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.