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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Managed Print Services Appointment - Another Ticked Off Konica/Minolta Client:Leasing and "Integrity"

It's sounding like a broken record, she wasn't upset with the service, the response time, or even the performance of her eight Konica Minolta copiers.

I mean, the organization generates 179,000 images a month, why wouldn't they have FOUR, FULL BLOWN 1050'S? Right?

And of course, 36 months into this 60 month, why WOULDN'T the K/M rep come in to upgrade to "bigger, better, faster..." for less?


Do you think this is wrong?

It's a little gift from Mother Nature.

I had a first appointment with a prospective MPS Engagement the other day.

Our primary contact was kind enough to send her current spending and three active proposals - all on one spreadsheet. The more perceptive of you will no doubt see the red flags associated with a prospect dumping this data prior to a first appointment.

It ended up better than I had expected. Although, I do not believe we will sell them anything more than a few small machines over the next 18 months.

Try explaining an 18-month cycle to your sales manager.

The Basic Problems - "This is like Deja Vu all over again."

There are nearly 100 employees in this organization and I expected her to say that they owned 90 plus desktop printers - instead, they have 9. So, that's eight copiers and nine "laser" based desktop units for around 100 users. Very good.

Also, as is my style, I challenged her on some of her internal findings which she quickly and assertively defended - not out of insecurity but because she knew them to be true. It was obvious that the copier dealers hadn't questioned her findings - they ignored them altogether.

Ok, that's TWO in the "plus" column, her stock was rising.

And then the clincher - the lease has two years remaining, these "copier guys are...ripping me off...and I don't know what to do about it". She wants to get out of her lease(impossible), she wants to combine the service volume on all the machines into one invoice(pool volume) and she believes that she does not need so many 1050's(Duh).

And to add insult to injury, she shopped out their existing equipment configurations as if she was engaging today, discovering she is paying double what they "should be paying"(times were different 3 years ago when the lease was initiated)

By now, everyone could see the huge chip on her shoulder, even her.

To make things more interesting, I asked her how it went when she presented all this to Konica/Minolta. Yeah, I know, it's like taking a stick and poking her with it - it's fun and sent her off.

An almost audible 'Click' goes off in my mind. Three check marks in the good column. I decided I could work with her.

So we sold nothing.

For the next 45 minutes, we discussed the Konica Minolta lease. Because she didn't have her copy handy, I pulled out my copy.(Yes, I have copies of almost everyone's lease) and we reviewed it together.

We outline the termination process - " mean to tell me when the lease termination date is reached, the lease doesn't really end?", she said, "My rep never told me this. As a matter of fact, when I was asking her and her boss questions about being oversold and their unwillingness to work with me, he said I had just questioned his integrity! Which is improbable, I doubt he has any to question." 


I was considering poking her again with that same stick but decided against it. A mans got to know his limitations.

When we landed on the subject of pooled volume, her attention piqued. You see, she has a minimum on the 1050s that is never reached and minimums on each of the smaller(750's)that they are always over. So if K/M were to put the entire fleet under one min and a single agreement, there would only be one invoice, no overages, and a slightly happier client.

My prospect could only hope, but hope is not a plan, is it?

We instructed her on what to negotiate for, who to negotiate with over what. (Service Manager for service, Sales director for lease) and to always line out whatever you do not like. Again, this point was illustrated with copies of some service agreements, showing bright, red lines through blocks of text.

This is not the first time I have had to do this - in this month alone, I have tutored 3 separate clients with three different copier manufactures in the Dark Art of lease and S.A. negotiation.

The Take-Aways -

This is a classic example of the kind of sales activity that will drive copier dealers bananas, make sales managers question your talent, and ultimately gain you LIFE LONG clients.

We didn't engage around lease payments, volume levels, CPC, CPI, or SLA's. Our discussion, and make no mistake, this was a discussion, revolved around solving problems - the benefits of one simple invoice, the reason to move from capital expenditures to operational, customer service beyond the one hour response time, and especially how a lease should be a lease, not a customer retention device.

And especially. When a copier Vendor's(or anyone's) only move is to argue his "integrity" - put down the pen, the point at him, and laugh in his face.

Side Note:

It seems lately that I have slammed copier salespeople. I know plenty of really good copier guys/ladies; people who sell openly and upfront, who don't present anything more than what they are. They are professional and committed to helping their customers.

I do not dislike copier people, I like them. 

This is why it is important to point out the bad apples and terrible practices - they make my job so much more difficult.

The bad ones erode the already small amount of trust in the world today- we must confront them, when they are on the other side of an RFP or on the other side of a cubicle wall - fight them.

Check out these:

Again With The "Leasing"! Enough!

"Beware of DLL, a business nightmare..."

Bad Experiences with Leasing - Toshiba, IKON, Canon, Saxon

LeasingCopiers/Output Devices - UnMasked, Revealed, Cracked Open - EXPOSED

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Greg Walters, Incorporated