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Monday, August 25, 2014

#Copier Sales People: Three Tips to Selling Managed Services


It isn't that sell managed services.  As a matter of fact, selling managed services is a lot easier than convincing a 'board of elders' to lease your new color device...with saddle stitch, no less.

First things first,  if your leadership is so wrapped up in themselves they think:

A) copiers will be around forever or
B) Managed services is akin to adding a duplexer or fax board

- keep your resume up to date.

Unless you're in some backwater market where they still lease copiers for 72 months, hardware sales are about to fall off a cliff (slight exaggeration).  Maybe your guys don't see it coming - it is already here, so the sooner you get your personal act together about services, not hardware, the better.

Just between you and I, there are hundreds of hints and tips around selling managed services.  In the end, the advice is nothing more than a shuffle of what you've already been told.

There isn't ONE training course, consultant or "MNS" expert who will mention any one of these tips:

1.  Stop being afraid
2.  Forget everything you know about hardware
3.  Ignore your quota and in some cases...Ignore your boss

Your Fears

If there's one thing I've seen from coast to coast is whenever somebody on the copier side starts to talk about Managed IT Services,  they backtrack into, "well, I need to know more about that business before I dive in..."  Horse Pucky.

Who would buy a product which openly insults?

We're taught to believe that the computer guys know so much more than we. We've got memories of feeling dumb because we called IT only to have them come up, reboot and head back.

"Reboot?  That's it????!...arrrrg..."

IT folks were strange, anti-social, and difficult to understand.  They fixed our problems and they made us feel like dummies.

Stop worrying about what you think you don't know, stop Facebooking and use the inter-web to learn about what CIOs think is important.

"You know what Mr. Prospect...every, single, copier is exactly the same..."

Yeah, we used that line all the time at IKON.  Of course, we sold almost every brand back then...

The same goes for servers, cloud, backup disaster recovery, switches, firewalls, help desk, anti-virus - your prospect does not care how many awards your hardware has earned.  They do not care how much you've invested in R/D or how long you've been in the industry.

They don't...and when your OEM rep tells you to build credibility by dropping their name, let the words go in one ear and out the other.

Tell your prospect how your stuff solves problems.  Printers, copiers, luxury submersibles and can openers solve problems.  If you can find a problem duplexing solves, I'm sure you can find an issue BDR(googlitize it) addresses.

Stop Selling and Start Solving.

Ignore Your Boss  - "On the 1st of the Month we Sell Solutions. On the 20th, we push boxes..." 

Careful here.

If I had a dime for every sales manager I've met, that wasn't worth a dime, I'd have a lot of dimes - a March of Dimes, actually.  I'm not saying ALL sales managers are worthless...and I know YOUR manager is Fortune 100 material.  I am not recommending you blatantly mock your boss - not overtly - just understand his perspective.

Here's the deal, typical sales managers are compensated on the team's hardware sales and most dealerships are driven to quota by their OEM - it is the way of things.

When you hear your manager say things like, "Everybody better start learning MNS, because these copiers aren't going to be around for long...""its a numbers game, kid..." or "you can't sign deals on the phone..." or "...why don't you get a new car/suit/wife/credit card/house..." take it with a grain of salt.

Don't get me wrong, if this style matches your core values, stop reading and get back to those 100 dials, 10 contacts, 1 appointment - there's a church out there dying to buy a copier!

Otherwise, let's talk about you.

I've always said and felt that pure managed print services has little to do devices and nothing related to logo's - its a service, not a cartridge or machine.  Managed services is an extension of the same ideal, its a service not a server or firewall.

Most managers do not understand this because they are not compensated for services.  Indeed, some ignore services all together figuring that's "the service department's responsibility" - point, missed.

I know you didn't grow up wanting to be a copier rep - NOBODY DOES.  I understand how difficult it can be describing what you do to your parents - been there, done that, got the therapy to prove it.

And here we are, in the heart of the jungle...

Do anything to improve yourself every, single day.  Polish up on your knowledge of the Cloud, nod during your next sales training session, and then go buy my book.  Write in the margins, read it from your iPad on the bus ride home...(?).  Cut and paste passages into emails and Tweets - put the cover on your desktop.

Cloud stuff here.

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