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Selling Copiers in the Seventies with Rich Sissen


If you're reading this blog series for the first time you'll notice one of these icons .

Clicking that icon will take you the collection of blogs that we've posted with our amazing industry veterans who were selling copiers in the seventies.  I believe its important that we not only post these blogs but to also have them archived for our industry.

Rich Sissen is President and Owner of Sissen and Associates.  We met via email and had a couple of phone conversations about our early copiers days.  Rich also told me about his current business which organizations recruit and select quality people.

Selling Copiers in the Seventies with Rich Sissen

  • How did you find your way into the copier industry? 

I was looking for experience in sales. I took a sales position with Apeco. Was only going to stay the summer and go back to college. Worked for Apeco for eight years.

  • What company or manufacturer did you start with, what was your title and what year did you start?

Started July 1971 Apeco [American Photocopier Equipment Company]. As a rookie went 90 days with out a sale and sold four units in one day.

  • If you worked for a dealer please tell us what brands you sold and what was your favorite model top sell and why that was your favorite.

Never work for a dealer but was a Sharp dealer form 1978 till 1995

  • What was the percentage of copier sales people that made it past two years and what made them last or not last so long?

 For Apeco zero, if you made it that long you were a sales manager. When I started my dealership, I too had zero but in 1983 I hired a consultant, [Mike Riordan ] and we reduced our turn over to less than 20% in that two year time period. Poor selection process and training big failures in turn overs.

  • What did you like the most about your job in the eighties?

   Lots of stuff going on in the industry. Lots of National meetings, vendors trips and good money.

  • What did you dislike the most about your job in the eighties?

 The vendors were terrible to work with!!!!!

  • What was the compensation plan like, was there a salary, what is just commissions or was there a mix of salary and commissions?

Salary plus commissions and car allowance. Commissions percentage 10% to 20%. Salary $2000.00 to $3000.00


  • How did you go about finding new business, and what was your favorite of those methods and why?

 Cold calls, 20 per day

  • What was the first sales book that you read that and what did you take away from it?

    Can remember any book.

  • What type of car did you use for your demonstrations and how many demonstrations would you perform in a week demonstration?

Ford Station wagon. Goal was 10 demos per week. Seldom hit the goal.

I started selling “Coated paper liquid copier” and we carried in our wagons. Had to take the liquid out for  moving, lots of ruined suits!!!!


  • Can you tell us a couple of funny story about selling copiers in the seventies?  

We sold the Apeco 288. It was a liquid coated paper roll copier. We call it the “Jam o meter”. When jam on a demo, this happen often, you told the prospect. “ I am glad that happen, now I can show you how easy a jam is to clear.

  • What is the biggest problem you seeing facing the industry today?

Always looking for a new pricing scheme. ER: “cost per copy”, “MPS” and know “no meter service contracts”.

Another problem is that you can sell yourself out of problems [cash flow] and another is you can sell yourself out of troubles.

  • If you had to would you do it all over again, if so what would you change?

Yes the copier industry has been to me.  At dealer level better selection process and training.

  • What’s the one piece of knowledge that you’d like to share with new reps entering our industry?

Three  pieces of knowledge to rookies, Activity, Activity and more Activity.

Rich thank you or this!  Please feel free to connect with Rich Sissen through his Linkedin page and tell him that you read Selling Copiers in the Seventies with Ricoh Sissen!

-=Good Selling=-


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