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 ""

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.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas from the Death Of The Copier

The other day I was at a local tavern and ordered up the "Christmas Special" - a martini.  She prepared the beverage and presented to my mother and me.

With a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face, she said, "Merry Christmas!" adding, "I'm so happy we can say Merry Christmas.  Last year we weren't allowed."

She scurried away with a spring in her step.

The gears in my head started turning.  

I have never, ever, felt the need to simply wish somebody, "Happy Holidays."  To me, it sounds like a cop-out.  When others wish me Happy Holidays,  I cringe a little inside, and return with, "Merry Christmas."

In the past, it felt like wishing people Merry Christmas was an act of bravery - it isn't.  I'm glad the pendulum has finally swung this way, at least on this subject.

From all of us here at DOTC to all of your, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Scanning: Let's Widen The Scope Of Managed Print Services, Again.

I started my MpS journey back in 2007 - not as early as some, but before most.

Back then, I saw MpS as a bridge into managed services.  In 2008, I proposed my first end-user-based billing program. (similar to the current SBB)  We estimated usage based on the job description - front office folks printed more than shop floor, HR printed more than general office and Marketing utilized more color.  Pricing was based on the job description.

Soon after, I suggested MpS was BPO because including document management software within an MpS agreement seemed natural.

DOTC espoused end-user data, behavior modification, and workflow in the early days coining the word "BeMod".  The phrase did not take hold.

I introduced the idea of fully integrated management systems: we should combine device data like usage and supplies history(DCA) with the number of service calls (ServiceNow) for each device and all costs associated with operating each device(E*Automate) displaying these data points on the floor plan and adhering to the ITAM model.

I pitched the benefits of 'serverless printing before it became a thing in the MpS world, recommending partnerships with PrinterLogic.

I pondered the ability to sell everything as a service.  How about coffee and water, commercial HVAC equipment, energy systems, or even telehealth? Who best to lead this transformation than those designing and selling managed print services?

We made the jump from equipment sales to services long ago...right?  Of course, few jumped on the above suggestions (until years later).

Most held on to old-fashioned models - scratching out an existence, hoping for that magical merger.  Big dealers got bigger, tripling down on copier sales with outside investment;  they started silo'd, managed services practices.

Some OEMs surrendered.  Lexmark went to China, Xerox went to pieces, HP self-bifurcated.  Ricoh treads, Canon sells cameras, Konica Minolta is gaining, and MpS rolls the stone, resurrected.

Today, how can we widen our scope, yet stay within a safe, low-risk zone? What action can we take, that recognizes the move away from paper, without inciting panic and denial?  Medical equipment and energy management were too much.

How about scanning? (Okay, not just scanning)

Studies show copies and prints per device have been falling for a decade or two, I wonder if scans have increased?  To transform from paper to digital, there are plenty of paper documents in need of digitization.

Here's my latest recommendation: Embed digital capture into every managed print services engagement you write. (I know, not all THAT revolutionary.)

Today, every business can move into the digital realm at a fraction of the cost.  There are plenty of strong capture and document management programs in the ecosystem - Kofax, DocuWare & Nuance to name a few.  Not everyone needs these high-end systems, but most need something.  

The Benefits

Separate your MpS program from others. The 'down the street' deals address nothing more than cost per page and automatic toner replacement.

Discussing scanning/digitizing is a natural topic within the managed print services engagement, and can help you close more MpS deals.

But how do you get started?

What to look for in a simple solution for your clients:
  • Low cost of entry
  • No SME requirement
  • Basic workflow
  • Proven(globally)

I have the answer; an easy to propose, configure, support, and sell software system.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Advice For New to Copier Sales Reps: Ask More From Your Prospects

In your new world of copiers, training is a big component of the ecosystem — so big it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant. By now you’ve probably come to understand that most of life’s challenges will not be solved with algebra or understanding inheritance and polymorphism — learning how to learn is the best lesson.

So it is now with your new copier position. You may be deft at taking notes, creating flashcards and memorizing basic facts, but I’ve got to tell you, not one prospect is going to establish a relationship if all you know are the paper weights and first-copy-out times for 100 different models.

Unfortunately, your dealer principal and sales manager will demand you know the specifications of every model on the show floor. It’s a tug of war between learning what the “industry” thinks is important and what your prospects see as relevant.

More important than specifications is learning everything possible from every business you visit — no matter the outcome. The first appointment is the time for introductions and getting to know one another; all it takes is 20 minutes to understand how your prospect runs the business and the challenges they face every day. Don’t waste time on your company introduction/value proposition slide deck — YOU are the company

Successful selling professionals utilize the “two ears, one mouth” strategy when getting to know the inner workings of a prospect’s organization. It may sound simple...Read the rest here.