Years ago and I'm talking before the dawn of the internet. There were only a few ways you could get information on other manufacturers copiers.
BI (before internet)
1) Call your competitor and ask to speak to a sales person and fib about who you are, your company, and give a BS call back number. We did this many times in order to get answers to those speed, feed and feature questions. In many cases we got snagged and had to hang up.
2) Another way was to get your significant other to do your dirty work and in most cases she wanted no part of that.
3) Another way was to lift the brochure and or the proposal from the clients desk. You would put your brochures on top of an existing brochure or proposal that you saw. Once you had your deal signed you would pick up the entire stack of documents. Thinking many DM's may have spent hours looking for those other brochures or proposals.
4) Send in reply card from one of the manufactures that you were interested in a copier. In a few days you would have the brochure in the mail and thinking about what your were going to say when that sales person followed up if you were dumb enough to give them the right phone numbers.
5) Spec check books, these were GOLD in the office. Some would come every spring and fall with the new models. One that I remember is Minnella's Pocket Guide to Copiers. With the pocket guide you could read every spec, and feature that your heart desired. Armed with one of these and you were the resident expert when talking about copiers with the DMs!
Today with caller ID, phone number search, and Linkedin those tactics have long since died to get competitive information. Nowadays you can get everything you want from either the internet or those pay subscriptions that allow you to do side by side analysis of all the copiers.
For the newbies or novice copier sales peeps these pay subscriptions are the bees knees for finding out what brands can and can't do. I've had a chance to view all of them at one time or another. I can tell you that none of these pay subscriptions are 100% accurate for all of the copiers. Heck, there's a ton of data that has to be entered and people make mistakes. Whether it's a typo or someone just getting bleary eyed and entered the wrong data.
I would bet that there's many of us that don't have access to these paid subscriptions on a regular basis. I'm one of them.
AI (after internet)
1) Go the the manufacturers web and read the entire brochure, don't browse, read it several times.
2) If you have a question about a certain feature, when the copier was launched , street price, cost per page or even what apps are available. Post (lol) your question here on the forums! There are peeps that will help you, can't tell you how many fellow P4Per's have helped me and how many I've helped over the years. We're a community that wants to help each other, make sales and support our families.
3) Configurators! All of the copier manufacturers have them and most of these sites are open to everyone. If you know you're up against a certain model how can you not go and pull a configurator on it? Believe it or not all copiers are not equal especially when it comes to paper trays, finishers, staplers, locking paper drawers, by-pass and feeders!
Several months ago I was up against a competitor and the DM told me what they were looking for feature wise, the brand and the budget. I researched my brand and kept coming up with a much higher budget for my brand. I ended up question the DM for the model number. I then went that brands configurator and found out the model that the other salesperson had quoted could NOT have a finisher. I was told they had to have one. I told my DM about what I found and stated you'd better double check what you're getting. A day later on the follow I was right and that other brand could not take a finisher when the sales person stated it would. We all know the end of the story.
Thus I wanted share what I've found (these links are listed on this site). Please if you know of others please reply with the links. It's good info for all of us!