It's always great to get an email response from a blog you've written. Whether they are good, bad or ugly!
Just this week I received the email below from a Print4Pay Hotel member that responded to My Top Three Sales Quotes "part 2" Prospect by Day and .... We'll start with the email and they gave me permission to post and also keep the Print4Pay Hotel member anonymous.
"I love your blog and all your posts every week. I have been reading for years. This is my 23rd year in copier sales and my last year also. I'm 45 years old and started when most businesses only had a typewriter. In my opinion this industry is now nothing more than a big race to zero. I'm still selling but looking at everything else as something to do. I came to this conclusion only a month ago when my family doctor (and client) had me sign a form on an ipad for a visit and the form I signed showed up in my email as they promised. We are going to loose this client soon and they already cancelled their service agreement. I asked the office manager about their system and they love it... best of all no paper needed... then I all i could think about was the direction of our industry. Scan to your ipad... mobile print from mobile devices and the silly game of MPS, and how cutthroat it has become, competitors selling out and so forth. The question is this ... is it worth it? Should I stay? I read your post on prospecting during the day and quote deals at night, really? I have a family and responsibilities after 5 too! I don't feel I owe this industry every waking hour... if that's the case it will soon be over for all of us copier guys. It goes like this... do you know what the best job was before they invented the automobile? It was making horse shoes. I believe this is the end of copier-paper-multifunction era.
Sorry Art just had to let that fly! There is nobody else to talk to in this crazy business and sales mangers and owners don't give a ****."
I did send this P4P member a personal email with some of my thoughts, but I'd like to dig deeper about our industry.
It's no secret that digital workflows, email, tablets and scanning is reducing page volumes for certain vertical markets. It's also no secret that dealerships and manufacturers are diversifying into new products and services that they can offer to their customers and prospects.
The future of our business will still include imaging hardware, but will center on helping businesses improve their business process to make them more competitive in the market place and to reduce costs. The growth in printed pages is in the very high end (production), niche imaging systems (specialized digital print devices for different media), and the low end systems.
None of us can make a living in the low end. For those of us that just sold 35-50 page a minute copiers, we need to change. We can still make a living by prospecting for companies that still have a paper intensive process, or expand our horizons to include production system.
Better yet, we need to be on the look out for how to take a mundane labor intensive process and turn it into a solution! Case in point, last week I was able to meet with a prospect that hated, hated the copier that they had leased a year ago. They were only 12 months into a 36 month lease and there was nothing I could do to generate a hardware sale, thus I started asking questions.
- Is there any process in your business that you wish you had a better alternative?
- What is the worst process you hate to do each day?
- Is there something you do on a daily basis that grinds your gears?
Well, none of these worked with the CEO, however the CEO directed me to Sally and stated that I ask her. I went over to Sally and before I could ask her anyone of these questions I noticed she was inputting data from a piece of paper into an excel spreadsheet. BANG! I knew we could automate this process for her and I asked if we could automate this process would that save you.....but before I could finish the CEO blurted out. "I WANT THAT" WOW! that was great to hear, but I knew that I still needed to do a quick ROI. I then asked how many hours she worked on that project each week and then asked the CEO later what his overhead cost per employee is per hour.
The end result is I have a lead to sell a business process that will include software, professional hours and may or may not include a new piece of imaging equipment.
We NEED to change, if we as sales people state woe is me and all is lost, then ALL is lost. We can still prospect for imaging equipment but we need to keep a sharp eye to see what is going on around of us while we're in the field. The traditional line of copier and MPS questioning know need to include additional questions that may help us uncover additional opportunities.
Special thanx to the P4P Hotel member that sent me the email. BTW, I received another email from a disgruntled rep about the company that he works for hired back someone that left the company almost two years ago. I'll share that email and their thoughts next week.