Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Future of Our Business – This is the Way



In February 2020, COVID-19 crept into the United States, bringing with it lockdowns and work from home; the mood was cautious yet a bit giddy. Months later, the business landscape had shifted underneath us like never before and the copy and printing industry was getting kicked in the shins, gut-punched and was taking uppercuts to the jaw. What was before COVID — shrinking volumes, lower unit sales and layoffs — moved five to 10 years into the future in just two quarters. Some say the overall rate of change was 15 years in 30 days.

Today, print volumes are facing unbearable contractions in recurring monthly volume. Sure, the gears of sales are slowly grinding forward, helping some businesses hang on – but nothing like 2019, let alone 1999. Indeed, like a bad memory, “price” is the biggest obstacle and “transactional” sales are the norm — and those are words nobody in this industry likes to hear. 

Some dealers have jumped on the personal protection equipment bandwagon. While not a bad stopgap approach, it’s not a long-term solution. Hope for things getting back to normal is fading. 

 What is “normalcy”? It refers to the return of a status quo, and if there is anything the past 10 years have shown us, the status quo is a slow death. Yesterday’s ideas restrict growth and innovation. Still, some believe in a return to normalcy in copier and printer usage. This is not going to happen. 

We are entering a variance of the “long tail” period.  Demand approaches, but never reaches, zero. A smaller set of providers can sell on the curve to a smaller set of customers at a profit.  

 It goes without saying that predicting anything nowadays is nearly impossible.  But here are my prognostications based on the last eight months.

Read the rest, here.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

New to Copier Sales: Selling Remotely



Face-to-face selling has always been a business foundation, but COVID-19 is forcing us to do many things differently. This means more phone work, more social media posts, more web meetings, and less face-to-face contact. While most believe that one day we will again conduct meetings around the same table in the same room, today and for the foreseeable future, we will be selling virtually. 

I believe the line between “virtual” and “in real life” starts bold, yet over time, fades to gray and finally disappears. Virtual reality becomes reality, virtual meetings become meetings, and one day, virtual sales will just be sales. 

So it’s a good idea to start incorporating selling through a camera as a component of your overall sales approach. Just as much as posting on LinkedIn, emailing approach letters, and cold calling, virtual selling is now part and parcel of the contemporary selling realm, and it has some benefits. 

Here are three: 

More prospects per day. This is simple math. 

Read the rest, here.

Monday, November 2, 2020

#Covid19 - The Basics of Being Human


I had thought, not long ago, the world was changing so quickly there couldn't possibly any real 'experts'. I also once believed that living the "work from anywhere life" was meant a minority of the workforce.  Although since 2009, against the dogma and constructs of the corporate rule,  I've been evangelizing the move out of the cube.

But Covid19 changed things and introduced a couple oxymorons:

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Carpet Baggers, #Grifters, and Mr. World - #TheDeathOfTheCopier Industry

"... in this modern age, attention is worship."

It's finally come. #Influencers are nothing but shills. Shills for their masters and useful idiots for LinkedIN. 

It is common knowledge, most industry awards are given to corporate sponsors with the largest marketing budget or a member of the 'boys club'.  Consulting studies and surveys cost money to perform and panning a client is a risky business.  So you'll find quadrants and favorable reviews align with client lists and sponsorships - it's a great big echo chamber; circle jerk.
 
Our industry has been death-spiraling since 2009 and had its share of snake oil salesmen, grifters, and film flam men. There are fewer today, but the remaining are experts in falsehoods, chicanery, and hyperbole. And lying. 

New to Copier Sales: The No. 1 Characteristic You Must Own to Thrive Post COVID-19


For decades, salespeople have been told to sell strategically, become a consultant and trusted advisor, and stand with the prospect, establishing a bond and building rapport. 

We were told to ask open-ended questions and probe to find the pain — and once the pain is agreed upon, monetize and magnify that pain. We’re guiding the prospect through the sales cycle, we were told – if by “guiding,” you mean prodding, cajoling, removing obstacles, and ultimately getting money to move from your prospect’s pocket into yours. 

Those were the days. Back in 2019, prospects began to walk the sales journey solo, at their pace. Some studies show prospects completing 80% of the decision-making process without a “salesperson/trusted advisor/consultant/solutionist.” Salespeople are no longer the keepers of information. Indeed, product knowledge is blasé. 

Today, in the era of COVID-19, it is easier than ever to purchase solutions without a selling professional’s assistance – we do not hold dominion over information. We can no longer be a walking, talking spec sheet. 

So how do we proceed? 

Face to face meetings are a rarity, fear, uncertainty, and doubt are the norm, and the internet...

Read the rest, here.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

I Have Seen The Future of the Copier Industry and It's Name is New York City


You know I've been saying it since 2008.

You may also know that I've been called everything from a 'traitor'  to 'firebrand' - nobody was predicting the ultimate demise of the copier back in 2009. Few were writing about copiers, printers, toner, sales, document management, the copier industry, or its culture

Indeed, the industry survived the early shift from paper to digital and a global financial crisis - how could the copier not survive for another 20 years.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the office of 2019 WILL NEVER COME BACK.

Look to New York City.  

"...walk anywhere and you see local destruction...it's almost impossible to survive..." 
- IAC's Barry Diller.

Barry Diller runs Vimeo, Expedia, Angie, HomeAdvisor & Match, so he knows a bit about technology.

His observations so far are sound, then he says this - 

"...long term ...work from home is not productive...you have to be in an environment with other people to be productive...that is not going to change..."

He added, 

"...the concept of work from home does not work..."