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?

But if you want to get a feel for the real holiday, check these movies for the weekend:

  • Saving Private Ryan
  • A Bridge Too Far
  • Taking Chance
  • Last Flag Flying
  • Section 60: Arlington National Cemetary
  • Band of Brothers, entire series

I add Casablanca.

I know this is the first weekend of the American Summer - new movies, music, barbecues and lake time...I get it.

Before you hit the beer and the libations, go to the nearest Memorial or VFW and give thanks. Give thanks for the ones who gave everything so you could cold call on a Monday, or close on the 29th of the month.

If not for them...

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.”

That’s a big phrase for a new copier salesperson. At the basic level, MPS comes down to helping your clients manage the hardware, service and supplies of all their copiers and printers. There can be much more to MPS than simply delivering toner. More advanced MPS programs can include advance capture, document management and business process optimization — subjects to be considered down the road.

For example, much like a standard copier service... Read the rest here.

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.



Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The #SalesRevolutionRebellion Is a Farce

The fake "sales revolution" attacks symptoms, not the cause.




"Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."

Rebels and Revolutions - 



When individuals declare independence from tyranny, they put their lives, and the lives of their families on the line, risking everything for revolution, for future generations' independence.

For freedom.

Today, there's talk of a "Sales Revolution". Insurgents take to the nearest pulpit espousing "changing the way sales is done..." by being open, real, authentic, a trusted advisor, partnering to solve client problems - not a con-man.  Noble efforts.

For them, its not nine to five; it's always to always, elevator pitches, value propositions and increasing effort 10 fold.

There are literally THOUSANDS of sales coaches and trainers in the world today.

Here are a few of folks I respect and follow. Some are calling for sales a "revolution".  A few pitch themselves as 'rebels', "Leading the Sales Revolution":

All are passionate and committed to their speciality contributing great content to the realm.

But -

EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF SELLING ADVICE IS MISSING THE POINT.

I'm not recommending the current sales training and consulting efforts are not valid.  I'm just saying there is so much more that can be done to 'save the industry'.

Of Smoke and Ice -

"Speeds, Feeds, Quota's, Commissions, Solutions. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."



The sales revolution is an insidiousness movement because it is based on truth. Bad sales skills, low motivation, poor relationship building, aggressive attitudes, boring pitches, tedious corporate introductions, unoriginal talk-tracks, are real, yet each a  SYMPTOM of the sickness, not the cause -  - indeed, going to war against "bad selling practices" amounts to self-hate.

We're revolting against the wrong enemy.

The Real Monster -

"Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, HP, Lexmark. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."


The idea simple, the mission tragic - manufacturers' selling models must be taken down, defeated.  While we fight among ourselves over who can save selling, the real archenemy plods forward, assimilating more and more into its ranks.

Break The Wheel

WE DON'T NEED A SALES TRAINING REVOLUTION, WE NEED A REVOLUTION AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT.

It's the OEMs who push equipment quotas down the channel, and not just copier OEMs - every manufacturer has the same, Materials Resource Planning (MRP) based systems.

The model utilizes the following:

  • MRP based quotas
  • "Fear Uncertainty and Doubt"
  • Purposely confusing and ever shifting, commission plans
  • "Kill it and Grill it" mentality
  • Adversarial Selling construct 
  • "Where there is mystery, there is margin"
  • "67% of sales people do not reach quota"
  • Features and benefits training
  • Solution Selling
  • Sales Techniques...
A real Revolution(with a capital R) doesn't attack the symptoms, it takes on the creators of the Wheel. The hierarchies are organically crumbling, digitally transforming - gravity is drawing the towers down, but they fight.

As long as we continue to harp on old fashioned ideas, as long as we concentrate on "new", non-standard training topics, we keep the chaos going - and that's just fine with the zombie kings. The dusted off,  selling retreads are like 'opiates for the masses' keeping the "little people" hypnotized in their insecurities.

Do you want to lead a true revolution?  Then revolt against:

  • Stodgy commission structures
  • Outdated quota schemes
  • Product based, solution selling
  • OEM dogma
Are you a self-proclaimed leader of the revolution?  Then:

  • Produce video's telling the establishment to stop pushing old fashioned ideas and programs.
  • Write articles outlining the challenges of terrible infrastructure and processes.
  • Establish standard, salary influencing, sales training certifications.
Embark the battle between independent selling professionals and corporate structures - it is time.

Unfortunately,  this two dimensional skirmish is nothing compared to what's coming.  The next titan of turbulence holds enough power to wash away 50% of the sales universe.






Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Conversations with Your Prospects: Is Your #MPS #Sales Approach Missing the Mark?


My name is Greg Walters and I’ve worked in the technology sector since 1988. I've sold and configured and installed networks, accounting software, servers, PCs, laptops, manufacturing systems, corporate identity programs, copiers, EDM, BPO, Scan/Fax/Print, managed print and IT services.

Since 2007, I’ve helped providers build managed print practices, more importantly, I’ve assisted corporations (your prospects) design, build and implement self-managed MPS programs. I’ve been shoulder to shoulder with my clients (your prospects), in Canon, Ricoh, Lexmark, HP, Staples, Xerox and dealer MPS presentations. I’ve seen the best manufacturers have to offer and helped my clients choose the right partner. I’ve also been privy to the conversations and critiques from clients after each vendor presentation – I’ve heard some pretty enlightening things.

Whatever category the dealership falls into – copier, MPS, Managed IT—and whether the job title reads account representative or Vice President of Sales, these mistakes were made by the most seasoned MPS representatives.

Read the rest, here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New to Copier Sales: You're Not the Boss of Me


Over the years, I have worked with dozens of sales managers. Unfortunately, I can only count two who possessed a skillset above and beyond that of a typical manager. The terrible managers shared a plethora of common traits — boorish, disengaged, privileged, etc. But the best managers also shared characteristics and habits:

They didn’t perform the salesperson’s job — like filling out paperwork — when it would have been more expedient to do so.

They knew how to play office politics to the benefit of the sales department while supporting company goals.

Although they possessed selling skills, they were not selling managers.

They didn’t use foul language and bully people into submission.

At the very top of the heap, the best managers will remove obstacles to your personal success. This is key. A great sales manager limits nonselling activities like vendor training, administration meetings, sales meetings and irrelevant paperwork. Additionally, a good sales manager keeps your service manager on top of installs, handles accounts receivable issues and works for you when commissions are calculated.

Read the rest, here.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Why did #WashingtonPost Choose Oklahoma Bombing Over 9/11 Towers?


"The Washington Post's moving Super Bowl ad uses the power of Tom Hanks' voice to defend journalism..."
-Marcus Gilmer, Mashable, February 3, 2019

How bad has it become when the press runs an advertisement promoting and defending...the press?

Pretty bad.

Worse, the self-serving Washington Post missive displays why the Fourth Estate is alienating audiences and losing relevancy.

The minute-long piece begins with a vision of D-Day, scrolling from the Moon to a state funeral and into "When our nation is threatened..."  This is where I stopped paying attention, contemplating the image used to portray "...our nation is threatened...".  Something didn't sit right.  I recognized the site instantly, yet felt those around me would be challenged to remember the historical value.


While Tom Hanks delivers, "When our nation is threatened..." a shot of the 1995 Oklahoma Bombing fades in.

The bombing was a domestically motivated attack on a US government building, carried out by a madman who was caught, tried and executed.

Why use a 1995 incident to depict our nation under threat?

How many viewers recognize this vision?

1995.

Can you think of an image, in this century, that conveys the clear message of "our nation is threatened"? Be assured, the Washington Post engaged a team of highly paid, publicity EXPERTS.  They chose every shot, each word, background audio, musical pace and voice attenuation for a reason - a specific emotional appeal.

Why choose a domestically charged event, 24 years in the past?  Are there no other images that might convey a more poignant message?

Why yes. Yes there are...


A reasonable person would ask, "Why would the Washington Post choose not to use a 9/11 image at this point of the commercial?" Surely, the option was reviewed and rejected.

This is not nuance.

This not an accident.

Perhaps it is simply a reflection of a tone deaf effort - or the output of a nefarious cabal.  There are two ways our nation comes under threat: from the outside and from within.  The Washington Post chose internal danger over external threats, and this is most illuminating.

Does the US media consider internal, domestic challenges greater than global threats?

Or is the media purposefully ignoring external dangers in order to forward an agenda of domestic fear? Perhaps to perpetuate the belief that all the ills in the world are because of the US.

The US public has grown tired to the arrogant, media-state and supporting political players.  It must be striking a chord somewhere in those ivory towers - or else there wouldn't be so many lectures masquerading as commercials this year.

"Knowing empowers us..."


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Another Reason You Don't Need a #Copier



Noodle this: How often do you walk over to a machine, place an original on glass, push a button and make a copy? The archaic organizations, state and local government, schools and churches, need not reply or read on - everyone else, stop and think. How many times a day do you make walk-up copies? “Many.” is the usual answer.

At some point in history, the average copies made per device was around 10k/week. Think about it. Do you copy 10,000 documents a week? Do you know your machine was designed to handle that level of volume? Seriously, take a day or a week and monitor the number of times and document types your staff is copying.

Let’s go deeper.

Observe the grandeur that is your office copier - paper drawers, nearby recycling bin - its big, domineering, and physically impressive. Open the lid. The flat piece of glass is called a “platen”. How big is your platen and when was the last time you used it? How many walk-up, 11x17 copies do you produce in a year?

Deeper, still.

Now, walk over to your accounts payable department, dig through one of those big filing cabinets and find your monthly copier bills - look for the lease invoice. Because you’re with a typical copier provider, finding your lease payment could take a while. I’ll wait…

Still waiting…

Okay, do the math. Why are you paying for features and functions you do not use? Better yet, ask yourself, “Why was I SOLD capabilities I never use?”

When you do make copies, I’m guessing the majority of documents originate outside your organization, are letter size, initiate a process and are finally filed away.

So here’s an idea. When your lease expiration date comes up - you’ll know its close by the increased number of voicemails, unannounced drop-by’s, and invites to 'technology luncheons’ your current copier rep hits you with - go to the inter webs and start pricing out ‘workgroup’ scanners. While you're at it, check into the latest Epson or HP inkjet printers. Why not replace that $200-$400 monthly lease payment with a fast scanner and an efficient printer?

Install a printer and a stand alone scanner.

When the need for an actual, real copy comes up, simply scan the document and print a copy. Now you’ve got a digital version of the original that can be printed or emailed and filed away.

As an added bonus, you've just taken your first baby-steps into the digital workflow realm.

"Everybody from the 313..."

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

#AdvanceCapture: A Simple Thing To Make Your Managed Print Services Better

I get asked this all the time, “What’s new in Managed print services?”

My response, “Nothing.”

Sure, commodity-based service, re-tread billing schemes and dropping margins could be considered ‘new’.  Let’s not forget software's latest consolidation – How comfortable are you with ONE company owning PrintAudit, PrintFleet, & FMAudit?

The internet has added new aspects to sales: Now days customers can know more about your solutions than you do and even purchase supplies on Amazon.

It is hard out here for MPS. I know.

I’ve often suggested providing additional services under the MPS moniker: Behavioral Modification/Rules, folding managed IT into MPS, branching out into other recurring revenue arena’s like water and coffee, even suggesting Telehealth as a growth area.

Some ideas took hold, others really didn’t resonate.  But today, it is difficult to make MPS shinny.  How does one engage more managed print services when there’s nothing new in MPS?  Sell on price - a losing proposition.

Fear not.  

I’ve got a stellar idea for diversification.  One that is not radically different, does not require getting out of your comfort zone and is already proven.

Hang on to your hats – I’m suggesting we embed ‘advance capture’ inside every managed print services contract.

Radical, isn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking, “Advance Capture is too expensive, complicated and time consuming to include in a simple MPS conversation.  Normally, I’d agree with you.  For example, Kofax is a commanding, encompassing, soup to nuts, workflow and capture solution.  Expensive and complicated, it is a powerful robot.  Not something you want to pitch in the 15 to 100 printer deals, right?

Yeah, I know.

I’m suggesting you start selling a package that is really easy to install and use.  One that embeds on a slew of MFP’s, integrates with the biggest EDM systems and works well in the SMB.

Imagine an MPS engagement that includes smart scanning, SharePoint and Office365, connecting  paper-based workflows, inbound emails and faxes to document management systems, databases, corporate file servers and content management applications.   This new type of MPS is more difficult to dislodge (“sticky”) and truly helps your clients beyond proactive monitoring and automatic toner replenishment.

Such a thing might be difficult to believe, but I just got off the phone with somebody who, in twenty minutes, put together a custom proof of concept (not a demo) and after another 22-minute review with a SMB prospect and dealer (remotely) closed a capture and routing engagement. 

It’s easy. It’s proven, affordable and the builds margin.  You remember margin, don’t you?

The name of the package is Scanshare, established in Europe, making its way into the US, and from what I can see, lighting in a bottle:
           
  • Affordable – Purchased, on-premises software.  No license or subscription.
  • Independent – Not caught up in the industry consolidation.
  • Easy to Use – Graphic and simple to set-up
  • Powerful - analyzes, processes and route the digital documents
I like this option for dealers and clients alike.  If you want to learn more, reach out to me directly or hit up my friend Frank Malloch.

Watch this all the way through.  If you don't get it, I hope some day you will.


The creative process. Producing a song or putting together a real, honest, organic solution...it is all the same...

 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Three Ideas for #PersonalBranding on #LinkedIn and Beyond


Everyone is saying "develop your personal brand" - a notion I support.  I just have a simple question:

Who’s Brand is This Anyway?

Consider LinkedIN.  LinkedIN is free, but it will take you at least a couple of evenings at home to get yours profile and page constructed. Next you'll maintain work history, and contribute content, join groups, share experiences, etc. All this activity naturally builds your brand.

With this in mind, why would you agree to fly your employers colors on your personal masthead?  I'm not saying you shouldn't be proud of where you work or the products and services your dealership provides.  I'm just saying promote yourself, not a copier, automobile, manufacturer, device or dealership.

Here are three ideas:

1.  Curate - Be Relevant

Find information that your prospects and customers find relevant. Only you can determine what would be of interest to your clients. I can tell you this much your last big sale, contest win, BLI award or copier release ARE NOT RELEVANT to your prospects.

If you're focusing on the HVAC vertical, join a few industry groups and research industry challenges, find pertinent articles and share with the group.

Important: don't simply repost an article, pull a sentence or two out of the piece, paste above the link and add a word or two of your personal reflections.

2.  Be Who You Are - Human

No matter what you do, be yourself. The world is a stage, I'd rather lose some audience by being authentic than bad acting - be real. Go ahead and post some an article you found interesting although it has nothing to do with your niche.  Be Human.

3.  Branding does not require LinkedIn - Buy "yourname.com"

LinkedIN is NOT the internet and may not be around forever.  Buying a .com and hosting a website/blog is not expensive so go out and get yours.  There are plenty of tools that will help you build a site and running in no time.  Nothing complicated, a simple page with your belief's, core values, profile and contact information. 

These are simple ideas, there are at least 100 others all over the internet.  My strongest recommendation goes back to it being YOUR brand, not your employer.  Show the world who you are, not who you sends you a paycheck.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

10 Things You Should Know When Recruited By a Copier Reseller


In my day, if you wanted a job at a copier dealer, you called them up, made contact, faxed over a resume and went in for an interview.  Back before then, the size of your vehicle dictated a hire. In any case, you would be hired on the spot.

Today, colleges teach selling.  Today, copier dealers hit the recruitment tour, roving from campus to campus, pitching corporate culture, un-capped commissions, advancement, and trips to far away lands.

I still believe the copier industry, even in its last days, is the place to get great sales training, create and hone interpersonal skills and improve the resume for your next position.  

But there is bullshit and it starts with first contact.  Allow me to clear the air -

  • When you hear a recruiter say they sell "Business technology" it means you will be selling copiers.
  • "New Business Development", "Territory Manager", or "Sales Executive" means cold calling, walking the street, and ignoring "No Soliciting" signs. 
  • Attractive recruiters have never sold a thing in their lives except the company they are promoting.
  • Hopefully, nobody is still saying un-capped "commissions".  Who in their right mind would cap commissions?
  • Speaking of commissions, don't worry whatever the recruiter says, you will not hear about 90 days to pay commissions, that other people calculate your commissions, or that you'll be in charge of collecting pass due payments, delivering toner and resolving invoice issues.(over billing)
  • A "Company Car" might mean you'll be driving a billboard sign, between the hours of 7-6 and remotely tracked for speed and location.
  • Sales Training will be like nothing you've been through before. Those college sales classes were just another revenue stream for the university.  Worthless.
  • More training.  Beside learning how to sell, training includes sitting in hours of useless copier functionality classes.  "Did you know our copiers have 'apps'? Just like your phone!" It will be like drinking from a fire hydrant - in Flint, Mi.
  • No such thing as Life Balance. This will not be a 9-5 job, more like 6:30AM to 7:00PM with work to do at home.  When you hear, "We work hard and we play hard." beware.  It typical means you'll work hard and get to see your managers and co-workers drunk or coked out at the company Christmas party.
  • Culture.  Everybody has the best culture, sells the best machines and incorporates the best sales process.  Take it with a grain of salt.
Ten quick points to keep in mind the next time a copier, I mean, Technology Company sets up a table at the university recruiting show.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Advice for New Copier Sales Reps: Evolving Into a Peer


A catchphrase you are going to hear a lot in the sales field is “trusted advisor.”

This cliché is thrown around like it is a simple thing to acquire; as if introducing yourself as a “trusted advisor” is enough. What does that mean and what does it take to be a trusted advisor? It takes time in front of as many prospects as possible.

I’ve seen the best salespeople establish themselves as a trusted advisor early in the relationship by standing shoulder to shoulder with each prospect. These professionals achieve a higher level in less than 10 minutes by illustrating three components:
  1. Respect
  2. Empathy
  3. Wisdom
These are simple ideas with significant impact. Here are some pointers: Read the Rest Here.