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If An Old School Copier Rep Can Build His Brand, So Can You!

"A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is - it is what customers tell each other it is" Scott Cook

Should copier sales reps leverage the power of branding to differentiate themselves to rise above the noise? My answer, an absolute yes!

Branding is powerful. When you think of brands, most turn to large brands such as Google, Amazon, Starbucks and McDonalds, just to name a few.  Why is establishing a world-class business brand invaluable? Besides the distinct value it brings, branding provides business leverage. In sales we know commodity competes only on price. As for a great sales brand, price is not the single issue.

We are all too familiar with the age old saying, "People love to buy, but hate to be sold."

As a recovering copier sales rep, nowhere is this more epitomized than the stereotypical copier salesperson - close, close and close - all about them - knight in shining armor during the sale but turns into the "frog" after the sale- last week of the month closes. The horror stories of copier sales reps exist; not all bad but do exist.

Top of mind words to describe the copier industry, "tough", "dog eat dog", "price driven", "all talk no action". I am here to tell you it doesn't have to be this way.

Attention to all in the Office Technology Space.... Time to start building your BRAND IMAGE!


Top performing copier sales reps can build their own brand by the way they sell and position themselves in the marketplace. Copier sales reps can differentiate themselves by helping buyers think through problems differently than the competition. This leaves the prospect with a more informed view of the problem, and a clearer picture of the issues and consequences of taking action.

Are you delivering the promise of your brand?

As a copier sales rep in one of the most crowded marketplaces in the United States, I was able to rise above the noise by building out my brand. I set aside my sales ego, set aside my fears and learned how to build out my online brand. Why you ask, this is why... the Internet and Google.

I learned how to play in the online sandbox. I came to grips the buying process changed. Your clients and prospects are forming opinions, learning technical specifications, building prerequisite checklists, narrowing down their options, searching for answers to their problems all on their own, all with minimal influence from you.

I share this with you because what we sell as copier sales reps increasingly look more like what our competition sells. The days of competitive advantages on products alone are not as sustainable as they used to be. 

A great personal brand can be achieved. As a copier sales rep you must become the competitive advantage versus just selling the competitive advantage. 

In order to achieve success in this hyper-connected business world copier sales reps must learn how to build out their online presence. 

Copier Sales Reps this may be your first handshake

Build your online reputation just as hard as you build your offline reputation.

Attention to all Copier Dealer Principal's, V.P. of Sales and Sales Managers... your sales team and their LinkedIn profiles do matter

Effective use of the LinkedIn platform allows a sales rep to build out their professional image, tell their story and generate awareness in the highly competitive sales environment. 9 out of 10 times, LinkedIn is still being used as a resume showcase or as a self-promotion site to tout sales accolades. Why is this? In my opinion, it all starts with getting out of our comfort zone, set aside the sales ego and learn new methods of engaging with business professionals. Change is difficult especially for adults. As the executive buyer is changing so should we as copier sales reps.

Your sales team and their LinkedIn profiles are their professional profile to the business world. Is your sales team being seen as subject matter experts within the Office Technology space? How are they positioning themselves as thought leaders and educators? 

A professional online image starts with a LinkedIn profile

It all starts with your professional headline. Check out mine. Think of creating a value centric message. On a daily basis sales reps meet with clients and prospects listening to their business problems and challenges. I encourage you to think of this as the "digital elevator pitch" If someone asks, "What do you do?" Then be prepared to recite your headline. Own it, speak to it, live it! Your professional headline travels with you everywhere you go on LinkedIn. Every comment, every published post and every group discussion your headline follows you. You have seconds to bring someone in who in turn will spend the time to canvass your LinkedIn page. With 120 precious characters you have to promote value, create your call to action and compel the visitor to continue reading your profile. If you want to be stereotyped as a sales rep then call yourself a sales rep underneath your name. Do you really think people care about your title?

How are you storytelling with your LinkedIn profile?

After drawing followers in with a value centric headline, pay close attention to the summary section. In 2000 characters or less this becomes storytime. A great read is Simon Sinek's Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. I encourage all copier sales reps to use the summary section as your why. Why would someone do business with you? What do they get when they engage with you? What makes you who you are? How you can help them solve business problems and challenges. This is your personal story-telling time. Draw in your visitor by sharing with them what they can expect by engaging with you along with your unique promise of value. Folks, this the game-changer section. 

You must speak your clients and prospects language not your language.

"People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Simon Sinek

Building out a completely prospect facing, optimized profile takes patience, diligence and time. You can learn more by visiting and engaging with me at the Social Sales Academy. With a completely optimized LinkedIn profile sales reps are now ready to nurture, grow and build those relationships. It is about Cleverly Capturing, Conversing, Collaborating, Connecting and Converting online relationships to offline meetings. It is about driving more top of funnel activities to convert to conversations to drive more sales opportunities. 

Here are few steps to incorporate to generate awareness:

1. Curate and develop relevant industry content and ideas to share with your followers.
2. Share this content with your social network to help start conversations. 
3. Look at who has been reviewing your profile and engage in conversation.
4. Create personal invitations and convert these people to 1st level connections.
5. Review your content engagement/notification section for comments to your posts. 
6. Mine your 1st level connections by reviewing 2nd level connections. Put your 1st degree relationships to work to have them bridge introductions to their connections. This is the pot of gold in warming up digital prospecting efforts.
7. Think of driving daily conversations online. Comment on someone posts, engage in a group discussion, post content to drive engagement; become disruptive a bit and get your followers engaged with you. 

Conversations lead to an increase in sales opportunities! Sales funnels look like Swiss-Cheese because a lack of engagement around top of the sales funnel activities.

I encourage copier sales reps to start having conversations with your LinkedIn connections. LinkedIn is about building relationships. Be authentic, add value, listen, build trust and be yourself.

Copier sales reps must position themselves to be viewed as go-to resources for thought leadership and industry news within their marketplace. Incorporating LinkedIn, I firmly believe you will have less competition for the executive buyer’s attention, you will create a positive personal brand image, you will position yourself as a subject matter expert but most importantly you will consistently keep the sales funnel full of prospects.

No B.S. people, 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 NEW business 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!

We know what happened to dinosaurs!

This is a great time to be in copier the sales world! Be Social. Build relationships and watch what happens. To your future success!

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.

Please enjoy my other posts on LinkedIn Publisher and on SlideShare

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 


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