What do Millennial's, Horse Traders, Amazon, Ricoh MP 501SP all Have in Common?


I'm not sure what the title of this blog will be at this time, and as I get deeper into the story I may come up with it as I write.

About eight months ago I received a lead from my service department about and old Ricoh 1035 that was still in the field. We didn't sell the device new, but somehow ended up as the service provider for a small law firm. No maintenance/supply agreement, just service and bill as needed.

For six months I got not where with phone calls, was never able to get to speak to the DM and was told we'll call you when we're ready.  

Two months ago I decided to pay them an visit while out knocking on doors.  The woman in the office was very friendly, showed me the existing Aficio 1035 and stated that they were just about ready to get rid of that old copier. She asked me to prepare some numbers and she would talk with the DM and schedule a sit down for all of us to review the proposal.  

After asking many questions, and noticing that the Aficio 1035 was not connected to the network, not did they have a need for 11x17 or stapling,  I thought the best product for them would be the Ricoh MP 501SP with two paper trays, OCR, and Ricoh legal ICE.  I figured competition would come in with A3 devices and try to match the speed. It was a good plan, which also included pricing the system at MSRP.

After many follow up calls, the meeting never happened and I shelved the opportunity for another month out.  About 3 weeks ago I call had a call from that office from an intern.  That intern was tasked with gathering information for the acquisition of the new copier.  We had a few calls by cell and then many text messages in reference to the options. all the while I held my price on the MP 501SP.  We then went silent for about two weeks.

Our intern called and wanted to know why my price was so high? I asked "compared to what", that's when I was informed that he was also pricing the same unit from Amazon. I gave the intern all of the value points and still didn't drop in price, except that I eliminated the OCR and the Ricoh ICE because he believed it was not needed. Okay, so I thought I'm not playing this game any more, I called him back the next day and reduced the price by a few bucks just so I could get this off my plate. 

A FEW DAYS LATER, the intern called and left me a message thanking me for the quote and they were going in another direction. I was happy!  I could move on to bigger and better things.

A few days ago I received an email from the same intern.  Seems like they can't get the MP 501SP from Amazon for 30 days or so, and was asked if my price was still the same.  Okay, it's back in my lap,  it's an A3 and it was deleted from my opportunities for the month. This should be quick and easy. I responded with a yes as long as we can wrap it up this week. A few days of silence and I had a call from the women (intern went back to college) I meet many months ago.  They would like to move forward, however they already received the MP 501SP paper tray via Amazon. Could I take that off the price (she also provided with me a part number, how nice). I looked up the part number on google and and saw what they paid. I responded and told her I could take the paper tray office, but would only lower the price by $200, they paid $276. She was fine with that. I delivered the paperwork for the purchase, they signed and sent it back. Done!

I'm in the office early Friday and along comes an email from the DM asked me to remove the stand from the quote because they had ordered the cabinet from another supplier.  He stated that they paid $187 for the cabinet and wanted me to reduce that price.  I was like no way am I taking off that much. After a little research I realized they bought the wrong stand, they needed the smaller stand for two paper trays. I told that to the DM and also stated that if he wants me to remove the stand I can take out eighty more dollars.

That worked I got the revised paperwork, copy of the check.  Done again!

What's the moral of the story here? Maybe don't buy from Amazon, or don't let a millennial take charge of buying stuff?  After all of this,  the intern used the internet for all of the pricing. Bought the MP 501SP from one supplier, the paper tray from another and the cabinet from yet another supplier.  My God is this what the future holds for this generation? I thought out loud in the office and exclaimed the intern was more like a silent horse trader. Just searching for the best possible price an oblivious to the value that is provided by a dealer.

Thus, there you have it, if a client tells you there're buy from Amazon, you could make them aware of the wait or just let them buy from Amazon.  Oh, one more thing, at one point the intern had asked me if he bought from Amazon would we provide service for the MP 501SP.  I flat out told him NO.

-=Good Selling=-

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Good story Art!  Hopefully this isn’t indicative of the future wave of decision makers.  I’ve competed against the Amazon quote as well.  Asked for the link and found the device wasn’t shipping from the US therefore how could they determine if it was the right plug/power and also in this case, shipping costs brought it back in line with my number.  


Having some one millennials in my sales force and personal life, I think where our industry may suffer a bit is there lack of perception as to the importance and worth of our companies.  Too often are they instant gratification minded and don’t think through the long term implications.  Hopefully we’re proven wrong and they learn from the old dogs like you and I who can teach them a thing or two about our importance.  Thanks for the post!

You can often buy your own products on Amazon for less than you can from your manufacturer.  Dealers must be using their cash with and hold back to dump equipment on the web to hit their quotas.

SalesServiceGuy posted:

HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Canon, Sharp and Xerox are all guilty of undermining the dealer channel by allowing parts of their current product line to be sold on Amazon.

Amen to that, guilty as charged.  Plus they won't do anything about it.  

I do get occasional competition from Amazon, mostly on A4 product, so great story and advice on how to deal with clients.

I buy stuff from Amazon so it never hurts to check their offerings.  Thank fully none of the Toshiba products that I sell are listed on Amazon.  Many toners are  listed but all of my copiers are under a cpc contract where toner is included at no charge.