Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Copier & I.T. Sales People - Skip the Product or MPS Launch/Training - Get Business Training

8/2009 -

As a copier salesperson, you know the stigma - you are just one notch above "used car" sales territory (not that there is anything wrong with that). Even your family wonders how the heck you settled into selling copiers.

The "consultative copier salesperson" approach is stale and a joke. How are you a "consultant" if all you do is compare lease payments? 

But - copier salespeople know how to sell, they are tenacious and work around, over, or through any obstacles to success.

And by obstacles, I mean competition from all fronts - in the field and from the chuckleheads back at the office.

You don't sit on your butt all day and you aren't afraid to walk the streets and have doors slammed in your face.

You know how to recover, adapt and prevail.

Imagine for a moment, a segment of sellers that have indeed been sitting on their collective rumpus for two decades. A niche that has sold completely on price.

An upside-down selling model where the "sales" person doesn't really sell, they just make sure the paperwork is all in order, the deal is registered, and coordinate meetings in Outlook - they schedule WebEx appointments.

In that world, the real selling is performed by Tech-heads. Folks who never claim to be salespeople and openly loathe Professional Sellers. Only these chosen ones are worthy enough to hold an audience, at the same level, as the prospect - give me a break.

Now imagine the Prospect in this niche.

He is used to empty-headed sales reps presenting off a brochure and price list. He always takes appointments from the rep, if the rep is a "she" - bonus points if she knows the difference between ST TOS and TNG.

He doesn't know leasing because for decades he strictly purchased. His SLA expectations revolve around days, warranty periods, and depot service. He is not familiar with Cost Per Image models and may even believe that the cheapest is the least expensive.

This prospect compartmentalizes everything - everything. He never answers his phone. Managing his time, his time does not manage him.

He reads all his emails, at his leisure.

When he finds something of interest he will gladly place it(and you) into a compartment. He does not like copier salespeople.

The niche, Information Technology.

The salespeople, VARs/IT integrators.

The prospects and clients, Corporate Information Technology (IT) professionals.

Now let's further the idea by turning the existing IT sales model upside-down (or is it right-side-up) and inject these crazy, nutty, copier salespeople.

How could we do this?
Re-train, Re-Brand, and Release "the hounds".


I know, you are required to go to the quarterly or annual meeting. And the infinite wisdom of event planning is always looking for "sponsors". So your suppliers pony up some shekels for the hors d'oeuvres or box lunches in return for an hour or two of "sales(product) training".

Think about this. Do you even care that the new models are faster?(DUH!) Or use less energy? (DOH!) Or maybe you find the bundling of one year of free black and white prints the Holy Grail of your selling world? (good lord).

Wouldn't a class dedicate to arming you with real business training have more value? How about a session titled, "How to apply new technology to everyday business problems" or "Your Clients Accounts Payable Department: The Key to Successful MPS"; excite you a little more than "How to sell Scan Once, Print Many..."? It's an exaggeration, I know, but you get the point.

Here's another tidbit; discover the differences and similarities between MPS and MSP.


Remember "IT guys hate copier salespeople..."? So DON'T BE A COPIER SALESPERSON. Brand yourself as the MPS specialist.

Create and name an MPS Division, "separate" from the copier side. Separate from the IT Sales side.

When talking with IT prospects, shy away from copiers/printers but relate everything back to operational costs, limited resources, expense reduction, budget constraints, end-user satisfaction, and ROI.

Want to know more? Ask for Darrell, here.


The way I see it, if someone re-calibrated these battle-weary selling professionals in the ways of solving real business problems, holistically, the competition would never know what hit them. Their customers would evolve into Partners.

And all would be right with the world.

Some IT Sales organizations still think of the printer/copier/output arena as the un-sexy. The last stop for those leaving the IT industry and the first project for the newly recruited/recently hired.

Some use proximity to distribution as a selling point; one component of the corporate Value Prop. They think that an armload of Professional Certifications is enough. Some still think people buy from people they like and all you need to do is be nice.

If you rebrand and create a separate selling entity, like an MPS Division - release the hounds.

Let your new, squeaky clean MPS Team go after your existing client base or your MIF.

If you are an IT VAR, most likely your competitors won't know what happened until they start losing "toner" orders.

You, copier dealers, are so nimble you could have an engagement up and running weeks before the "big guys" even get contracts in front of a prospect.

If your existing equipment sales team doesn't like it, offer them an interview/opportunity to join the MPS team.

Hordes of trained, razor-sharp selling professionals armed with a bit of tech knowledge, a customer list, and a phone - let them rip.

Oh yes, there would be Blood, and yes, there would be Glory -


  1. Kick A$$ Post. Great Thoughts. Love DOTC!

  2. Dude! I OWN that comic book!
    Punisher and Captain America.....

    oh and uh....good post too..too!

  3. Repent - Blood and Glory, baby.

    Thanks for reading!

  4. my favorite post you made so far.
    I Love your frankness, is that even a word?
    grats on biz transformation noticing your blog.
    I bet ALOT of people are taking note of this site but don't post.
    I am adding this post to my blog with links to here.

  5. Doug -

    Thank you very much for commenting.

    I say yes, "frankness" should be a word.


  6. Preach on Brother! At times, I just want to go home and take a silkwood shower due to the stigma and the cut throat shenanigans associated with this industry. I have also believed that the relationships that you develope with your clients will set you apart from the "this is my first job and I will give you my lowest price" rep. Thank you Greg!

  7. Kristy -

    Thanks for reading, and thank you for commenting - but most of all, thanks for the "Silkwood Shower" phrase...I remember the scene.

    Keep fighting the fight and keep coming back.