Spending much of my time driving around the State of New Jersey and not listening to the radio (I'm just to lazy to pull the radio and reset the code after the battery died a few months ago) gives me more than enough time to think about events that will eventually lead me to writing a blog on that subject.
Just today, I thought of three really awesome topics. But, all of those topics were put on the back burner, after I had placed a call to a prospect today. This prospect was interested in one of our Ricoh products, and truth be told, the more I spoke with him, the more I noticed that he had completed a lot of research on a few of the Ricoh models that he was interested in. Thank goodness I reached out to him first!
The prospect started to question me about the MP C3003SP, in fact he wanted to know the difference between the MP C3003, the MPC 3003 Essential and the MP C3003 Plus. I thought what!! What is this dude talking about. Sure enough, I paid a visit to the Ricoh USA site, found the MP C3003 and yes, Ricoh is now listing models like the Essential and the Plus. I also noticed that they with the MP C6003, there is now an MP C6003 Performance!!
Now, I'm on the Ricoh USA at least once a week if not more, and this was a big shock to me. I'm not against it, but maybe there should have been a notice to sales people about this, right? I muddled through the call, secured an appointment with the prospect. But, we're not done yet!
For all of use that either work for a Ricoh Dealer or you're a dealer principle, you need to check this out and follow this link. The link will lead you to the product page for the Ricoh MP C3003 (I must admit the page looks awesome), scrolling down you'll see the new "Signature Series", which shows the basic model, the Essential and the Plus. All is good, right?
I want to direct your attention back to the top of the web page and then to the right of the web page where the blue button is. That blue button reads "request a quote", hey that's cool right? Well, not for us dealers!!
When clicking the button, you are shown a pop up that states, "Get a Quote from a Ricoh Professional". So, I'm not sure what happens when you hit the "Get a Quote" button, either the lead is going to Direct or to the Dealer. What I do know is that if you call the phone number, you are connected with "Ricoh On-Line Sales", in fact there are then options to order supplies, and place a service call. In fact, you are calling Ricoh Direct, and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that if you were interested in a quote, you would be directed to Ricoh Direct.
Here's my beef, I do quite a bit of on-line business, on the web page you can't miss the "get a quote" button nor the phone number of 1.866.230.2723. It's not until you drill to the bottom of the web page that you will find a one line link for "Authorized Dealers". Can you all tell I'm a little upset!
I hear it all of the time, how Ricoh is so enamored with the Dealer Channel and the Dealer Channel is extremely valuable to them. So, if the Dealer Channel is held in such high esteem, then why can't there be a big GREEN button that states "Request a Quote from a Dealer" and a big Red button that states "Request a Quote from Direct". Let the potential prospect choose!
You all have heard my thoughts about why the dealer channel is so valuable, it is the Dealer Channel that pulls the bulk of the profit/margins and in essence I believe that the dealer channel subsidizes Direct which allows them to give the stuff away.
I have a love, hate affair with Ricoh. I love the products, I love the brand, however when I see stuff like this on the web, that does not offer a "Get a Quote from a Dealer" or "Get a Quote from Direct", it drives me up a wall!