Inside the copier industry, the generational gap conversations run rampant. Let's face it, it is tough inside the copier world. Baby boomer dealer principals aligning growth strategies with Gen Xers who in turn are leading and coaching Millennials. Meshing business philosophies, sales strategies and even marketing strategies; yes it is challenging.
The opportunity for copier dealers to expand and grow their business beyond hardware in this hyper-connected, fast paced office environment is off the charts. Sales growth models which may have worked in the past may not work with as much success now. Selling has changed inside the copier channel because the art behind buying has changed.
I say open our minds and incorporate the foundation of what has worked in the past and integrate modern sales tools to accelerate your growth. This reminds of the old Life cereal commercial... Mikey tried it and he liked it
Copier sales departments are struggling and juggling as they attempt to grow net new business. It doesn't have be this way. I say remove the excuses, set aside the fear, set aside the ego and help prepare your sales team for success.
Allow me to introduce your sales team to their new best sales friend...LinkedIn. For months now, I have been sharing how sales reps can brand themselves and even close net new business by integrating the use of LinkedIn into the copier sales process. With all the upside potential there are always the "Debbie Doubters" who think is a fad and it too shall pass.
Every day I speak with and coach sales teams, VP's of Sales and Dealer Principals of copier dealerships across North America, Australia, the U.K and even South Africa. Through coaching, many have successfully adopted the concepts around LinkedIn, integrated it into their sales process and are beginning to see net new business growth.
However, for all the naysayers, VP of Sales, Dealer Principals and even sales reps broadcasting “LinkedIn doesn’t work”, in a comedic way here are the top excuses I have heard.
EXCUSE NUMBER 1
I don't have the time – What do you mean you have no time. Neither do I so just do it. As a recovering copier rep, I invested an hour per day 7 days a week to find success on the single best business relationship platform to impact the copier industry EVER! You can check out my story here and learn more about me here. We all have the same amount of time it is how we choose to use it. Invest 30 minutes per day. We all know you can find 30 minutes. Just think of the hours you can gain back and reinvest into your sales growth as you deliver emergency toner to your client who has run out or drop everything you are doing (like prospecting) to grab meter reads for the billing department.
"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse"
EXCUSE NUMBER 2
I tried LinkedIn once – “Oh yes, I tried LinkedIn once and it didn’t work!” Trying it once rarely works for anything in life (unless you are crossing something off your bucket list). It takes continuous practice with the right approach. Develop the right mindset and increase the skill set. The commitment is to make it a daily habit. Your financial stability depends on it.
"Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts"
Mortimer J. Adler
EXCUSE NUMBER 3
I don’t want people to see what I am doing or let my competitors know who I am calling on– LinkedIn has some of the most effective privacy settings. You just need to know how to manage them. I don’t know of a single salesperson who became successful by locking themselves in a dark closet or better yet attending a networking event with a bag on their head. Please join me in attending the LinkedIn professional business party! Besides, paranoia never gets you anywhere. Don't worry what your competitors are doing focus on what you are doing. Control what you can control! Plus, if you are providing a high level of service and truly taking care of your clients then what are you worried about?
Don't you think your competitors already know where your bread and butter current accounts are? Do you honestly believe you are only sales rep in your area calling on your targeted list of accounts? Stop the madness!
"It's amazing where the paranoid mind can take you"
EXCUSE NUMBER 4
I have great relationships with my clients – Most successful sales professionals build great relationships. What happens when the relationship moves on or better yet new people get involved? LinkedIn provides the platform to build your brand, your credibility and position yourself as a subject matter expert. Socially connect by going wide and deep within your accounts to strengthen your connections while staying top of mind. Connect with all executives, IT department, administration, facilities, purchasing, finance department and all influencers to name a few. Ask for testimonials from them all. Most importantly, mine their connections, and ask for referrals. Your clients are your best source of help.
How can you stay top of mind on a daily basis with your clients if you do not socially connect with them?
EXCUSE NUMBER 5
I know sales reps must have a LinkedIn profile but sales is a numbers game - Copier sales is not a numbers game, it’s a performance and value game. I am fairly confident the numbers game myth was probably started by a bunch of sales managers with amateurish sales skills who could not close a sale on value if their lives depended on it. Sales reps who used numbers and luck to close the sale instead of skill and discipline, probably thought if they spoke to enough breathing prospects, one would eventually say "YES". Why would anyone want to deal with hundreds or even thousands of prospects who may not even want what you have to offer? This is a complete waste of time, money and energy as I share with you with a simple math problem.
If 25 "cold calls" brings a sales rep diminishing results
and 50 "cold dials" brings a sales rep diminishing results
Is it fair to say...
25 x 0 = 0
50 x 0 = 0
Don't increase your activity to expect different results as I encourage you to change your activity to get to something which works.
"Excuses are like toxic waste to your sales potential"
Copier sales reps need to focus on their unique value and target prospects which will have the greatest impact on their business, their quota! Play the numbers game in Las Vegas. Learn new methods, learn to identify where to focus your efforts to maximize your sales potential.
In conclusion, integrating the use of the LinkedIn into the sales process does work. It is just like driving your car. You have to put the key in the ignition, start the car, take it out park and away you go. Same holds true with LinkedIn. Start the engine (conversations), take it out of park (collaborate) and away you go (build relationships).
No B.S. copier dealer community, leveraging the use of LinkedIn with the right mindset and skill set does work. In 2009, I started integrating LinkedIn with my legacy sales skills to help build out my professional brand. In 2014, this resulted in securing almost $1.3 million in hardware sales with over $650,000 in NEWbusiness in a NET NEW major account position. If an "old school" "baby boomer" sales rep can adapt so can you! Set aside the sales egos, set aside resisting change; change is eminent. Stop the excuses!
If you enjoyed please share your comments. Look forward to connecting and starting a conversation.
Check out more at the Social Sales Academy blog site.
I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform and coach copier sales professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help independent office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy