While on a long drive to one of my accounts on the fringe of my territory, I had time to think about some of the technologies that I've used to help me sell copiers.
The Phone in a Bag: Pretty cool right! For you newbies, you probably didn't even know that the first truly mobile phones came with a really nice bag! Nice big handset, big numbers and always such a short dam cord for the handset. Back in the day, my dealership was also Authorized for Cellular One, we always had the latest phones and I can remember including cell phones and annual service plans in copier deals! EVERYONE wanted a Phone in Bag!
Demo Cart: Or you could call it the undertaker guerny, one of the first carts I remember was at least 4 feet long, had carpeting on top, and was foldable so that it would load in the back of the station wagon. Try pushing one of those over rocks, snow, ice or mud. It was usually a disaster waiting to happen.
Typewriter: Back in the day, if you needed a quote there was usually someone at the office that had awesome typing skills. Hand written quotes were not an option, thus all of the proposals were typed. But, the proposals were much simpler then, none of the fancy graphics, logo's or pictures that you see today. Just FAB (feature, advantage, benefit) purchase price and lease price!
Word Processor: Word Processors meant the Death of the Typewriter, you could store a proposal, edit a proposal and then walk away and the word processor would type the letter for you, In particular, I remember selling many paper feed trays for word processors. Much like a document feeder on a copier, with the word processor you could load the letter head and then tell the system to type (print) multiple copies of the document.
Phone Booths & Phone Cardsw: Before, the Phone in a Bag, well, there were those good old fashioned phone booths. If you were running late for an appointment (which happened quite often) there were no apps like waze, map quest or GPS, you had to find a phone booth. The phone cards were handy to keep in the wallet in case you didn't have enough change for the call. NO, phone booths did not accept dollar bills. We made those calls in sub freezing temps, and torrential rains. We even closed deals from phone booths!
Roledex: So, you knew you came of age in your sales career, when you were allowed to keep a Roledex of your accounts on your desk. If you needed to waste some time or were tired of making cold calls (some things never change, eh), you would add contact information to your Roledex.
Copier Prospect Cards: Before the computer, we all kept an box full of index cards. On these cards, we would hand write all of the pertinent information to keep in touch with existing customers, and future prospects. You learned to write neatly and organize your cards quickly. I can remember making calls to prospects and then trying to decipher my hand writing while on the phone with the DMs!
And one quick story for you. I had my first word processor on my desk. I was finally in charge of creating my own letters and proposals! Yea! Thus, I was rocking and rolling sending letters to everyone (yes, we sent real letters through the mail). I'm in the office and I get a call that a prospect is on the phone for me. I thought, this is awesome! I answered and the DM of the company that I sent the letter to went on to critique me about letter that I had sent him. He stated it was full of typo's and "did I not proof read" the letter. Ahhh, no..., I didn't. He then stated that this was a learning lesson for me, and that he would not buy from someone who did not proof read the letters. yup, this taught me a lesson. I never confessed that I was a good typist or a master of the English language, however, I do confess that I'm an awesome salesperson.