Search This Blog

Friday, February 5, 2021

Five Points to Remember When Working with Virtual Buyers

For all the content generated about virtual sales over the last year, it seems few are teaching companies how to make a purchasing decision in this new realm. 

 For decades, the “art” of selling has been taught to thousands of salespeople. Every company, from real estate, computer hardware, and software to luxury submersibles and automobiles incorporates some level of sales training. But other than learning spreadsheets and comparing pricing, few have put together a standard approach to purchasing in the virtual reality. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Five Approaches for Virtual Selling

Virtual Selling is The Queen’s Gambit

...For everything that is common between then and now, here are a few of the most profound differences between 2007 and today: 

Life is more online – The online life is ubiquitous. There is no longer “virtual selling”; it is simply selling. 

Physical cues are no longer viable – It is difficult to get a “read” from your prospect, and projecting confidence and professionalism require more than a suit and tie. 

Less formal – Work from home means kids and pets can interrupt your meeting and that is OK. In a strange way, virtual selling allows us to be more human. 

Ad hoc – You can move from the phone to a video demo or needs assessment in minutes. “Do you have...

Read the rest here

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

Seven Standards for 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, that 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; a circle jerk.
Our industry has been death-spiraling since 2009 and had its share of snake oil salesmen, grifters, and film flam men. There is 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 advisors, 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 it 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'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 from home is not 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..."

Okay, then.  

What else would you expect to hear from someone investing $250 million in developing an off-shore park on the Hudson River?  He was scheduled to open it in 2021.  It's going to be difficult to recoup a $250 million investment when nobody works in the city.  

So he's encouraging everybody to the cubes.

Those workers are not coming back.  Companies are not going to pay for office space they do not need.  The age of the office is fading as employees stream to the countryside.

New York City wants to get Broadway back up and running.  But Broadway may follow the masses to the suburbs. Why? Because that's where the audience lives and works.

Museums?  To the countryside.  Great restaurants downtown?  Nope, not anymore. Moving to the 'Burbs.

How do I know this?  I am watching it happen right here in little old Wisconsin. It's in Boston, Philly, LA, and Detroit.

The Millennials, their predecessors, and contemporaries are moving away from their corner offices, cube farms, mid-morning Starbucks runs, thirty-minute smoke breaks, and smart-looking digs.
Remember Detroit?  Back in the '80s, the D was a "9 to 5" town; the Yuppies commuted (a forty-five-minute drive) to work each day.  They ate lunch at fancy restaurants and grabbed a coffee from the corner fu-fu place.

At 5:30, the mad rush out of the city was on - gotta leave before dark.  Sure, people went to nice restaurants downtown for special events, but their car was always at risk of being stolen. 
That was in the '80s - have you seen the crime rate in NYC, Boston, or Portland today?  

It is worse.

Add to this, health. Establishing good safety protocols may take years to form and implement.  When given a choice, few will want to work with a mask on, take the elevator with only 4 people on board, be scanned every day, and run the risk of getting sick. 

Cleaning up the crime is going to take a decade - Batman does not exist(yet).  

By the time these troubles are cleared up, nobody will want to go back and nobody will demand that we sit in the same room.

No more. 

And don't count on those gloves, thermometers, floor stickers, facemasks, and facemask detector sales lasting beyond 2021.  

Oh, and managed services? The shelf-life of the helpdesk and Anti-virus is about 5 years.

The new normal includes empty office buildings and no "pivoted" copier manufacturers.

Get out now. 

Jump to a different bell curve.

#Social Media Algorithms: "To Serve Man"

It had been my little 'project' to 'make LinkedIN the next AoL' - basically because of all the high-brow, LI police and such. But - it appears LI is different. 

Each SMedia platform uses algorithms to determine what appears on your timeline. 

How pure do you believe your news feed to be?

In the beginning, Google utilized algorithms to help us find relevant information based on OUR INPUT into the realm - the algorithm served the user.  

Monday, September 14, 2020

New to Copier Sales: Cold Calling Post COVID-19 is More of the Same

There is great pressure in the sales realm no matter what you’re selling. But for those of us in the imaging industry, the stress is exacerbated. Our volumes were dropping before COVID-19, consolidation was a daily occurrence, and layoffs happened almost every month. COVID-19 kicked all that into high gear, accelerating the transformation in a most turbulent way. 

Today the talk about town is working from home, the death of the office, and surviving the next month. Few meetings are centered on new copiers and toner supply management. When the world presents chaos and uncertainty, returning to our core values and foundational skill set is both rational and confidence building. 

Back to the basics like blocking and tackling, throwing, catching and batting, dribbling, jump shots and layups — for the selling professional it’s more like clear messaging, open-ended questions, relevant talk tracks, and phone calls. 

That’s right. Cold phone calls. Chills run down your spine, don’t they? 

Fear not – there are volumes of books on coaching, dozens of techniques, and hours of seminars chock full of advice and wisdom. 

 Unfortunately,... Read the Rest, here.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Day After: 9/12

All planes forced to land. No Planes in the Sky. First time. Blue.


Friday, September 11, 2020

911, 2020 - 19 Years.


It seems incredible to me, that I was around during the most transformative 30 years in our history - from the 20th to the 21st century, the attacks on the Towers and Covid19.

If you haven't been to Freedom Tower, I recommend you do.  Stunning.

Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated