toward self-destruction.
Everybody appears to be self-destructive. Some people are very obviously self-destructive because they’re addicted to heroin or alcohol or they act in a psychotic way or whatever, and they offer their self-destruction to you. Other people are very comfortable in their own skin, and they’ve got a fantastic job and a fantastic life and everything seems to be bulletproof. They feel like they’ve sort of cracked something about life.
But then when you get to know them, you discover odd bits of self-destruction, which then become significant bits of self-destruction. It was the universality of it, that even the people who’d cracked it all had not cracked it all. And then I started trying to think – Where does it come from? Why is it that you have a really good marriage and you dismantle it? Why do you have a really good friendship and you dismantle it? Why do you have a really good job and you dismantle it? Whatever it happens to be. 
- Alex Garland
Transformation flows around the pillars of a bygone era. Some abdicate early while others define stopgap tactics as strategies - consolidating on higher ground.

What once was, the dogma of xerography and toner, will never again be.  The age of paper is ending - consolidation, turmoil and dwindling sales reflect the shattering of the realm.

Here's the thing - the industry has mass, but no velocity.  Without movement, change will not be internally driven; true evolution will be effected from the outside - like an asteroid hitting the Earth.  The coming wave will dismantle everything, ejecting the bad, and re-configuring the good creating something completely alien. (to us now)

So, do you wait for the force to change you or walk in, confronting the past, present and future?

Move in.
  • Take in all the generic training you can - stay away from hardware or software specification training. 
  • Loath the demo.
  • Recognize value propositions, slide decks, 30 day cycles and Sales Managers as fodder for the future.
  • Brand yourself, not your dealership or OEM.
Embrace the Shimmer.



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Greg Walters Kicked Out of Sushi Restaurant for Stance on Paper: "No Paper, No Peace!"

"We serve paper users, only."
It was a calm and enjoyable evening as the chant of "no paper, no peace...no paper, no peace..." drifted over the swank dinning area.  I knew before my guest that tonight was not going to be typical print/copier discussion over adult beverages.

That uncanny ability to discern the HP hum from the Lexmark rattle - an amusing parlor trick - was a curse "...no paper, no peace...no paper, no peace..." seeping into everyone's dinner conversation.

I knew what was coming.

"Chicken in the Coop!"
Now days, getting kicked out of a restaurant is a simple task. A contrarian view or disagreeable word, phrase, color or micro-thought can trigger expulsion. Everybody is offended.

Print is Dead.

Say what you want about wedding invitations,  corrugated boxes and meat-labels saving print - if companies are printing like it's 1999,  Xerox wouldn't be fighting for her life and Lexmark would still be an American company.

The chorus, "no paper...no peace..." grew in volume.  Spotting a nervous manager huddled up with her team, I was sure they were not discussing the future of sushi, or saki.



Origami & Haiku -

The gaggle stared at me in unison as the matron of the dinning room floated over to my table.

"Hello..." I said.

"Good evening, Mr. Walters, " the standard retort, "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you and your guest to leave our establishment. It has come to the attention of me and my staff, that you are a strong proponent of a paperless society. Indeed, you call for a violent end to copiers. This contrarian position is an affront to our collective morals. You must leave now."

I wasn't shocked. I was amused.
Best future use of paper.

"I'm sorry to hear this and hope our presence hasn't disturbed your other guests," I respond.

"My sister is in the paper business, she sells to the big carmakers and advertising companies. So you can understand how I cannot serve somebody with your moral standing. Please go." was the terse reply.

The short walk to the car was jeering, "You call for the death of copiers! NO PAPER, NO PEACE!", screamed a librarian-looking lady.

I expected a barrage of empty waste-toner bottles, instead,

"You can't hide! Wherever you go, we'll be there, with paper, in your face!  Napkins, shipping containers, meat labels, PAPER EVERYWHERE!"

Not a CNN reporter anywhere.

We left, without a Tweet, Snap, InstaGlam or Yelp!

No bother, Sushi can be found just about anywhere; even in Milwaukee.

There’s no paper
In the company future
Trees are digital!

###

Satire.

When a restaurant asks a person to leave because of who they work for, their political proclivity, or business model - isn't it THE SAME as enforcing "whites only" bubblers?

The world is upside down.  False prophets claim to support diversity as long as they define diverse.  They demand open discussions and viewpoints, as long as the viewpoint is theirs.

I've seen this first hand, from California to North Carolina.  Detroit to Oconomowoc.

The Auto Unions feigned defense of the working man, yet betrayed the companies employing members.

The open borders, sanctuary cities of SoCali, pose as immigrant advocates unknowingly promoting human trafficking, the drug trade and child exploitation.  How many illegal immigrants, mothers, fathers and children, perished in the desert chasing the hypnotic tone, "Come to America.  Land of opportunity.  Vote Democrat."  Sanctuary Cities equal Terminus.

Meanwhile, erudite, "non-violent" academics, sip wine, listen to Hungarian Christmas music and scream, "I wish Bush was dead!" I saw it, I was there.

Nice haircut. Can he shave, yet?
Today, we walk among the entitled, frail, offended, sissified,  Generation of Whine.  There is no such thing as mental toughness.  There is no such thing as playing fair; it's a risk.

Everybody has the plan, everybody is an expert - kids with less than 20 trips around the sun are considered 'wise'.  But they are tools; being a victim does not an expert make.

So what is a (copier) sales person to do in this crazy, mixed-up world?

I don't know how to say this, so I just will...you, the salesperson, the technology provider, we who reach out every day, experience loss, failure and defeat yet get up each morning without a gripe are this century's greatest hope.

You know mental toughness, don't you?  Mom isn't asking prospects why they "didn't buy".  You're not blaming the NRA for your position in life.

We survived a childhood filled with treehouses, BB guns, riding in the back of pickups, bicycles without helmets, scraped knees, mud, dirt, germs and band aids.

We stand alone.

The generational tsunami hitting our cultural shores have never been shown the destruction socialism leaves in its wake.  They've never reviewed eugenics and too easily cast their political rivals as "Hitler".  They grew up without conflict, or competition. Coddled in mom's bosom past the age of 18 they are still scared of everything from peanuts to full-contact, youth football.

Politically, their mantra is "make everybody equal by making everybody poor".  Except them.

So its up to you, up to Us.  Soak everything up.  Ask your clients real questions about business.  Do they feel confident in the economy?  How are they planning to grow the business over the next decade?

Distill these stories into your personal wisdom.  Invest more in this type of discussions over speeds and feeds - learn to have a proactive, business conversation around your prospect, not your OEM or dealership.

Tell people how you feel, what you've seen.

And when you finally get kicked out of a fancy restaurant, you'll know you've made it.



Sunday, May 13, 2018

Xerox & FX: A Good Old Fashion, American Scandal


Scandalous.

Hold me baby, hold me like you ain’t mine to hold
Oh kiss me baby kiss me, like you don’t care who knows
Oh love me baby love me like Kennedy and Monroe

Hushed smiles across the table, clandestine meetings.  There 's something exhilarating about sharing a secret in front of the entire world.  Just the two of you. Food's better, the Sun warmer, nights longer.

But affairs have no future.

In the tightly bound world of third-party toner manufacturers, evaporating equipment placements, Monday morning sales meetings, earnings reports, tumbling clicks and Sunday afternoon barbecues, the copier life is almost too much to bear.

Scandal and intrigue.
"I'd sell Xerox. That's a house of pain." - Cramer

The Xerox affair is a reflection of the industry; Mixed up, ruled by The house of Boys; Desperate.

"As Xerox goes, so goes the industry" or is it "As the industry goes, so go we all."?

  • Remember when Ricoh bought Ikon?  Remember when Panasonic exited?
  • How about when HP split ?
  • The assimilation of Muratec or the bifurcation of Xerox?
  • Don't forget the Chinese purchase of Lexmark.
  • And now, the Xerox, Fuji-Xerox, six billion dollar escapade.
X will fade.  The moniker might remain (Lanier, anyone?) but the greatness that was, will be no more.
"The new board - the majority now consisting of directors backed by Icahn and Deason - will begin evaluating strategic alternatives; Icahn and Deason have said XRX could be sold to a competitor or private-equity firm."
"Sold to a competitor..."  HP?
"...or private-equity firm..." Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel?

So what will be the next shoe to drop? Will Ricoh succumb?

Will Sharp or Toshiba bail?  Can K/M survive? Canon?  Truly, everyone(except one) is circling the drain.

Those are negative operating profit figures.
For now, sit back and enjoy yet another, delicious scandal.

From one of many articles:

 -‘Sleepless Nights’ and 'Project Juice'

"... Dec. 7, 2017, letter written by Xerox director Cheryl Krongard to the company’s chairman Robert Keegan, titled “4 sleepless nights”. In that letter, Krongard called Jacobson a “rogue executive” who disobeyed the board to secretly negotiate a deal with Fujifilm.

In the letter -- purportedly sent less than two months before Xerox agreed to the deal -- Krongard also writes: “This board exhausted every ounce of patience and coaching to make our current CEO a success. We then decided, unanimously, for a variety of reasons, he was not the leader we need.” Krongard adds that the company had identified a CEO replacement who, she says, Keegan had said was “head and shoulders better than Jeff”.

The letter continues: “Jeff was told by you, as directed and supported by the board, that the board was disappointed by his performance and would likely look at outside talent. Additionally, you told him in no uncertain terms, that he was to discontinue any and all conversations with FX and F regarding Juice. He blatantly violated a clear directive”.

Project Juice was the code name given to deal discussions, while F and FX refer to Fujifilm and the Fuji-Xerox joint venture, respectively.

Latest Update, 5/13 -

Xerox (NYSE:XRX) says it has reached a settlement agreement with investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason and will end its merger deal with Fujifilm (OTCPK:FUJIF, OTCPK:FUJIY).

XRX says CEO Jeff Jacobson has resigned and John Visentin, a former tech executive who had been working with the activists, will become the new CEO.

XRX appointed five new members to the board, including Icahn Enterprises (NYSE:IEP) CEO Keith Cozza as Chairman, and five existing members resigned in addition to Jacobson.

The new board - the majority now consisting of directors backed by Icahn and Deason - will begin evaluating strategic alternatives; Icahn and Deason have said XRX could be sold to a competitor or private-equity firm.


Monday, February 26, 2018

A Decade of #TheDeathofTheCopier: Really?




Long ago, a decade seemed like forever; "1999" a far off party and 2001 so distant, it was science fiction.

When I was young, I couldn't imagine where'd I be beyond 2008.  Today, decades fade away, "like tears in the rain..."

Ten revolutions around the Sun
120 Months
521.4 Weeks
3,650 Days
87,000 Hours

At it's peak, The Death of the Copier was coveted; worth stealing. Not for the plain talk, but for the audience.

In 2008, we were busy back-slapping and congratulating ourselves for selling machines like popcorn.  The future was bright; it was never going to end.
  • Ikon was a huge channel of 'independent' dealers.
  • Xerox was like Kleenex.
  • Ricoh and Canon punched it out for second and third position.
  • HP was on the edge with Edgeline.
  • The rest of the pack was just that, a pack.
Back then, few were 'blogging' about copiers. Out here on the inter-webs, nobody was talking about workflow, managed print services, IT, or business acumen.  Newsletters, magazines and trade shows were the vehicles of delivery.

On this 10th year anniversary, I've travelled back to the future, re-visiting stories of the love, toner, blood and tragedy that is DOTC.


I've dug up a few nuggets:

From a DOTC post, "Top 12 of 2008":

"5. LinkedIn - MySpace all grown up. Much more mature than Facebook with real contacts and real business and NO high school moms pretending to be CEO's...well, maybe. Quite by chance, I fell into LinkedIn. Early, I joined MySpace, Facebook, Plaxo, etc. - but LinkedIn, for some reason has held my attention and gets most of my input when it comes to "social networking"."-  2008.

I talked about Managed Print Services, how copier reps won't naturally progress into the niche, how real MpS requires IT and copier knowledge and something called Business Acumen.  It was like speaking Latin.

The second post, February, 2008: Managed Print Services - That "Hot, New, Thing..."


"A copier sales person does not directly translate into a MPS specialist.

Nor does an IT Services sales person translate into a MPS Specialist. It takes both IT experience and copier experience and a great deal of general, C-level, business experience. 


That holy grail of Professional Selling, "Business Acumen" . Someone with the "Big Picture" insight and manage the details of a solution."

Honestly, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's been ten years and we're still struggling to find managed print nirvana.


We still sell copiers.

 How about this one from 2011.  Inspired by the movie Jerry McGuire -

"MPS isn't the end-all, it isn't the only reason to exist - it never has been. Still, with everybody getting in and as many as 50% failing, what now?

With all the OEM's defining MPS ... and reclassifying direct accounts, how can we continue?

Touch More.

More Human Touch. Less PowerPoint. No WebEx meetings, toss the 50 slide business summaries. Instead, press the flesh. Draw on a napkin.

Do that thing we do as sales professionals, look him in the eye and say "thank you, what more can we do, today?"

"Oddest, most unexpected thing..."

Success and change aren't always a result of design. Innovation encroaches from another direction; from the left as we look right, from behind as we look ahead.  Few ever see it coming.

So it is today. As some deny the paperless revolution is near, companies like Alaska Air outfit their 1,400 pilots with iPads.  Apple is making the text book obsolete and banks accept pictures of checks for deposit. Your kids, don't call each other anymore, they use their thumbs.

From social media to MpS, everything is new and unpredicted - there are no experts - the world moves faster than ever before. No benchmarks, no 'metrics', no comparison, no rules.

Waiting for the revolution? Its already here.

"The Me I always wanted to be" - Trust

Trust. It is a big word and one the first MPS Conference keynote speaker attempted to rally behind stating, 


"..Trust is something this industry has got to reclaim."

He is new. He doesn't understand to reclaim something, one must have first possessed it.

"I had lost the ability to bullshit, ..."

Our journey continues.

The path less bumpy when we build partnerships. Partnerships easier to forge over a foundation of truth. Can you be true?

Can you lose the ability to bullshit? If not to your prospects, at least with yourself. Or are you just another shark in a suit?

Can you see the entire ecosystem?

How about instead of optimizing a smidgen of hardware and some toner, you envision Optimizing Everything.

That's right, everything. Managed Optimization Services.


"That's how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there."

Good Stuff.

What have WE, learned over the past ten years?
  1. The Copier is nearly gone
  2. Old ways die-hard
  3. Situations rarely change, people do
My nostalgic jaunt inspired me to seek out memories from the pioneers of the copier-industry social media world.

Before Twitter.  Before Instaglam. Before LI took off...there was Ken Stewart, Nathan Dube, Jim Lyons and Art Post.

I asked them for a tidbit of reflection:

From Ken Stewart -

Wow, it's been that long?!?  What I've learned:
  1. Trust God more
  2. Forgive mankind often
  3. Relish the little things
  4. Let people be accountable to their actions
  5. Just because the folks in the hot tub look like their having a blast, they're secrets are hiding under the bubbles!
Nathan Dube -

Things I have learned:
  1. Don’t trust hype
  2. Disruptive technologies sometimes aren’t and those that are, often take time to produce real change
  3. If the paperless office is coming, I am not seeing it much/at all in New England across most verticals
  4. Story telling is the best way to market
  5. Everybody hates there printer eventually
  6. The future of marketing IMO lies in gamification and interactive content that is more about entertainment than the product you are trying to sell.
Jim Lyons -

Can't remember EXACTLY how Greg and I became friends, but as what seemed like the only two bloggers in the industry back then it was inevitable we'd become friends as well as colleagues. 

A particular fond memory is when Greg had accepted an invitation to the Lyra Conference (Symposium) - where I'd gone from client to contributor. 

Greg and I had been in touch quite a bit but had never met face-to-face and several of the team (including Photizo folks in attendance, though this was before the merger) were excited to meet Mr. Death of the Copier. As we anticipated his arrival I remember enthusing that this was a very much needed "young guy" we were welcoming into the fold!!!

Art Post

Nothing stays the same, change is constant.
There is nothing new in sales even thou there are thousands of sales guru's on LinkedIn promoting their success when they haven't sold shit in years.

There are many stubborn copier manufacturers that refuse to exit the channel. No one copies anymore.

I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end of the roll, the faster it goes.

Thanks guys, for reading DOTC and staying true.

Personally:
  1. 2008, I was married and living in the mountains of Southern California.  5,000 feet above sea level, an hour from the beach - "...things that have comforted me, I drive away..."
  2. Since 2008, I've moved from SoCali to Charlotte to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin - "...this place that is my home, I cannot stay..."
  3. Over 10 years, I've seen small businesses grow and flourish.  I've met the best of the best and the worst of the worst - "...I come and stand at every door..."
  4. I've Failed - "...If you've ever seen a one-legged dog then you've seen me..."
  5. I've Succeeded - "...I always leave with less than I had before..."
  6. I've become an expert at Starting Over - "...tell me, can you ask for anything more..."
Over the long haul, I've seen the extinction of the typewriter, witnessed the evaporation of the mini and mainframe and bobbed along the turbulent manual-to-PC-to-network-to-internet-to-cloud waters.

I am fortunate to have a place to express.  I'm blessed to be able to write what I would read and humbled others find something, interesting and possibly entertaining.

10 Years. How about you?

On what field did you stand?  Today, do you still stand?  Where will you be in 2028?






Two, three, four

Have you ever seen a one trick pony in the field so happy and free?
If you've ever seen a one trick pony then you've seen me
Have you ever seen a one-legged dog making his way down the street?
If you've ever seen a one-legged dog then you've seen me
Then you've seen me, I come and stand at every door

Then you've seen me, I always leave with less than I had before
Then you've seen me, bet I can make you smile when the blood, it hits the floor
Tell me, friend, can you ask for anything more?
Tell me can you ask for anything more?

Have you ever seen a scarecrow filled with nothing but dust and wheat?
If you've ever seen that scarecrow then you've seen me
Have you ever seen a one-armed man punching at nothing but the breeze?
If you've ever seen a one-armed man then you've seen me

Then you've seen me, I come and stand at every door
Then you've seen me, I always leave with less than I had before
Then you've seen me, bet I can make you smile when the blood, it hits the floor
Tell me, friend, can you ask for anything more?
Tell me can you ask for anything more?

These things that have comforted me, I drive away
This place that is my home I cannot stay
My only faith's in the broken bones and bruises I display
Have you ever seen a one-legged man trying to dance his way free?
If you've ever seen a one-legged man then you've seen me