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.


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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...

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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:

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