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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Managed Print Services Selling in One Week, Three different Cycles, Three different Results

April 16, 2009

For your consideration, three, real-world situations:

1. Business Owner - 3 machines, 23 employees. After 3 week evaluation, MPS documents were signed and Level 1 MPS was engaged. Competitive landscape, typical copier Sales person pitching reducing costs with all-in-one functionality.

2. IT Director - 114+ single-function units, 15 copiers, 150 employees. One appointment/week in the past three weeks. Copier and MFP fleet separation achieved, MPS project moving forward; copiers to be dealt with upon lease termination, 12 months out. Executive Management wants the project to provide clear, verifiable, Green friendly results.

3. Purchasing Agent - 98, single-function machines, 14 copiers, 200 employees. After two meetings, multiple emails, and 2 direct phone calls; no forward movement. Competitive landscape, Xerox partner pitching MPS/PagePack.

Can you guess the details of each Selling Situation?

Business Owner -

This is a small organization. Organically grown, medical testing and receives a good deal of work from the state. You may or may not know that the state of California considered sending out IOU's to people who are owed a state tax refund. Small business is the backbone of our economy, unfortunately, the backbone gets hit the hardest.

Flatbed, TWAIN scanning, expensive, ad-hoc purchasing of toner and paper, older slower printing. Approximately 12 devices total.

Pain Points -

Productivity: Slow output and scanning required 1 person to spend 4-6 hours each week on scanning. 1-2 misplaced/"un-scanned" files a month.

Cost: Purchasing supplies at the local office supplies store added a cost of $300.00 every 6 weeks.

Service: Time and materials for HP maintenance kits were costly and required a machine to be done for at least 2 days.


Phase I

HP M4543xs and a Level 1 MPS engagement for 2 additional, single-function laser printers.

Approximate savings per month, $800.00 hard cost. Up to $1,500.00 soft costs(agreed).

Total Cycle - 45 days.

Phase II

Pain Point - Pre-printed, multi-part forms output on an Okidata, 9-pin device. Approximate monthly cost, $2,500.00.(!)

Recommendation, it's almost too easy.

Install software and single-function, color laser. Perform output cost reduced from .22 to .07.

IT Director -

Just over one hundred employees, nearly a 1:1 printer to employee ratio. The majority of single-function devices are connected locally. The current fleet includes a dozen or so connected, copiers under a basic CPC

Meter reads supplies and maintenance kit management are handled manually via monthly walk-throughs.

In addition to hardware upgrade, supplies management, and increased productivity, ownership/upper management is interested in establishing and marketing a Green strategy.


Consolidation down to 77 MFPs. Physically this works.

Install "behavior" modification and print tracking software. The software will track copies and prints by department, application, user, or billable account.

Output can be "gently" suggested to a different device or automatically redirected to the appropriate unit.

Reduction in operational cost, $33,000.00 yearly.

Paper cost reduction of $7,300.00/yr. Pounds of paper reduced, 13,200; the number of trees saved, 144; CO2 reduction in pounds, 28,507, emissions equal to driving 27,025 miles which equals about the same amount as 539 BBQ propane tanks. This is related to the paper. The project will include HP recycling program. MPS is Green.

Purchasing Agent - The Classic

The P/A is working in lieu of the IT director because the IT Director is "too busy designing and maintaining the website". Additionally, I was brought into this cycle as a "Subject Matter Expert"- when the only thing that stuck with this guy was Managed Print Services; not VMWare or Blade servers.

My first meeting was interesting, if not predictable. He was to be my only contact. He knew how the organization's paper flow moved. He knew the organization's goals. And he had worked "intimately" with my competitor, Xerox.

During the walk-through, we found a perfect spot for a trial - and when I say trial, I really mean a "try and see if you like it" program.

As I was leaving, he told me he needed to get the manager of the department set up so I could deliver and train on the trial. I told him we would install it as a new unit with scanning, print, fax, and copy functions - he said "fine".

Additionally, as I was leaving he told me he would email me his printer inventory and volumes as soon as I left - something he had promised to do a week earlier.

Two days after this appointment, I called to confirm the trial. He informed me that there would be no trial because "...the manager didn't want to feel obligated...".

I was neither surprised nor amused.

I adhere to Partnership vs Vendorship relationships - I do not push a hot dog cart up and down the street. If it wasn't for my colleague introducing me to this "opportunity" to enhance her opportunity, I would have stopped right then and there.

But I didn't.

I swallowed and inquired about the inventory list he had not sent over - again, he promised, as soon as he got off the phone with me, he would email it right over.

That was three weeks ago and guess what? Yup, no list, no return calls, return emails, etc.

I utilize disconnect with my deals - I truly do want to help but I am not emotionally invested in the outcome. 

I think if I can help then the money will come. But if a deal does not go my way, I want to get a firm "no" from the prospect. I don't like deals that just Fade Away - it's wimpy.

So with this last situation, it will never be a deal. He doesn't want to dance with me. And that's ok.

At this point, there is nothing to lose, it's time to call him out, put it out there, and tell the prospect, "...this isn't going to work's not you, it's deserve someone else...", cue the music, face the setting sun, and walk on by...

Click to email me.


  1. and walk on by to your computer and go to and identify a target market instead of chasing after anything that fogs a mirror.

  2. Max - I would go one further.

    Make sure your BDMs know the difference between a loser "transactional" sale, and real relationship.

    It ain't that easy, that's why "breathing" is a qualifier for most...


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Greg Walters, Incorporated