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10 Years in the Cloud

Memoirs of a Copier Sales Person

Covid Killed The Copier Industry

Late 2007

It was late in 2007 that I had our first taste of the Great Recession.  The housing bubble burst and I was one of many copier sales  people that were affected by professionals and businesses going belly up.  One day they were there and the next day they weren't, at one time the leases were paid on schedule and the next month many stated there was no income to be had.  Many think the Great Recession was from 2007 to 2009,  however with my feet in the trenches living that horrid dream it was more like 2007 to 2011.

Every Recession Will Spawn New Technology

I'm not sure what year it was but I do remember attending an industry event in Park City, Utah.  One speaker spoke about how every recession will spawn new technology that will change every business.  When the going gets tough companies will launch new technologies that are designed to lower companies costs.  I believe the message to us is that our industry could lose up to 10% of our revenue because of new technology in the next recession.

It's my firm belief that 2007-2011 was the start of our reduction of clicks for our industry due to technology advancements and rapid advancement of digital solutions and habits with a younger workforce.

Yes, there were some good years after 2011,  even though the revenue from gross sales from the hardware got better and better. But the eroding of clicks was still there.  It was more a slow demise over the next eight years.

Covid19

How can we forget?  Covid19 was the triple whammy for our industry.

First of all because workers were not in the office, printing in major market areas fell hard and fast. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major markets had no one in the office.  Thus no one was printing/copying or scanning which equals no clicks.

Second of all business owners and workers adapted, they quickly learned how to get their work down without printing pages (even old guys like me had to adapt or die).  Many companies adopted technologies like DocuSign, Capture Software and Document Management Software.

Third of all Covid19 spawned the recession, not as bad as the Great Recession because Governments printed absurd amounts of cash to avoid a catastrophic financial crash.  Thus technology developed over those COVID years of 2020, 2021 and 2020 further reduced the volume of printed pages in the modern office.

Post Covid19

There's been some small gains in recent months with print because many of the major market areas are trying to get people back to work.  Bad habits are hard to break and that's helped our industry somewhat.  From what I've read the overall percentage drop of page volume is 25-35% from 2019.  For those off us in secondary and rural markets many dealers claim that the drop is much lower than the major markets and that estimate is 10%-15%.

Major Headaches Still Out There

I've read that the supply chain might never go back to where it was in 2019.  There's just too many variables in play with lingering COVID zero tolerance in China. Threatened rail strikes here in the US and the recent revolt of the Chinese people because of Covid lock downs can threaten the fragile supply chain yet again.

Paper

When was the last time we really factored in the cost for a sheet of paper?  Cut sheet paper costs have been rising, thus the question becomes when will the cost for paper be higher than the cost per page?  A quick review at Amazon puts the cost per page for standard letter paper at the cost of  penny per page.  Thus what happens when the cost per page rises to 2 cents per page or more?

The Last Generation

Those of us in the industry today are possibly the last generation that will sell a digital copier.  If you're the young of of 30, then by the time you're 50 copiers will have gone the way of the typewriter.

As I write this I also realize that businesses that offer print can still be profitable with the existing clicks.  Of course with clicks eroding, the cost of producing prints will continue to go higher every year.  It might be fair to say that low volume prints could start at 2 cents and rise to 3 cents per page in the next couple of years (office print). This might offset some of the losses with declining print volumes.

RIP?

Will our industry die?

Nope, there is no chance of that happening. Our industry's core is technology.  As users during COVID learned to adapt with not printing, our industry has already adapted to offering new technologies and services and we'll continue to evolve as events change the course of print.

In 2043 what's the next break and fix with planned obsolescence?

-=Good Selling=-


I heard you on the wireless back in '52
Lying awake, intently tuning in on you
If I was young, it didn't stop you coming through

Oh-a oh-a
They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine on new technology
And now I understand the problems you could see




[Verse 1: Trevor Horn, Debi Doss & Linda Jardim] I heard you on the wireless back in '52 Lying awake, intently tuning in on you If I was young, it didn't stop you coming through Oh-a oh-a They took the credit for your second symphony Rewritten by machine on new technology And now I understand the problems you could see

The End is.....

What's a beginning with out an end?  If there is no end was there ever a beginning?

I for one can tell you that the end is near......

All of the work at the end of 2021 and all of 2022 will come to an end in seven weeks for me.  For others it's a mere eight weeks to so to the end of 2022.

After 42 years, and yes I'm still chasing a number, it never seems to "end". Starting is good but I can tell you that ending is even better!

The great thing about endings is that you can always re-write your ending.  Of course having the ability to re-write the endings also means that you need to the time to put that ending together.  No time equals no re-writes, no re-writes means you're doomed.

It's interesting for me since I've lived and worked in the Northeast all these years.  Once summer ends I find myself devoting the extra time to make sure I have multiple ending options.  The fall season is perfect because it reminds you that as day light gets shorted and shorter so does the amount of selling days left before the end of year.

Thus, I have seven weeks to hit a personal number this year.  I'm the first to exclaim that net new business has been off for me this year.  All of the other metrics for the year are great, thus there is one more hurdle to jump and another hill to climb.

It's a personal thing for me, while others say be say don't get to wound, I say I've never achieved anything without being passionate about what I do.

Winter starts on the 21st of December and my year ends on the 23rd of that month.  Thus before the end of 2022, I'll be working on year number 43 for down the street sales.

Time is something is probably one of the most valuable items that you can't catch, trap or sell.  Time needs to be enjoyed and managed.  Managing time is probably one of the most important things in my life that I don't realize I'm managing.

I love this saying I wrote. I'd rather manage my life, than to let life manage me.

Copier Leases Unlimited Pages "If it sounds to good to be true"

Copier Leases Unlimited Pages "If it sounds to good to be true"

Just happened today and I tried to explain the pit falls to a current client that's believes working with a new vendor was advantageous because of unlimited page for black and color prints. Thus I thought i's time again to renew the pitfalls of many copier leases.

Unlimited Pages

The thought of unlimited black and color pages is extremely inviting. The client thinks that getting one price per month for the lease and the unlimited page is a GREAT deal. It's my belief that most if not all of these agreements should be a NO Deal. The reason for this follows.

In most cases you will pay more per month for the lease and unlimited pages is because the dealer or the manufacturer builds in fail sales to protect them so they do lose money (yes dealers and manufacturers can lose money if the client makes too many black or color prints). Thus any dealer worth their weight will put clauses in the lease contracts.

  • Annual escalation of the monthly lease payment with as much as a 25% increase per year (on average I see 15%, but have seen 25%). Many clients told me that the sales person stated there is no escalation, well you need to read the fine print of the lease. In most cases you will see the clause in the lease of the maintenance agreement"we may increase the cost". WE MAY means WE WILL. Read the fine print and if you're unsure contact someone like my self who can explain the ramifications.
  • Everygreen clause means if you don't notify the leasing company or the dealer of your intentions at the end of the lease. The lease could increase for another 12 months or the entire term. I've seen it. READ the fine print on every document that you sign!
  • Additional fees for toner delivery, help with scanning or printing because your copier is on the network and those services are not included in the maintenance agreement or lease that you signed. READ the fine print on every document that you sign!
  • Poor service and support. The thought of a cheap price is long forgotten after poor service. Many copier companies after COVID are trying to do more with less. Many have lost technicians (retired or when on to bigger and better things), those dealers and manufacturers that lost those people are not capable of replacing them because the copiers of today require more technical expertise than years ago.
  • Dealership of Manufacturers Culture was exposed during COVID 19. Many furloughed or laid off employees which ruined the culture of those companies because employees who needed the jobs were tossed out. Thus those that are still with those companies are taking the paths of silent quitting. Are these the types of companies you want to be associated with?

In the end most unlimited page agreements contracts are made to protect the dealers or manufacturer and not the client.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need help or have questions

Art Post

Grinding with the End of Summer Upon Us

Tomorrow starts the first of September for 2022.  Within ninety-six hours the traditional end of summer will pass in New Jersey.  Mother nature is not that far behind with the autumn equinox taking place on September 22nd.  For those of us living at the Shore, the days from the end of Labor Day until the twenty-second is referred to as "the local summer".  The weekenders, day trippers, renters and tourist are now back to work, school and their grind.

For many us in sales the "grind" never ends.  Well, we can take a vacation here or there, but the grind is what we've gotten to use to.  Successful sales people are grinders which means they know what it takes to be successful and what happens when we're slackers.  I've found out the hard way on numerous occasions in my sales career about being  slacker.

Taking it easy and not grinding during those summer months can and will affect your performance for the last quarter of the year.  I've learned that continued prospecting during those summer months will ensure that you've got your fair share of opportunities.

I was out in the field today knocking on some doors with one of my IT peeps.  I invited him to ride with me to see if we could drum up additional IT opportunities along.  My plan was to stop at many of the clients with opportunities that I've not been able to get in touch with.  I've found that most clients are busier than every and during the times of COVID and now the supply chain issues.  Sometimes a simple stop in is all that's needed to get the ball rolling again.

We had one those stops in our last visit with a new new.  The DM was not available, however the 2nd in charge offered us seats at the conference table to review the opportunity that we created more than a year ago.  After an hour we were much close to the end of the sales cycle, leaving that appointment with another appointment in two weeks in my pocket gave me what I was looking for today.

August 31st, summer is not over and those days of continuing to prospect will help you grind the last four months of 2022

-=Good Selling=-

The thought of a cheap price is long forgotten after poor service or....

Apologies for the re-post but thought this is had enough content for it's own long post.  Enjoy, also please post your thoughts!

The thought of a cheap price is long forgotten after poor service or....

"The thought of a cheap price is long forgotten after poor service", we've all heard some variation of this line at some time  or from someone.  But, how about maybe "The thought of a high price is forgotten after excellent service"?

I had to get a repair on my AC unit today, if it was a hot, sweltering day well I would have paid any price.  But today was not a scorcher and was one of those ten best days of the year. However, it was not one of the ten best days of the year for my checking account!

My AC was broke and I called a company that I used in the winter for my rental apartment and had a good experience. I used them again because of two reasons one reason.

1. They answered the call and that's a plus because in recent year any calls I made to plumbers, electricians and HVAC peeps were going to voice mail and I found myself waiting days for if I received a call back.

2. Knowledgeable technician was awesome, no calling someone else on the phone because they never saw a heater like I had.

My experience from today:

1. I called around 9:30AM today and spoke to someone in dispatch again and another pleasurable experience.

2. They would be out today in between 4pm-6pm.  Another plus for same day service since most others never returned my calls.

3. The technician sent me a text 20 minutes after he finished the stop before me.  This was awesome and I finished whatever I was working on.  I wish something like this could happen more in the copier industry.

4. Polite and courtesy in a great experience when dealing with someone new (client like me). Most of us strive to put the client in our shoes and make them feel comfortable.

End result;  My AC unit needed a part and they had the part in the service truck.  Start to finish was 90 minutes are so.  Cost just to evaluate the issue was $125, cost to fix the issue was another $435.  Total was $560 bucks, yes I thought that was high, however the service was exceptional when compared to others and the thought of having the job completed the same day allowed me to get back to work.

Yes, in the end "The thought of a high price was forgotten after excellent service"

-=Good Selling=-

How Did You End Up in Copier Sales?

I copied the title of this blog from a recent Linkedin post from Greg Walters. I haven't figured out how to share it and not sure it can be shared.  If I can I will in the reply section from this blog.

I thought it would be fun to share how I ended up in copier sales and hope to hear from others in the reply section for "How Did You End Up in Copier Sales?"

I'll go first and I will try to shorten it, but I've never been a guy to shorten a great story

1980

The year was 1980, I was 23 years old and out of work during the summer that year.  My job at the glue factory got in the way of trying to have a great summer.  Many of those summer days saw me searching the help wanted ads in my local newspaper. Jobs for someone like me (long story) was few and far between because I had no path to college, the economy was in shambles along with high inflation and high interest rates.

Making the Effort

At least I was making the effort to look for something, right?  Finally I  found something that was interesting (actually anything that paid was interesting), I called and was asked to come in for an interview in the next few days. That ad was for a Copy Machine Repair person, the ad made mention of the interview, and taking a mechanical/electronic aptitude test.  Hey, I thought I'm okay with my hands since I've been able to fix my own cars and my Dad was a communications Sargent during WWII.  My Dad taught me morse code and showed me how to make a morse code machine in my younger days.

The Test

Frak,  the aptitude test was difficult for both the mechanical and electronics (tough for someone who left school during the junior year in HS).  Three weeks passed since the interview/test and there were no calls, at this time I seriously considered entering the Army because there were no other jobs. Yikes!

The Call

Ring, ring went the phone that was next to my bed (I was never far from a phone especially when I was sleeping), that call was from the copier company, they asked if I was still interested in the job?  Hell yes I was still interested.   I was told that I needed to be at there place tomorrow because the class had already started!

Whoa, I got the job!  I was getting paid to go to school to learn how to be a copier technician.  Thank goodness it was summer because my only transportation was my Harley and there was no rain in the immediate forecast.

Training at $3.75 per hour

I think it was three months of hands on training for mechanics and then a crash course of electronics (I still remember zener diode).

At the end of graduation the company that sponsored the class then found everyone a job as a copier repair person.  Yes, I landed a job as a real copier technician in New Jersey.  Back tracking a bit here, the day that they called me I was an alternative option for the job.  Seems the first person was female and she was the only female in the first day of class.  Well, she opted out and I was next on the list.  Funny how things work.

90 Days

After 90 days I had my review with the company that hired me. I was brought into the owners office and he told me that I was doing a great job at taking the copiers apart but not so good at putting them back together (that wasn't the exact conversation, but you get my drift because I wasn't that good).  I was told that I was being laid off, however on the way out the owner reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cash.  He stated "would you rather finish out the week to make the rest of this money or would you rather talk me out of the cash".  I had no job and trying to talk him out of the cash seemed like the best option.  I thought it was 30 minutes and I tried every thing I knew to get that cash. It was probably more like 5 minutes, and I was never able to secure the cash, however the owner stated "would You like to give it a go selling copiers?"

42 years later..........

What's your story I'd love to hear!

-=Good Selling=-

A Funny Thing Happened While on My Scavenger Hunt

Today was round II of our scavenger hunt aka day of knocking on doors for net new clients.

Early on it was going to be one of the more interesting days because the diner that I instructed my partner to meet me at was closed.  Not just closed for the day, but closed forever.  Yes, I was surprised because we were to only two cars in the lot.

I made another plan and in ten minutes we were having breakfast and the Marina in Atlantic Highlands.  It was three eggs over easy, rye toast, bacon and home fires for each of us and I'm sure that would give us enough energy for a GREAT day.

At 8:30AM we logged into our Teams and we received the instructions for the net new scavenger hunt and what was needed to win to some cash prizes.  By 9AM we were on our way and I felt confident that we would be able to complete the task and have some opportunities for both cash and leads.

First Call

Our first call was right across the street from the Marina, and within 45 minutes we were able to complete three net new cold calls.  Seems we were on the way to get my 15 visits completed.

My next stop was to visit the furthest call in my territory which was about 50 or so miles down the road. My plan was to cold call two type of accounts and they were production and wide format.  Might as well go big and scavenging for production and wide format should bring some awesome returns and rewards.

The Hunt

Here's where I cut to chase and make mention of the best call of the day.  I visited a client that I once had as an account 25 years ago, because in recent months they had surfaced on Linkedin an we were able share some comments on their threads.   When we arrived the DM was in a meeting and the receptionist stated that our DM stated they would see us soon.  It was 30 minutes of waiting and we were told again and again our DM was coming to see us.  I think it was at the 35 minute mark where I asked Dean to set a timer on his phone for 5 minutes, if our DM doesn't show we'll move on the next stop on this list.  At the 5 minute mark our DM greeted us with open arms (two of them) one for each one of us. It was great see my DM again and we started with some small talk about how business is and what their existing relationship was like with their three vendors. Yup, three of them. Since this was a production print we spotted at least a dozen printers on the floor and probably more in the others areas that we could not see.

Our DM them told me that he remember on of the best devices I ever sold him. He made mention of the old thermal poster printer (picture on top of page) that I sold in back in the mid nineties that used blue and yellow thermal paper.  Yes,  that brought back the memories and our DM stated he always enjoyed how I stayed on top of technology and offered great ideas for him. Remember back, this one of my first accounts that bought a digital duplicator from me also. Time really does fly......

Things happen, things change and for years we ended up going out of touch for various reasons.  As my wife says, everything happens for a reason.  While chatting I made mention of embellishment.  In most cases when I mention embellishment it's not a term that many are familiar with, however in this case my DM was extremely interested in learning more and the possibility of adding embellishment to their portfolio (that usually means adding a 5th station print device).  When we finally left we had spent 90 minutes at the clients location and knocked out an on-site appointment with a potential net new client and opened them as a suspect for now.

Before we left we agreed on a few follow up points and then to offer up a demo for embellishment.  Not a bad day eh?

I got no where close to the visits that I wanted for the day, however the ability to re-kindle and old relationship was the icing on the cake.  I can also state that if we didn't have the hunt I would not have stopped in for many dumb reasons.

All of this takes me back to "The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get"

-=Good Selling=-

The Last Day and the First Day of My..........Quarter

Pretty cool date today.  The last day before vacation, the first day of the new quarter and my first order for new quarter would be a great start the last day of vacation and the first day of the quarter, right?

My first appointment I thought would be  wishy washy as best with an existing account.  Seems there was an new Chief IT director with my account. I had the ominous email a week to ten days ago asking for all sorts of info on their copiers. When I get that type of email it's usually not one of those great appointment.

Rather than conducting the meeting first and then organizing the date for the client.  I opted to organize all of the data points that they required in a spreadsheet aka dashboard and then scheduled the virtual meeting. I wanted to be ready because many of these appointments can blow up and I wanted to get this done quickly since I had things to fry before my vacation.  Thirty minutes before the start of the virtual meeting I emailed the spreadsheet aka dashboard of the 12 devices with our fleet.

The Meeting

I wasn't ready for the immediate response when the client thanked me for the following.

  • Answering his email to schedule a review of their devices
  • Scheduling a meeting to review the fleet of devices within a week
  • Emailing the dashboard of device with lease start, lease end, monthly payment, device #ID, model number term of lease, lease term date, cost per page for black and color, along with last billing for cycle with pricing

My client explained that this he was rather new with the company and there are two fleets from different vendors (one of them me) and he needed to get a handle on all of the devices as soon as possible to he could get his plan in place.

My client then told me that the other vendor is for a Canon fleet and he's still waiting for someone to call or email him back after two weeks. I could tell he was impressed with the response and the how detailed the information was.

I'll take a trip back to the ominous email because in most cases I've been on the end that is told that changes are being made.  That was my gut, however I did the work because that's my job.  We need to do the work from start to finish even if the outcome is not what we wanted.

After the review, my client picked out one of the locations that had two devices and a pretty hefty volume with both leases terming in the next 3-10 months.  It went something like this, "he's what I want, I want redundancy at all of my locations  so let's start with this one. Where I have the one 60 ppm color, give me two 50ppm color MFPs and while we're at it also replaced the 30 ppm color as well."

Well, that was stunning, and also a nice bonus to happen the first day of the new quarter and the last day before my vacation. It's a verbal and I know that verbals are not set in stone, but I got him all the docs that he needs in order to move forward when he hits the office in the AM tomorrow.

-=Good Selling=-

A Sheet of Paper More Expensive Than Cost Per Copy?

I had to find away to not sell my client another copier aka MFP.

That client told me they thought they were printing too much volume on the A4 MFP they purchased 3 years ago.  In fact I agreed when the meter on the copier gave up the ghost for the quarter of a million pages they produced. During the last 12 months the annual volume had to increased to 90K.

How could I be different from others that want to push a copier?  I'd love to push a copier but considering where our industry is at with getting A4 copiers there needs to be another way.

Lately, I've had a lot of focus on our content offerings.  Content offerings could be DocuWare, PlanetPress, Sharepoint and a host of others offerings that we can sell and install in 30 days or less.

Numbers

First things first, I had to find out the cost for the maintenance and supply contract for the 90K in prints.  Okay I thought, is this all I have to work with identifying what the client is spending on those 90K of pages?  The MFP cost amortization over 5 years gave me a few more bucks.  There had to be more right?  The next supply item is paper, ninety thousand sheets of paper is a decent volume for one device. Instead of guessing what the cost is for a sheet of paper went to Amazon to view the costs. Well, it had been some time since I priced paper. See the chart below, I looked at costs from eight suppliers, then pulled the average.

I was floored when I pulled the average for the cost per sheet!  The cost per sheet was .0147.  The last I remember the cost of paper was about $36 per case or .007 per sheet.  Thus in the last couple of years paper has doubled.

Rising Costs

Clients are now spending almost $1,500 for every 100K copy/print paper.  Cost per page pricing for maintenance and supplies in most cases is under .0125 per page.  Thus the cost per page is now less than the cost for paper.  Consider that same client will now spend $2,750 for every 100K the produce.  Over 5 years that cost is a whopping $13,750.  Let's call it a even $15K with device amortization.

What This Means

At the minimum I have almost $15K to work with to find some different options for the client rather them offering them another MFP.  In addition many of these technology offerings can easily morph into additional non print opportunities.

Our meeting today produced some ideas on how to eliminate the paper process.  In additional while digger deeper led me to finding out that the client is a current Datto user, interested in how to do more with less, looking to change their business line of software.

Thus even though I'm somewhat toward the end of my tale, there is still so many opportunities available to us.  If you don't ask, you don't get and as Tim would say it all starts with a conversation.

_=Good Selling=-

Finding Suspects for Content Opportunities in Want Ads

Finding Suspects for Content Opportunities in Want Ads

I placed this comment on the forums section of this site a few minutes ago, however I wanted to get it on the blog so I could share with others.

Leads can be found almost anywhere.  Since a lot of my prospecting has changed from copiers to content I'm always on the lookout for opportunities and where the low hanging fruit is.  Going wider and deeper with your relationships can make a difference.

Below is from one of my clients that I follow on Linkedin.  These are additional responsibilities in the job requirement section


  • Research and resolve part related issues collaborating with Procurement and Operations.
  • Ensure compliance with established accounting policies and procedures related to daily operations.
  • Collaborate with Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable to ensure customer invoices and vendor purchase orders are accurate and up to date.
  • Process and apply expense reports to corresponding work orders for accurate billing.

Keywords for me:

  • policies and procedures
  • part issues and collaboration
  • AR, AP, invoices, purchase orders
  • Work orders, accurate billing

Not that I'm one for reading want ads, however after seeing this one, I'll be reading more want ads to see if they qualify as a suspect and warrant a call.

I'll be placing a call tomorrow to my contact and give him m thoughts @jdicarlo
-=Good Selling=-

Supply Chain Day Thirteen........Not Really

Let me count the ways.....how many clients are opting out re-leasing their copiers, others that want to buy their existing copier from the leasing company and a few additional accounts sprinkled in that they are opting to stay status quo.

Yup the last few weeks many of my clients that were playing hide and seek finally got me the goods on where their heads were at.

One of the talk tracks today was about a Fair Market Value (FMV) lease and what is the option for the client to buy that device.  Years ago FMV was worthless to me, the model number, the price, nor the meter read always meant the copier was being returned. No ifs and or buts.

Times have changed since there is demand to keep those copiers that under performed during COVID. The owner knows the copiers were hardly used and there was little to no service issues.

Supply and Demand

Prior and even during COVID none of my clients wanted to keep the existing copier. Every single one of those copiers were returned to that great copier hall waiting for another forever home.

Fair Market Value is the price an asset would sell for on the open market depending on age, and meter read.  I can tell you I've made that statement to clients thousands of times and probably even dreamed about FMV a few times as well.

The preowned copier market is hot and that's because most of us can't get new A3 devices for months and most new A4 devices are a pipe dream.  Thus the demand is there for used, preowned and off lease copiers.  Thus my talk track and I'm sure many others have changed their position when a client asks how much is that 5 year old copier?

My talk track in recent weeks finds me quoting 50% or more of the what the lease price was.

Interesting

I do find it interesting that I've never seen our industry like this in my 42 years.  Yes, there was the Great Recession in 08 or 09, but you could always get a copier whenever you wanted one.  When clients asked "when can I get my copier" the answer was always, "when do you want it by".

-=Good Selling=-

I'm Finding the Opportunities, but not Winning Competitive Deals

The question below was emailed to me back in 2003 and I thought this would be a good review.

"My pipeline is always 100,000k+ and I'm required to do 12-15 appointments per week.  I'm finding the opportunities, but not winning competitive deals. (I have a small base list of 10 accounts)."

Above was a statement that was emailed to me by a Print4Pay Hotel member in Canada this week.  I thought this would make a good topic for this week to see if I can help.

Okay, I'm thinking if you only have a base of 10 accounts and you're not winning competitive deals that means all of your business is net new.  Here's a few things that I try to do with net new business.

1) Find out what brand of equipment they have now and who is servicing the product with those opportunities.

2) Once you've found out what brand they have, ask them what brand they had before their current brand along with who was servicing the equipment. If they had a different brand and servicing dealer this can tell you that they have no brand or service loyalty. If they have the same brand and the same servicing dealer or direct branch, then you've got a tough road to hoe since they have brand and service loyalty.

3) I would dig deep with the customer to see if there is some type of lockout feature or software that will position my company at the top of the pack. I've often found that many reps are lazy and won't take the time to explain many of the features, advantages and benefits of their systems.  Thus you may mention something browse to folder for scanning.  Try not to leave any stones un-turned,  when you are in a competitive situation. If you're selling MPS, make it more about the service, the reporting tools, and your fleet software advantages.

4) Make sure you meet with the DM, if not you need to put your best foot forward with the quality of your presentation and proposal.  Many times the DM may leave the decision making up to the person you met with, in this case the cheapest/lowest price may not be the right choice for the person you met with. Most likely they will not select the highest price, nor the lowest price. Thus, go with your gut and the middle of road for pricing.

5) Ask "When will you be making a decision on acquiring the system and what is the process for choosing one vendor over another", make this one of your last  questions.

6) ABC, Always be closing, if a closing opportunity comes up and stares you smack in the kisser, then close.

7) I'm not sure of your market, however in large markets you've got to be prepared and I hate to say this, is to "offer your best deal" in order to get the business.  If you're in this for the long haul and your company services the product well, you'll be able to have an upgrade or additional units in the future that you'll be able to hold margin.

These are just a few items that came to mind.  What I can also tell you is that you need to remove yourself from competitive situations, you need to find the prospects who are NOT in the market.

Basically this means that with your skill set you've been able to secure an appointment, assess their pain or challenges and offer a solution that will help them NOW.  Hard to do, but the opportunities are out there, all you need to do is find them.

-=Good Selling=-

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