Memiors of a Copier Sales Person

Why Don't You Have a Copier Technology Budget?

I was in the field today and was helping one of my clients figure out an issue with his desktop MFP.  This client is also on the board of a non-profit organization that has a seven year old color A3 MFP.  Yes Ray, they need 11x17!

Why do some clients have seven year old MFPs?  It's because they made a purchase and can't come to grips with spending additional dollars to get a new MFP.

Thus, I told the story of WHY ninety percent of my clients lease their MFPs.  In fact a little more than eighty percent lease for 60 months.  One of the main reasons for leasing is that clients don't get trapped with old technology and rising maintenance and supply costs. You see once you purchase the MFP and let's say the purchase was $12K, you'll be hard pressed to purchase another one if there is no immediate ROI (return on investment). Thus the client gets "trapped" with out dated technology and rising maintenance & supply costs. In addition the risk of downtime increases year after year.

In this case there was not an immediate ROI to the client.  The client will have to pay more this year. There are no WOW features that will make the case to retire the seven year old copier. The only driving factor is the cost....until I found out that the organization is considering purchasing a folding machine for 2020. 

Okay, I've got a play here.

I know that a decent folding machine (one that doesn't suck) will cost around $3,000 plus you'll have to factor in a maintenance agreement or at least factor in some dollars for when the folder needs service (they always do).

With my A3 Color MFP I can add a multi-fold unit for about the half the price that the  client would pay to add the standalone folder.  Thus I did the math for them by amortizing the cost of the standalone folder over 5 years with a few more dollars thrown in for maintenance.

The monthly cost for the folder with maintenance over 5 years would be about $70 per month (figured $20 per month for service which is fair).  I added that $70 per month to their current cost for the maintenance agreement on the old A3 color MFP. Well, there was my immediate ROI savings.

I had to produce everything as a monthly cost because there was still no way they were going to spend another $12K.  But they were planning on spending at least $3k for the folding machine. That's $3K a top of their current annual cost for maintenance and supplies.

I took those numbers and showed the monthly cost of the folder, the maintenance on the folder and the monthly cost of service and supplies for the existing copier.

The next monthly number was the new copier with the folder and maintenance and supplies.  Yes, my monthly number saved  money and cash out of pocket.

Did I do a good enough job selling the lease?  I'm not sure, but hoping to find out in the next couple of days.

-=Good Selling=-

Special Thanksgiving Message from the Print4Pay Hotel

It's been somewhat of an interesting year for me in sales.  My first eight months were nothing short of spectacular, however the last three months have been a real grind and no where near spectacular.  Matter a fact the story has been under achievement to say the least.

Thus I find my self in the same spot every year. One month left to go and I haven't written my ticket for annual quota and President's Club. 

But there's so much to be thankful for in 2019.  We have an awesome collection of Print4Pay Hotel members that are willing to share their knowledge and help others.  We have an awesome coalition of vendors that have supported the Print 4Pay Hotel, with out them I wouldn't be able to do what I do.  All I ask is that we click on their banner ads on the site and the email update and to give them a buzz when information or a product is needed.

I'm also thankful that my wife puts up with my bad days,  those bad days always seem to rear that ugly side at least once a month.  I'm thankful for the great relationships I've built with our members, you know who you are and I'm thankful that you take my calls, and listen to my rants.  Your friendship means a lot to me and continues to drive my passion for keeping the Print4Pay Hotel going.

Thanksgiving has always been a time when I reflect back on the year and ask myself what do I have to be thankful for.  As I start my 40th year in copier sales next year it's a little daunting since now I'm the really old dog on the block.  The knees, and the legs aren't what they use to be, just today I pounded the pavement looking for additional opportunities. It never stops does it?  What ever happened to this business getting easier after you've built your base?

One of the best times I've had this year is interviewing those sales people that came before me with "The Selling Copiers in the Seventies" blog series.  There's one common denominator with everyone, it's all about the effort and how hard you want to work (there is no special magic sauce, magic lines, or cute gimmicks).  Where the heck can you start as a sales person and then end up becoming the President or CEO? It's the copier business for sure.

There's always one special blog that look back to.  That link is in every Sunday night email address that I send.  That blog was written by one of our members and I'll cherish it until the day I retire or get hit by a bus (kidding). 

Value of the P4P Forum was written a little over four years ago at this time of year.  "The Value of the P4P Hotel Forum",  Jason Habbal wrote it and it's awesome that he delivers what the Print4Pay Hotel is all about.  I couldn't have done a better job.   To date that blog has almost 800 views and hoping it can get another 800.

I love selling copiers ever since I wrote my first order, and of course got my first commission check.  I'm not sure where the industry will be in twenty years but I know that if I'm still healthy I'll still want to be involved.

Thanks to everyone and may every one have a blessed Thanksgiving with family & friends.

PS:  it's fraking time to nail down that quota!

-=Good Selling=-

@Jason H

Ask for Referrals "Memiors of a Copier Sales Person"

Hoping I can keep this short tonight.  The last four weeks have been a bit of a struggle for me.  For the year I'm ahead of the game (quota) moving in the last quarter of the year.

Thus far I've been doing okay, but that okay came to an end with a half a dozen stalled deals along with losing a few. Yes, I lose also But in my eyes losing is always a part of winning.

I took a good long look at my funnel and thought WTF?  Where did it go?  Well I was fortunate to close many orders over the last two months. The appointments, the documents, the chasing of documents, phone calls, email, follow up emails all took their toll on prospecting.  I didn't have a lot of extra time to make the calls and stops required to keep the funnel full.

Mind you, I have a lot opportunities pending, however I can see that some aren't going anywhere, others have stalled and the picture of the future wasn't that awesome. Thus I needed to bring the future to the present @Ray Stasiezcko

When the going gets tough the tough get going. I knew it was time to pick up the phone and make things happen, because waiting for things to happen was not an option.

While taking to the phones last week I remembered what my Director of Sales Enablement had been preaching for the last few months.  I know at times we tend to forget some of the basics that got us to where we are today.  That one tip was to ask for referrals.  Yeah, I remember learning that way back when, but somehow that memory faded into the past and I hadn't used it in years.

Well last week I used it. I didn't use it for every call, but made mention of asking for a referral about 75% of the time.

I remember the call I made to an existing account (this is where you want to use it). The principal of the company was not in, in fact he was on vacation. I left a short message with the receptionist and stated that I would send him an email. 

At least that's what I wanted, but I changed to sending him an inmail (linkedin).  My reasoning for choosing the inmail was simple, since he was on vacation I'm thinking his in-box is going to be flooded and I would be one of the last emails he would look at. Thus I knew sending an in-mail would give him an alert via Linkedin.

My message was simple, "Hi Bob, it's been more than a year since we last spoke, how has the wide format been doing, any questions, any issues or anything that needs to be addressed? BTW, would you happen to know of anyone that might be interested in a wide format like yours?"  Simple right?

Today I took a call on my cell from a number that I didn't recognize.  Turns out it was a business friend of the principal that I in-mailed last week.  He's interested in a new wide format along with a color MFP!  We scheduled a meeting for later this week.  Now that's a decent add to the pipeline.

One thing I repeat over and over as long as your work had you never know what tomorrow will bring you. In this case I also am grateful that our Director of Sales Enablement kept pushing that button.

-=Good Selling=-

Ditching the Polo Shirt Can Increase Your Sales

I needed to get this out there because it's been bugging me for sometime.  What's the deal with sales people wearing polo shirts while visiting net new clients or how about any client?  What the frack is next polo shorts? Just want to clarify that I'm seeing more of this with how men are dressing rather than women.

You're going to visit a net new client, and your wardrobe consists of a polo shirt (some may have a company logo), wrinkled khakis and old worn out loafers? 

Am I past my time because I believe that you should look your best on a sales call?  For me it starts with clean polished shoes, pressed pants, pressed shirt (with collar stays) and a tie when visiting a net new account. I'll be the first to admit that if I'm with an existing client by all means I'm dropping the tie.  Is there a new sales fashion left me behind?


I'm going to answer my own question and state "no it hasn't". There's only a few reasons for not wanted to look like a professional when visiting clients.

1) Laziness: Not wanting to take the time to go to the cleaners for pick up or drop off. Today most cleaners offer pick up and delivery services.  Thus the only thing I can think of is laziness.

2) Cheap: They don't want to spend the bucks to have pants pressed along with your shirts.  Yeah, I know it's an extra expense and at times it can run a $100 bucks a month, however I know I'm putting my best foot forward to look good.

3) Don't Care: It's my guess that many reps don't care about the image of the company they are projecting to a net new prospect.

First 5 Minutes

Most buyers are summing you up in the first couple of minutes from the way you groom, the clothes you wear, your shoes (most important) and the way you speak.  I mention the shoes because it's one of the first things I look at when meeting someone in a business meeting.  In most cases shoes can tell the story about whether that person is successful or not. 

I understand times have changed because back in the eighties I was the guy that was going to the office everyday with a three piece suit.  The vest, the jacket, the tie, the slacks it all happened everyday. I may not have known that much about business or selling copiers back in those days but I sure did look like I was successful.  We hear over and over that people do business with people they like. I'm here to tell you that people also like to do business with other people that are successful.  Thus, when you walk in the door well groomed and put together you've earned yourself a some additional minutes in the prospect eyes to sum you up.  Arriving in the polo shirt, pants that aren't pressed and dirty shoes shows the client that you're not a professional at what you do. You won't be taken seriously when other porfessionals are to be considered.

The Kid

Just a quick story about baseball and a kid I knew that had an excellent arm in high school. At the end of his freshman year he was promoted to varsity baseball. He was lean, athletic and had a good arm. Sophomore year, he started varsity, pitched some big games, was hitting 86 on the jugs gun, still lean and mean.  After the sophomore year this kid thought he was gold, stopped working out, gained a some weight. Junior year (this is the year when scouts start coming around), while he still had a good arm and was touching 90 baseball scouts took a look at the kid, saw the weight issue and immediately labeled him as "lazy".  Kid never got drafted because of the scouts first impression of that person.

Dress for Success

Yay, yay it's an old worn out term.  But for those that maybe reading this and those that maybe be wearing those polo shirts and khakis maybe it's time to shake things up.  Maybe it's time to make a statement that you are the professional and you're there to earn there trust and their business.  Do I like getting dressed up everyday? No fracking way, however I do understand that if I want to be successful I need to play the part.

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Never Stop Doing Your Home Work"

On My Way Home

I’m on my way home this evening in another driving rainstorm in New Jersey.  I have one stretch of highway that is 10 miles in length but has 35 traffic lights!  Only in New Jersey!

Hardly ever do I catch all of the traffic lights when they're green. As I sat at one of those red lights, I thought about how much time I spent working a wide format opportunity today.  That red light was symbolic to me because it reminded me that there are always obstacles in your way when you're striving to reach your goal of obtaining the order over your competitor.

Almost a week ago I had an email response from my jerseyplotters web site that a company was interested in a wide format MFP.  I followed up with a few emails and a call for the first three days and finally connected with one of the DM's on the fourth day.  As luck would have it,  we are flush with wide format demo MFP's in our office. We were able to set the demonstration and our prospect (DM) arrived and was able to see three of our wide format MFP's. 

Concerns of the Prospect

  • Price
  • Quality of Prints
  • Features

The Demo

Our prospect stated that he was not so interested in color because he believed that all of the ink based wide format MFP's would bleed or run if the paper got wet (at first I missed this and was more focused on price as his main concern). I could tell that this prospect had done his research.

We gave a quick look at the MP W6700SP, and then moved to our demo MP 3601(which has a killer price on it).  The prospect was also made aware of a pre-owned MP W3601 that we also have.  Sitting next to our MP 3601SP was our Color CW 2201SP demonstrator unit.  A few questions was asked about the CW2201SP and I made sure that I mentioned the Gel-Ink technology that prohibits the ink from bleeding or running if the document(s) get wet. All of the prospects focus was on the pre-owned MP W3601SP.  After a couple of trial closes I was made aware that there was another DM involved and our prospect was going to look at additional devices. 

Let The Ball Travel

I didn't follow up immediately but rather let the opportunity sit for a few days. I still had 35% of my month left at that time.  Sometimes you just need to be patient and things can come to you.  Right, nothing came to be thus a follow up call was placed two days ago.

Things Change

I was able to chat with the prospect and was told that he was not so giddy with the pre-owned device, but more focused on the demo MP W3601.  We ran through some lease numbers, some purchase numbers and finished up with that I would get him a quote for the pre-owned. 

The next day I had a call from the prospect and he starting asking additional questions about the CW2201SP color MFP.  He then let the cat about of the bag and told me that they were also considering an HP T2530, and he thought the HP T2530 has pigment ink. Okay let me explain pigment ink. According to HP's web site it's almost identical technology for the Ricoh Gel-Ink. It's basically toner but has a liquid carrier attached to it. Once the ink hits the pages, the carrier evaporates and the toner is left (so I'm told).


Okay, this was something new to me, I was not aware that HP had that ink technology. I did some additional digging in the specs of the HP and found that the only ink that is pigment based is the mK Black (matt black), all of the other inks are dye based.  Dye based inks will run or bleed on the paper when wet.  HP uses the wording of hydrate and re-hydrate.  Thus this isn't really what the client is looking for. Chalk one up for me!

In an email later in the evening the client then asked if my CW 2201SP has an exit document stacker like the HP.  What?  I was not even aware there was an exit document stacker.  Sure enough I checked and was there was one that spec's to hold fifty pages. WTF!  I had nothing, my prints fall awkwardly into a catch basket.  Minus one on the chalk board and now we're even.

I then noticed that this formidable HP T2530 also has a dual roll feeder.  WTF again, this machine is kicking my ass with features. I can add a another roll feeder to my CW2201SP, however that makes me even more expensive than the HP. I'm thinking I'm now down one and wondering how the frack can I even the playing field.

I reviewed the specs again and noted that the max paper roll length is 300 feet. I found that kind of odd because I don't remember seeing 300 foot rolls of bond plot paper for sale on the web. I had a hunch that I should google 300 foot plot paper with a 2 inch core.  After a few web site visits I was finally able to find a supplier for 300 foot paper.  Some quick math told me that the 300 foot paper was more expensive than 500 foot paper.  After running the cost per square foot of 300 vs 500, there was almost a 35% savings by using the 500 foot rolls.  I then turned to an analysis of the clients volume over 5 years and saw that the client could save more than $1,200 just on the paper cost with the Ricoh CW 2201SP that could accept the 500 foot rolls. Okay, chalk one back up for me, now we're even. Here's the document I sent to the prospect

HP Chat 7

But, I needed to get ahead somewhere.  Thus I put my client hat on, accessed the great HP web site and had a chat with an "HP Expert".  I was able to confirm that if the customer wanted to print and scan PDF's that they would need the T-2530PS (post script), which is more expensive than the base T-2530. I really don't understand why HP would even offer the T-2530 if it can't print and scan pdf's.   Okay, I'm one up now.

Got back to the client with all of this and the prospect then tells me that he saw some videos on the web and that they are all showing CW 2201SP's printing color at about a minute a page.  Well, here we go again.  My knowledge of the specs led me to believe the speed was just over two "D" pages a minute. Since I had the demo unit, I did some testing on color prints. The first page was 47 seconds which is not close to 30 seconds for each drawing. After a few tweaks with the drive I was able to get the speed to 41 seconds, somewhat better but not matching what I wanted. I understand that all files are different and I'm not replicating the exact file. Thus, I made a video of the color print with a timer and I'm going to send that tonight or in the AM.

Note to Art

I went back to the Ricoh brochure to check the color print speed. Seems I over looked the size of the paper that is in the specs. Ricoh is specs A1 paper which is not 24x36 inches (“D” size). A1 is referenced as 23.4 x 33.1


I'm going to try to get this prospect closed tomorrow. It's not done yet, but the buying time frame was within a week (hoping that does not change).  I feel that I’ve got a fighting change and I’m elated that I didn’t give up because there’s still a shot to win this. Never ever quit, because you just don't know what tomorrow will bring you!

-=Good Selling=-


Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "The Tag Team Cold Call"

Who remembers Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood?  How about Mr. Fuji nd Professor Tanaka?  If not,  I'm sure you familiar with the likes of The Hardy Boyz and also the The Hart Foundation in the nineties. 

If you've never watched Professional Wrestling then you've missed out on some great entertainment. Growing up and then watching Pro Wrestling with my son was always a treat when there was a tag team match.  Yeah, those matches got way out of hand and pinning ones head to the floor just so they couldn't tag there partner was wild!

All of this leads me to a few moments I had with a former rep in our office a few days ago.  That rep had stopped in for a visit and caught me for a few minutes before I was going out for appointments.  We spoke about the cool things in life for few minutes, and I then asked to tell me more about what he sells. As he got more into depth I saw that we could share many accounts.  In fact there seemed to many existing accounts that we could share with each other.

Rather than just asking for a list of names and contacts to call (because that usually goes nowhere after talking about it).  I stated why don't we go cold calling together?  I'll bring up 25 companies of existing and net new that I'd like to hit and we'll knock then out together (tag team those accounts).  You hand out yours and I'll hand out many.  Matter of fact, next week you do a list and we'll hit those 25 companies also!

After a few minutes we agreed that we would make this happen during the Month of July (he's getting married in June).  Yay!

Thus it will be the old guy tag teamed with the young guy for a few fun days in the field.  I mentioned fun, because it will be something different, yes I've gone cold calling with my manager and other reps. But being introduced to many companies where my friend has a relationship with should be awesome.

Cold calling needs to be fun, whether cold calling with a buddy (tag team), or just putting on your best attitude can be all the difference in the world.

Look for other sales people that you know that are outside of your industry and see if you can arrange one of those "tag team" events and I'm sure you'll have a blast and get a few leads.

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "The Hunt for Wide Format"

I wasn't too excited that "The Hunt for Wide Format" was going to take place on a rainy day in Jersey.  I had two choices, one was to start the hunt in the rain or go back to office and make phone calls. I choose to do the hunt because working the phone lately has been terrible. In addition I can't afford to waste time when you can't get DM's on the phone.

My day started with a 9:30AM appointment with an existing account that has three separate equipment leases.  I placed a courtesy call a few weeks ago to see if their devices were running well. About a week later, my client called and wanted to meet. Which told me that there were some issue (none that I knew of).  By the end of the meeting I had addressed both issues and left with an upgrade opportunity. Not a bad way to start off the day I thought.

I pre-planned my hunt yesterday.  I culled my CRM for fifteen or so net new prospects for wide format and mixed in a few existing clients that I hadn't seen in sometime. The plan was for twenty-five stops after my first appointment.

I was armed with Ricoh MP6700SP wide format brochures and business cards.  In addition I carried a notebook bag that I received from a recent show that had Engineering embroidered on the out side of the bag. Thought that might help with the net new clients.

One of my stops was to an existing wide format Architect.  Luckily my Architect was in the office and what was suppose to be a meet and greet turned into a thirty minute appointment.  My client did not have a need to replace the existing device, however we yucked it up about getting old, the high taxes in New Jersey, and thought of leaving New Jersey.  My client then asked what the rest of my day was like and I responded with telling him about my next two stops.  He then told me that hew knew both principals and had worked with both principals in the past. In addition he asked that I tell both of them that my client said hello.

Alrighty then, I had a couple of additional arrows in my quiver when I tracked down the next two prospects.   Back into the car and down the road I went to my next two stops.  With those next two stops, I was not able to connect with either DM because they weren't in the office.  But, I was able to make the connection with the receptionist that I had a message for both DM's.  As soon as I got back in the car I accessed Linkedin and sent inmails to both DM's to connect. I'm good with that because I can make the connection between all three clients with the next email, inmail, or phone call.

The rest of the day proved to be unfruitful, not many of the DM's were around (I did not expect them to be). I was able to make note of three additional suspects with new construction projects that I passed.

One other funny note for today. I've been wanting to stop in this one account for sometime. I noticed that they moved about a year ago, however I kept driving by their place.  Today as I drove past their building slowly, I spied what type of wide format mfp that they have. I was stunned because the wide format was placed in front of a very large window. Soon as I saw it I knew the manufacturer.  I doubled back and then knocked on that door also.

Did I get any wide format opportunities today? No, I didn't. Did I get the opportunity to learn more about each business? Yes.  Was I able to identify future suspects?  Yup

Thus, there you have it.  One day each week every week for the rest of the year this old dog will be out in the field hunting wide format and any other copiers that I spy.

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Vacations & Quotas"

Interesting topic came up today while I was out knocking on doors again!  Most of us (salespeople) have monthly quotas.  For those of us that care, we take pride in striving to meet those monthly and quarterly goals.  When we don't hit those quota's we start thinking about what went wrong, did we not prospect enough, was there not enough in the funnel.   Most of us do have a sinking feeling when we don't hit our quotas.  

Today, I had the debate with a fellow sales person about monthly quotas and vacations. Putting in the effort each and every day allows me the opportunity to attain my quota. 

But what happens when it's vacation time? If I take a week vacation that means I'll only have three weeks to meet the monthly quota nut.  Thus, is it really a vacation?  I caught a thread on twitter today from one of those self proclaimed sales guru's that stated "no not answer emails while on vacation".  I thought, well this butthead definitely doesn't have a monthly quota that stamped on his or her back every month.  

Do you answer emails or don't you, do you take that phone call or not, can that deal wait until you get back or will it go elsewhere if you don't respond?  

I can only remember one time when one time when I completely shut down my selling efforts while on vacation. That was sixteen years ago with a trip to Japan.

It's my belief that sales people should have a reduction in their monthly quota when they take a vacation. Because a vacation should be to kick back, enjoy time with family and use that time to recharge.  If you're not working for 25% of the month, then your monthly quota should be reduced by 25%. 

I understand that most if not all managers will disapprove and never allow this to happen.  Which means that most of us will take those calls and emails because we want to reach that monthly goal/quota.  Thus spending that time and effort offers up the question, did we take the time to recharge or are we just coming back in the same mental state that we left with?

I've been at the same company for a long time. I get a very generous amount of vacation time, but I'm always faced with,  can I afford to take more time off or not? 

For those of us that still do some work while we are vacation, should we be entitled to additional compensation for that time?  Sure, try asking your manager or Veep of Sales that one.

Just maybe someone will figure out that throwing the dog a bone every now and then will reap better rewards.

I guess I'll just have to wait another four years when every day will be a Saturday. EDIAS (Every Day Is A Saturday)

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Why We Still Knock on Doors"

It's been an interesting three months to start my thirty-eighth year in copiers sales.  I started the year off with some type of fraking bug that kept me down an out for about three weeks.  February ended up good, March was down and April is still waiting to finish.

It was last Wednesday when I looking at my funnel and thought, "this ain't good, there's enough in the funnel but nothing is moving".  That's my hint that I need to put some rubber on the road.  I spent the last part of Wednesday culling my CRM for some planned cold calls.  Seventy-five percent of these were net news that were not co-operating with my phone call efforts, the rest were existing accounts that needed to have a visit.

My goal was to have twenty planned visits and then make a few unplanned visits to additional net news.  I made sure that I grouped then by town and would drive north and then work my way south to finish the day. 

Knocking on doors is a great way to get a birds eye view of existing copiers and finding out who the DM is.  From time to time you even get to see the pain points that businesses have with office equipment.

The first four calls were non eventful. The fifth call (non-planned) had me eye to with a refurbished wide format copier that was just delivered and waiting for install. While at that location one of the influencers took me for a short tour and then elaborated on how they didn't like their A3 Canon copier.  After a few more minutes our talk centered on quoting for a new copier.  Chalk one up for net new opportunity!

After and hour or so I cleared my first town and moved further south to the next group of planned stops.  I was able to knock out at another ten or so stops and a couple of unplanned calls. This group of visits produced no leads, although I did have some eyeballs on existing copiers that were in place.

It's just about 2PM when I arrived for my next group of calls.  It's interesting that out of all of the planned calls, I was not able to generate any opportunities with the twenty planned stops.  I did gather intel for future calls, but not one of them panned out.

It's 3 PM and I spied a construction outfit that I thought might fit the bill for wide format.  Turns out there was no wide format needed, however I got into a conversation with the DM about computers. He told me that he was looking to go back to having a server. I spied this place pretty good, there were four PC's, three A4 MFP's and I questioned the DM on why he thinks he needs a server.  After another 30 minutes I had the DM convinced that Quick Books Cloud, MS Office Suite and DropBox was a better way to save a few bucks.  I told the DM about my DropBox experience and told him that DropBox business was a great way for him to see his tickets (invoices) that other users had created.  Make a long story short, I was asked to submit a proposal for an A4 color device that could scan to DropBox.  There's number two!

Just a few blocks away was another net new account that I've been stopping in for the last ten years or so.  This was not a planned visit, but one of those extra visits.  Low and behold the DM was there, we chatted about business, and the cold weather.  Can't tell you much that happened after that (because I do have competitors that read this blog).  What I can tell you is that I developed an opportunity for $300K that could come down the pike very soon. Woohoo! That's three!

Thinking back, this kind of day doesn't happen that often.  Maybe I'll get one order, maybe none or maybe all three. You just never know what tomorrow will bring as long as you keep working!

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Stranger Things Can Happen"

Early in the year I stated that 2018 started out poorly, had a very good February and a so so March.  It's only April 3rd and I'm already feeling the squeeze even with 14 selling days selling days left in the month. After years and years of having the month close early. The thought of it being only April 3rd and fourteen selling days left can mess with your sales psyche.

A few weeks ago I'm in as a referral for a net new account.  It's rather large with two color A3 copiers, three hi speed mono copiers, and a couple of other pieces of hardware.  There are four players in the field including the incumbent.  Over years I've found the hardest deals to crack are those deals where the client is satisfied with the incumbents level of service.  That was the case with this net new account.  During the discovery process, I determined that this was going to be a price buyer.  Thus I position my financials to give me the best shot at this $75K opportunity.  I presented our case about a week ago, and I asked the DM where we sat compared with the other three vendors.  I was told that all four quotes are within one hundred dollars per month!  I just found that amazing since I knew the pricing I gave was extremely competitive.  The account ended up staying with the incumbent because they were satisfied with the support, the brand and the level of service.  I can't blame em, I appreciate those accounts that do the same for me.  I was just amazed with all four vendors being so close.

Another appointment for a net new account came last week.  Within  48 hours after meeting with the client they had made their decision.  There was a flurry of re-quoting because that client kept coming back asking to add this and that. I knew I was cooked when the adding of this accessory and that accessory took me to re-quoting.  I knew that some vendor was offering a sweet deal with all the options. The client wanted to make sure they were comparing apples to apples, thus asking for the re-quotes. Plain and simple I did not have position or leverage because of the brand of the existing device.  Another one bites the dust.

Yesterday, I'm with an existing account for multiple placements.  We've had the account for fifteen years. During the discovery process I caught the statement that they'll also be receiving additional quotes. I then fell back to the value points that they've been happy with the brand, the service and the support right?  The answer was yes and I then asked why the need to get additional quotes?  My answer was, "we'd like to know what else is out there".  I left it at that because I know that they've been very satisfied with our services over the years.  Even though they will go out and get additional quotes I know we're in a good position because changing vendors means RISK.  RISK is the unknown when it comes to service, and support.  With this account, I just need to stay the course and let the ball travel.

In my recent Sunday night newsletters I've referenced March Madness in the copier industry.  The end of March marks the year end for most if not all of the copier manufacturers.  Dealers are offered special buy-in prices before the end of the year and in many cases those special prices find their way down to the end user. The same is true with Direct, maybe not as much with the pricing but the end of year to pile on any an all sales to drive the year end numbers.

Am I a fan of March? HELL NO!  It's still cold, it's still snowing or raining.  I'm one happy camper now that March is over and looking forward to a great spring, summer and fall.

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Differentiating the Price Buyer from the Value Buyer"

Differentiating the price buyer from the value buyer was a conversation I had last week with one of our VIP/Premium Print4Pay Hotel members.

I'll start with why I found this to be an important topic.  If you follow or are connecting with many of the sales soothsayers on Linkedin most of them are missing the point when it comes to selling.  Note I did not mention sales but "selling" which is the act of closing the deal.

Most will say create value, build a relationship, and don't drop your price.  All I can say is WOW, how long have they been out of main stream sales or are they just throwing BS.  There are more "price" buyers now than there ever was.


I'm still in SMB sales after thirty eight years and have found that we (sales people) need to differentiate the price buyer from the value buyer in a short amount of time.

The sooner that you can make that call will enable you to increase your chances to close both the price buyer and the value buyer. There's no need to walk away from the price buyers, identifying the price buyers early allows you to save time in the selling process. With all off the spiffs and bonuses that are available in our industry, the price buyer plays an important role in meeting quotas and achieving bonus levels.

I don't work for free, at times it takes just as much effort to sell one copier as it does to sell five.  However, I also believe it's better to make five dollars than no dollars at all.

If you're in a major market you know how competitive it is out in the field.  Identifying when you can an can't make GP can increase your orders!

How To Make the Call

Over the years, I've learned to use my eyes, ears and a few questions that help me identify what kind of buyer I'm meeting with.

1.  If you're meeting with a "C" level exec, before you go in for the appointment take a short cruise around the parking lot. If the parking spaces are marked for execs check out the types of vehicles in those spots.  Porsche, Mercedes, Range Rover, Maserati, Audi all indicate that someone is a value buyer.  When at the reception desk pose this question, "that's a beautiful Maserati in the lot, who does that belong to?" It may not be the "C" level exec you're going to meet with, but if it is, you've used your "eyes" to help put a check in for the "value" buyer.

2. In most cases I'll ask for a tour when I'm in a larger office when there are multiple copiers.  Yup, we're there to identify the make and model number of each copier, and to check the meters.  Look a little closer to the paper that they use.  Are they using a brand name of paper like Hammermill, or are they using Staples or Office Max paper.  Hammermill or brand name paper puts another check in the "value" buyer.  

3. While you're on the tour you'll most likely see laser printers, in addition to the printers take some time to see what type of toner cartridges they're using.  If you're seeing all remanufacturer cartridges then you'll be putting a check in the "price" buyer.

4. Listen to your client, they will give you clues. One of the clues of a price buyer is that they'll want to rush you through the presentation process. If that's they case a check goes in for the "price" buyer. I've also noted that arrogance and rudeness is also associated with the "price" buyer.

5. Ask these questions in this order.

a. What brand of copiers did you have before these Ricoh copiers?  If they answer Ricoh, that will tell you that they "value" the brand. If they answer with any other brand that will tell you there is no brand loyalty (most likely a price buyer)

b. Who is your current service provider and then who was your previous service provider?  If there current service provider (dealer or direct) is the same as their previous service provider.  That will tell you that they have brand loyalty along with dealer or direct loyalty.  They are a "value" buyer, however there is a strong loyalty to the brand and the service provider.  You may want to ask, "I see that you've had the same brand and service provider for many years. Is there something wrong with the current copiers or service provider"?

If their current service provider is not the same as their previous service provider. Then, I'm putting a check in for the "price" buyer.

You'll need to figure it out on the fly. Don't waste much time on the "price" buyers, give them your best price the first time.  Assume the order and move forward with closing.  Let them stop you, if they don't stop you keep writing!

You can't sell everyone, but you may pick off a few "price" buyers by not playing the price game.  The quicker you can obtain the order will get you closer to the next "value" buyer.  

For those "price" buyers that you do pick off, they will see the value of your support and service over time.  That time allows you to turn that price buyer into a value buyer the next time around.

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Revenue Quota's Don't Suck"

"Who is the competition?", "What are they offering?", "Did you ask to see a copy of the competing proposals?".  These are all questions that I'll ask a new rep if I hear that they are having problems with securing the order.  Believe it or not here are the answers that I received.

  • I don't know
  • I don't know
  • No, I didn't think of the that

Many might say, well just focus on your companies strengths and everything else will fall in line.  I say, that's hogwash!  Most reps don't dig deep enough into the clients "needs" well.  Thus, what ends up happening is that most will quote an equal feature for feature replacement or a copier that may be a little bit faster.  Most don't have a clue what their copier can do and what their competitors can't. 

For those of us that have REAL quota's that are based on REVENUE & gross profit.  We need to sell.  We need to figure out the price buyer and the value buyer. If you can't do that you won't last long in this industry.  

Make a decision, do you want the price buyer because you need the revenue?  That's a call only the salesperson can make.  Keep in mind that you/we can't sell everyone and every so often you do need to walk away.  You can spend the same amount of time selling one copier or 5 copiers. Which one would you choose?

However when you don't have squat in the opportunity column you're pretty much screwed and you need to take the price buyers.  That's why it's so important to keep a pipeline that is three to four time your monthly quota.  That's deals that you think or will close in that 30 day cycle.  Forgot about the 60 and 90 cause those are going to happen unless you get very lucky in the 30 day cycle.

For those of us that have revenue quotas, and most of us do, there's a certain amount of pride that you feel when you're reached your quota. Turn it around and when we don't hit the revenue quota, we can feel like we didn't give it our best effort, or have the feeling of underperforming.  Those are the highs and lows of selling with a revenue quota. 

Personally I've had a revenue quota for the last nine years.  Then another 29 years of gross profit revenue. At times I wish I could go back to a gross profit quota just to slow down a bit.  On the other hand having a revenue quota always keeps me on my toes for continued prospecting.  Yes, I'm the type of person that would rest on my laurels if I had a big gross profit order, and yes I would suffer the next month because I didn't prospect.  Been there, done that, I'd rather have a steady stream of orders because I need that dopamine rush every week or a few times a week!

-=Good Selling=-

On My Way Home!

I wrote this blog more than eleven years ago.  Thought it would be time for a repost.

I was on my way home from Palm Beach, Florida (went there to watch my son's college baseball team) and the wife and I decided to get a drink at the airport in West Palm.

I ordered two Bloody Mary's, one for me and one for the wife. After I ordered, the bartender asked if I would like a double for $2.00 more, I agreed and our bartended asked if I would like a triple for another two dollars, I agreed again.

While I was there I watched this bartender work his magic. For everyone who ordered a beer, he would then tell them that for every beer they ordered they could get a shot for an additional three dollars more! This guy was must have poured and additional 30 shots while I was at the bar!

He also worked his magic for the mixed drinks like I mentioned above.
This guy was a terrific sales person and he probably didn’t even know it. 

Ask and ye shall receive, I am taking a note from his aggressive style and will be asking all my clients if they would like an additional small from MFP for only $8.00 more per month!

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person, "You Can Never Have Enough Stuff"

After years and years of selling copiers I've learned that there are certain items that you need to stuff in your car.  Because you just never know when your stuff could help out an existing client or a prospect.

Here's a list of some of my stuff and the reason I keep that stuff in my car.

Phillips screwdriver:  Every single screw on a copier requires a Phillips head. You never know when a cover needs to tightened or with the simple twist of a screw you can save someone's day and have the copier operational.

Knife:  NO, the knife is not for the client!  I keep a sharp knife available for removing shrink wrapping, tape, opening paper boxes.  That knife once allowed me to clean off a plastic burr that was causing mis-feeds out of a paper tray. 

AC Power Cord:  Yes, on occasions loaner copiers or new copiers can be delivered with out the power cord.  Having one in the car can save the day with an install. It has for me.

Anti Humidity Desiccant Bags:  One of my favs here! With my territory bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it's a fact that paper that's been laying around in a copier or out of the wax ream wrapping will collect moisture.  What does damp paper create?  Crappy prints or copies.  For my Shore clients I'll place a bag in each paper tray for them. Most comment, "wow, that's a great idea!"

Network Cable:  All I can say is, it's better to have a couple than to have none at all.  Always be prepared!

Tape Measure:  Will your copier fit in this space? If you don't have a tape measure, well you're kinda screwed on giving a yes or no right?  Wouldn't it be better to say, "I've got a tape measure in the car, let's check it out".  Here's neat hack if you don't have a tape measure.  Each sheet of paper is 11 inches in length, use the sheet of paper to measure the space.  It's really cool when you do this with a client, because you're asking them for help measuring the space also!

Powerline Ethernet Adapter:  Can't do with out this one! It's a little pricey but you never know when it can save your ass. Like today, I received an email from my service department that a net new install could not be connected because our copier did not have a wireless card. 

I processed that email for a minute or so and realized that the client never told me about needing a wireless device, and nor did I ask if they needed a wireless card for their MFP.  Even if they did tell me they needed a wireless card I would have never recommended the manufacturers option. It's just to damn expensive and the range is horrible.

Yes, I keep an extra Poweline Ethernet adapter pack in my car. In this case, I was able to stop at the clients location within the hour, installed the powerline adapter within ten minutes and have them printing from their laptops within 15 minutes.  Client was happy, I was happy and the end result was a great experience for the client.  Yup, I need to go order another one tomorrow from Amazon. If you check out the link, I usually go with the Netgear or the TP-Link, both work well!


First and foremost, when the heck will the major copier manufacturers recognize that a wireless card/adapter should be a standard feature! Every POS A4 MFP that I see at Staples or Best Buy has a standard Wifi. 

In addition why are the manufacturers wireless card so darn expensive!  For the price that the manufacturers charge I can buy a small Epson or Brother POS A4 MFP with Wifi!

We (salespeople) are the front line when it comes to client support and client satisfaction.  Let's face it, if we're not giving fanatical support then someone else will.  The key is to never stop giving fanatical client support and your client will never ever leave you.

-=Good Selling=-

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person "Slump of Slumps"

I'm proud and excited about starting my thirty-eight year in down the street aka SMB copier sales.  Needless to say, the start of 2018 has not been terrific in fact I'm probably off to one of my worst starts ever.

I guess I could call it the perfect storm.  Right after Christmas I took two weeks to recharge the batteries and get ready for 2018.  It's a great time of the year just to stay at home, kick back and enjoy relaxing.  Nothing to do and no where to go can be a great salvation.  But that was not the case, I contracted some type of Jersey cold/bug that knocked my ass out for the two weeks of vacation and another entire week.  It was about four weeks before I felt better.   

I don't care how good of a sales person you are, four weeks out of action is going to hurt.  

One thing that I've learned in sales is that you always need to be prospecting.  Now one is going to prospect for you and you can't count on leads suddenly appearing out of thin air.  Always remembering that winners make things happen and losers wait for things to happen.

During the last two weeks I've been able to re-build a pretty decent pipeline. If you've been in copier sales for a period of time you'll have experienced "the deep freeze".  That's when your pipeline continues to fill, you have plenty of meetings, and more opportunities that you can shake a stick at.  But you can't close a deal or get those deals to move forward. It's not that the clients are buying from some else it's more like every deal is stuck in a time warp.  However, you still continue to add additional opportunities each week.  

I've been in these cycles before, they suck! But there's not much work you can do but keep stepping up to the plate and take your swings.  Sooner or later the cup of opportunities will runneth over and you'll be writing plenty of orders. Geesh, I'm hoping that going to be next week, because I've only got two weeks left in my month .

We all go through slumps, some minor some major, and some you have no control over. It's our job to continue to work hard, work smart and never stop prospecting.  Thus, if you're ever in a slump, what I can tell you is that slump will end, can't tell you when, but what I can tell you is "the harder you work the luckier you will get".  

Have you experienced a sales slump, if so would love to hear about it and how you came out of it. Hit up the reply and tell us!

-=Good Selling=-