On My Way Home
I’m on my way home this evening in another driving rainstorm in New Jersey. I have one stretch of highway that is 10 miles in length but has 35 traffic lights! Only in New Jersey!
Hardly ever do I catch all of the traffic lights when they're green. As I sat at one of those red lights, I thought about how much time I spent working a wide format opportunity today. That red light was symbolic to me because it reminded me that there are always obstacles in your way when you're striving to reach your goal of obtaining the order over your competitor.
Almost a week ago I had an email response from my jerseyplotters web site that a company was interested in a wide format MFP. I followed up with a few emails and a call for the first three days and finally connected with one of the DM's on the fourth day. As luck would have it, we are flush with wide format demo MFP's in our office. We were able to set the demonstration and our prospect (DM) arrived and was able to see three of our wide format MFP's.
Concerns of the Prospect
- Quality of Prints
Our prospect stated that he was not so interested in color because he believed that all of the ink based wide format MFP's would bleed or run if the paper got wet (at first I missed this and was more focused on price as his main concern). I could tell that this prospect had done his research.
We gave a quick look at the MP W6700SP, and then moved to our demo MP 3601(which has a killer price on it). The prospect was also made aware of a pre-owned MP W3601 that we also have. Sitting next to our MP 3601SP was our Color CW 2201SP demonstrator unit. A few questions was asked about the CW2201SP and I made sure that I mentioned the Gel-Ink technology that prohibits the ink from bleeding or running if the document(s) get wet. All of the prospects focus was on the pre-owned MP W3601SP. After a couple of trial closes I was made aware that there was another DM involved and our prospect was going to look at additional devices.
Let The Ball Travel
I didn't follow up immediately but rather let the opportunity sit for a few days. I still had 35% of my month left at that time. Sometimes you just need to be patient and things can come to you. Right, nothing came to be thus a follow up call was placed two days ago.
I was able to chat with the prospect and was told that he was not so giddy with the pre-owned device, but more focused on the demo MP W3601. We ran through some lease numbers, some purchase numbers and finished up with that I would get him a quote for the pre-owned.
The next day I had a call from the prospect and he starting asking additional questions about the CW2201SP color MFP. He then let the cat about of the bag and told me that they were also considering an HP T2530, and he thought the HP T2530 has pigment ink. Okay let me explain pigment ink. According to HP's web site it's almost identical technology for the Ricoh Gel-Ink. It's basically toner but has a liquid carrier attached to it. Once the ink hits the pages, the carrier evaporates and the toner is left (so I'm told).
Okay, this was something new to me, I was not aware that HP had that ink technology. I did some additional digging in the specs of the HP and found that the only ink that is pigment based is the mK Black (matt black), all of the other inks are dye based. Dye based inks will run or bleed on the paper when wet. HP uses the wording of hydrate and re-hydrate. Thus this isn't really what the client is looking for. Chalk one up for me!
In an email later in the evening the client then asked if my CW 2201SP has an exit document stacker like the HP. What? I was not even aware there was an exit document stacker. Sure enough I checked and was there was one that spec's to hold fifty pages. WTF! I had nothing, my prints fall awkwardly into a catch basket. Minus one on the chalk board and now we're even.
I then noticed that this formidable HP T2530 also has a dual roll feeder. WTF again, this machine is kicking my ass with features. I can add a another roll feeder to my CW2201SP, however that makes me even more expensive than the HP. I'm thinking I'm now down one and wondering how the frack can I even the playing field.
I reviewed the specs again and noted that the max paper roll length is 300 feet. I found that kind of odd because I don't remember seeing 300 foot rolls of bond plot paper for sale on the web. I had a hunch that I should google 300 foot plot paper with a 2 inch core. After a few web site visits I was finally able to find a supplier for 300 foot paper. Some quick math told me that the 300 foot paper was more expensive than 500 foot paper. After running the cost per square foot of 300 vs 500, there was almost a 35% savings by using the 500 foot rolls. I then turned to an analysis of the clients volume over 5 years and saw that the client could save more than $1,200 just on the paper cost with the Ricoh CW 2201SP that could accept the 500 foot rolls. Okay, chalk one back up for me, now we're even. Here's the document I sent to the prospect
But, I needed to get ahead somewhere. Thus I put my client hat on, accessed the great HP web site and had a chat with an "HP Expert". I was able to confirm that if the customer wanted to print and scan PDF's that they would need the T-2530PS (post script), which is more expensive than the base T-2530. I really don't understand why HP would even offer the T-2530 if it can't print and scan pdf's. Okay, I'm one up now.
Got back to the client with all of this and the prospect then tells me that he saw some videos on the web and that they are all showing CW 2201SP's printing color at about a minute a page. Well, here we go again. My knowledge of the specs led me to believe the speed was just over two "D" pages a minute. Since I had the demo unit, I did some testing on color prints. The first page was 47 seconds which is not close to 30 seconds for each drawing. After a few tweaks with the drive I was able to get the speed to 41 seconds, somewhat better but not matching what I wanted. I understand that all files are different and I'm not replicating the exact file. Thus, I made a video of the color print with a timer and I'm going to send that tonight or in the AM.
Note to Art
I went back to the Ricoh brochure to check the color print speed. Seems I over looked the size of the paper that is in the specs. Ricoh is specs A1 paper which is not 24x36 inches (“D” size). A1 is referenced as 23.4 x 33.1
I'm going to try to get this prospect closed tomorrow. It's not done yet, but the buying time frame was within a week (hoping that does not change). I feel that I’ve got a fighting change and I’m elated that I didn’t give up because there’s still a shot to win this. Never ever quit, because you just don't know what tomorrow will bring you!