Sales

Copier Sales Reps, Presidents Club & The Grind

I originally posted this blog back in 2011. As 2017 draws closer to closing, I thought it would be an appropriate blog for those of us that care about meeting or exceeding our quotas.  I could only hope that what I share can help inspire those that are new to our industry.

I really can't understand why there are sales people that just go through the motions and couldn't care less if they attained quota or was achieved Presidents Club.  I mean, where is the desire, determination and dedication to be the best?

Recently at the BTA East event, one of the main pain points for dealer principals is that they could not develop sales people that would stick around for a decent amount of time.

My take is that we are not identifying those that have DESIRE.  Desire can't be bought, can't be taught. You've either got it or don't have it.

I have a simple test during the interview for applicants.  Send me and email and I'll tell you what that is apost@p4photel.com

Copier Sales Reps,  Presidents Club & The Grind

Another year has passed for me in the Office Equipment Industry.  I'll be starting my 32nd year in the Copier Business, with 30 of those years in "down the street" sales.

The start of a new year has always been a struggle for me, not work wise, but mentally. The end of every year includes closing as much business as you can, along with putting in an additional 20-30 hours in by the end of the month. I always remember that you're only as good as your last  month, quarter or year. 
The start of the new year means that I'm starting from scratch again, and I can see why so many reps can't or don't cut it in this business, it's a grind, every day, every month, every quarter and every year.  To tell you the truth it seems like the quarters and years are starting to fly by.  
Can't remember where I heard this, however it gets a good laugh every time I repeat it.   "Life is similar to a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end of the roll, the faster it goes!"

I've been fortunate in the last six months, sales have turned around somewhat even though margins are down. I was able to make the Presidents Club trip and the wife and I will be making a trip to Aruba in a few months for a few days of rest, sun, and warmth.  (This was my first real President's Club Trip, I had made President Club for may years, however the prize was a Sales Plague and a pat on the back)

Vacations


Every month we have that sales quota.  But, what happens when you're on vacation?  Is it really a vacation?  What I mean is that,  if you've got a week or two weeks vacation do you still have to meet your monthly quota even thought you're not working for 25% or 50% of the month?

If I'm only working three weeks then why do I till have to cram a months worth of business in three weeks? My point, it's really not a vacation (yes, it's time off, but we're always working)  to me unless my quota is reduced.  I've been preaching this for years and finally got my point across and then the dealership I worked for was sold and I'm back to square one again.  I call that conditions, everything changes and you need to change with the times.

Getting ready for a new year needs me to focus on some new goals:

  • I don't want to be second, as Ricky Bobbie stated, if you're not first you're last!
  • I need to create a deeper pipeline of opportunities
  • I need to focus on higher dollar amounts
  • Get inspired every day!
  • I want to increase by earnings by 20% in 2011
  • Remember that if I'm not working hard, then one of my competitors is out working me


Set your goals for the new year, keep them on desk at work, and your desk at home.  Remember that you're only as good as your last sale, and you still need to prospect day in and day out, don't count on any one to give you a lead!  Do it on your own, keep your clients educated, and meet or exceed their expectations. 
-=Good Selling=-

A Short Sales Tip That Can Help You Close More Business

You've demo'd that shiny new copier for your print shop Decision Maker, pricing is no longer the issue, maintenance pricing is fine, the copier operation was flawless, and you don't feel comfortable with using a drop close to secure the order.  Yet, you can move the deal forward.

You have a suspicion that if you could just add a little more value to the deal, that you might be able to close the order now.  Makes you think, what in the world can I add that would increase the value of my copier or services and it won't cost me anything?

With at least a half dozen print shop DM's, I was able to close the order with this value add. 

I offered to cold call once a week for one month at no cost.  I stated that the print shop would supply the their business cards, their flyers and or handouts.  I had asked for about one hundred hand outs and then dedicated one day a week for the next four weeks to cold call on behalf of the print shop. 

I asked  the owner to print a few hundred statement size note pads with the name of his print shop, address, and the phone number. In addition, I asked that owner go out and buy a large bag of hard candies.  The process was to put to two pads together with a 1/2 dozen candies and shrink wrap them together for the handout.  This made one neat handout and I didn't have one cold call that refused the handouts.

At the end of the day, I reported back to the DM, made copies of the business cards and reported on any hot prospects that I found. I left the original business cards with the owner and kept the copies for my self.  Can you guess what I di with those copies? 

I can remember finding one prospect who needed 5,000 color prints/copies.  The printer I was cold calling for was elated when he was able to secure the order and of course those 5,000 color pages were printed on one of my color devices.

What's the method to the madness here?  Well, in addition to cold calling for the Print Shop, I was also scouting and prospecting for net new clients for copiers. 

I didn't mind doing the cold calls  because I knew one of my weaknesses was cold calling. I have no probably doing it, but it always seemed that I would put it off for another day.  I was able to kill two birds with one stone.

Thus, there were no wasted selling days on my part, since I was working to jobs at the same time.  BTW, this is something you could use for almost any type of account, probably not enterprise, however this will work with most SMB accounts.

-=Good Selling=-

I'll be posting up more of these in the upcoming weeks

Why Social Selling Stinks for Most Copier Sales Reps

Over the last two months I thought I would perform a test using LinkedIn.  My goal was to connect with 1,000 people in the copier industry. Right now, I'm sitting at about 800 new connections.  I'm hoping to hit that 1,000 mark by the end of this week.

Everyday,  I spend at the minimum 30 to 45 minutes review my wall of threads. Since I have more than three thousand connections,  that wall seems like it can go on forever (thank goodness for weekends YaY!)

If I had to estimate, I would say that I'm connected to more than 2,500 copier sales people. 

Today, I scrolled through 368 threads on my LinkedIn wall.  I wanted to see how many other copier/office technology reps had posted something on LinkedIn. 

Any thread would be worthy of getting a notch for a post.  I did omit posts from dealer principals since I know of few of them use a  marketing department or firm to post for them (that's not a bad thing) and those who help high level positions with the manufacturers or dealers.  Let me tell you, going through all of the threads and you see some crazy threads on LinkedIn now.

Here's what I found. 

Out of the 368 threads that were posted there were, are you ready for this?  NINE threads from copier sales people.  Two of those threads were from one copier sales person (that's a good job Dayna).  We're talking a little over 2% took the time to post anything on LinkedIn. 

There were zero pulse articles and three of those nine threads had a picture of a copier, the headline and a "contact me".  That's being creative!

Sorry to say, but that's a piss poor effort from our industry sales people.  How do you expect people to know that "you" exist in todays social world of business. I was just listening to a webinar from Darrell Amy and he threw out a stat that 93% of people use a search engine for buying anything. Darrell went on to say that in the sales world, that's just about everyone.

Posting on Social Media Does Not Get Me Orders

Absolutely correct!  There is no Selling in Social Media

Throw out the "Selling" part of Social, there is no selling.  It's more about creating awareness that "you" exist within your geo space of B2B business.  Maybe you need to call it Social Business Awareness or just Social Awareness. 

Let's put it this way, not posting on Social Media pretty much means you're out of site, and when you're out of sight you're out of mind.

Does knocking on doors get you orders on the first knock, or when was the last time you cold called a DM on the phone and the first response was, "hey, thanx for calling, I want to order five copiers from you"?  Right, it really doesn't happen that often.  But your efforts of knocking on doors and cold calls will produce orders at some point in time.  The same is true of social media, at some point in time you are going to get "that" call or that inmail"  from someone wants to engage with you.

There is No Secret Sauce with Social Selling

I think I started with LinkedIn in 2004.  Over the years, I've written more than 2,500 blogs related to the copier industry and have garnered almost 3,000 world wide members (remember I do this part time).  In addition I've made a tidy sum of extra dough, because I had a plan and stuck to my plan over all of these years.

You need to have a plan, and you need to stick to that plan, day in day out, month in and month out, and yes years in and years out.  That is the only way you'll create your Social Awareness.

Maybe start with:

Create three alerts with Google. One for Technology, one for Business and one for Dogs and Cats (most everyone loves dogs and cats).  Read those alerts everyday and when you find something that either piques your interest or you think it would be a good read for others.  Then you post that link with your social media accounts (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter).  Also always keep that attitude that you're not concerned with getting likes, or views.  Your only concern is to share information with others. 

Over time you will start to see people gravitate to you for a connection.  Once the connection is made you may then thank them and send a note, please let me know if I can every help with anything.  Maybe, even a call sometime down the road.

Why Social Selling Stinks for Most Copier Sales Reps

I hate to say this, but I think most are lazy, and for those that are not lazy, I don't think they are aware of what you can accomplish if have a plan for Social Media.  I can attest that for those who want to work and those who have a plan, you can be assured that you'll have a very lucrative sales career.

Thoughts, comments, would love to hear them.


-=Good Selling=-

Five Things I Hate & Love About My Copier Career

After 37 years, every once an awhile you look back and reminisce about what you've gotten really good at, but don't care to admit to anyone. 

Five Things I Hate & Love About My Copier Career

1) Over the years, I've become an expert at adding, subtracting and multiplying tenths, hundredths, thousandths and ten thousandths in my head.  At times, I find my self spewing the correct math calculation and then wondering how I did that so quick.  Guess, that's why memorize our multiplication times tables in grammar school.

2) Why.....such a little word, right?  From time to time my wife will tell me, if you ask why one more time I'm going to ......... .  That three letter word has grown on me over the years and I'll bring it out on every appointment.  After years and years of using  the Why word with appointments, I find myself using the Why word too many times in normal conversations.  Yes, people have told me that I'm annoying at times.

3) I'm a fracking walking, talking road map for the State of New Jersey.  Who needs mapquest (so nineties) or google maps?  Not me.  There's no possible way I could ever get lost in New Jersey. Wow, now that's really something to crow about!

4) I've become a contrarian salesperson.  Everything is questioned, nothing is absolute, and doing the opposite of what most salespeople do is fine by me.  If you're just like every other salesperson, then you'll be treated like all of the other salespeople (The Contrarian Salesperson). 

5) Junior High School, age 14 or 15, uneasy, and zero self confidence made me take Zero's for oral reports, and I was ok with that!  Today, I find my self yearning for more chances to share my knowledge in front of others.  Years and years of telephone and in person rejections has turned me into a fearless speaker in person or via the telephone. 

You've probably guessed that I've kept this somewhat light hearted.  Actually, there's probably not much that I would change about my career in the copier industry.  What I can tell you, is that my career is not even close to ending and I'm hoping for another twenty awesome years in the crazy ass business.

-=Good Selling=-

The Only Book I Recommend for Selling Copiers

If you're just starting out in sales, I recommend buying a book from Zigler, Roberge, or  Cardone to get you up to speed about selling. 

Once you've read the books, you then need to apply those selling techniques, and tips to your industry. 

Early in my sales career, there was a time when I thought I would have no sales career. Taking matters into my own hands,  I went an purchased a book about selling.  That one book taught me the right questions to ask in order to move the sales process to a close.  However, most all of the sales techniques in that book were not related to selling copiers.  But, that wasn't a big deal because it was pretty easy to take those sales techniques and use them for selling copiers.  By the time I was finished with the book, I could have sold any products or services, by applying the selling techniques that I read about. Or so, I thought.

Being successful didn't happen right away, matter of fact becoming successful at selling copiers took a few years. 

Let me define successful for everyone.  Anyone or newbie can have a great month or a couple of great months in a row.  Being successful in our industry is to have an continued flow of revenue and eliminating those bad months.  Typically a  new sales person will crush it one or two months in a row and then go flat for one or two months. You can't survive in this industry with peaks and valleys.  You will drive yourself and your sales managers daft.

I was there, I had those peaks and valleys.  Something was missing.  Looking back, I now understand what was missing.  The missing link was that I didn't know enough about my industry, smart prospecting, networking, and how to keep a great attitude day in and day out.

I wish there could have been a book that taught me about selling copiers back in the eighties.  If there was a book, I never found it, and after years winning and failing, I finally made it over the hump and became a consistent producer.

business-engagement-process-300x150Funny, it took almost forty years for two dudes from  North of the Border to bring us a book titled "The Business Engagement Process". 

After reading the eighty two pages, I was rather delighted that these two dudes from the north put together an excellent read for those that are just starting out in our industry. 

All of those missing links that it took me years to learn on my own are now addressed in "The Business Engagement Process".  Forget the title, it's a book that enlightens you with the art of selling copiers and gives you a fantastic view of what it's takes to be successful (no peaks and valleys) in our industry.

I don't want to steal any of Kirk or Adrian's thunder, but I can tell you, is that I wish this book was available back in the eighties.  If you're a newbie, a novice or even a guru like me, you owe it to yourself to give this book a read.

Click here to read more, or download and FYI, if you get the book, we'll give you a 20% discount on a Premium Print4Pay Hotel membership.

BTW, if you want to know the name of that first book, send me an email apost@p4photel.com

-=Good Selling=-

How Can You Be the Best at MPS, MFP, & Managed IT?

What does it take to be among the elite sales people at your branch or your dealership?

For starters you've got to have a passion for being ICHIBAN.  Nothing floats my boat more than being at the top of the totem poll each and every month. I like to win, don't like to lose and will do the extra work to make sure my numbers are the best they can be month in and month out. More times than not you will eat the bear rather than the bear eating you.


Too often I see reps that will slack off once they've hit their number. The phone calls, the appointments and the opportunities drop. On the other hand I also understand why this can happen, our business unlike any other is filled with rejection, riddled with price driven customers and reps, along with countless hours of research that can lead to failure.

Desire, Dedication and Determination are all hallmarks of making a great salesperson.

To be the best you've got to WANT IT!  Why would you be in sales if you didn't want to be at the top of the ladder each month, each quarter and year end?

For me, I pick out a goal each year.  This years goal is to maintain and try to add a few production units along with some managed IT.  Some may ask, why maintain.  The answer is simple, I had a good year last year and replicating what I did will put me where I want to be in 2017.
Although I find myself moving into June short of my goals.  Geesh, does it never end, for some reason, I'm always feeling that I'm chasing the rabbit around the track. 

 Thus, what goals can I schedule for the remaining seven months of the year?
1)  Add one net new account each month or average revenue of $20K
2) Ten on-site cold calls per week
3) Ten to twelve appointments per week
4) Getting back to basics.  Which means Monday, Tuesday are dedicated to phone work with CRM and scheduling appointments for 1/2 of Wednesday, all day Thursday & Friday.  If I work it right I can schedule 4-5 five appointments on Thursday and Friday and a couple for Wednesday.  In addition, while traveling I can pre-plan my ten on-site cold calls per week.
5) Continue to write blog articles for my wide format blog site.
 
We all need a plan, and in some cases we often get distracting from that plan. Putting the plan in place will get me to where I want to be.
Funny thing today, I had a text from one of the sales people that I worked with for three years. He was a rookie coming on board, and we sat next to each other for that period of time. We developed a great relationship and I mentored him as much as I could.  Pretty much taught him everything I knew.  His text today read, "closed net new deal for $263K".  I replied that was awesome! Congrats.  His reply was. "I learned from the best".  I thought that was awesome. 
Thus his order made me re-think how we as salespeople can run off the tracks from time to time.  Getting back to the basics is the right track to be on. Will I close a net new for $263K, most likely the answer is no, however the great thing about our business is that you never know what opportunities tomorrow will bring.

If you're interested in raising the level of your sales team(s) excitement with a motivational seminar. I'm available to speak at your dealership or direct branch. I have an awesome story to tell that can inspire reps to stay in the industry, sell more, and have more passion.  Send an email to apost@p4photel.com

-=Good Selling=-

A Few Reasons Why Horse Racing and Selling Go Hand in Hand

Begrudgingly, I was off to Monmouth Park (thoroughbred horse race track) about mid day last Saturday.  My wife was adamant about my attendance since it was an in-law family event. Arrggh!

2017-05-31_22-12-19Now, I don't mind going to Monmouth Park.  While in my very early teens, my Father invited me to go with him to the track.  The first item my Father purchased was a race program, and in that race program was so much information that I had never seen before.  So many abbreviations, no columns and a language that I didn't know.  Furlong, blinkers, place, show, exacta, trifecta, the list went on and on.  However, I was a fan of making money at an early age and picking horses seemed to be an easy task, right?

After many trips to the track and listening very closely to my Father,  I was able to disseminate the data from the race program.  Looking at the length of the last races, what time the horses ran, where they finished in the last x amount of races, the jockeys wins/losses and their race times almost made me a handicapper (lol).  Alas, I was never able to place a bet, only circle the horse that I thought would win, place and show.

At or around the age of nineteen I found myself back at Monmouth Park one evening.  I was leaning against one of the building poles, my head buried in the race program and trying to remember what my Father had taught me many years ago.  I can't remember if I won or lost that night, however I do remember that one thing that happened.  With my head buried in the program, I heard a female voice, I glanced away from my program to see a woman in front of me and she stated, "this is a very good place for you". I glanced back at my program, then looked back up and that woman was gone. Whoa!  I thought that was strange.

So, what does any of this have to do with selling? 

Well, a lot of it does.

1) The desire to make money, it's my opinion if you don't have the desire to make the extra bucks, then sales is not the place for you.

2) Learn their language is what I had to do in order to understand the data in the race programs.  Understanding that language educated me with horse racing.  Learning their language holds true when working with clients from different vertical markets.  Architects, Engineers, Law, Health all have their own unique glossary of words and terms.

3) Listening, probably the most important thing I did with my Father at the track. I was an excellent listener.  Same goes for selling, if you're not listening to the client, then you're not going to hear those pain points nor their needs. Plain and simple, let the client do most of the talking.

4) Repeating the process, by going to the track many times I was able to become more knowledgeable about horse racing. 

Years ago, I picked a vertical market that I wanted to know more about.  That vertical market was the AEC (Architect, Engineer, Construction), Market.  I consistently made only cold calls for that market. After a period of time, and with some listening, researching and learning their language, I was and still am the guru of wide format devices for the AEC market.

Back to the races, just about twelve years ago I visited Monmouth Park for the first time since I was nineteen or so. You bet big you win big, no $2.00 bets for me, however there are no $100 bets either. 

My fellow sales buddy and I arrived about 20 minutes or so before the first race. I had my race program, however not enough time to try and remember the language I once knew.  I focused on the second race,  picked three horses and made a $20 straight trifecta bet and $10 each on win, place and show.  I hit and I hit pretty big to the tune of $3,700.  I then left the race track, no more betting from me.

One or two years later, I was back at the track with the same person.  We arrived somewhat late, and only had a short time to look at the second race. By the time I picked my straight trifecta, I didn't have enough time to get additional cash. I had Ten dollars in my pocket and placed a ten dollar straight trifecta bet.  Well, I won again.  Not as large as the last one, however it was a cool $1,800 or so.  I then left the track again.

Making a long story short, I missed two straight trifecta bets by one place each. I blame my losses on my distractions from the family event. I believe if I was not distracted I would have won on both accounts.

But, isn't that what sales is all about, you need to have confidence that you can win every time out. Of course if you don't you don't get down, you just go out and make your self better!

-= Good Selling=

Why We Still Need Legacy Sales Skills

I'm probably going to go a little off topic here and there, however please bear with me.

A few minutes ago I finished up reading "Why a Lifelong Salesperson Thinks Salespeople Are Unnecessary". That the 80%of the purchasing process will take place without human to human contact by 2020, threw me for a loop!  Dang, that's only three years from now!

The blogger wrote about a software company that has NO salespeople, and that they grew to 450 million in revenue in 15 years.  The gist of the blog stated that deals flow in at a steady rate instead of concentrating around the end of the month or the end of the quarter.  The client drives the process to purchase when they are ready, compared to the sales person that feels the urgency to meet quota at the end of the month or quarter.

Well...., it seems the Author is dumping all sales people into the same pot. My take away is that all salespeople are slackers and we only start to work near the end of the month of the quarter. I don't know about you, however I'm always looking to close orders at any time in the month.  Competition is too fierce to let potential business hang on the tree, right?

Which gets me today. When I arrived at the office, I was told that a demonstration that I did for one of the rookies did not pan out for them today.  Competition came in at the last moment and swept that deal away.

During the demonstration, I was able to listen to the client that they liked the equipment and that they were ready to move forward.  However, they wanted to change a few accessories and I think change one of the models to another. 

Our rookie, stated that some time was needed to revise the numbers and that they would receive the revised proposal via email.  Arrggghhh!  I was not going to step on the rookies toes, I was there to give the demonstration and really wasn't that familiar with the proposal. 

After the client left the office.  Our rookie revised the proposal, got the client on the phone later that day and the client committed to signing the documents and sending them back.  Well, that never happened and a competitor followed up and closed the order.

I explained to the rookie today, that back in the good old days whenever we had a verbal for an order on the phone, we immediately dropped everything we were doing and scheduled an appointment to bring the order documents in person.  Funny, I can remember sitting in clients offices for hours after I delivered the paperwork to close the order.  We had a saying back then which still holds true today, once the demonstration is over and either the client or your leave without having an order, the chances of closing that order decreases by at least 80%.

After the demonstration was over I did explain to the rookie that he should have stated, "this will only take a few minutes to change the order, let's go back to the conference room to go over the order."  Assume the order is yours, right?

I also explained that you could have gathered your docs, your pricing and written up the order while they were waiting.  They were ready to order.  You don't leave fish to find fish.

One of those Legacy skills is listening to the client.  You pick up a certain sentence like "we'll have both machines delivered the same day, and then can you schedule training for one device one day and the second device on another day?"  That my friends is a buying signal and you need to move right to closing the order.  My answer would have been what day would you like the equipment delivered?  That question would have moved the order to the potential close.

Mind you, I'm not bashing the rookie. I was like that once, and it took me losing many orders to finally figure out that I was not listening to the clients for those buying signals.

K, back to the 80% of purchasing process will take place without human to human contact.  It could happen, probably will happen, but in three years? 

Would love to hear from others on this 80% thing.

-=Good Selling=-

Many Reasons Why You Don't Buy A Copier from from the Web

With a recent appointment, my sales process took a few steps back when my prospect (net new client) challenged my pricing for a new A3 black Ricoh device.  They stated that the price of the same device on the web was $2,500 less than my price and wanted to know WHY we were so much more expensive.

Just as my prospect has the power of the web, so do I. After asking a few questions I was able to find the same web store and model that they were referencing.  After a few minutes I was able to produce many bullet points to the prospect as to WHY they do not want to take that RISK.

  • There was not stapler/finisher and cabinet with the device
  • The seller could not provide the manufacturers warranty.  Meaning, don't expect us to provide the 90 day warranty
  • Installation was not included. Client would have to pay for unboxing of system and install
  • Network installation for scan and print was not included
  • Delivery was lift-gate only. Which meant that the client would need to move the device on their own up two flights of stairs
  • No phone support from the web store/company that they would make the purchase from
  • Web store/company aka dealer was not an Authorized Ricoh provider
  • If you had to return the device, you would have to pay to have the system shipped back to California and probably fight to get your dough back

Thus, as I was writing these notes, I wanted to double check that I was correct with all of my bullet points.  When I returned to the site, I noticed in a smaller font that the device was "refurbished".  Which added many additional bullet points from those above.

  • The statement of "certified tech"  is pretty much BS.  How does a non authorized dealer provide a "certified tech"?
  • No service history for the device is available
  • No serial is provided
  • Device could be a lemon since it is listed as "refurbished" and it's a current model
  • Shipping a refurbished copier from California means you're pretty much asking for problems and issues once it arrives via common freight carrier


In the end, I was able to secure the order from the net new client. However there have been times when I haven't been able to convince the client that we are the "right" choice.  There are always going to be "x" amount of price buyers, and I'm hoping that this short blog can prove that there is enough RISK to make those think twice about that purchase. In addition, I hope these bullet points can help other copier sales reps to point out those potential pitfalls to their prospects and clients.



-=Good Selling=-

Four Common Mistakes Rookie Copier Sales Rep Make

2017-02-11_23-51-40Thirty seven years of copier sales has been a blessing.  In those years, I've seen it all, and just when I think I can't learn anything new about copiers or sales is when I'm proven wrong.  You can never stop increasing your knowledge of the industry nor your selling skills.

1) Resting on Your Laurels:  Fantastic, you've made your annual quota, you're also in route to your first Presidents Club Trip.  Golly, you did all of this in your first year!  You're thinking this is pretty easy right?  Now you're thinking that you can kick back a bit and you be more the like the veteran sales people in the office.

Just a minute their rookie.  I hate to tell you this but your first year may have been a fluke.  Seems you were fed many leads, had a low quota and you had the help from many of the veteran sales people in the office. 

Let me tell you, the time will come when the leads will dry up, your quota will increase and those veteran reps are busy closing their own book of business.  The thought of taking it easy for a few week or a month will be your downfall! 

It's my best guess that more than eighty percent of rookie reps will be out of the copier industry in less than two years.  I'm sure you want to be part of that twenty percent, right?

2) Listening:  After having some success many reps will figure they've mastered the art of selling.  Those reps will then make assumptions that they know what the client needs and will do most of the talking on appointments. 

I too, thought this way once. It was not until I started losing business that I realized something was wrong. I was telling clients how great I was, how great our company was and assuming my recommendation  of "xyz" copier was perfect for them.  Later, I come to find out that another rep received  their order because they uncovered a specific pain, or feature that the client needed.  Crazy, because in most instances, my copiers did the same thing as the competitor but I was too caught up in what I thought was best.

After losing many deals, I finally started asking clients why they did not buy from me.  I can remember hearing, "they other rep stated we could scan our documents back to word or excel files".  I then stated, well ours can do that also, and the client responded with, sorry we already ordered from the other rep.  My point, is that I was not asking questions, nor was I asking what the client needed. Thus, I was not letting the client speak, and how can you listen when you're doing all of the talking!

If the client wants a 35 page per minute A3 device, then help then with what they want and not what you think they need. If for some reason you believe that the 35 page per minute A3 device is not the right fit, then ask the client "why do they want that device?" 

Tip: When you get an order, ask the DM why they ordered from you.  This can help you understand what you are doing right.

3) Prospecting:  I can remember many times over the years that I fell into the trap where I made a boat load of cash and stopped prospecting for a few weeks.  That was the worst mistake I've ever made.  Once you stop, it can take weeks and months to get you back to where you were.  Yes, prospecting sucks, but having no cash sucks even worse. Never, ever stop prospecting!

4) Counting the Deal:  A deal is not done until the equipment is delivered and paid for!  If you're in sales you've got to have some superstitions.

Over the years, I counted many deals where I had a verbal, signed docs and delivered equipment.  Those verbal commitments never panned out, the signed docs became worthless when an order was cancelled and the equipment that was delivered did not work properly.

Heck, I can remember signing an order for a wide format on a Friday. It was a great order with an awesome margin.  It was money in the bank, right?  Monday I had to call the client to ask and an additional question for the order and I was told that the client had passed away over the weekend.

Don't count anything in the win column until it's been delivered and paid for!

I've made all of those mistakes at some time in my career. I still make mistakes, but that's the great thing about making mistakes is that you learn from them. 

If you have some other common mistakes that rookie copier sales people make, please post them in the reply section. I'm sure I've missed a few!

-=Good Selling=-

Why I'm So Past Reading Sales Blogs on Linkedin

K, so I'm a fan of selling, whenever I come across a blog or an article about sales, I'm all in for learning something new. 

On  Friday, I ran across this The Danger of Using Legacy Sales Techniques in 2017 .  Personally, I'm sick and tired of reading sales/selling articles from people that don't have end user sales experience.  Go ahead check out this persons LinkedIn bio here.  I'll admit the bio is impressive and he seems to be a successful and great person,  however where is the damn sales experience?

Is hard closing a bad thing? 

What exactly is hard closing?  If it's asking for the order more than twice, then I guess most of us that are successful are hard closers.  You don't have to be pushy or rude to ask for the order on your timeline.

ABC

Delving deeper in to the blog, I also disagree with "Why always be closing doesn't work anymore".  Closing comes in many shapes and forms in sales, you could be closing for the next appointment, or performing a trial close to see if the client is truly interested in your product or service.  Heck, when was the last time you walked in an office and the CEO or buyer stated, "OK, I want to buy from you, write it up and I'll sign it"!  Uh, never happened in my thirty six years of sales.

I understand that the process of sales has changed, we as sales people need to educate the buyer, find their pain, and provide data that will help the buyer make their decision. 

What pisses me off the most is that the writer has not clue about selling on a daily basis.  The ups and downs, those clients that call you in, along with six other vendors and then leads you down a path that never ends.  Countless follow ups, emails and phone calls go unanswered.  Eventually we get the hint and we go away. This is what you get from being wishy washy about closing. 

Rude Closers

Now, I do know some "rude" closers, and I'm sure most of us do. I have no stomach for those sales people that lie, cheat and steal to get an order.   I ran across an existing client the other day, that stated she hated the sales person from "XYZ", because they pressured her that she has to order NOW.  Instead of the writer using "hard closers", maybe he should have used "rude" closers.

Why We Need to ABC

What I can tell you is that we always need to be closing. Whether it's for the next phone call, the next webinar, or the next meeting.   We have to take the client to that next step, why not close for a demonstration of your products or services.  Why not schedule that next webinar, why not ask if they are thinking about leasing or buying.  These are legit trial closes.  If you don't ask, you don't get. 

I wonder if the writer of this blog ever had to make a sale in order to keep the lights on, make payroll or feed the family.  From the looks of the bio, I'm guessing no. I'm tired of people who have not sold a thing in their lives stating that if you're a good closer (hard closers are good closers) that you are ruining your personal reputation and ruining your brand.

Personally, I would rather read blogs and articles from sales people that are "living the dream" and helping me with information that will help me close more orders. 

I'm not an order taker, I'm a sales person. If that's the definition of Legacy Sales then I guess I'm it.

-=Good Selling=-

9 Tips to Keep Your Best Copier & IT Sales Producers

I wrote this back in 2012 and thought this would be a good blog to re-post. I've also freshened it up in order to keep up with the changing conditions of our industry.  Please feel free to reply with comments.

1.  I had the unique experience of catching a dealer principal back in '98 with many un truths.  It didn't take long for me to have no respect for the dealer principal nor the company.  Within nine months I was outta there along with more than nine million dollars in revenue that I generated since that time.  Speak the truth, and don't BS salespeople.


2.  If you don't have a President's Club trip in place, I would highly recommend that you start one.  We reps love nothing more than being the top dog or one of the top dogs each year.  Time away, especially when the company is picking up the tab is a great incentive to keep those top producers. Also, plan it for 5 days, yup that's right and make sure it starts on a Monday!


3. Check and approve the commission form before the new system or service is installed, this way if there is a discrepancy it can be resolved before the pay period or the install.  This will also help the sales person too see exactly what they are getting paid and they can then "count" x amount of funds in order to pay their bills.  Side Note:  Over the years I've been amazed at the amount of people who think our commission money is extra money, mad money or our slush fund.  Get a grip people we use our commission money to pay or bills and support our family.


 4. Get your reps a monthly commission report at least 10-14 days before commissions are paid.


5. Go through your pricing guides and eliminate the mistakes, and update your pricing guides as soon as a new system or service is launched.  You're paying your people to sell, then why have them waste time with in-correct pricing or information that is WRONG.


6. Every once in a while "throw your top reps a bone", whether it's a dinner for two, a gift card or just plain old cash. Better yet, give them a call and TELL them that they are valued members of the company and you appreciate their loyalty.


7. Do your reps get vacations, if so offer your top producers that you will lower their quota when they take a vacation. Thus, it is a true vacation for them. Example: Rep takes a week vaca and the monthly quota is 40K, you then reduce their quota for that month to 30K.  Your top reps will still produce because they have pride and always want to be the "top dog". 


9. DO NOT micro manage your top reps, they did not become your top reps because they were micro managed. If they have to be micro managed they are not worth the time.


 9. Support them with a lead program, these top producers have the most accounts and do the most work with managing customer emails, phone calls and follow ups.  Compare this with new reps that really don't have many accounts to manage and all they have to concentrate on is getting new accounts.

It's plain and simple, you may not hear it from your top reps, but I'm telling you that if you're ignoring them and don't have any empathy for your reps then they will leave you!

-=Good Selling=-

Ten Ways Copier Reps Can Make Their Proposals Stand Out to Win More Orders!

blast from the pastr blogI wrote this blog about three years ago. I thought it would be a god re-post for everyone. In addition, I've added some new content that is relevant for today.

Over the years I've seen a lot of really bad Copier and MPS proposals and some very good ones. The very bad ones far outweigh the very good ones.

As much as we always try to get in front of the decision maker(s) there are many times when we just can't get the access to the DM and we have to submit a proposal to the gate keeper that will then forward the proposal for a decision.

What can make your proposal stand out from all of the others?

1. Make sure the proposal is perfect, no misspelled words, no wrong model numbers and no abbreviations.  I'd like to point out that abbreviations can make you seem lazy because you didn't take the time to type out the entire words,  and this can be seen as taking shortcuts, the last thing I want is the DM thinking is that I'm lazy or not putting the full effort in on something as simple as a proposal.

2.  Call to action items which can include value points, list of features and benefits to the prospect.

3. A lockout solution/feature, if you did you an awesome assessment you'll probably have one or two solutions or features that will make you stand out. Make sure that you list what your solution or feature is going to do for them such as:  "On our assessment we noticed that there are many prints being left on the copiers and printers that are never picked up, in addition these documents have personal information on them.  Our device agnostic Print Secure software will eliminate those pages being left on the printers and copiers, and in additional all of the pages that are printed will have a banner on the document stating who printed that document."

4. If you have multiple systems to quote add a floor plan showing the existing systems and what systems will be moved, replaced or retired.

 5.Out line the prospects existing costs and then present the expected replacements costs along with any savings. Only show annual costs rather than month.  Saving $1,000 per year is better than showing savings of $84 per month!

6. If the customer is leasing, provide them with all of the leasing information, 24, 36, 48 and 60 month lease terms (unless the customer has specified that they only want you to quote a certain term)
.
7. Include a SOW (scope of work), what they can expect from you and what you expect of them (this is especially crucial when upgrading or buying out leases that are not in your portfolio).

8. Pictures can help tell a story, add a picture of the system or even pictures of the options. Many manufacturers are now offering configurators of their copiers.  Use that configurator page in your proposal.

9. Cover letters are always a great way to show them that you and your company is professional in everything that you do.

10.  With every proposal that I present, there is also an order doc, a maintenance agreement, and a lease.  Each document is highlighted for signatures. In addition I will place sticky notes for "sign here".  Each proposal is also bound.  You can do this via GBC or use your bookletmaker that's attached to your MFP.

Remember that you are presenting you, your company and your manufacturer on a piece of media, make it easy to read (larger fonts), highlight key points of the proposal, make sure the prints are perfect (no shading, spots, or banding), present in a folder, binder whatever you feel comfortable with. 

Bonus:  Point out to your prospect that a proposal is just that, nothing more than numbers and pictures on a page.  No t's & c's, no contracts.  Ask your prospect, how can you make a decision about a product without reading the T's & C's? 

-=Good Selling=-

How To Use LinkedIn to Drive Copier Sales Conversations

Since the invention of xerography, copier sales people have possessed one critical skill: they are able to drive conversations. As we step into the bold new world of social selling, nothing changes. Until you start a conversation with someone, nothing happens.

The Art of Social Conversation

In face-to-face encounters sales reps look for any way to start a conversation. Sometimes the topics are business-related. Other times they are more personal. 

Whether you are talking about a business or a personal topic, the art of conversation requires that you bring something interesting to the conversation. For example, if you're talking to a prospect about last weekend's football game, you want to do more than talk about the score. You want to talk about something interesting about the team, the coach, the players, or the school. In the same way, if you're driving conversation about a business topic, you also need to make it interesting by relating it to their business or telling a story about another company that has experienced a similar problem.

Yet most sales reps have turned their LinkedIn feeds into anything but social. Look at most sales reps' LinkedIn profile and you'll find very little things that spark conversation. Instead, you mainly find re-posts of articles, pictures, and graphics. It's like reporting the score of a football game and not drawing the person into conversation. It is not engaging. It is noise.

If you want to drive conversation, you need to have something interesting to say.

Say Something Interesting, Please!

Reposting someone else's content without adding your opinion is like reporting that the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Eagles by three touchdowns. Everybody knows that. (Sorry, we desperately need Tony Romo back.) What makes a conversation interesting is your opinion.

You could talk about:

  • WHY the Cowboys lost
  • WHO is responsible
  • WHAT they need to do
  • WHEN they are going to make a change, and/or
  • HOW they are going to do it.

What drives conversation is your take on the idea. This is true in face-to-face conversation. It's also true in social conversation.

Following are a few ideas that can be helpful as you seek to drive conversations on LinkedIn.

1. Resist the Blank Repost

These days my LinkedIn news stream is littered with blank re-posts of articles. People share articles without giving their opinion. It's like they didn't even skim over the article, let alone read it, before they posted it.

Yes, you may have found an interesting article. But turn this into an opportunity to drive conversation by sharing your opinion:

  • Did you agree?
  • Did you disagree?
  • Did the article prompt a new idea?
  • How do the ideas in this article relate to your area of specialty.

Today when you repost an article, take 30 seconds to write down what prompted you to repost it. (Hint: It needs to go beyond saying, "Great article.")

2. Write Something New

The business world craves new ideas. The most successful people are the ones who bring new ideas to the table. 

As a sales person you meet with business leaders all week long. You discuss problems and solutions. In the face-to-face sales world, you live in the world of ideas.

Why not take 30 minutes every week and write down some of those ideas. Create a long post in LinkedIn. Add something valuable to the world. When you do this, you position yourself as an expert and you begin to drive conversation online. 

Stuck for ideas to write about? Think back to your meetings over this past week:

  • What problems do your prospects have? How can you solve them?
  • What themes are you noticing in the business world?
  • What did you read this week that sparked a thought?

Take the time to write a LinkedIn long post on LinkedIn Pulse. Not only will this show up on your profile, everyone you are connected to gets a notification that you have posted a new article. You get top of mind awareness while setting yourself up to drive conversation. 

Pay attention to the comments that come in below the article. You'll find all kinds of opportunities to connect with new people and start new dialog that can lead to sales appointments.

3. Comment on Other People's Posts

Rather than just reflexively re-sharing an article that someone posted, instead, why not simply comment on the article that they posted. Add your opinion. Share an insight. 

These comments show up in the person's notifications. Many times this can ignite a conversation about the topic in the article. Remember, online conversations can turn to offline conversations which can turn into sales.

A Few Rules

Here are a few rules that apply equally to face-to-face and online conversation:

  1. Have something useful to say. Bring relevant ideas to the table.
  2. Don't be offensive. 
  3. Be authentic. Don't just comment on something to comment on it.

(I'm confident there are more rules--feel free to add yours to the comments box below this article.)

In Conclusion

Here's the bottom line. If you become the person littering other people's LinkedIn feeds with nothing more than clever sayings and thoughtless reposts, you will get tuned out. It's no different than what we've always done in person. You have to bring your opinion or you're not interesting and therefore, no one will give you attention.

When you bring new ideas, you stand out. You spark thought. This sparks conversation. This begins to build trust. This leads to in-person meetings. All of this results in sales.

(Disclaimer: The author of this article may or may not be guilty of some or all of the above practices. But he is committed to changing...)

 
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