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Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Seventy-Four of Selling

When will this pandemic end?  Even with vaccinations Jersey proves once again we're in the top four with new cases of Corona.  Today we came in with 3,563 and that's with almost 2 full million vaccinations.  With a state population of nine million we've been tested 12.7 million times so far.  I've almost come to the point where it's time to get the frack out of this place. So much for the most populated state in the union.

Our Governor had his daily briefing today and was asked and I'm paraphrasing "at what point do the numbers need to be to discontinue the Health Emergency Orders?"  He didn't give a direct answer but side stepped and state something to the effect that by having the Health Emergency Order in effect allows him to make changes as he sees fit to the ebb and flow of the virus.

In three or four days the existing Health Emergency Order will expire and I'm expecting nothing less than another extension of the existing order that will take us to the middle of May.  Combine that with the pause of the J & J vaccine and I'm expecting nothing less but another extension in May to take us to June.

Sales

I haven't written much in the last few days because I didn't have any orders.  When I don't have orders I get cranky because it's not the way I expect things to go.  Over the years I've learned to live with the ups and downs of sales and have grown to appreciate what a good month and quarter looks like.

Yesterday I was able to put a small A3 color MFP order in my pocket for about $6K.  Just a few minutes ago I had a verbal for another A3 MFP for $12.5K.  There's also and outside chance of another $12.5K A3 color for the end of this week, plus a Silver Managed IT.  Thus if that happens I'll be in a good spot for the last week of the month.  Next week will be decided by one existing client for a $60K order,  all looks well now until we have our next meeting for Tuesday of next week.

Prospecting

The bane of my existence! It's been a light week for prospecting this week and I hope to pick up the pace for tomorrow and Friday.  Prospecting for me is sending more cold emails rather than making cold telephone calls.  It seems to be working for me thus there is no plan to make changes at this time.

Always been a little curious why emails are working better than calls.  My only takeaway is that most peeps are consistently checking emails rather than voice mails.  In addition I would tend to think those that if you're leaving me a voice mail then you're someone I don't know. If they send me an email or text then we may have connected in the past or had some type of communication.  Just my two cents on that.

Just Call Art

I'm about to put the finishing touches on my new video series titled "Just Call Art".  My plan is to publish video's with the top reps in our industry that are still selling on a day to day basis.  The calls will not be scripted, and the talk track will be more about how they are doing, what made them successful and if they made any changes to their selling style in the last 15 months.  It's my belief that we can then share more of our collective knowledge and take bits and pieces of their knowledge to help us increase sales.  In addition from time to time I'll be introducing 3rd party suppliers that have the products to help us engage with more clients and offer up additional products or solutions.

I'm sure the first few of these will be a little rough around the edges at first but the content will be awesome and authentic.

The plan is to have the first three or four posted on this site for all to view.  After that I'll be moving to these to a subscription service which is included with a Premium/VIP membership.  Thus if you have a Premium/VIP you're good to go and if not then the $120 or $10 per month is certainly worth the investment.  In addition you'll have access to the entire site.

Tomorrow

Only one appointment and then prospecting.  Can't wait to see how many rocks and I can turn over and how many additional opportunities I can create!

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Seventy of Selling

This will be a quick blog for tonight since I have to prep tonight for an on-site meeting an existing client early tomorrow.

Appointments

A decent day and that's because a virtual Managed IT meeting with an existing client went well this AM. In fact I'm meeting with them in person tomorrow to present an upgrade for their MFP.  I'm hoping the savings from the MFP can be parlayed over the Managed IT proposal to lower their overall cost.  Did I plan it that way?  Well yes I did and why not, the general theme of COVID is that most if not all companies are looking to save wherever they can.

My second virtual appointment of the day was with another existing client that has four 60 ppm MFP's.  They were in the weeds for quite some time until I had a meeting with them last week. At that meeting I was asked to go back and do some additional homework for our meeting today. This meeting went well also and as of right now it seems that this order will come to Papa (granddaughter calls me that) for this month.  We have the final meeting set for the 20th of this month. This opportunity is about $60K

The third virtual appointment of the day produced a verbal okay to send documents for signature.  Not a big order but an A3 color for about $7K.

Tomorrow

I have the one appointment early in the A3 for another existing client and that's the one that is interested in the Managed IT. It should go well and that opportunity is about $13K.  The rest of the day will be spent prospecting because with two weeks left it's what I do. 

Package in the Mail Today

I just love it when I get stuff in the mail, well it wasn't the mail but the package came from Fedex.  I've been waiting for the package for a few days and was pumped when it finally arrived.  That package was from Relyco and contained all sorts cool substrates that Production Printers can print on.  Durable Papers, envelopes & labels, pressure seal, business checks (blanks for MIRC), carbonless, ID cards and so much more! I haven't had the time to inspect the entire package yet but plan to dig into it in the next couple of days.  In addition I'll be posting up a short blog with my findings and may out a video on my YouTube channel.

Please check out my YouTube channel and please subscribe because I need to get to 100 subscribers in order get my P4P Hotel domain.

Things are finally looking up and the harder you work the luckier you get.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight of Selling Copiers, Managed IT, BDR & Content

I feel like I'm back to last April when I spent almost every day sending mass amounts of emails.  I guess the biggest difference between then and now is that I'm getting somewhat better results. For now nothing has changed in New Jersey when it comes to COVID, most businesses are still remote, most have put lease upgrades on the back burner. I'm now tracking 5 leases that are in renewal with a shot of upgrading one of them this month.  Thank goodness for that one!

Todays prospecting email total was forty-nine, nine Linkedin in-mails, and twenty three calls. I wasn't able to generate any opportunities nut was able to salvage one appointment with an existing client. All in all it was a terrible day for prospecting.  I rolled through every client in the CRM and then went into Wednesdays calls to finish the day. I did that because I have to spend some time creating a spreadsheet for one of my larger accounts for a 10AM this Thursday.  This opportunity is for 60PPM color devices which are in the last 120 days of the lease.  Somehow, someway I need to figure a way to see that the order goes through this month.

Vaccine

Well...., yours truly finally received his first shot of the vaccine on Saturday. The order came down on Friday that my wife had secured me an appointment.  I was not thrilled for a couple of reason.  The first is that I believe the entire family had Covid back in late December of 2019 and the second because I've latest this long without one and felt it wasn't needed.  However my wife stated that if I didn't get vaccinated I wouldn't be able to visit our second granddaughter that's due the third week of May. My how time does fly!

Tomorrow

I can't wait to hit the prospecting trail again tomorrow.  You think I'm kidding right?  At this point in time the more calls or email I get will get me closer to developing more opportunities. Now it's all about turning planting the seeds  and turning the rocks to see what's out there. 

ADD anyone?

I'll admit that that I am my worst enemy from time to time.  When things are going good I'm not prospecting as much as I should. I mean you can always find time for prospecting even if it's only 5-10 per day.  Five per days gets you more than 100 a month and ten gets you more than 200.  I know the root of the problem and that's incoming emails and my ADD. Too many times I'll skip from one task to another task when I should finish the first task and let the others wait.  I know it,  but the desire to answer an email and get that task out of the way is so intoxicating.  It's after completing the incoming email task that I've distracted my self from the real task at hand.

April

It was last April that I prospecting like hell and each day moving forward will seem more like Ground Hog day again.  May of last year saw me log in more than $200K in orders.  Thus even if I have another stinker this month I'm still building for another spectacular May. 

The harder you work the luckier you get!

-=Good Selling+-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Seven of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Seven of Selling Copiers, BDR, Managed IT and Content

It was great to have half the day off on Friday and even better to be with our family and friends for Easter.  Last Friday as expected was dead as a doornail with Good Friday and Passover Week.

Spring is finally here for good in New Jersey and that means to continue my mega prospecting ways for April.  When you have no orders to write and and very few appointments the only left to do is too prospect!

Today I was able to send fifty-eight emails, nine phone calls, one text message and five Linkledin inmails.  I was able to connect with eight DM's, scheduled one appointment and also hit an opportunity via email for $27K.  Emails still seem to be doing the trick since I had eleven return response which is about 20%.  In addition I have zero responses for messages left and Linkedin inmails sent.  I'm sure in the next few days there will be more responses since today is Easter Monday and it seems this is a vacation week for many.

I'm still sitting at zero for the month in revenue, however with the addition of the $27K opportuni8ty today I've created $100K plus in the last week.  Sure would be nice to keep creating $100K a week in opps for the next 3-4 weeks.

Someone had asked me what type of message I'm sending in my emails last week.  The best I could tell them is that I'm crafting each email to net new suspects and prospects from previous emails or chats. Each one was different and no two were the same. 

Constant Contact Emails

Last week I was also able to send my monthly email newsletter to more than 600 suspects. On Friday of last week I received the results. Opens was far better than what I hoped for. Six hundred and twenty three were sent, there was a 23% open rate (that's good), however the click through rate was only 4%. By the numbers that 138 opens and only 8 click throughs.  However 5 of those click throughs gave me the additional information I need to craft a call or email about the content that they opened.  Like I stated before this is a work in progress with the email list. Next month's goal is to keep the same open percentage and get the opens to 15%.   

My header title was "Best Password Practices" followed by "Say Good Bye to Inkjet Wide Format".   I'm thinking I'll stay with the same type of header for next month also. 

I usually put in four sources of content for each campaign. With the last one I used content for wide format, content for passwords, content for document management and content for how to spot phishing campaigns. 

When selecting content you want to share information that you think will help educate your clients.  That's all you're doing and not trying to sell them or put pricing specials in the email.  You want them to recognize you as the guru in your market place.

Tomorrow

One appointment with an existing client and then another full day of prospecting and I'm hoping to put up the same numbers or more from today.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Five of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Five of Selling Copiers Managed IT, BDR & Content

According to our Governor New Jersey is in another surge even with almost having two million people vaccinated in the last two months.  There were two software models that showed a moderate surge over the next 90 days with an average of 6,000 infections a day and then a super surge which would have us back at 8,000-9,000 per day.  Our Governor stated, "we are in for a long hot summer". 

You know me I always try to read between the lines and these lines are telling me that the Health Emergency Order will not be lifted in the next 60 days and maybe 90 days.  I still can't understand with all of the mandates in place why another surge.

Back to the office

In recent meetings many of my accounts have told me about their back to work initiatives for the coming months.  Most are planning for a full re-opening of the offices by July with a hybrid in-office and some remote. My fear is the continuation of the Health Emergency Orders that some businesses may reconsider their openings and drop back to Labor Day.  Seems the Governor may be telling the true for once with the statement of "one long hot summer".

Thursday

There were no orders for today and so far none for the month of April.  Even though it's the calendar first of the month I'm at seven days already.  Today saw me with two appointments with existing clients.  The first meeting was to introduce myself to the new CFO of an existing account.  My old contact retired about a month ago and and it was time to start a new relationship with an account that has 5 print devices from us.  All I was expecting was to make the introduction, see how things were going and give a copy of the current leases and costs (just in case she did not have them).  One lease is coming due in September and of course there is the 90 day notification clause which got us to June 1st (two months away) to make a decision.  At then end of the meeting I was able to walk away with a $12K opportunity to upgrade the lease that's ending in September.  Unexpected because I let the client do most of the talking and I just kept on listening.

One good deserves another

My second appointment was virtual with another existing client.  We have all of the copier business with that account but I've never been able to crack the wide format device that they have. I won't get into details about what I did for this account but that I can tell us is that I went out of my way to make sure an issue was solved to their satisfaction on our chat.  At the end I asked for copies of invoices for the last 12 months for their wide format because I believe I can save them money.  This all stems from analysis I did years ago and hit a snag with their current agreement.  The snag is now gone and the CFO stated he will send me all of the invoices. Another opportunity created for the day and I believe it's in the $15K range. 

All in all not a bad day, coupled with the opportunities from yesterday and today I think that's about $80K that could close this month.  It may or may not but the end result is I've padding my opportunity bank for the month to almost $150K. I'm a firm believer that in order to hit your monthly quota you need three times your quota in opportunities that could close that month. Any thing less is like mystery meat you just never know what's in it.

Friday

Working a half day to catch up prospecting emails, my to do list and then to create my constant contact mailer to net new prospects.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Four of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Sixty-Four of Selling Copiers, Managed IT, BDR & Content

Kind of hard to believe that it's the end of March and I'm seven days into my selling April already. Kinda plays head games with you especially when you're struggling.  However there is always hope and that hope comes in the form of 23 selling days for April.  Good Friday will see me working in the AM and my only task is to email and call as many prospects as I can in four hours. 

CRM

For the last three days I've been trying to play catch up with my CRM.  Not only do I have to build the funnel again but I also have to take care of current clients that have questions or need assistance with something. In addition when you get on a roll with appointments the prospecting time reduces because each appointment can create additional to do items. 

Research & Review

Yesterday I spend half the day working on a $50K opportunity for an existing client.  My time was spent reviewing pre-covid and covid print volumes and costs.  In addition I created a spreadsheet for those devices with existing cost and projected cost and migrating the 2020-2021 volume to the replacement copiers.  This morning I added a short power point to show the client for the virtual meeting and that added another two hours.  Some have asked why do you go through the trouble of creating the spreadsheet when it takes so much time? Well that's because the client may ask for validation and if I don't have the validation available during the meeting then the client might think everything is fudged. I'd rather put in the time to come prepared.

Appointments

The meeting with the $50K opportunity was today and the meeting went according to script until the client requested a review of 3 more quarters of pre-covid volume.  The only snag is that I wouldn't be able to close the order today, however we did set up another meeting next week for the final review. Setting up those next steps are crucial, just don't take the clients word that yes we'll meet next week. Make sure you get the commitment before the meeting ends and then send the invite right after the meeting closes (thanx Brad).

I had one other meeting with an existing client where I quoted a black A4 device and now they would like to see the numbers for color A4.  That next step is now scheduled for Monday.  When you're in somewhat of a hole it's time to do everything by the book of sales.

Prospecting

Yes, prospecting got away from me for another day. Totals for the day was 7 calls, 6 emails, contacted 3 DM's, scheduled 3 appointments and added 2 opportunities for a total of $38K.

Tomorrow

Has me on the road for an 11AM with another existing client. Not sure if there's a new opportunity here but it will be time well spent since my existing decision maker just retired.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Nine of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Nine of Selling Copiers

Managed IT, Content and BDR also

Today was the first day for the rest of my year.  After pumping in a cool quarter of a million for the Q1 the well has run dry.

My plan for the next 30 day is simple, it's a minimum of 20 prospecting calls and 20 prospecting email each day of the week.  However today the goal was to send forty prospecting emails and 40 prospecting emails because I have three appointments tomorrow and then traveling to White Marsh in the afternoon for training Friday morning.

Prospecting Emails & Calls

With the prospecting emails I decided that each email had to be wordsmithed to the previous contact history with each prospect and client.  As I got further and further into the contacts I realized this is going to take more time than I thought.  With my emails I always want to only ask one question and I always want the question to be the last line of the email. My experience over the years tells me this is the best way to get some type of response.

The good news is that I was able to finish the day with 42 prospecting emails.  I was also happy with a 35% reply rate from existing and net new prospects for today.  In addition two of those emails turned in two phone calls back to me.

I'll be the first to admit that on many occasions when I work my CRM is that I'll pick and chose who I'm going to email or call when there is a long list.  Today was different since I ran down the list of clients one by one.  No stone was to be left unturned today or for the rest of the month.  Everyone gets touched!

The bad news is that I was only able to manage 24 prospecting calls.  The call back rate for the phone calls was low at 15%.

But there is more good news to tell.  I was able to book four appointments and created a solid opportunity with an existing client for $40K.  I'm hoping to make the other 16 calls sometime tomorrow and have already decided that if I'll make them at 9 or 10PM tomorrow night from the hotel room.  Yup, I understand no one will pick up the phone, however just maybe the thought of a voice message coming in that late will mean something to that "C" level exec.

Right now it's all about contacting as many net new and existing clients as possible for the next 30 days.  Even with having a lead service I'm taking the approach that I won't have any leads come my way for the next 30 days.  It then becomes more about how to make things happen and not waiting for things to happen.

An Email Response From Yesterday

One of my existing clients called me a few weeks ago and stated they finally wanted to replace their oldest copier.  That copier was 11 years old and was finally giving up the ghost.  The average volume pre-COVID was almost 40K per year.  During COVID the volume dropped to 25K per year.  Since we could not meet because of COVID everything was via email.  I received the email yesterday that the client was just "going to purchase a small MFP for a few hundred dollars". WFT, people just don't understand that most of these couple hundred dollar MFP's have a cost of 5 cents per page.  Of course I did the the math for pre-COVID and post-COVID volumes (we need to start speaking about these now). In addition a short and simple spreadsheet was sent showing that even with a lease for the small A4 black device the client will still save $75 per month.  Alas it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.  Not sure why some clients just don't listen. I guess the thought of just spending $300 upfront was to enticing.  At this point I hope they spend a couple of hundred a month on those  toner cartridges.

Day 2 of Q2 starts in the AM and the prospecting needs to continue...

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight of Selling Copiers

My apologies again for not posting more of these blogs.  My last week has been focused on trying to move opportunities since the last day of our sales month for March is today.  I was afraid I was going to put up a goose egg this month and that's something I haven't done in years. 

One Opportunity

That one opportunity that I had for last week emailed me late last week and stated they wanted to wait a couple of months because of tax season. I agree what accountant would want a copier delivered the busiest time of the year. It was time to get the thinking cap on and deliver them an option that would allow them to order now.  Will all of the uncertainty around inventory and how long it's taking to get equipment. I laid it all out in an email format for the client and stated we're not sure when this is going to end. Told them that they could wait the two months however they would then move to the back of the line.  It was my recommendation to do it now because it will be weeks to get the equipment.  In addition I threw in a couple of links about all of the issues our industry is facing with shipments from the east.  I also threw the client a bone and offered up the first year of maintenance and supplies at no cost.  In the end we were able to secure the order and turn the objection of waiting two month to ordering now.

The Last Week

The last week has been extremely painful because I was not able to deliver the revenue that I forecasted this month. In fact I was not even close to my number.  Thus while delivering $240K for January & February, March came at a paltry $10K in revenue.  I guess the most painful parts was that I was not able to contribute to the team with a decent number and that most of my funnel feel apart this month.   It's not that I lost opportunities it's that I didn't do a great job with asking one of the most basic questions which is "what is your buying time criteria?".  If I would have done more of that I would have had a better handle on my forecast.

Now I find my self with the task of rebuilding the funnel. In order for me to hit my revenue goal for each month I need to have three times my monthly revenue with opportunities that can close that month.  Yup, I have a tall task ahead in the coming weeks.

New Jersey

I believe I made mention in my last blog that our Governor extended the Health Emergency Order for another thirty days last week.  In an interview this week our Governor stated something to the effect that NJ will not be moving forward with any additional openings for some time.  This is due to an increase of almost 15% of COVID cases in the last two weeks. Thus while more that 1.3 million have been inoculated, many are now immune because they had COVID19 our Governor is still keeping his thumb on the necks of businesses that want to get back to business.

Many of those businesses that I've spoken to are still unsure when they'll be back in the office. Some have stated July, then August while others have stated they would institute a hybrid work place until all of this has passed. 

Q2

Q1 is over and thoughts are now set for Q2.  We all know you're only as good as your last month or quarter.  For the month of April I've laid out some personal goals.

  • develop 5 opportunities each week
  • 100 calls and 100 emails each week (prospecting)
  • eight to ten appointments each week


I feel as these are goals that I can reach and in 30 days I should be able to get my pipeline back where it needs to be.  Tomorrow starts Q2 for us and I'm excited to see what the future holds.

-=Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Three of Selling

My day started kinda slow with our weekly virtual sales meeting with the team.  After that it was time to make the rounds with calls and emails to move some opportunities closer to the finish line.

In the end I was able to get one opportunity closer to the ordering process and the rest of the calls and emails seems to have fallen on deaf ears today. Yes with five selling days left the thought of pulling a zero is weighing on me. 

My afternoon was supposed to be dedicated to calls and emails however that plan quickly evaporated with an influx of emails that I received.  At the end of the day I was able to create two additional opportunities and scheduled three appointments.  My outbound calls was about just about 20 along with 18 emails which were all about prospecting and follows ups with existing opportunities.  Not what I wanted but I also understand that I'm in the client service business.  Addressing clients needs and wants in a timely fashion will make you the rock star when it comes time to receiving referrals.

There were a couple of highlights from today....and one was with an existing client that wanted to add almost $5K of options to his current Ricoh A3 device.  After quoting the options more than a week ago I thought enough time had passed for the client to digest the data I sent. I was expecting to leave a voice mail and was taken back a bit when my client answered the phone.  I asked if my client if they had the chance to review along with the traditional "did you have any additional questions? Let me back track a bit, those options that I quoted will allow my client to produce printed documents where a front cover and and a rear slip sheet would be needed for each printed set. 

My client told me that they would like to review the current print driver to review the process of setting those print parameters with the printer driver. Once I heard that I thought that the review might not happen for days and the client may not be able to figure it out.  Thus I offered to make a video of how to set the print parameters to meet their needs.  My thought process was that this could shave a couple days off the process for the client.  In essence I did the research for them.  After a couple of takes with my capture software and getting the talk track down I was able to email the client the video.  In that email with the MP4 file I also stated my timeline to get this done and offered up a small discount.  Is that enough to make it happen in 5 days?  I'm not sure, but I do know the effort I put in was better than not putting any effort in at all.

My second small win of the day was with a net new account.  We met last week and the client had a wish that all incoming faxes could be routed to a folder in their business line of software.  At the meeting I acquired the name of the software through the discovery process. I also knew from discovery that no other competitor had traveled down that road of integrating their MFP to their business line of software.  If I could offer up a viable solution I could sit alone as the vendor of choice.  Part of today was spent researching that software and I came up with all zero's.  I reached out to "Johnny D" for some help on this one and he knew nothing about their business line of software.  Thus I asked Johnny D "what would you do?".  Johnny D replied with call their sales department and ask them if they can offer the integration I'm looking for.  A few minutes later I made the call to the sales department and within ten minutes I found out the integration can be done for a small fee.  Winner!

I took my notes and crafted my email to the client that gave then the information needed for the solution.  Did it help?  Not sure yet, however it was better than doing nothing and waiting for a decision.  Winners make things happen and losers wait for things to happen.

The rest of my day was a blur with no orders.  I still have 5 days left and tomorrow I'll be working from an auto center since my car has to go in for repairs.  I'm sure it's going to be a good three hours.  Oh the pain of it all.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-One of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Fifty-One of Selling Copiers

At this point in time could we get to three hundred days? 

I'm so glad this week is over because I snagged another zero in revenue for the week.  It's been almost three weeks with no orders! 

As I mentioned a few days ago this is some light at the end of the tunnel but it seems the tunnel was a little longer than I anticipated.  Now I find myself with seven selling days left in the month.  There's an outside chance I might be able to scrape $30K or so together for the rest of the month.  Monday and Tuesday will mean another day of shaking the trees to see what I can salvage.

One item of note is that I've been able to develop three Managed IT opportunities in the last three weeks. In addition in the last six weeks I've been working two content opportunities.  That's a bit of a feather in the cap and much needed now since inventory is at a premium.   I guess there's another card in the deck to turn for me for learning something new.

Late yesterday I had a nice appointment with a net new account for five MFP's.  I can't speak much about it right now because of the the competition but I can say that the focus of the meeting was more about security/managing of the devices, the ability to remote fix the devices and more about our ability to manage those devices and provide real time data to the client.  It's a bit of a different spin for selling print devices, however with aggressive competitors you need to change the playing field.  Thus making myself different from the rest of the dog pack that will or has presented. 

Monday is also a busy day with two appointments in the field,  a virtual around mid-day and then a short training session late on Monday.  Initially I had a top in appointment planned for a net new however I'm going to push that until Wednesday because  I need a full day to make the calls.

So while things are not so good with orders the pipeline is there and as I continue to add to the pipeline I know that things will happen.  I need to be patient and let the ball travel.  Speaking of baseball I'll be posting up a video tomorrow that I did with Chris Polek where we discuss the similarities between baseball spring training and sales.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Forty-Nine of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Forty-Nine of Selling Copiers

Within a week or two at least here in the Northeast we'll hit the one year mark for COVID19.  Two hundred and sixty-five days would mark the full year of selling days, but that doesn't include holidays so the real number is probably 21.5 work days a month which brings us to two hundred and fifty-eight days.  At this point in time it's really hard for me to process how long this has been going.

Some news in New Jersey, our dear Governor has increased in-door dining to 50% for this weekend from 35%.  However our cases of Covid in New Jersey is still about 3K per month, which is half of what is was in January and February. I would tend to think that will all of the people fully vaccinated and the all of the immuned that cases would be much lower. What do I know I just sell copiers!

Our Governor also put out a strong statement that New Jersey will not follow Texas and Mississippi for eliminating the mask requirement any time soon.  That tells me that he will be extending the Health Emergency Order for another 30 days sometime in the next week or so.  Every extension of the EO means larger businesses will not come back to the office. Thus now we're looking at maybe late April.

The month of March is proving to be elusive in securing orders. I have nine days left in the month and I'm still sitting at zero dollars.  With 9 days left I can still claim there is 45% of the month left.  However when you get a day like today when five of your prospects tell you that it's not going to happen this month and maybe not next month.  You do wonder how the month will shake out.

Thank goodness I have a decent funnel right?  The point of the matter is that with four of those accounts I should have done a better job with discovery and asking them what their timeline is.  Even an old dog like me can make mistakes. It also serves as a good reminder for the last nine days to ask the right questions.

I have a full day in the field with two existing accounts. One is with my large production account that's now waiting on the fifth MP 8320.  They bought 5 of them in the last 10 months and 3 of them were in the last 90 days.  That my friends is a quota buster!  Alas that gravy train has come to an end because at this time I don't believe there is a need for a 6th 8320.  My next stop is with a net new account that just took ownership of an 842DN printer.  I'm going to be doing some training and prepping the table for the replacement of the two KonicaMinolta devices in the next 18 months.

Another stop with an existing account later for wide format and then a net new meeting with a client that has multiple offices with multiple needs. Enough said on that account.  A full day indeed in the field.

We just keep moving forward, we win some, we lost some but we just keep grinding every day.  If we don't grind we lose and this year has been tough enough for most of us.  That grind and all of the curve balls that have been thrown at us like COVID, and now inventory issues have made us better. They say that losing builds character, I believe we've all built enough character in the last year to last us a lifetime!

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Forty-Six of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Forty-Six of Selling Copiers

Hard to believe it's been a week since my last blog.  It's mostly been a week of sheer frustration for me since it's been nine days since I've turned in an order. I knew going into to March that the no orders part would be the theme for the early going. However it's always tough when you're not getting the orders because anything and everything comes to the top of your mind.  From pricing to presentations and follow ups you're always asking if you've done as much as you could for each client to swing the order in your favor.  It's these times that I hate the most about my job.

But there are some beacons of light in the next two weeks. I was able to pad my funnel with an extra $60K or so in the past week.  One of my opportunities color production opportunities that went in the weeds in January has reappeared and we have a meeting set for Monday at 9AM. That's a nice $35K opportunity. Of course you can't count anything until the order is signed and then the equipment is delivered.

Stock

Delivering has been a major source of headaches this week and it's just not me. I placed a handful of calls to other reps and dealer owners and we are all struggling with trying to get inventory.  Starting this week I moved to quoting 15-45 days depending on what the client is ordering.  Thus it's the tale of telling clients you should order now because I have no clue if the situation will will be cleared up in a matter of weeks.  From what I'm reading it could be a matter of months.  Thus we need to go back to offering what we have in stock for those that need copiers ASAP.

Ports of LA & Long Beach

A recent article that was emailed to me states there are thirty two container ships at anchorage in LA. Thus they are all waiting to get to a berth to be unloaded.  There's an additional 25 container ships at berth.  A record was hit on Feb 1st with total of 40 ships at anchorage. The article I'm reading is from mid February and it seems nothing has changed since then.

Anything and everything coming in from the Far East is all jammed up. In addition there is not much relief in site.

Who could have predicted this?  For now this seems to be the new normal for getting goods in from the Far East.  I've heard that some companies are going to start going to different ports such as Vancouver, New Orleans and Savannah.  To put this into perspective the ports of LA and Long Beach rank 1 & 2 in the nation for container traffic.

As far as I'm concerned maybe it's time top spend the extra dough and start moving those ships to other ports.

March

With 12 selling days left in the month (it's the 5th of March) I pretty confident I can eek out a month of meeting revenue quota.  The funnel and opportunities are there and now it's more about bringing them home.

The plan for next week is continued prospecting and cleaning up my CRM which is in dreadful shape. I was able to knock out a few calls and emails today.  Monday I'm booked solid with an early appointment, delivering a loaner, and training.  Guessing Tuesday will be day to out a dent in the CRM

Traditional March marks the end of most copier manufacturers fiscal year.  for dealers it wasn't about what they ordered in March from the manufacturers but more about what was delivered to meet their quota's.  I'm just wondering if there may be a change to that policy this time around.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Forty-One of Selling

Okay it's late on Friday night on the 26th day of February and I just finished updating our site for some press releases and leads for copiers in various states.

My last blog was Tuesday evening and that day marked the end of the sales month for me for February.  I've done very well the last two months and even managed to get an order booked during the last hour of the month.

Just as I suspected the last three days hasn't produced any orders and March is a short selling month with only 20 selling days.  I don't have the final numbers for the first two months however I think the revenue is about $230K.  My goal for this month is $80K and the reason it's $80K is because I want to hit the $300K mark for the first quarter. If I do that it would be my highest revenue quarter ever in this business.

All throughout my years I'm a firm believer that you need set goals but goals that are attainable. My goal at the start of the year was to reach my revenue quote for the first quarter.  For me that means $150K in business revenue included in the $150K is $30K for net new.

Since I've reached my first goal is when I changed the new goal to $300K for the quarter.  I've realized over the years that if I don't set additional goals (like raising to 300K) that I increase my chances rolling a stinker (very bad month).  I'm no different from everyone else and I too can get caught up in the thought that I'm so far ahead that I can coast for the next 30 days. I've also learned that coasting for the next 30 days will not only cost me a months worth of revenue but it could cost me an entire quarter of revenue down the road.

Moving into March I've also attained my net new business goal for the quarter. However I'm going to set a new goal and raise that to $60K of net new business.  Will it be easy?  Nothing is ever easy and I like to say if you want easy then you need to get out of sales.

About three weeks ago I turned 64 years of age. I've been doing this same gig for 41 years in the same state, and the same territory.  I guess there's something to be said for longevity and piling up the years of expertise.  It also reminds me of the game of baseball, meaning if you get the play the game long enough you can rack up some pretty impressive stats. Even though you were not the best for all of those years the stats you acquired over those years will get you into the Hall of Fame.

For those of you that are new in this business I doubt that there will be copy machines in use forty years from now.  But consider this industry a starting point for what can be an exciting career selling technology.  I can also tell you that in the forty one years that I've been performing I've never been laid off nor fired.  One you get the basics down and all you need to do is to continue to have the dedication, desire and determination to succeed.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Thirty Eight of Selling

COVID19 Remote Working Day Two Hundred and Thirty Eight of Selling Copiers

It's 9:19 on Tuesday evening and I feel like it's the end of the week already.  Our selling month of March starts tomorrow and the thought of only having 20 selling days to reach my goal quarter goal of $300K will be a tall task.

Today was all about picking up the docs for the $54K production order early in the day and then getting back to my home office to process the order.  I had an outside chance for another order with an existing account but I was fine with letting that roll till March. I just wasn't going to push it figuring that I would have an order in on the first day of the new month.  Having that first order on the first day can set the mood for the entire month.

It was about 4PM when our email server went on the blink and just a few minutes before that I received a verbal from that existing account that they wanted proceed with the order. It was at that time that I had the thought that I could get this order in for this month. Rather than waiting on tomorrow I wrote that order and told the client that I had to have the signed docs today.  The reason the statement of needing the documents today is because I set up a timeline of events in previous emails about moving forward with the order.  Something like I can give you this as long as you can order by x.  I knew there was a chance it would happen but when you've been doing this as long as I have you know that in most cases that timeline never comes to fruition.

Thus the thought of turning an order in on the first day of the new month has passed.  In all likely hood I'll be beating myself up for the next week of not having any orders till I add to the pipeline and I can move some of the prospects closer to ordering.  However getting that order in just before 5PM today also made sure that the client would not change their mind or think it over another day.

It's late I have a short month that I need to address.  Have a good night!

-=Good Selling=-

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