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.