Memiors of a Copier Sales Person

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Thirteen of Sales

I was hoping that day thirteen would be a lucky number for me.  It wasn't and I'm still hanging in their with zero orders since I started working remotely.

I had a tough time going to sleep last night, the mind was still running, thoughts of what to if this that or the other thing happens.  Even with two sleeping pills it was not a good night.  Think I finally dozed off somewhere in the 1AM area.

Thursday has started just like every other day.  By 8am I was at the PC and going through my CRM to start the task of calls.  It wasn't until 9AM that I got around to calling peeps.  I'm thinking I did about 50 calls and spoke to 10 people in total, of those 10 it was maybe 4 DM's.  But the plan was if I couldn't get the DM on the phone I would send an email. Thus it was phone call, leave a message, send an email, frakking boring!

Later in the day in the Arli webinar I was asked, "how to you get energized when things aren't going that well"?  My answer is that I'll play one song that always puts me in a good mood.  That song is "Mister Blue Sky" by ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), funny until a few years ago it was not was of my fav's.

I was a calling machine all the way up till about 2PM.  At 2PM I took my working lunch break to be a guest on Arlingtons Weekly Webinar Series. They started running that a few weeks ago when all of this **** hit the fan.  BTW Arlington is a sponsor of this site and please click on their banners or give them a call.  The support of our sponsors allows me to dedicate the time to share all I know with our members.  

We spoke about many of the same things that Greg and I covered this week. What's going on, where we are heading, what's working, whats not working. I tell you Arlington it also doing a nice job of updating everyone of COVID19 stuff on each of these webinars. I catch them ever week. Brent and Kelly are doing a great job.

My one deal for the bakers dozen lease did not move forward yet and the reason for that is because I did not push the issue.  Tomorrow I will make the push to get them to **** or get off the pot.  Tomorrow for me will be more of the same with contacting existing clients. 

One of the items that I'd like to finish this week is the creation of at least one more video with PPDM that I can send out as a virtual demo.

 I believe we also need to be making our own content that we can send out to clients at this time. I know that some of the copier manufacturers have simulators for their operation panels. 

Thus if you want to make a few all you would need to do is open the simulator on your PC or Mac. I then use SNAG IT to make a video. It's capture software that will record your voice and capture everything you do on your screen. One idea is that you could do a demonstration on how to scan and save to a msword doc and msxcel doc.  When you're finished you hit stop record, the file is then converted to an MP4 file.  You can then take that file and upload to Youtube.  From YouTube you can do anything, push to social media, send an email with the video.

The point of all of this is to stay relevant with our clients.  Show them that you are the guru in your space!  If any of you need help please send me an email.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Twelve of Sales

I'm going to start this a little different tonight. I'll start at the end of my day because that part of the day had a profound effect on the rest of the evening.

Earlier in the day I text'd one of my clients that I have an opportunity with.  The text was simple with "how you holding up".  Since the churches are closed in NJ,  I opted for the text rather than the call. I was also mildly concerned since there were many cases of the virus in his town and he's a bit older than me. 

Thirty of forty minutes later I a call from my contact and he sounded horrible. He told me that today was the first day in a few weeks that he had stopped coughing.  In addition he went on to tell me that his entire family has/had Covid19.  Everyone is recovering however he spent two days in the hospital over the weekend.  

He was administered hydroxychloroquine & azithromycin (Z-Pak) at the hospital. My friend went on to tell me that this was the worst thing he has every gone through in his life.  Coughing so bad that he thought he would not recover.  I asked him if he knew how he had caught the virus and he claimed he had no idea and was exercising social distancing for weeks.  He also clued me into some additional warnings.

  • If you're out in public wear a mask and bring gloves, especially when food shopping
  • Keep hand sanitizer in your car
  • When you get back to your car, wipe down the door handles, the steering wheel, the gear shifter, the key fob and anything else you may have touched with your gloves
  • Dispose of the mask and gloves when finished
  • When you get out of the car wipe down the seat you sat on
  • When you get home, immediately take you clothes off (another set of gloves used here) and promptly put them in the washing machine and then wash your hands


Thus Covid19 came a little close to home today especially when it involves someone you know.  From here on in I'll be going with my wife to the food store (we go once a week) to make sure she is following these protocols.

I can only hope that those reading this will take these steps seriously, I know I will be from here on in.

Today was a pretty good day since I took the attitude that every day without garnering an order will get me close to the first one.  In total I made about 40 phone calls and set about 30 emails.  Not bad with 70 touches for the day.  I'd say I spoke to 7 clients in total and received about 12 responses in emails. I was able to move a couple of deals closer to the finish line.  One client was on the fence about a purchase at this time and also had concerns with a long term lease.  However he knew that his existing device was outdated and had a high cost for maintenance.  It was an objection aka concern,  I went back to the memory banks and offered a bakers dozen lease. At this point in time I'm thinking that may do it for us.  I'll find out tomorrow.

There was additional training for about an how for a print solution and later had a NJ TEAMS meeting.

Tomorrow it's all about more phone calls, and more emails. As I stated yesterday the SHOCK & AWE is over with the virus. This is our new normal for the next 4-8 weeks.

I'll be also doing a working lunch at 2PM and I'll be doing a guest appearance for Arlington with their weekly webinar series. If you've got the time please join us the details are listed on this site in our calendar section.

-=Good Selling & Stay Safe Out There=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Eleven of Sales

WTF eleven days!  Another late night issue for me again.  It's sometime after 10PM, thus this will be another short blog again.

Today our dealership had a TEAMS meeting set for 11AM. The plan was to lay out the strategy for the next 30 days or so.  Yes, it seems like another 30 days of remote working is in order.  I am also very thankful for that, because at least I have the ability to produce.  I can't go over the details because it just doesn't make good business sense with competitors reading this blog.

What I can tell you is that I'm excited and pumped to get going.  Tomorrow starts a new path and a new future! I'm ready and raring to GO.

Since I wasn't sure what our marching orders were before 11AM I sent a few additional emails and arranged some contacts for later in the day.

By 12PM I had my working lunch chat with Greg Walters.  We had almost 80 peeps sign on for our 55 minute chat. I tell you the format is awesome, just Greg and I chatting about what we've heard, what we've seen and what we've done.  Towards the end of the call we've open the mics to two peeps. One was Martin Hofman from VZ Industries in the Netherlands and the operator of The Copier Solution Shop (sponsor).  The Copier Solution Shop offers dealers the ability to purchase copier cabinets, paper tray locks and a host of other accessories that will allow your copier to be different. Please make sure you check them out.  Martin gave us an overview of what the market is like in the Netherlands with Covid19. Sometimes we're so stuck in our own world we're not seeing the ramifications in other parts of the world.  Thanx Martin

Our second mic opening was to Deon Beshof in South Africa. Deon also provided insight to what's happening in his area but also enlightened us with some info regarding AI and what's coming down the road.  Special thanx to Deon also!

We have any another one planned for next week, stay tuned for details. We'll also be opening up the mic to other peeps here in the US to get a better understanding of what's working and what's not. It should be another great episode!

I'm not going to bore you with the rest of my day, because there wasn't much to it besides a couple more TEAMS meeting.  What I can tell you is that the SHOCK & AWE of Covid19 is OVER.  For the time being this is our new normal.

We owe it to ourselves to start getting creative and start selling.  You could say it's our duty, and on the other hand it's the duty of our clients to buy (I got that from Greg).  If anything is going to save the economy it's going to start with us and our clients.

Like I said this is a short one, I'll be back tomorrow.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Ten of Sales

Busy, busy day for me.  I started at 7:30AM and it's now 9:45PM, I figure I still have another 30 minutes or so to go.

One thing I noticed today is that the pace of industry press releases as slowed to a crawl.  Tomorrow marks the last day of the year for most copier manufacturers, I can only image the deals that are available for dealers right now. Yes, it's one of those years that will go down in the history of the industry.

Today was interesting to say the lease. I had 40-50 contacts in my CRM to tackle, most of them were earmarked to send an email.  Since I sent most of my emails last week I needed some different content.  I had just the content that arrived in my emails last week. A Print4Pay Hotel member from the west coast emailed me a link with a webinar recording.  That webinar was about the Federal Response for aid for medium and small businesses and how to apply for it.  This was awesome!  Content that any business owner would want to review (if you need that link please email me  apost@p4photel.com). FYI, I did have about ten responses thanking me for the content. In addition I believe I nudged a couple of opportunities closer to coming home. Special thanx to Joe!

There was an additional 8-10 accounts that I did not have email addresses for and that proved to take some time in getting those. I was able to acquire 7 of those addresses and left the rest for tomorrow.

I did have a couple of phone conversations, nothing great but it was better than last week.

At 3:30PM I had a local NJ TEAMS meeting which was fine by mean, I was pressing all day and needed some time to wind down a bit.

The best part of my day was from 4PM to 5PM. One of my ideas is to give clients "video demos'.  Of course I can't demo a copier, but I can demo software!  I made my first video using snagit.  It took seven takes to get it as good as I could. 

What I did was to pick put one feature of the software and demonstrate how it's used. All in all the video time was three minutes or so.  When I finished I posted on my YouTube channel. The plan is to do three each week for the next four weeks. Here's the link if you want to check it out.

All in all a pretty productive day. Tomorrow I have a TEAMS meeting with our sales team. NOON TIME means Greg Walters and I will have a second chat session about " How to Sell Copiers in the Age of Corona Virus". You can register here and please get in early!

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Nine of Sales

Sorry everyone, I'm going to make this short and sweet tonight.

On a positive note today I receive and email from one of my clients that they like the first of 2 proposals that they reviewed and is looking at a May 1st timeline to move forward.  Now I won't count my chickens yet, but that's the best news I've had all week.  We scheduled a follow up in two weeks to see if we're still at square one with this virus. Oh ya, and this is a $60K opp.

I had a chat with Greg Walters this AM and he told me about a thread that he read on Linkedin from someone he is connected with. The thread kinda went like this.

Our country is built on capitalism it’s our duty as sales people to sell and it’s the duty of our clients to buy in order to bring us out of this economic downturn.

I may have paraphrased a bit because I did not jot it down word for word, however if we are true believers and patriots only we can turn this economic free fall around.  Not sure how and when I might use this but it's really something to think about.

Of course I finished up all of my emailing today, and set aside some prep time for Monday. In addition I finished my first constant contact drip email campaign. I'll be sending this out on April 1st.

If anyone would like to some help with CC, I ready and willing to help.

One other thing I've noticed in the last two days is that industry press releases for copier and IT stuff have virtually vanished. It's the first night in a long time that I have nothing to post.  That's cool because I'm beat from a very stressful week.

One more note Greg Walters and I will have another chat on March 31st at noon, we have some additional content to cover.  You can register for the chat here. Please keep in mind that the registration does not preserve you seat, so please log in on time.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Eight of Sales

There's no light at the end of tunnel.  My thought is that the tri-state area will peak before the other parts of the country, thus while we're going down other geo areas will still be fighting the battle.

If someone asked me to guess, I'd guess that we're another three weeks away from the lock down being lifted.  Think about that..., that would be make it six weeks!  That's more than ten percent of the year and I still have weeks of vacation to take.  Hitting numbers is going to be a challenge, but those of us that are pro's are always up for a good challenge. 

I had a short teleconference at 8:20am, not an opportunity but something I need to clean up.  By 9AM I was ready for my first MS TEAMS with our crew.  I'm kinda liking this TEAMS thing, but as with anything new there's going to be a learning curve.  One of my takeaways from that meeting is that sales needs to be the power house.  I mean, we have nothing to do but plan, soft prospecting and get better at our craft. I believe we'll also have some banner months in the second quarter.

After our meeting which lasted about an hour it was time to finish up some tasks that I didn't finish yesterday.  The most important task for me was to finish loading another 30 email addresses for my contact contact drip campaign.  The next item on the list was to further jot down the content that I want to send.  By the time I was finished I was able to plan the content, and the dates for the next three weeks.

Next item on my to do list. Yes, the to do list, how many of you actual create a list of things to do every day. If you do, you know that the list never ends, but you also know that you'll complete all of those tasks and never forget a task.  This is something all of the Pros' do. 

Next was to plan out the content for my internal emails for my top accounts. Whats going to be the subject line, and then the content for the next three weeks. 

By 3PM I was ready to tackle a few additional emails to clients and those were the "hope you are well" subject matter. We need to let our clients know that we're open for business.

The last hour of my day was to do some addition research on two sales tools that are free.  One is Eventbright which Greg Walters mentioned on our chat and the other is Vidyard.  EventBright gives me the ability to have a registration page for my Zoom meetings, thus I can capture those email addresses. After capturing I plan to put them in my CC drip campaign. Vidyard is a tool that allows you to put a video in a email. Yes it sounds cool, I need to check it our more and I guess I'll have to shave before my first video. 

I found Vidyard from one of my contacts on Linkedin. I need to thank Stefan Christensen for this one.  He posted a thread on linkedin, tagged me and tagged me with a nice comment out the chat we had the other day.  I thinking another good person for peeps to follow.

That's all for now, it's late and I need to turn in.  Tomorrow? I'm going to play it by ear.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Seven of Sales

Seems every morning is identical to the last one.  What keeps flashing through my mine is Bill Murray and Groundhog Day.  Still no end in site for the lock down in the tri-state area.  The infection rates continue to increase each and every day.

Enough about the bad stuff. Let's focus on the good stuff. 

Today was CRM day and what I called soft prospecting today.  The first course of action was to weed out the crap (all the small stuff) and maintain a better focus on those larger accounts. I admit that sometimes I'll try to put too much on my plate and that's when I fall behind in my prospecting.

Today's approach was to contact all of the stalled opportunities and those larger accounts via email.  My approach as to title the subject line with "I hope you are". The body of the message was this:

Hope you and family are well in these crazy times.  Stratix is open for business since we were deemed an “essential business” because we support hospitals and municipalities with IT services.  I’ll reach out to you when this craziness is over.  

Simple, not selling anything, needed to let them know we are open for business. In addition I wanted to let them know about our IT services.  I was keeping track of all the emails sent.  Somewhere around 4PM I lost track and I'm thinking it was in between 60-70 emails.  What I can tell you is that I had many replies (around 20%).  Thus I completed my goal for the day. I'm sure there will be additional replies tomorrow, I also understand that about 70% of businesses are closed in New Jersey. Those that were not deemed essential.  The plan is to keep at it for the next week along with my other activities.

The highlight of my day what the working lunch chat I had with Greg Walters!  We started at noon and went for the full hour. Zoom has us capped at 100 users, thus my apologies for all that could not log on.  We do have a recorded however the first 16 minutes was lost. I'll be posting that up in the next blog within the hour.

Greg and I are not selling books, nor are we selling our services, nor did we sell sponsor space (wow, that maybe an idea!), we just felt it is a good thing to do for our industry.

Good news!  We've scheduled another working lunch chat for March 31st, I'm sure we'll rehash some of the content we covered today, and we'll have some new content to cover for everyone.  You can register for that chat here.

You can view our video chat here.

What's on tap for tomorrow?  More passive prospecting!

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Six of Sales

Day Six and not much relief in site in New Jersey.  We're still in lock down mode and now have the second largest number of infections in the US.  There's a few cluster of infections in New Jersey that keep growing at an alarming rate. 

As of today there are no infections in the town where I live, however I don't think that will hold up much longer since more surrounding towns are reporting higher infections.  Maybe the only savings grace is that we have the Ocean to east and the Bay to the north. In addition it's not beach weather yet.

My day consisted of a few follow emails in the AM. After that it was off to the races with content management training.  After failing the first test twice with a two zero's I opted for the old fashioned way of reading, listening and writing notes. After about 30 minutes I was intent on learning as much as possible about the processes, the workflow and the marketplace. I was interrupted with a call from an existing client about 10:30am. Hey, whenever my cell rings right now I'm happy to answer. In fact I was even answering calls from telemarketers!

After that call I took a break and went outside for twenty minutes or so.  You just can't be staring at the computer screen all day long. I live on a highway close to the Ocean and my back yard gives a breath taking view of the ocean, the bay and New York City.  Out front is the highway, I was astonished at the amount of traffic on the road. Only essential businesses are suppose to be open, yet why are so many on the road?  My guess, this is why the infections continue to grow along with the testing that's now being done in Jersey.

I was back at training up until lunch. My lunch today was a working one, I attended a webinar that went into detail as to how accounts, web sites and businesses get hacked. Not that I'm going to become a hacker, but rather that I want to increase my knowledge on the subject matter.  Right now it's all about change.  Even though I love the copier industry I know I need to broaden my horizons.

Can you believe this?   At 4PM I was finally finished with all of the courses and the tests.  After putting up a couple of crooked scores I PASSED and earned by degree!  I was so excited that I posted it on Linkedin and after this blog I will add it to my profile.  That's a hint everyone, we need to keep updating our profiles and stay alive on social media.

After 4PM it was time to start prospecting again.  I've got about 100 or so that I need to roll through and got about ten done before I called it quits.  All of my contacts were via email, I also took the time to move accounts to a later date that I know are closed.  Out of the ten emails I sent I had six replies, now that's pretty good. My emails were to just check in (those Linkedin guru's will tell you never to check in), but my emails were more about "hey, how are you, how is your family, be well in these crazy times".

Tomorrow starts the real work, sifting though my stale opportunities and figuring out who is open and who is closed.

Don't forget tomorrow is another working lunch for me and I'm having a teleconference with the KING of MPS (Greg Walters) and our discussion will be about "How to sell Copiers during COVID19". Again it's not scripted, there's no cost, and we're not selling a book.  Here's the link if you want to register

HOW TO SELL COPIERS IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

We've got more than a hundred registered and I'm hoping we can all comes away with some additional ideas to make it happen.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Five of Sales

I'm not sure where to start...., the fact that the tri-state area is closed except for essential businesses, New Jersey is now in the top three of Corona Virus infections, the 8PM-5AM curfew in effect in NJ, the State of New Jersey releasing 1,000 prisoners from jail because they may have been exposed to the virus.



I guess my message to everyone is that every day that passes we're getting closer to the day that all of this will be over. The fact that I'm continuing to work and prospect (not by phone), for the day when this ends and I'll be ready to rock and roll!



Let's all try to focus on the good that comes from this. I'm excited because I can spend more time educating myself on other aspects of our business. I'm excited that I've developed by own constant contact database with 1,000 email addresses. I'm excited that I've had the time to sit down and develop a plan for the rest of the year. 



One thing I will not do is to give up, giving up gets us nothing.  Thus it's full speed ahead in uncharted waters and we'll see where this takes us.



What a crappy day here in the great State of New Jersey!  Thirty eight degrees, pouring rain with heavy wind.  Today would have been one of those days that I opted to work from home rather than scheduling appointments or driving to the office.  Do I miss the traffic? No fraking way!  Seems I'm able to get more done at home than in the office.
I put a couple of hours into finishing up a proposal for a decent account for an A3 color device.  At the last moment in pops a competitor (what else is new), the one thing I noticed is that the competitor as offering a monthly billing cycle rather than annual. In my book annual is much better for the client, something I'll write about later.



I also worked on a list of things to do this week. My listed included hosting two webinars, and signing up for two additional webinars that are IT related.



After lunch it was time to put one of my plans in action.  That plan is to use my 1,000 email addresses and start sending a weekly email to those accounts.  I decided to keep in short and sweet with only three topics for each week.  This week I centered in on "3 Tips for Working Remotely".  You can view the feed and the email here



By the time I finished designing the email and clearing it with my VP it was about 3PM when I finally clicked the send button.  So far results are so so at best. I have a 15% open rate and 1% opens.  I'm okay with this because most of these peeps on this list are net new prospects and I know something like this takes time to develop. It also takes being consistent and I that's my plan.



Just around 4PM I was finally able to log on to another training portal that I'm taking with.  The training is for content management, and this is where I need to be for the rest of my career. It's time for change, change is good and I want to change as well.  I'm really looking forward to getting my certification and hoping I can complete this tomorrow.



More to come...



-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Four of Sales

My morning started off the same as the last three mornings. 

"Got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, made my way downstairs and drank a cup (coffee)."  That lyric is from the "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles and a song that was featured in 1967 from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I thought that would be an appropriate lyric to start our blog with because I'm thinking there are many more mornings to come that will be identical to the last four.

I heard from a good source today that within 72 hours or less New Jersey  will issue an order for "Shelter in Place", just like California and Illinois.  All non-essential businesses will have to close except for healthcare, gas, grocery, stores. Other companies that can remain open would be the ones that support healthcare, police, fuel and food stores. It's my understanding that many of us will be in that group.l

Today I was able to clean my CRM.  The cleaning focused on scheduling calls and emails, updating emails and capturing emails to my constant contact account.  Next week I plan to send emails that will focus on educating my accounts about business continuity, collaborating and different software programs that enable a paperless workflow.  In four days I haven't printed one document although I've scanned all of my paper based files that I took from the office.

I did lose a deal today, at least that was a little bit of action.  I know why I lost and don't need to go into details about it in an open blog.  We all lose every now and then and I've always been a proponent that you need to lose in order to win.

Of course there was some email activity back and forth, mostly support for some clients that were still operating.  The plan for next week is to write content and get it out to the masses,. Couldn't be a more perfect time to get that done.  The plan thereafter is to generate weekly content for prospects and to get that out once a week.  I will continue that plan for the rest of the year.

Same deal for lunch as the rest of the days.  A little bit of news, food, chat with the wife, walk our dog and then back to work.  By 2:30PM I was shot, tired of looking at the laptop screen and I just felt mentally wiped out from this week.

Yes, I took some "me" time or what I like to call therapy time and put a couple of hours in making some jewelry.  I just may need to that business in the near future.

Ray S and I did have a chance to chat today, we didn't have time for the video. We were able to chat about things we've heard and seen over the past few days. It was good to finally chat with someone in the industry.

I was able able to have a private chat session with five other Print4Pay Hotel members today.  The general consensus is that this virus will not only change the imaging business but it will forever change the way we do business. If we go through a prolonged event many clients will develop paperless workflows. The good thing is that many will need help with the developing the bad means that we will see a dramatic shift with imaging devices.  At the start we could have a flurry of additional A4 devices as one P4P Hotel member told me today, buy mark my words things will change at lightning speed.

I remember a talk track from years ago at a Print Audit event in Utah or maybe San Diego.  That talk track was centered around how each recession has reduced the amount of paper printed in the office.  If I remember correctly the next recession could bring a 10% reduction.  After this is all over it may be more than that.

I hope that a miracle arrives next week and it seems there is some promise with mixing a malaria and a Z-Pak (azithromycin).  I will pray that this can be a workaround that gets all of us back to work.

I'm glad the weekend is here, time to recharge and get back at it on Monday. We never quit right!

Would love to hear from others what's going on in your area. What's working what's not working, what's the news in your state.  Would love to hear from everyone!

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Three of Sales

Starting today my wife is now working from home,  thus I had the pleasure of setting her office up in one of our spare bed rooms.  I really do hate being the IT guy at home.  Never fails that it's my fault that when there's a network or connectivity issue.

Never the less that telechat appointment I had for this AM cancelled early and rescheduled for next week.  The only saving grace to the day is that one of my clients asked me to provide them with final docs for a wide format MFP. Not holding my breath but maybe just maybe one good thing can happen to close the week.

One item that is starting to worry me a little is that I'm seeing more clients looking to purchase rather than lease.  I saw a lot of this back in late 2007 which was the time prior to the Great Recession. We can all hope and pray we're not going to see that again.

My day started off with those two emails that I just mentioned.  After I got the revised quote out the way I started on the last three sessions of the webinars that I was tasked with.  Just about an hour in to one of the webinars I received a text from one of my team mates needing help with the possible knock out of a KIP wide format with one our Ricoh wide format MFP's.

I probably spent about 30 or 40 minutes walking him through what I would look for in order to knock out a competitors device.  My team mate was also able to email me a copy of the current lease along with the cost per square foot. I'll try and get this up in our quotes section of this site on the weekend.  The reason why I want to post it is because I've never seen so many different cost per square foot charges for color.  The one missing item that we needed was the monthly volume of the current device.  Hoping we can get that tomorrow so it's doesn't linger.

Remember it's still the end of the quarter and the elephant is in the room waiting to smack down your deals. It's that time when manufacturers drop the crap out of their prices in order to hit their annual budget.  It also never fails that these deals end up making it to the clients desk also.  This time of year always presents some issues with some crazy pricing for hardware and cost per page.  

I went back to the webinars till about 11:45AM.  Along comes another email from another client I'm working on. There's a competitor in that account and dropping their pants to get the deal.  Alright I understand to many peeps that copier is a copier and they are all alike. NO, they are not all alike and in most cases there are reasons why the competitor has a lower price.  From 11:45 till about 1PM I worked on a side by side comparison for the client in an excel format.  It's my job to pick out the good, the bad and the ugly and present it. In this case there was a whole lot of UGLY with the competitors MFP.  Just about 6:30PM I received a copy of their quote which I'll review tomorrow and prep notes for Monday.

After lunch was CRM time! Oh how I love working on my laptop with that small ass screen for hours. My eyes took a beating today.

My goal was to clean it up along with gathering emails for my own constant contact campaign.  One of my goals is to weed out the crap, focus on the bigger stuff and grow my email list.  I spent the entire afternoon on this and by 5:30PM I gave up.  I'm probably going to have to spend another 3-4 hours on it tomorrow. The only saving grace about tomorrow is that it's going to 75 here in Jersey and the weekend is upon us.

The plan is now to educate, research, and build additional opportunities for the next three quarters.  I'm hoping by the end of March we're through this virus thing.

One other item, Ray S and I are scheduled for a 1PM video chat that he'll be posting on his YouTube channel. I'm thinking it should be fun.

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day Two of Sales

Today is the day!

Spent most of the morning prepping for two on-line meetings from about 8AM-10AM.  I wanted to make sure I had shot at getting at least one of these in before the end of the month. Both are with two existing accounts. My first meeting was 11AM, my second was set for 2PM.  I also spent about and hour getting connected to Microsoft Teams which is also one of our requirements while working remotely. More to come on this.

Just about 10:AM I received an email from my 2PM and he had to bug out, just too much going on with staff working from home and the virus. I wasn't surprised, nor was I upset, I thanked him and we agreed to touch base next week.  Thirty minutes later I confirmed with my 11AM and they needed to reschedule also, claimed they were swamped with plans and procedures.

Alright, now I have the full day ahead of me.  It was time to finish some of those learning tasks that we were assigned to our team on Monday. Those tasks included listening to 7 recorded webinars from my friends from Ricoh.

In the past if you wanted to do some additional training you would pull out the brochure and read it from top to bottom. After you were finished you would read it again because years ago it was all about specs, speeds and feeds. The better you knew you device equaled having the leg up on the competition. That leg up is always something I've tried to have.

I was able to digest three of the webinars about the Ricoh IM (intelligent machine) series.  Even though I though I knew them inside and out, there was some ah ha moments with some of the advanced functionality.  Thus I felt that the time I used before lunch was extremely helpful.  One thing you can never stop doing in sales is to stop learning.  Reminds of my first job at a produce company where I was caught by the owner several times with my hands in my pockets. I was told there is always something to do get your hands out of your pockets and figure it out.  Even in sales if you're not selling there is always something to do.

Lunchtime yay!  The routine now is to go downstairs take our dog for a walk, prep lunch and then watch the news.  All day yesterday I had the news on in my office, today I turned it off because there is no good news.  After digesting all bad news for about thirty minutes it was back to work.

My afternoon went pretty fast because I had to prep documents for an order and then had an ongoing email exchange with the CEO for most of the afternoon.  After I sent the final docs I received an email at 4:59PM telling me that his IT department was also checking on copiers and he needs to digest that information.  I was hoping we could have finished that up today but what's another day right now?

While in and out of the email exchange I also put in time to research the specialty print deal that I'm working on.  Like I stated yesterday I needed a fall back position just in case my first recommendation does not fly.  We were able to schedule a call for tomorrow and hoping I can move this opportunity closer to home.

I did quit my day early because the wife and I had to go to my sons house for his wife's birthday.  Believe it or not we left early because of the 8PM - 5AM curfew that's in effect in New Jersey. 

I live on a highway in New Jersey and there's always some sort of traffic on the road at any given time.  When I arrived home I took our dog for her walk to her favorite park. I do this every evening after dinner, tonight felt like one of those snow nights. That's when there's a lot of snow on the road and there's zero traffic. No cars, and no people for the entire walk, not that the walk is long but for 20 minutes there was nothing but silence.

Tomorrow?  More time to finish up those webinars and then I move to scrubbing my CRM. Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.  Friday will prove to be my fun day with prospecting, stay tuned!

-=Good Selling=-

COVID19 "Remote Working" Day One

Over the years I've spent many days working from my home office. One thing I have going for me is that my office office is much bigger than my cube! 

Today was a little sobering since I'm not sure when I'll be back in the office, could it be two weeks, two months or the end of the summer?  All uncharted territory for most of us in office equipment sales. 

Today was the first day of our marching orders to work from home.  However, I did have to make a trip to the office to get a few addition items to make sure I can be as productive as possible.  By the time I arrived back at my home office (zero traffic) it was about 11AM. 

I was plugging all kinds of stuff into outlets, then had to connect my MFP (A4) to my wifi (what a bear that was). Answered a few emails, sent a few emails and it was time for a lunch break.  I tell you watching the news can be a real bummer especially when they're showing you the stock ticker in the same screen.  The pain, the pain of not having what we once had in our 401Ks.  The way I figure it is that I never really had it and there was bound to be a correction, but this correction really hurts. After lunch I decided it was a good time to walk our dog and get some fresh air.  This entire being in the office all day is going to wear on me real quick. I like people!

After lunch I sent three emails and connected with three on-line meetings for tomorrow.  BTW,  I'm using ZOOM which is a free service for up to 40 minutes. At this point I'm still novice with ZOOM and just hoping I can get through a smooth meeting.  At this time I'm still trying to figure out if I can share documents also. I'll be doing that first thing in the AM along with some prep work.

Most of my afternoon was spent putting the final touches and research for a large opportunity for a specialty print solution.  I wasn't happy with just proposing one option thus I put in a few hours researching what I thought would be a great fallback option.  Fallback options, how many of us have those planned out in advance? As salespeople we all know there's going to be some type of objection and what happens if the objection crushes your entire plan?  I'm grateful that I learned how to play chess at a young age, that whole thought process of what happens next has allowed me to always have a fallback plan.  Not saying it will work, but having additional options is always a good thing.

I then spent some additional time on Ricoh's intranet site watching some webinars that were that were on my to do list.

By late afternoon I was on the phone with one of my Ricoh reps and confirming some specs about my fallback option.  AS I was ending the call my wife was telling me it's time for dinner.

All in all, I got quite a bit done today, thinking maybe this not being in the office may not be a bad thing at all.  More to come tomorrow.

-=Good Selling=-

A Secret Tip for Prospecting via Email

I's like to make a long story short, however that may not be the case with this blog.  I figure it out as I continue to write.

A few days ago I had a lead come in for a production copier. When I opened the lead I saw that the person requesting information was from my home town. 

Since my home town is small I knew exactly where he lived or worked. It was a town house complex and I thought he might be running the business from that location, but production print?  Thinking that was not possible.

I dialed and connected with Scott. I made my intro and waited for his response.  Turns out this was not a lead at all but someone who had attended a webinar and the manufacturer thought this was a lead.  Later in the call I find out that is company downsized and he was looking for a job.   His last job saw him as Manager/Director of Production and Digital Printing and he has more than 20 years experience. 

We spoke about the industry for some time covering production, inkjet and then landed on grand and super wide format technology. It was a great chat. I then offered up some of my knowledge as to where he might find employment in our industry.  We ended the chat with a decent relationship because we were local, and we had the same interests with print technology.

Since January was such a **** month for me I knew I had to get to prospecting again. But at this time I wanted to set my sites for higher end and multiple print devices rather than staying in the SMB place.

In most cases cold calling on the phone is a waste of time for me.  What I mean by that is I could role through 30 calls and not speak with one DM, and then when I get that DM on the phone I get tongue tied because they caught me by surprise by picking up the phone. LOL

My plan this time was to play detective on the phone and the web to see if I could did up some email addresses for these DMs.  I targeted 5 accounts and after much research and a few phone calls I was able to get three email addresses.

Now I have those three email addresses......what is my subject line going to be and what is my message going to be?  I was lost because I didn't want to waste my time and send an email that won't be opened along with sending and email that was not authentic.

I needed some help. Remember that so called lead that I spoke with the other day?  I thought I had helped him and why not give him a call to see if he could help me?

I got Scott on the line and told him my plight about emailing and asked him these questions.

1) Since you were in charge of print production facilities what subject line would make you open and email?  Scott's response was anything that had to do with an event, education or new technology.

2) Not that you opened the email what type of message would lead you to contacting or meeting with the rep for new technology?  Scott replied with that message would need to address media, substrates, receiving sample prints or has a sentence or two about technology.

After getting that info I was ready to in fact I sent him a copy of my email with the subject line of "5th Color Wide Format Technology" in the message of the email I kept it short and sweet with.

Recent improvements in wide format latex ink technology now allows for 5 colors.  In addition the ability to print on gloss, matt, clear vinyl, fabric and cling. 
Would you be available for a short meeting to provide samples and answer any questions?
Three emails were sent yesterday and one reply came back with let's meet!  Wow, I was excited to say the least.
But here's the lesson I learned about emailing. Forget all of the stuff you read from on-line marketers, those self-called sales guru's on Linkedin.  Call a DM with one of your accounts and ask them the same questions I did. Then craft your email and send to the DM and ask how this looks.
You can do this for all of your verticals and I'm sure you have a "C" level or buyer in each one of these markets. 
Moving forward I will be reaching out to more of my existing contacts and asking them for their help. I mean why not, you helped them.
I did ask myself if I just happened to hit on this email because I was there at the right time. We'll see when I meet with that person. However the plan is to change my emailing for prospects for now and I'm thinking I'll get a much better return because of the research I will do with my existing clients.
-=Good Selling=-
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