Wednesday, September 11, 2019

911 - 18 Years Later



For as long as I can remember, I've played this video on 9/11.  Super Bowl 2002, months after the attack, our country was numb and jumpy.


Well before self-loathing Americans started calling our movements in the middle-east "invasion" and "occupation", patriotism was on every street corner.

I remember that night; I remember seeing it live.  I can't tell you the football teams playing, but I can say it was one of the deepest, moving TV moments, ever.

U2 - that Irish rock band, stood on the world stage, honoring the greatest country on earth and her fallen citizens.  Names float to the sky, as the rousing "Where the Streets Have No Name" beats on.  The song, second of the half-time set,  was written about a place without class stigma, where the distinction between religions and income is no more; a World Without Sin?

Bono ends the tune exposing the Stars and Stripes - Triumph.

Here we are, 15 years later - The Twin Towers, replaced by that defiant Freedom Tower, slip deeper into the fog with each passing 911.  The threat remains the same, if not more pronounced.

Do you honestly feel safer now than you did that faithful day of empty skies, September 12, 2001?

Day of cogitation: What have we learned?

On this day of reflection, consider not only the ones who've helped you see who you are, but remember the hearts you've "imprinted"; son's, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers and ex-lovers, customers and co-workers.

Be gratified knowing you've changed somebody's life for the better - we all have.

Take time to remember those on the 98th floor, at 8:47 AM, sipping a Starbucks, considering a sales forecast or the regret of not saying "I love you, I always will..." on that morning, 14 years ago.

"I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name..."

I recommend going to YouTube and watch, the stupid #NFL won't let it be viewed anywhere else.  What a world we have become.



Monday, September 9, 2019

The Next Level in Selling: "The Converged".


"The convergence of human and machine, the biological and mechanical, is the result of a confluence of innovation, technology and social flows destined from the beginning. This motion is unstoppable. Unstoppable. In addition to the high-thinking, man/machine convergence, we’re starting to see the impact of all things converging.

Consider the way connectivity, manufacturing, software development, business, society and, yes, even managed print have converged into a borderless, almost transparent solution."
I postulated this idea back in 2013 over at the Imaging Channel, https://www.theimagingchannel.com/are-we-experiencing-a-convergence-or-the-convergence/ .

Indeed, these ideals have made #ArcDrive a reality.

Today, I'm promoting the idea of "The Converged Professional. (CP)

Who is a CP?

What one person on your team can talk about hardware, workflow, solutions, accounts receivables, inventory control, sales promotion, the paper to digital journey, networking, branding, human resources, cost analysis, contract negotiations, return on investment, with prospects and clients?

Who remains relevant after the sale?
Who can present cross-silo recommendations with cost and benefit analysis?
Who can identify with ALL facets of a client's business including an beyond the services the professional represents?
Who registers the cultural impacts of applied technology?

Is this person an SME? No.
Is this person a technocrat? No.
Is he or she a 'generalist'? Negative.
Is he or she bionic? Sorry, no.


The Converged Professional is well versed in multiple business languages - they know the difference between MRPI and MRPII. They understand a worthy, new solution is always a shock to the existing system/ status quo and have ideas based on experience how to best manage change.
The ‘Converged…’ are cross-silo-experienced based.

Consider managed print services.

For most, MPS is a service to help better manage print supplies and service - all billed on a contractual, per use, agreement. Period. Sometimes “fleet optimization" is a stated goal - yet simple means selling devices.

On the other hand, a Converged Professional recognizes the cultural impact of ‘managing supplies’ and identifies roadblocks to efficiency.

The ‘Converged’ has no problem diagraming the present and new accounts receivable workflow - on the back of a napkin, without consulting the ‘systems engineer’ back in the office.

The Converged, articulate marketing and business benefits to both end-users and C-level influencers.
The Converged manages a project in broad strokes, relinquishing the details to more qualified professionals.

Converged are focused, yet not victims of tunnel vision.

The Converged connect the lights in the night sky revealing a constellation of business efficiency; virtuosos, orchestrating timeless works of art.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Team #ArcDrive to be at BTA Grand Slam, New York City as guests of InkCycle.




In what can only be described as the greatest personal appearance in the history of mankind, the folks who bring you #ArcDrive will be attending the Grand Slam event in New York city. That’s right, live and in person.

See the latest #ArcDrive devices. Wonder at the marvel that is #ArcDrive - RTS. Be amazed and stupefied as our crack team of workflow experts demonstrate how #ArcDrive - SCN and #ArcDrive - SX solve real-world problems for you and your SMB clients. Revel in the simple sophistication that is the #ArcDrive managed print services platform.

Talk with the creator of #ArcDrive as he shares his vision of the industry, OEMs, software conglomerates, the death of the copier, the rise of managed services and why ‘edge’ and ‘fog’ computing and the IoT is the future.

Caution: You will not find ‘booth-babes’, raffles, pens, beer-coozies, #ArcDrive frisbees, stress balls or swag of any type - I doubt we’ll even dole out ‘slicks’. Just relevant conversations and low-pressure, attraction-selling.

Be ready to join the #ArcDriveMovement.

Questions?

 Email us at interested@thearcdrive.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

New to Copier Sales: Who Do You Read?

 

I remember one of the first MPS training sessions I sat in on, back in 2007. It was conducted by Steven Power. He admitted to taking his “how to sell copiers” material and molding the curriculum into “how to sell MPS.” Truthfully— and to his credit — the class could have been applied to ANY industry and type of B2B sales.

Which is why I paid attention and remember it to this day.

Since then, I’ve been a party to hundreds of different sales classes, seminars, and symposiums.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

#ArcDrive Does Not Do Trials. You Shouldn't Either.


Something has been on my mind for a week or so regarding sales. (go figure)

The Free Trial.

Do you send a fully configured copier to a prospect as a trial? The practice was common back in the day and carried a close rate in the high nineties. I don't hear about trials all that much anymore - I mean, who hasn't seen how a copier works?

The other day, we had a request for a 'trial version' of #ArcDrive.

We won't do trials, we don't do trials. Why would you ask for one when the investment is less than 0.001 percent of your total revenue - why are you hesitating?

I know why.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

New to Copier Sales: What is Convergence?


There are probably a few terms you hear thrown around these days in the copier industry: “Transformation,” “digitization” and “disruption” are common ones. Another one you’re probably starting to hear a lot more of is “convergence.”

Convergence has a few definitions, but the one most applicable to our industry is “the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole.”

Impressive.

Friday, August 2, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 1, 2019
Contact Greg Walters
262-370-4193 or greg@grwalters.com

Greg Walters, Inc. announces ArcDrive – RTS

Easily manage stand-alone output devices and support paper to digital workflows in a remote office/retail locations.

Oconomowoc, Wi. – Adding to the ArcDrive armada, Greg Walters, Inc. announces ArcDrive – RTS.

ArcDrive – RTS is a small device that connects, non-networked devices that support remote indexing and scanning.

Many organizations have remote offices or retail locations that may not be connected to a wide area network. Managing output devices and converting local documents into indexed, digital files from these locations can be costly and hardware intense.

The ArcDrive - RTS payload carries three components:
1. ArcDrive Browser Based Indexing (BBI) allows indexing with barcodes prior to scanning
2. ArcDrive On Demand Sync Folder (ODSF)
3. ArcDrive Data Collection Agent (DCA)

“ArcDrive - RTS brings innovation to the imaging channel by making it easier to monitor remote, stand-alone locations,” said Greg Walters, “ArcDrive - RTS is a front end for document capture and indexing. This is a great solution for remote office or retail locations.”

The ArcDrive models:

ArcDrive
Precision designed appliance supporting advance capture, and managed print services.

ArcDrive – SX
Precision designed appliance with advance capture, on-prem or cloud repository intelligent document workflow, and managed print services.

ArcDrive - RTS
Manage satellite offices, printers, and provide remote capture and indexing.

ArcDrive is easy to use, affordable and establishes providers as an integral part of their customers' business process.

Visit TheArcDrive.com or reach out directly at greg@grwalters.com.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

MPSA webinar, "MPS What Went Wrong?"


I just attended the MPSA webinar, "MPS What Went Wrong?"

Gleaned Tidbits:

1. Comp plans helped kill MpS. It is more difficult to sell MpS when working within a copier based comp plan. Why don't reps receive residuals on MpS contracts? If you say, "they'll stop selling..." you've got a hiring problem as well as an ineffective compensation plan.

2. Although there is a global decline in output, the panelists, are not seeing a big decrease in the SMB. Actually, some SMB's increase output with new MpS engagements.

3. Not much has changed since 2011. This is my personal observation. Although the panel consisted of some of the brightest minds in MpS, the subject matter was a product of some sort of time-loop. We could have and may have, hosted an identical webinar back in 2012. What does this mean? It could reflect new players in the MpS realm or it could mean that few folks jumped on the MpS train back in 2009, or MpS is still elusive.

What is my big take-away????? #ArcDrive.
greg@grwalters.com

Now is the time for an MpS solution that combines all facets and disciplines into one, affordable, easy to use platform. #ArcDrive Now.

Monday, July 8, 2019

#ArcDrive: Thirty Day Report


TeamArcDrive.

#ArcDrive has been alive for a month, launching June 6, 2019.

We planned on measuring interest after the first 30 days to gauge moving forward or if nobody responded, scraping the idea completely.

We did not expect to sell any units in the first 30 days for two reasons:
  1. We didn't know if the concept of #ArcDrive would resonate
  2. We did not have logo-plates designed or manufactured(no, really. We didn't want any #ArcDrives to go out without proper logo's)
The good news is, interest is going through the roof.  But as you all know, 'interest' doesn't pay the internet bill, does it?

Some interesting process innovations, realizations, and milestones in the first 30 days of existence:

  • We've sold units.  
  • Team ArcDrive is solidified and growing.  
  • Thirty days ago, our innovation path included adding to the #ArcDrive payload in Q1, 2020.  Instead, we're adding to the solution stack in Q4, 2019.
  • Interested dealers are nudging us into "up-scoping" #ArcDrive - so we've added an entire EDM module while maintaining affordability.
  • We've come to realize that our offering is a new category in the internet of things realm in both the 'fog' and 'edge' computing layer. (Google it)
  • Validation of #ArcDrive's supporting belief that "the big are getting bigger, pricing the independent dealers out of SMB advance capture/EDM solutions.' (Ricoh/DocuWare)
  • Validation that dealers and their sales team are comfortable talking about business solutions that reside on the physical plane, not the ethereal.

I guess I could go on...but I won't

Email me.

Let me get the team together so we can discuss how defiant #ArcDrive will help you "Protect your Base, Establish Income Streams and Increase Monthly Recurring Revenue."

Enjoy.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Training: Let It Begin Here



#ImagingChannel, wanna talk about sales training? I know you do...

#ArcDrive sales training is not about the product, our sales training is about solving business problems.  Yes, I know that's what you tell the new copier salespeople but you still expect 2-15 units sales a month.

I know you've heard about solution selling for years; your OEM wants you to sell his equipment so he trains you about his embedded apps and calls it a 'solution' - but the great, big machine with tiny app's is not a solution, it is a boat anchor.

When the big document management companies train your sales team, is it a product show? - "this is how you index a document...this is how a workflow is designed...see how easy it is for us to read a hot folder..." or a "how to solve business problems" show?

Don't get me started on Managed print Services sales training - the mission and vision were lost back in 2010. ( https://lnkd.in/gaByXsG )

Because #ArcDrive converges multiple disciplines, our sales training process is not about "keystrokes" it is about selling answers to real business problems.

Owners, do you understand? Do you have the eyes to see the #ArcDrive difference?

It's right there.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

#Ricoh/DocuWare: Another Reason for ArcDrive


I've been kicking around ideas for a response to the Ricoh/DocuWare situation which is similar to the DEX/Staples maneuver, which is like the PrintFleet/FMAudit/PrintAudit/ECi thing, which smells like the Kyocera/DataBank(OnBase) that reminds me of the Ricoh/Ikon and HP/Samsung spectacles.

Lot's of copiers dying out there.

I know dealers that sell DocuWare, but are HUGE KM providers. Huh, how's it feel knowing your DocuWare clients woke up one morning as Ricoh customers? Yeah, hurry up and become a Ricoh reseller. Really?

Is your prospect an OnBase candidate? No problem, just forward the company name, and contact information over to your OEM, they'll qualify, design a solution, present, close and send your pittance. Congratulations, you are now a sales force for your OEM. Resistance is futile.

Do you like your DCA? How are those Windows updates working for you? And didn't somebody, somewhere say, "nothing will change".  How's that rate increase feel? No biggie, just switch to one of the other DCA's.  Oh...yeah...nevermind.

Friday, June 28, 2019

#ArcDrive: Interview on P4P Hotel with Art Post



Art Post was one of the first people out on the internet, writing and posting content around copiers and copier sales.

His site, P4P Hotel is an industry standard.

It is always fun to catch up with Art and talk about the old days.

I am thankful for his friendship over the years and honored by his interest and this interview.

###

If you follow industry press releases like me then you're aware that the King of MPS aka Greg Walters recently released his Arc Drive. Yes, I was curious as to what is the Arc Drive and what does it do?

A few nights ago Greg and chatted about Arc Drive and below is how our chat went.

Art: Hey Greg, okay first question for you, where the heck is Oconomowoc, Wisconsin?

Greg: It’s in between Madison and Milwaukee in lake country. A quaint town, there are 12 bars within a square mile or so. I occasionally write about the town, https://ocondomowoc.com/

Art: Is an Indian word that’s used for your town?

Greg: Yes, that’s right.

Art: Do you know what that translates to in English, I’m betting it means land of managed print, right?

Read the rest, here.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Friday, June 14, 2019

#ArcDrive Event June 18, 10Am - 11AM Pacific Time.


Learn more about ArcDrive.

"ArcDirve: The ultimate sophistication"

ArcDrive is affordable, simple to sell, easy to install and a breeze to use.

ArcDrive helps dealers defend their base, add streams of income and enhance repeatable revenue.

ArcDrive is the convergence of managed print services, advance capture, and intelligent workflow tools, embedded in a secure appliance.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

#ArcDrive, seven days after introduction. What's the word, so far?



So far, the word is positive.

We’ve conducted multiple demonstrations (an average of three per day since the rollout).

We’ve had interest from all over the country and across the globe (Dublin, South Africa, and Namibia).

Although not all meetings and discussions were perfect, overall feedback is very impressive. Just like you, I ask a few assessment questions at the beginning of a discussion.

This is a sample of what dealers are saying at the very beginning of our meetings:

Friday, June 7, 2019

Become #ArcDriveCrazy




"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently 

-- they're not fond of rules... 

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them 

-- because they change things... 

they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, 

-- are the ones who do."



Be an ArcDrive Crazy.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

ArcDrive Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Greg Walters
June 6, 2019 262-370-4193 or greg@grwalters.com

ArcDrive Delivers Converged Advance Capture, Intelligent Workflow, and Managed Print Services

Oconomowoc, Wi. – Greg Walters Inc. today launched a new entry into the office technology channel that will revolutionize the MPS market for the independent dealer channel. ArcDrive is a self-contained, converged solution stack that will allow vendors to initiate or build out managed print services (MPS) engagements.

A cutting-edge appliance embedded with advanced capture, intelligent workflow, data collection, remote monitoring and automatic supplies fulfillment software, ArcDrive is a small box that can be attached to a network or used as a standalone workstation and provides SharePoint or hybrid storage on the device or through the cloud.

“Since 2009, I’ve promoted managed print services as a bridge to managed IT and, ultimately, managing the Internet of Things,” said Greg Walters, the creator of ArcDrive. “I believe MPS, electronic document management (EDM) and IT asset management should be under one umbrella. ArcDrive is the realization of this concept. All the tools that you typically think of with an entry-level document management system and MPS program are embedded on this device.”

"Today, our industry is transforming like never before. Independent dealers are joining together to form large networks, OEMs are shifting go-to-market strategies, software companies are converging,” said Walters. “ArcDrive will help independent dealers protect their base, establish new income streams and increase monthly recurring revenue.”

ArcDrive is available today with MPS, advanced capture and intelligent workflow software. Future releases will incorporate network probe, RFID, ITIL real-time asset management and a single-pane interface.

Greg Walters is available for media interviews. He can be reached at greg@grwalters.com For more information, visit TheArcDrive.com.

D-Day. 75 Years Ago

#ArcDrive
"Why did you choose June 6th as your announcement day?"
"Because without D-Day, there would be no ArcDrive."
I mean it.

D-Day turned the tide.  From that day till the end of the war, the Nazi's were in retreat, receding across Europe, all the way back to the heart of Germany.

Easy Company, Eagle's Nest.
If Hitler had defeated US and allied forces, the world would have gone off the rails into a completely different direction - we wouldn't be who we are today.

To some, 75 years seems so far away.  Times change, technology marches, but people never really change - good and bad.

Take a moment today to remember D-Day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989


June 5, 1989.  I remember watching this on TV.  

Students held a sit-in at Tiananmen Square.  Peaceful, yet doomed from the very beginning.  Troops opened fire and quelled the protest.

China in 1989 was a Communist realm.
China in 2019 is a Communist realm.

Events like this seem impossible today.  Unfortunately, repeat situations are just a mouse-click away.

Remember Tank Man.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Convergence Chat with Greg - #Imaging Channel, Fall in Love Again.


Do you remember your first time?

Remember configuring the first #copier, late at night for a morning delivery? Staying up past midnight, attaching the finisher, paper drawers, ADF, and large capacity paper tray?

Remember the first time you forgot to order a stair climber or tile protection? How about the time you used the forklift to deliver an Oce up to the second floor?

Did your heart sink when that toner spilled out on the floor during your demo?

You fell in love with it, all of it. You fell in love with watching your employees and customers evolve. Memories of the small office Christmas parties, new babies, and hiring your nephew, still warms your heart.

Your vision, your idea, your business.  Partnering with hardware vendors who worked with and valued your relationship.

It's easy to say those days are long gone - one time partners are wily competitors, rivals have turned into arch enemies and the elusive client doesn't fall for stunts, techniques or bloated copier deals.

It's tough.



"The first rule of flying? Love. Love keeps her in the air when she outta fall down..."

Love what you do, again. Love bringing your customers something new, shiny, again.

It's called #ArcDrive and it's new, fun, easy, familiar, sophisticated and for you.

Fall in love again, #ArcDrive.com


Monday, June 3, 2019

#Convergence...The #Wedge, Newport Beach, CA.


There is this place, a special place, a man-made nexus in Southern California called The Wedge. Locals know. Tourists rarely get there. A point where waves come in two directions, converge with outgoing flows to create large waves very close to shore.

Bodyboards are the safest, but surfer-dudes can't pass up storm-induced sets. People have died here. For a summer, I lived on Balboa, the Wedge was walking distance away. #Turbulance and #Convergence are natural and man-influenced phenomena. At the time, I didn't realize the significance; only today do I recognize the simile:

The dealer channel is in the middle of the maelstrom and has always surfed the Wedge. 55-degree salt water, ear's full of sand, and the possibility of ultimate elimination does not stop you.

You hit the sets every, single morning. Who is there with you? Does your body-board manufacturer tell you how to set up for a wave? Are your board shorts too tight or heaven forbid, too lose?

Do surf-vendors tell surfers how to surf?

#ArcDrive #copiers #managedprintservices #DCAMonopoly #ExpensiveScanning



Friday, May 31, 2019

"You Gave Up a Steady Paycheck...Maybe It's Not Worth It."

I'd never heard of Keap.com but the video caught my eye.

Whoever produced this hit the nail on the head for the SMB. The Keap offering is a #Converged solution stack of services on one platform.  Designed to help businesses stay in business, the accompanying script is full of doubter cliches.

QUOTES WE'VE ALL HEARD:
  • "Hey, listen. Maybe owning a business is too much to handle right now."
  • "You gave up a steady paycheck to chase this dream. Maybe it's not worth it."
  • "Do you have any idea how hard it is to find new clients these days?"
  • "It's great that you took the risk but it's time to admit it's not working."
  • "I know you're passionate about this...I know you gave it your best shot but maybe it's time...to get a real job."

Friday, May 24, 2019

Memorial Day - What Does it Mean?



You could google it.

You could look it up.

You could go to the VFW and ask.

Maybe check out those guys riding motorcycles from Arizona to DC - they have a message.

Memorial Day in the USA. What is it?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

New to Copier Sales: What’s This Thing Called #ManagedPrintServices?


Once, long ago, “managed print services” (MPS) was considered an outlier, something in which only the fringe of our industry would participate. Today, you’ll see an MPS offering on every website and run into clients who know all about the various programs. What’s more, the realm is chock full of managed print content and training sessions, so, for now, I’ll just give an elementary description of today’s managed print services sales.

Let’s start with a quick definition of managed print services from the Managed Print Services Association:

“The active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information, including input and output devices.”

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Who Is #Greg_Walters: 2011


I was digging around some old stuff when I ran across this interview.  This was written and aired back in 2011 on the old "The Imaging Channel" website.

Cracks me up!

###






Most of us know Greg Walters … or at least we know a little bit about him. We’re familiar with his blog, The Death of the Copier (DOTC), and the scantily clad ladies of said blog. We recognize his bandana and Harley Davidson. We know he’s opinionated and passionate about MPS. But we here at TIC Talk wanted to know more …

TIC: Do you have a “real” job? If so, what is it?
Greg: Yes, I have a “real” job as the MPS Practice Manager at SIGMAnet, a 25-year-old, West Coast VAR.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Friday, May 3, 2019

How We Choose Wine


The viticultural libation is as timeless as love and life. The Romans did it. Indeed, Roman soldiers were required to drink a minimum of one liter of wine per day. The Greeks invented the god of wine, Dionysus and Jesus made wine from water.

Like water, wine is a global constant and the altered consciousness achieved by consumption has been considered religious since its origin. I think the mass consumption of wine traces back to medieval urban areas and the lack of clean water.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

LinkedIn is NOT personal branding.

https://ocondomowoc.com/

http://www.grwalters.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregwalters/

"LinkedIn is NOT the internet." -

New to Copier Sales: What’s This Thing Called Managed IT Services?


Managed services is referred to by various names — managed IT services, managed network services, MNS, etc. But no matter what you know it as, managed services is the hottest thing since managed print services.

As a new copier rep, you may not initially hear much about managed services, but it is the next evolutionary step in the copier industry. The industry has developed repeatable revenue models around hardware, and for those who wish to survive, we’ll shift this model into different areas, or “anything as a service” (XaaS). Down the street copier reps should get familiar with MS basics.

Let’s start with a definition of managed services. According to Wikipedia, managed services is “the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis certain processes and functions intended to improve operations and cut expenses. It is an alternative to the break/fix or on-demand outsourcing model where the service provider performs on-demand services and bills the customer only for the work done.”

Friday, April 19, 2019

Over Complicating Workflow… Again.



2013, Workflow

Back in my IKON daze (pun intended), one of the best sales managers I ever worked with told me, “Sometimes we overcomplicate things. It’s just copiers.” He was referring to an inability to close any deal that included EDM in less than 90 days.

He was right. We often did overcomplicate transactions beyond lease payments and cost per image in an effort to branch out into more “sophisticated” imaging subject matter, adding value and becoming a “trusted advisor.”

"Reversing deforestation is complicated; planting a tree is simple." 
- Martin O'Malley

Did the discussion of document management enhance our ability to close a five-person church? No.

Did talking about moving from printed pick-lists to digital images elevate the discussion, enhance our position and add 120 days to the selling cycle? You betcha.

But the point still held. Overcomplicating transactions by...

Read the rest, here.


###

Remember the old DOTC?

Simple is better than complicated...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

American Oak, The British Navy And Scotch


To be aged in bourbon barrels is the ‘hot’ thing in libation. From tequila to Worcestershire sauce, the finishing qualities of used bourbon barrels permeates a plethora of consumables.

But why and how did this ‘fad’ take off?

First, aging in used barrels is not new. Indeed, the practice of re-using casks goes back a millennia.

Contemporary usage owes to these basic influences:

The British Navy

The Frugal Scotts

Taste

The British Navy

From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the United Kingdom ruled the seas with the largest navy ever assembled. It took 3,400 oak trees to build one 74 gun ship-of-the- line consuming massive quantities of oak forests thus leaving little, if any, wood for coopers.


On the other side of the channel, the French built many ships, but implemented a conservation program of their oak forests - France is geographically three times as large as the UK. This meant France had local resources to make barrels needed to ferment wines.

Meanwhile, the cheeseparing Scotts, were busy making whiskey aged in port and sherry casks but early in the nineteenth century, port and sherry exports increased, sending casks abroad, never to be seen again: The source of cheap barrels was strained.

So manufacturing new barrels was difficult because of reduced resources and it was cheaper to recycle used casks.

Taste

The usage of aged casks enhanced the taste of wines and spirits by adding a sweetness or covering imperfections. Over time, the universal palate grew to expect a sweet and more complex nuance brought on by previously used barrels.

Enter the Americans

Whiskey made in Kentucky was packaged in large oak casks to be shipped down the Mississippi River (see our piece on Jefferson Ocean) or to the East Coast. Whiskey aged on the trip and were bottled at port, leaving a plethora of vacant, oak barrels.

It Was Cost

The Scots needed cheap barrels, the Americans had plenty of white oak forests, shipping empty casks back to the distillery was cost prohibitive, selling used barrels is an additional revenue stream and people look forward to the enhanced taste of oak aged drams.

Simple formula.

CubeSats, Ion drives, and the Internet of Space


Thousands of small satellites, circling the globe maintaining geosynchronous orbit.  Quarter sized thrusters hold these nano-boxes in place. Engineered like microchips, one thruster contains a grid of 500 needles — each a solar powered, custom-built nozzle generating ion sprays.

Not science fiction.


"CubeSats" are small ( 4 in × 4 in × 4 in) satellites, launched in space, in a low-Earth orbit - as of January, 2019, there have been 1,000 cubesats launched.

These devices are cheap and with newly developed 'fusion engines', they have the ability to remain in place or move to a different location.  Applications range from communications to giant, space-born, billboard signs.

The copier industry was the vanguard of connected devices(M2M) and we should be looking for future avenues of growth.

Imagine 5 or 6 or 7G connectivity speeds running on a mesh of cubesats.  Imagine all things connected; plants, paint, elevators, RFID, CCTV, and yes, even one or two remaining photocopiers.

Perhaps the Internet of Space is hyperbole.

I'm sure there were doubters and naysayers when the first copier connected to a thing called the "network".  Either way, is connectivity the 'manifest destiny' of our time?

"Manifest Destiny held that the United States was destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent." - History Channel


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New to #Copier Sales? What’s Going on In Your New Industry?



You’re hearing a great deal about “disruption” in the copier niche — but it’s actually turbulence, not disruption. A cursory look back through our history reveals that manufacturers digesting competitors and dealers coagulating together is the normal state of affairs. Whether Ricoh/Lanier, Ikon, Ricoh/Ikon, Canon/Océ, Global, Xerox/Global, HP/Samsung, Staples/DEX, Flex, Pulse, POA, Gorden Flesch, Marco or dozens more, acquisitions and mergers occur what seems almost daily. The rate has accelerated but the process has been the same. Like galactic space, the expansion and contraction is eternal.

Today, every dealer is looking for a way to deal with a declining industry by offering new services, or through merger or acquisition, and when it comes to attracting outside funding or merger candidates, the window is closing.

And that’s OK; it is the way of things.

Here are some ideas for a newbie to copier sales:

“Ignorance is bliss”

I’m not recommending you shove your head in the sand and ignore the reality that is the copier industry circa 2019 — we are ALL experiencing external pressures on our everyday lives. Focusing on what we can influence, like cold calls and presentations, has always been the best approach. Go about your routines and keep an ear to the ground. Establish a network of contacts inside and outside the industry and always be improving your personal business acumen. If you are working for a family-owned dealership but are not in the family, keep your options open.

“Business as usual”

Staff reductions and reduced real-estate footprints are frequent. Smaller dealers are being gobbled up by bigger organizations every day. Still, the standard press release after a merger or acquisition relates something along the lines of, “We look forward to offering our clients exceptional service during this transition,” which is a true statement. But looking back in time, it’s easy to find examples of mergers and acquisitions initially removing redundant functions, then ultimately reducing costs through staff write-downs; it is a consistent formula.

Concentrate on your 30-day cycle — that’s the best thing to do. Keep the sales coming in, and maintain your personal standing. But don’t stop there. Build out your LinkedIn presence and be more than just a lurker.

Contribute on social media without being a sycophant, and crystalize your personal brand, not your current employer.

“Will I have a job 12 months from now?”

In copier sales there is a magical milestone: to see if you can make it through the first 12 months of your copier sales career. So make it through. Sell stuff while learning your business processes and client digital transformation experiences. Work with your...

Read the rest, here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

New to Copier Sales: Evolving Into an Advisor


One of the milestones of moving from a newbie to a seasoned veteran is your ability to present yourself as a colleague to your prospects. One catchphrase I’m sure you’re hearing is “consultative selling.” The phrase is a bit disingenuous as it refers to giving prospects advice on how to best utilize your offering when solving business problems.

Indeed, consultants (i.e. advisors) receive compensation for knowledge shared, not the number of devices placed. The word “consultant” infers an air of neutrality without bias. You are advising. A sales manager, on the other hand, is extremely biased — there’s no neutrality in sales.

The best way to gain your prospect’s trust is to offer advice without expectations. For instance, when a prospect has an issue with their fleet of trucks, selling them a 50 ppm device isn’t going to help them get the oil changed.

On the other hand, because you’ve been asking all your other clients and prospects about their businesses, and you know one of your contacts repairs trucks for a living — and is good at it— you can simply forward their contact information to the prospect in need. Do things like this without expecting a payback, and you’ll be on your way to being seen as a trusted advisor in no time.

The concept is simple, but there are many characteristics to consider when becoming an advisor. Here are three of the most important:

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Seven Reasons to Go to #ITEX2019 & The One Reason I'm Not.

ITEX -2019

Every show or conference is a logistics nightmare - from booth set-up and break-down to hotel rooms, flights and presentation equipment, wether you're speaking, attending or managing the show - the undertaking is huge.

Cudo's out to the conference management team; I'm sure the show will be everything expected, and more.

Here are my Seven Reasons to attend ITEX 2019:

  1. Ray Stasieczko - pitching his transformation group
  2. Greg VanDeWalker - from MPS to MS, this guy knows how to finance in both niches
  3. David Ramos - opinionated, seasoned industry sage, David has the data
  4. Patricia Ames - from the very beginning, Patricia has been there, seen that, wrote the article
  5. Randy Dazo - another data-miner, and industry pundit
  6. Kevin DeYoung - real-world, MPS first adapter, Kevin burns the ships on the beach
  7. Jerry Newberry - cost data from the beginning of time, presented for easy consumption
Seven speakers I am familiar, have heard speak and regard highly. If you're going, make sure to catch their sessions.

The other day, I was speaking with a few colleagues when one asked, "Greg, are you going to ITEX this year?"

Me, "No."

Them, "Why"

Me, "I've already been to ITEX..."






#SalesDifferentiation: What Makes You, You?


Another theme in the recent "sales revolution" is "differentiation".

I remember back in the olden days of sales, whenever a trainer would ask a new sales rep, "What makes your company different from your competitors?" undoubtably, the newbie would spit out, "My company has me as your sales person.  The biggest difference between my company and my competitors is Me!"

Back then, this response was a major Fail.

Irony -

Today, building your personal brand is more important than building your employer's brand.  Today, when you become an "expert in your field" YOU add value to your employer.

So, if every other sales rep become more authentic, more serving, and less speeds and feeds oriented, one day, everyone will still be saying the same thing in the same manner.

For the ultimate diversification, I go back to acquiring Business Acumen.  Acumen cannot be commoditized - your specific history, the path you've traveled while acquiring knowledge is yours and yours alone.

Do this:

  1. Learn from all your prospects
  2. Read general business books
  3. Study impact of technology on your dealership
If you haven't started acquiring knowledge, get to it,  today.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

#ManagedPrintServices Leads the Way



I've been a party to a few discussions regarding the consolidation currently underway in our little niche and the mention of Managed Print Services surprised me. Specifically, how MPS is so attractive when it comes to outside money and the future.

HP mentioned MPS as a foundational pillar in their future - as a matter of fact - HP is looking to transition transactional supplies into contractual relationships; Managed Print Services.(Who woulda thunk?)

Staples undoubtably understands the value of acquiring an entity transformed from transactional to contractual.

Makes sense, doesn't it?

Office Depot, HP, Staples are large players in a shrinking pool of opportunity. They are experiencing extreme pressures on the down-side of the demand curve. Unfortunately, nobody is creating more clicks or images - print/copy demand is submerging but they've got to fight on. Slugging each other for fewer and fewer images.

What about outside niches? What other industries are trying to climb out of the product-centric mindset, just now realizing remote monitoring/connectivity helps shift from product to service? Are these industries looking at our MPS as a model? Does the imaging industry's journey from box-moving to 'as-a-service' stand as an example?

What do you know about "Edge Computing"?

What if I could show you a "DCA" that see's employees as they walk to and from the copier or use a conference room? In real time? Imagine the impact of knowing how many times employees stop at the water cooler or collect faxes. Or how often an expensive conference room is not used or tracking newborn movements within a hospital. It is far and away from print, but not much removed from a print DCA.

To think all this cool stuff comes from the humble managed print services philosophy -

Managed Print Services is:

"The active management and optimization of document output devices and associated business processes." http://yourmpsa.org/


This definition is genius. Substitute, any type of hardware for "document output". Get it?

It works for coffee, water, tele-health, elevators, facility management, data centers, energy management, lighting, the list goes on forever, this is the triumph and tragedy of managed print services. Triumphant for those very few who adopted MPS, easily rolling into adjacent XaaS. Tragic for all the folks who did not embrace the future or quit after one try.

The time to get into MPS was 2011 - if you hurry, you might catch the last train out.

* I've helped many dealerships make the transition from boxes to services. It is not easy requires complete buy-in from your entire team, but just might give you a competitive edge and attract the right outside influence.

Need help, call me.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

#SolutionSelling is Dead



“Business acumen” (BA) selling is what your prospects want today.

You’ve heard them all:

“Tell a story.”
“Use LinkedIn.”
“Sell the sizzle.”
“Sell our solutions.”
“Cold calling works.”
“It’s a numbers game.”
“Put that coffee down.”
“Email follow-up works.”
“Sell on social networks.”
“Research your prospects.”
“Reach the decision maker.”
“Present like a professional.”
“Increase your efforts by 10.”
“Become the trusted advisor.”
“Develop your personal brand.”
“Learn how to demo your devices.”
“Enhance the customer experience.”
“Probe for weaknesses, confirm, trial close, handle objections and present our solution.”

It’s all standard sales jargon — beware the cliché.

As a new copier rep, you’ll be forced to endure hours of being taught every selling technique ever created. You may find them new, but these schemes are timeless; repeated through the eons. And that is the problem. These standards are not nostalgic or even proven — they are old-fashioned. Prospects today learn product details without attending manufacturer-sponsored classes. The basic elements of a sale remain the same: We exchange value for value given. This will never change. What has transformed is the volume of relevant information available to your prospects.

Sure, to be successful you’ve got to understand your product. But viewing your clients’ businesses holistically and effectively communicating your real-world understanding of them is the way forward. The future is business acumen selling.

This is a high-end concept, and it becomes more relevant every day. As prospects gain knowledge, the typical sales person degrades in value.

So don’t be typical.

Knowing good business practices, basic operational procedures and... read the rest here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

#Bourbon Aged at Sea


Jefferson Ocean, bourbon aged at sea.

Visit Vino Etc., in downtown Oconomowoc(a.k.a, The Five O’s, O to the 5th, Ocondomowoc) and you’ll find more than an unpretentious selection of wine. You’ll discover over 45 different bourbons.

Top left is Jefferson Ocean - bourbon aged at sea. I know you might be thinking, ‘aging bourbon on a ship is a marketing ploy.' But it's not, it isn’t even original. The folks at Jefferson take bourbon aged for 8 years and roll them on ships to travel the world for three years. The idea sparked when the team was drinking bourbon onboard a ship back in the day. They noticed how the liquid sloshed back and forth in glasses; how would this work while in barrels?


In 2012, five barrels of Jefferson's were placed on a vessel for a three year voyage, crossing through the Panama Canal six times.

The resulting juice was incredible - “toasted, caramel, popcorn”. The variance in temperature - arctic to tropic - and the motion of the ocean - back and forth - helped the liquid expand and contract into the charred oak barrels producing a unique, dark and flavorful nectar.

Today, ships carry 8 year old bourbon bound for 30 ports, five continents, and traversing the equator five times. There are 180 barrels on the ocean at all time.


Placing bourbon on barges and ships is nothing new.

Originally, when bourbon produced in Kentucky was distributed to the rest of the country, barrels were loaded on barges and ships, sent down the Ohio and Mississippi river to New Orleans. Once there, either opened and consumed or shipped around Florida, ending up in where the majority of the US populace resided. Indeed, the founder of Jefferson’s bourbon, Trey Zoeller, believes what made whiskey so popular in Kentucky was the added taste acquired during the trip from New Orleans.

Whiskey picks up more flavor from the wood, and the salt air is breathed in by the barrel, giving a slight salty taste. Additionally, each voyage turns out a unique taste profile - imagine the difference in weather, ocean motion, and overall environmental influence from trip to trip. The current 17th journey is different from voyage two or three.

Neat, whiskey rocks or a cube, bourbon is to be enjoyed over good conversation with new acquaintances and lifetime friends. Visit Vino, Etc. and explore one of the over 45 different bourbons, including Jefferson's Ocean - check out Voyage 17. ​



The Jefferson’s Ocean tale could stop with the story about a boys trip in Costa Rica - but it doesn’t end there. The first, three year, experimental voyage was conducted on an oceanic research vessel, the MV OCRECH. Today, four barrels traverse the worlds oceans, while the MV OCRECH collects data and increases the sample size of Great White Shark research.

"Research expeditions are conducted aboard the M/V OCEARCH, which serves as an at-sea laboratory. The M/V OCEARCH is powered by Caterpillar engines and offers a 75,000 lb. capacity hydraulic platform designed to safely lift mature sharks out of the ocean for access by a multi-disciplined research team to conduct 12 studies in 15 minutes. OCEARCH has partnered with 157 researchers from 83 regional and international institutions.” - Jefferson’s Ocean webpage.