Oh my, when selling copiers door to door was so simple?

Guest Blogger!!!! Harry's back with an awesome blog that takes us old timers back to a simpler time in the industry and all you newbies are probably wishing you had a station wagon to cart a copier around!

 

BTW, Toyota pic on the left is what my demo car was in the early eighties!!

 

Oh my, when selling copiers door to door was so simple?

 

For those of us who have been in this wonderful industry for 30+ years, I thought I would take you on a trip down memory lane and put a smile on your faces. Even though much has changed from the “good ol days”, this business remains as lucrative as ever. Remember, there are not too many industries where a healthy “double digit net” can be earned. The difference is that we all need to be more strategic, organized and focused to obtain the prize and exceed our goals. The days of winging it and simply selling yourselves out of slumps are dwindling.

 

Let’s have some fun!

 

Remember when?

 

  • Your prospect and customer files were in your favorite Converse shoe box. It was always in your possession, just in case a fellow sales rep in your office decided to go cold calling in your shoe box.
  • You had to have a station wagon to get hired. Forget the fact that you did not have a suit or conduct simple multiplication
  • Sales training consisted of sitting down in a dark room and watching “BLITZ” tapes
  • You earned to right to have your own business card after making it past the 6 month employment mark. In the mean time you had to use white out on the reps card who recently left your territory
  • Your competitive knowledge came from the infamous BLI bible and Data Pro. Everything was at your finger tips including pictures and specs of the devices. Some Copiers were even rated “unacceptable”, what a concept.
  • Lease Rates, they were the wild wild West. Every deal, monthly payment and term changed with the wind. Remember the Hertz Leasing Book?
  • Xerox copiers IE: 3100 LDC cost per page was >.04 all you had to do is show the client that a new machine could be paid for in less than 12 month. Oh the beauty of the pencil sell
  • Your office had 5 desks and one phone. Your manager yelled at you to get out the office and make 50 cold calls a day. Work the number and ratios and the rest will happen
  • Demo night and sales meetings. How about those demo nights from 5-8 pm on Thursdays and sales meeting on Friday afternoon, just to be sure that you were not at the beach or making new friends at the mall
  • Your boss said “find the deal, and then call me”. Let a pro (in the business for a year) show you how it’s done. Move over rover! You won’t be here in 6 months so I cannot afford to lose my commission on this deal. Let me sell it at cost so I can hit my team revenue goal lol
  • If you did not sell, you did not eat. After trying to learn the business in 60 days, you were already “in the hole” for $2000 because your compensation plan was 100% draw vs. commission. How many people did you know that quit or were fired owing the company money. Oh, by the way ,we are holding your last expense check since you did not make enough calls
  • Service on copiers was simply a courtesy. What do you mean you want prompt service? Call us today and we will be there sometime tomorrow.
  • You only needed to learn how to demonstrate and sell 4 models. How simple. Accessories included the catch tray and stand. If I give you the stand, do we have a deal?
  • You had a demo at 5PM and had to transport the machine up a narrow flight of stairs. You ripped your pants, scratched walls, and tore carpet, only to find the prospect had 2 other machines already on trial.
  • Xerox won most deals because “nobody ever got fired buying a Xerox”. Sharp, Mita, Minola- who are they?
  • You had Monday morning team blitzes. All ten reps went into one territory and saturated the geography with business cards. Somehow word got out and most office buildings were sure to put out their “No Soliciting” signs.

Thank you for joining me on a trip down memory lane. As we approach Thanksgiving, we all have so much to be thankful for. This business has been good to many of us and will continue to change and thrive. Thirty years from now, many will look back and laugh on how we conduct business today, really? Email and Cell phones, what are they?

 

Harry Hecht, Business Coach and Consultant, has more than 32 years of Business Technology/Business Imaging industry experience. His extensive business experience includes a 22 year distinguished career as the Vice President US Dealer Sales for Konica Minolta Business Solutions and 5 years as VP/ General Manager for Global Imaging Systems, a Xerox Company. Harry Hecht is a member of the MPSA has been actively involved for over 10 years in the development, creation, implementation and growth of Managed Print Services programs throughout the independent dealer channel. harryhecht@gmail.com and www.linkedin/in/harryhecht  609-636-9893

 

-=Good Selling=-

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Comments (6)

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I had been a pretty successful typewriter salesman, when I first applied for a job with Nashua. So much so my pride and joy was the Mercedes Benz I drove. When told by the Nashua Sales Manager that my Benz was inappropriate, and that I had to have a wagon, I knocked the job back. I soon changed my mind not long after though, when I joined a U-Bix dealership after I realised how much money was being made in the copier industry. We sold a copier called the U-Bix 101, which was a bit of a beast, with a moving top, and I sold plenty of them, but soon concentrated on the U-Bix 600W which was always a showroom demo. And very seldom lost a sale, once I got the prospect into the showroom. Machines to beat at the time were mainly the Xerox 1000 (I think) followed soon after by the RX3100 and the RX3103, and the Nashua wet process models. All of which were easy to knock over. I can't remember how many Apeco's I traded out, but there sure was plenty of them.............Those were the days, all right !

I lived that life, and remember it fondly, as the good times...  Copier reps heard all the best jokes before anyone, and could hold their ground with anyone during happy hour!

Well, I had dumped an Adler Royal 209 in the middle of the street in Princeton, NJ once and had another copier that was on the gurney come out of the back of my hatch back at a traffic light.

Schools typically buy in the summer and bought larger equipment. Back then, suits were mandatory...that IBM look. Imagine if you will what a demo was like after you had just unloaded a 300 lb. copier in 100+ degree heat while wearing a suit!!! And I was in Iowa at the time. I can't imagine what Texas was like.

Ever had one of those stairmaster carts collapse, dumping that "already sold" copier onto the customer's floor. Yea, me neither.

And that pencil sell..."Mr. Prospect, about how many rolls of paper do you think you go through a month?" That 3M VQC III (yes, 3M used to be big in the copier business) was easy pickens.

 

Love all of this.  I had to show up first day with a Ford Galaxee wagooooon.  I could fit a saving 840 and 765 in the back.  Get the toner and liquid dispersant loaded and don't bring em back.

 

Braniwashed and it worked. 

Harry:

 

Awesome!!! Brings back many memories.....

 

"You earned to right to have your own business card after making it past the 6 month employment mark. In the mean time you had to use white out on the reps card who recently left your territory",, yeah I was one of those that inherited someone's old business cards. we didn't even have the white out we just crossed the other persons name off!

 

I can remember one phone blitz where we all had to stand on our chairs and make phone calls, after the first appointment you were allowed to sit down!!! Try doing that today.

 

Golly, delivering your own systems was the worst, especially when the systems started to get bigger and faster.  I can attribute much of the back pain I have today to getting quite a few copiers up, not one, nut two flights of stairs.  When a prospect on the second floor asked how delivery you asked "how many steps are there"?

 

I learned lasing from one of the best, Dennis Gordon at Hertz Commercial Leasing in Parsippany.  Taught me the "rule of 72", how to back out rates, how to pad rates, and most of all how to sell the value points of leasing.

 

I'm sure there will be many additional comments!!

 

Art

 

 

 

 

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