Sales

7 Signs of The Utterly Average Copier Salesperson

My blog is not meant to disparage the average copier salesperson. It's more about taking the talking points and making improvements so that you can be the above average salesperson.

1.  Five PM rolls around and it's quitting time. Working late is not an option

2.  I'm okay with not hitting my revenue quota, doesn't bother me at all

3.  A client calls you after 5PM, you know who it is but let it got to voice mail anyway

4. The only time a prospect has to see a demonstration is on the weekend. Thus the problem because you don't work weekends.

5.  Is not involved with social media to promote thier knowledge or skills with others

6.  Does not take the time to educate themselves about thier products or services, relies on other to answer all of thier questions.

7. Doesn't have the time to share thier knowledge with new reps in the office

I could probably rattle off another ten points on this subject.  Sales is not a 9-5 job, if you want 9-5 work then go work at McDonalds. Oh, that's right, McDonalds now has automated kiosks to take orders,  maybe a bank teller will do?

It's 11:28PM, I just finished sending a couple of emails to prospects.  Nothing is better than sending late emails to prospects because it shows that you're a worker.  DM's like and trust people who work hard.

I picked this up somewhere, "prospect by day and quote by night". I still do this when I get behind the eight ball.  Most of November and December will see me working late into the night because I care about obtaining my quota. In fact I always want to exceed quota.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but after 38 years of selling copiers I still have that desire to succeed.

Think out of the box, be different, give your client a different experience when you meet. Try bringing coffee, maybe some company pens, pads or candies.  Do something that makes YOU standard out from the others.

It's now 11:35PM. I got a busy day, hoping this helps someone!

-=Good Selling=-

Four Sales Tips to Help you Close More Copier Opportunities

Recently, closed quite a few orders in the last couple of weeks.  Almost all of those opportunities had some stiff competition from other vendors.  Thus, I'd like to share some of my secrets that I've used to help win the deal. 

But first I'd like to share some thoughts about buyers.  There's two types of buyers in my book. One is the value buyer and the other is the price buyer.  If you've been on Linkedin long enough you'll read sales guru's spinning the yarns of selling to value.  The truth is you can't sell value to a price buyer.  Those price buyers want the best price and or the best deal.

Those sales guru's will tell you to walk away from those price buyers because it takes too much effort for too little return.  Okay, I got that and I understand it, but when you have a revenue quota and you work in a market that is saturated with copier vendors. How many of these opportunities can you walk away from?

I guess I'm kinda old school and I believe it's better to make a few bucks than make nothing at all.  I was never scared of hard work, and I put the same work ethic into every opportunity I come across.  Hoping maybe some of these tips can help others.

1.  Warranty: Pass through the manufacturers 90 days parts & labor warranty to your client.  While everyone else is quoting thier copier with an annual maintenance supply agreement.  You hit em with 15 months of annual maintenance supply agreement. If may cost you a few extra bucks for toner, but I guarantee you'll be the only one with 15 months (you'll stand out).  I use this when proposing non color copiers and wide formats. It's too tough to eat the cost on color.

2. Trade-Ins:  Almost everyone asks about getting something for thier existing copier (if it's not leased).  Most of us don't have real trade in money, and yes we may get a few dollars from a manufacturer for different brands.  But, everyone has that. Thus, how do you make a difference?

I've got a connection with a wholesaler and each month we'll chat about what's hot or what he's looking for.  In some cases there are some copiers and wide formats that have some real value.  Instead of me offering to take a worthless copier back, I'll tell the prospect that I know of a wholesaler that will pick up and give them cash for thier copier. In some cases it can be a thousand dollars or more, thus I didn't have to lower my price and the prospect feels that they are getting the best deal possible.  Email me if you'd like to contact my guy.

3. Print Speed:  I try to never ever mention print speed because no one cares about the speed of the device.  Yup no one cares.  What they really care about is the scanning speeds. I'll tell them the scanning speed of thier existing copier and then migrate to the scanning speed of my copier.  Everyone is talking print speed, and you're talking scanning speed. Again, you're setting yourself apart from the others.

4. Price Drop:  Yes, I'm guilty of dropping my price every now and then. But, over the years I've learned I can add value without dropping price.  I do that in a number of ways.  I've offered the below points many times to prospects.

  • On-site personalized training from me (why not have the best teach them all about thier new copier)
  • I'll give out my cell number so that they could always reach me
  • I'll offer to help them introduce them to some of my accounts. I've done this via email
  • Unlimited training, I'll be there anytime you want me
  • Loaner support (I have my own A4 MFP that I'll bring out if needed)

I could go on and on, but it's getting late and I need to be wide eyed and bushy tailed in the AM. Still need to hit some numbers for the end of the year. Please feel free to post any tips that you've used.

-=Good Selling=-







 

Three Copier Sales People Walk into a.........

Three sales people garner an appointment with the same client.  One of the sales people is with the incumbent dealer of the account.  The other two are on the outside looking in to gain net new business.

The client is at the end of a five year lease for a color A3 MFP (30 ppm).  Other than the copier cabinet there are no additional accessories on the existing A3 color MFP.

All three sales people had the same opportunity with the client. All three sales people paid a visit to the clients office to beat thier chest as to why they are the best.  Seems that only one salesperson listened to the client and did a little extra digging. That client wanted to reduce thier costs due to a change in thier business model.

The incumbent sales person offered up a new A3 30ppm color MFP for a couple of dollars less than what the client is paying on the current lease.

The second sales person offered up a new A3 30ppm color MFP as well, but also offered up a price for a slower A3 color MFP.

The third sales person took a different approach.  That sales person went to existing device and inspected all of the paper trays.  Only two of the paper trays had paper in them and both were filled with letter size paper.

The fact that only two trays were being used and only letter size paper was in the trays sparked the next action.  That sales person then accessed the meter counter in MPF, but it wasn't the total counter he was after.  With a couple of extra button selections the sale person accessed the true meter for the MFP.

The true meter goes into depth about how many pages are printed for each paper size.  Can you guess how many 11x17 pages were printed in five years?

Who guessed zero? 

If you did, you win.  Our sales person also calculated the average volume and it fell right into the perfect volume for an A4 color device.

Our sales person asked for a little bit of time to work up a price for the client.  While working up the price, he noticed another glimmer of hope on the meter print out sheet.  The color volume averaged 100 pages a year.  This smarter than the average bear sales person then developed a second price for the client.  That second price was for a black A4 50 ppm MFP.

Presenting the numbers to the DM for the A4 color device was not working. The client needed a lower price.  Rather than backing down the price of the A4 color MFP, our sales person presented the A4 black MFP with the print speed of 50 ppm.

During the presentation of the price the sales person made reference that they were only printing 100 color pages a year or eight pages a month.  He stated if you really need to print only eight color pages a month, then just add a small inkjet color printer for a couple of hundred dollars.

In the end the client agreed that they did not need color, did not need 11x17 and wanted the low cost option of the black A4 MFP.  Documents were signed that day on the first appointment.  Done deal.

Afterwards our sales person asked for copies of the quotes that were presented.  Believe it or not both quotes were emailed to the client.  Both did not offer the cost savings that the client wanted.  Seems like both salespeople did not dig and do thier homework.  In the end that's why the both lost the sale.  

Can you guess who was smarter than the average bear?

-=Good Selling=-

PS "If you're not promoting A4, you're going to get your butt kicked"

New to Copier Sales or Just Sales? Follow My Top 5 Linkedin Peeps!

While driving to an account today, I couldn't help but thinking about a new rep that just started with us.  Our business is nothing like it was almost forty years ago. 

My job was to pick up the phone and or cold call for scheduling demonstrations of copiers.  We had maybe four different models of copiers and the only accessories that were available was additional paper trays. Back then you could focus and get results.

Today is much different and I don't have to tell everyone how convoluted our industry is.  Being a successful office technology rep is quite the task and I tip my hat to those who've made it past the first two years.

I thought it would be a great idea to share those on Linkedin that I follow and admire for thier content and thier activity.  Activity is BIG, why follow someone if they are not active.  Thus, there's no special order below, it's my short list of peeps to follow on LInkedin that can help your sales career.

Larry Levine: Larry started in the coper industry in 1988.  Which is something I found out when I picked up his new book "Selling from the Heart".  Larry is an active blogger on this site, and covers social media everyday.  He's got a great story for developing a genuine approach for sales. Larry is not only great at what he does, but finds time to give back to his community on a regular basis.  

Mike Stramaglio: Mike's been in the office technology business a tad longer than me.  Even though I don't get to speak to Mike that often, we do get to chat a few times a year at industry events.  Mike is extremely active on social media and also gives time back to charitable causes.  For me, Mike is my silent mentor on Linkedin. 

West McDonald: West the wolverine, West the Sultan of MPS (Managed Print Service) and West the great communicator.  His passion is to help his partners improve thier business as change accelerates the imaging industry.  West has many blogs posted on Linkedin an is active with sharing threads from others. If you're looking for someone to emulate on Linkedin West would be my choice.

Dayna Karron: Dayna and I have never meet, although we've exchanged emails from time to time.  I tried to track her down at last year's Jillian's Fund Event, however she wasn't in the same spot for more than a few minutes.  Dayna is a prolific poster on Linkedin and I can understand why she's great at what she does.  Dayna knows that hard work does pay off.  Dayna is another great sales guru to follow.

Dale Dupree: (The Copier Warrior) What can I say, someone that is after my own heart when it comes to being creative!  I'd like to think I was just as creative as Dale back in my hey day, but that was many years ago.  Many of Dale's threads on Linkedin take us on many cold calls where Dale uses his creative genius to brand himself with new prospects.  Following Dale will inspire you to get creative and think outside the box.

Looking for additional inspiration?  Follow all five of these peeps. I'm grateful that I connected with all of the above. Yes, there are days when I can find it hard to get going. All it takes is a short trip to Linkedin and one of these great peeps will have something that reminds me of "the harder I work, the luckier I get).

Hey, you can also follow me But, all of my stuff gets posted here first and then to Linkedin.

-=Good Selling=-

Why I Spend Time on Linkedin Everyday

Just a short blog for everyone tonight. I'm doing updates to the site, listening to the Yankee game.  Thought this would be a neat short story about Linkedin.

I've always stated that as long as you work hard you never know what tomorrow will bring you.

For years and years I've spent at least 30-45 minutes a day on Linkedin. Whether it's giving congrats for a new job/position, posting links to this site, posting interesting links to other sites, sharing threads, and making sure I send everyone a "happy birthday" note.

It's just something I do. Recently, I heard a statement that it takes 21-28 days of doing something to make it a habit.  Guessing that's the same for athletes when they practice over and over to get that muscle memory.  Linkedin has become a daily part of my selling day, whether it's for the copiers that I sell or promoting the Print4Pay Hotel.  Yup, it's a habit now

Today was kinda busy, I was on the phone (hands free) when I received a call from outside of my area code. I thought it was just another telemarketer (did I just write that!), I answered the call and was pleasantly surprised.  It was one of my Linkedin contacts, and that person was in the market for a copier ASAP.  I stated that I would call back as soon as I got back to my office.

We did the call, defined the needs and the one requirement was that the copier was needed ASAP. Traditionally I don't send proposals, I will send the other docs because it can speed up the order process. In addition the client has all of the T's & C's. There was no time to visit the client, I was told to send the docs for a review.  About thirty minutes later I had the signed order docs in my email. WooHoo!

It wasn't a large order and wasn't a small one either.  But it was a net new account that directly came from Linkedin.

Just thought that was neat that hard work does pay-off and as long as you work hard you never know what tomorrow will bring you.

-=Good Selling=-

Change is Good, Especially When it Comes to Scanning Documents with Copiers

Change is good, right?  I'm going to change is even better.

Being the same old you and doing the same old thing when presenting copiers can be prove to be a bad thing. Everything is changing at break neck speed in our industry. 

Thus last week I thought I would change it up a bit.  Instead of providing the same old boring talk track of speeds and feeds. I opted for making one short power point presentation (5 slides) that centered around scanning workflows. There were no pictures of copiers, no talk track about how fast the device printed or copied. 

My first slide posed this question.  "Is this the way you're currently scanning your documents?" I showed the picture below and asked about which one do they use and or do you use both? One client was using scan to email and the other client used both.

2018-09-28_21-14-20

I then showed a slide that outlined the steps required after the document was received in the scan folder or thier email. 

2018-09-28_21-27-32

I went over each step and confirmed that for the most part all of these steps are required when scanning documents, right?  Both clients were in full agreement.

My next slide showed my Ricoh Op panel and explained that we can set up a one touch workflow scan button for them. For the one client that was named "work permit" and two of the others were labeled as "A License" and "B License".  I explained that the magic happens because we can pre-program the 2018-09-28_21-34-45scan destinations (email, folder, fax) for each workflow. 

In addition, the documents would be programmed to scan as searchable .pdf's, color, and blank page detection. At the copier we could also preview the scan and name the file. Thus all of the pre and post programming can be accomplished when the documents are scanned. This saves time and also prevents users from forgetting to post process the scanned file.

Before I forget.  I'm still amazed at the amount of people that do not know what a "searchable pdf" is.  With both clients I asked, "do you know what a searchable pdf is? Both clients did not know and I took the time to explain how a searchable pdf works and how that feature saves time when reviewing scanned documents.

My next slide centered on Cloud Scanning applications. In the Ricoh world we call this Ricoh ICE.

2018-09-28_21-52-52

Thus, I'm listing all of the connector and asking if they use DropBox, Box, Google Drive, One Drive, MS 365, Evernote, NetDocuments, etc. If I get a yes to one of these, I then take the time to educate the clients on the amount of time they would save by scanning directly to these cloud applications. If I get a no for these,  then I ask about the need to scan documents back to MS Word or MS Excel. This too provides a great education and talk track for the clients.2018-09-28_21-59-37

Why is the above slide important?  Most business lines of software (that's the software that clients use to run thier business) has a scan feature. In most cases it allows for a TWAIN scan driver work with the copier.  Users can then place documents on the copier, then open thier business line of software and then scan those documents directly into thier business line of software.  This my friends,  can also save an incredible amount of time.

Okay, you've seen all of the slides, and not once did I mention print speed, paper trays, fax (cause fax is dead), nor cost per page. It was refreshing for me and it was even more refreshing for the clients.  Just the talk track of focusing on scanning applications led to additional questions for higher end content opportunities. I told them I'm not the expert for the higher end stuff, however I got peeps I can bring in to help after we've installed the new device

Change is good, I'm going to change.

-=Good Selling=-

Why a Copier Salesperson Loves to Sell DocuWare

You probably don’t know me but I’ve been in the industry now for over 20 years and have been fortunate to be successful selling Canon, Ricoh and Kyocera products in both hardware and software sales.

I remember when I started it was all about hardware. I used to say “black and white paid the bills and color sent me on vacation”. Back in those days a color sale would be $40,000 plus and would always be a generous commission. I remember speaking with another colleague of mine back then who had been in the industry for many more years than I and told him “ I wanted to be a color specialist”. His response was why “would you want to only sell color”? Those words rang true and I learned much from him in our years together.

I’m guessing your dealership has a document management networking team that supports sales for products like Docuware. Long ago I realized this gave me another arrow in my quiver and allowed me to position myself as an expert salesperson in our industry. Why would I just want to sell Canon, Kyocera and Ricoh when I have other software applications to offer my clients?

At first the sale may seem daunting as it is a far cry from feeds and speeds. I suggest you take the time and learn two different departments. Accounts payable and Human Resources. It doesn’t matter the industry, these departments function almost identical in every business and if you could “speak their language” you’ll unlock the door to more sales.

In my experience these sales are also very profitable as they replace labor which is often an exceptionally high cost for business. So… look around your clients and prospects offices and see if you can find boxes of paper (which I’m sure you will). Ask about Accounts Payable and Human Resources and you will find opportunities that will help businesses streamline their processes, make them more efficient and profitable and will rely on you as their trusted business partner.

Bring in your Docuware representative or network specialist and listen to the language they use. Once you’ve done it a few times you can approach any business and add value.

 Monte Jensen

Note from Art:  Monte has been a Print4Pay Hotel longer than I can remember. I'm thinking 15 years at least. Monte is one my peeps in my inner circle of connections in the industry. We try to chat at as often as possible. Monte is the real deal and has a wealth of experience to share and I thanked him for sharing this blog with us today.  Thanks again Monte! 

Why Product Knowledge Can Vault You to Success

Would you agree or disagree with this statement? "You can have the best sales skills in the world, however, if you don't know your product you won't sell a damn thing".

I'm a firm believer in the above, excellent product knowledge has allowed me to be extremely successful selling print devices.  I feel bad for those sales peeps have the cheapest or lowest price along with zero product knowledge. The end result is guy and gals like me will eat them for lunch.

LinkedIn is full of sales guru's touting relationship building, sales gimmicks, being genuine, but none of this works if you don't know your products. I'm not saying they are wrong, but there's no one preaching product knowledge anymore.  Product knowledge about what your device can and can't do, along with interpreting how that will help your client will go a long way in winning an order.

Product Guides

I'll admit, I'm not a big book reader, but every chance I get I'll read the product guides about the devices that I sell.  Back in the eighties there were no product guides. In order to learn more about your copiers or your competitors copiers it was key to read the operators manual .  Reading the operators manual is still a good idea when you're not sure what the brochure means.  Meaning sometimes we read about a feature and interpret it the wrong way.  It happens more often than not because of those crafty marketers.  The operator manual does not lie and walks you through the feature and how it works.

The Appointment

Picture this, a sales person enters the appointment and has excellent rapport with the buyer.  That sales person is genuine, and extremely likable.  The buyer has already gathered much of the information that they required on the web.  The buyer now wants to ask a few questions about the device that they couldn't find answers to.  Those questions at the appointment go unanswered with the reply that I'll have to get back to you. Sales person exits.

Our next salesperson has all of the same characteristics of the first sales person.  When it comes to answering the questions of the buyer, this sales person is able to answer all of the questions along with giving advise about those configurations.  Who do you think is going to win the order?

Tips for Increasing Product Knowledge

  • First things first, read the darn brochure of the product you are selling.  If you don't understand something then ask one of your peers or even put a thread here on the Print4Pay Hotel. Some one will help you.
  • If you know who your competitor and the brands they are selling, read their brochures and see where there are differences. If you have a question then this site is a great place to post that question.
  • Every MFP from every manufacturer sports a product guide.  These guides go in depth about the features of the device and how they can help the end user. Read your product guides.
  • Read your competitors product guides, these may be a little tougher to get but they're out there and all you need to do is ask.
  • Maybe you have senior rep at your office, maybe someone like me that has too much knowledge and is willing to part with it.  Ask and ye shall receive.
  • YouTube Videos, it's all there almost everything you need about your devices and the competition. Excellent resource!

Finding the Time

  • Smart phones is probably the best tool I ever had.  Use them to your advantage.
  • Do your research at lunch.  Instead of eating with a buddy, go private and take the time to learn.
  • You arrived at the appointment early, instead of checking Instagram, Facebook or SnapChat, dial (lol dial) up the web and prepare your self.
  • You arrived early at work today, take a few minutes here too.
  • There's another place where you can steal a few minutes here and there, but we'll leave that up to your imagination.

Knowing Your Technology

I'll probably get some push back on this, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that if I asked 10 sales people how a printer makes an image.  Seven out of ten would be lost.  That question might not ever be posed to you, but wouldn't be awesome if it was and you could transfer that knowledge to your client?

Sometimes you don't have to like someone to buy from them.  Yes, you do need to trust them.  Would you trust the more knowledgeable sales person than the less knowledgeable sales person.  Yup, I'm thinking more knowledgeable is going to win.

-=Good Selling=-

What do Millennial's, Horse Traders, Amazon, Ricoh MP 501SP all Have in Common?

I'm not sure what the title of this blog will be at this time, and as I get deeper into the story I may come up with it as I write.

About eight months ago I received a lead from my service department about and old Ricoh 1035 that was still in the field. We didn't sell the device new, but somehow ended up as the service provider for a small law firm. No maintenance/supply agreement, just service and bill as needed.

For six months I got not where with phone calls, was never able to get to speak to the DM and was told we'll call you when we're ready.  

Two months ago I decided to pay them an visit while out knocking on doors.  The woman in the office was very friendly, showed me the existing Aficio 1035 and stated that they were just about ready to get rid of that old copier. She asked me to prepare some numbers and she would talk with the DM and schedule a sit down for all of us to review the proposal.  

After asking many questions, and noticing that the Aficio 1035 was not connected to the network, not did they have a need for 11x17 or stapling,  I thought the best product for them would be the Ricoh MP 501SP with two paper trays, OCR, and Ricoh legal ICE.  I figured competition would come in with A3 devices and try to match the speed. It was a good plan, which also included pricing the system at MSRP.

After many follow up calls, the meeting never happened and I shelved the opportunity for another month out.  About 3 weeks ago I call had a call from that office from an intern.  That intern was tasked with gathering information for the acquisition of the new copier.  We had a few calls by cell and then many text messages in reference to the options. all the while I held my price on the MP 501SP.  We then went silent for about two weeks.

Our intern called and wanted to know why my price was so high? I asked "compared to what", that's when I was informed that he was also pricing the same unit from Amazon. I gave the intern all of the value points and still didn't drop in price, except that I eliminated the OCR and the Ricoh ICE because he believed it was not needed. Okay, so I thought I'm not playing this game any more, I called him back the next day and reduced the price by a few bucks just so I could get this off my plate. 

A FEW DAYS LATER, the intern called and left me a message thanking me for the quote and they were going in another direction. I was happy!  I could move on to bigger and better things.

A few days ago I received an email from the same intern.  Seems like they can't get the MP 501SP from Amazon for 30 days or so, and was asked if my price was still the same.  Okay, it's back in my lap,  it's an A3 and it was deleted from my opportunities for the month. This should be quick and easy. I responded with a yes as long as we can wrap it up this week. A few days of silence and I had a call from the women (intern went back to college) I meet many months ago.  They would like to move forward, however they already received the MP 501SP paper tray via Amazon. Could I take that off the price (she also provided with me a part number, how nice). I looked up the part number on google and and saw what they paid. I responded and told her I could take the paper tray office, but would only lower the price by $200, they paid $276. She was fine with that. I delivered the paperwork for the purchase, they signed and sent it back. Done!

I'm in the office early Friday and along comes an email from the DM asked me to remove the stand from the quote because they had ordered the cabinet from another supplier.  He stated that they paid $187 for the cabinet and wanted me to reduce that price.  I was like no way am I taking off that much. After a little research I realized they bought the wrong stand, they needed the smaller stand for two paper trays. I told that to the DM and also stated that if he wants me to remove the stand I can take out eighty more dollars.

That worked I got the revised paperwork, copy of the check.  Done again!

What's the moral of the story here? Maybe don't buy from Amazon, or don't let a millennial take charge of buying stuff?  After all of this,  the intern used the internet for all of the pricing. Bought the MP 501SP from one supplier, the paper tray from another and the cabinet from yet another supplier.  My God is this what the future holds for this generation? I thought out loud in the office and exclaimed the intern was more like a silent horse trader. Just searching for the best possible price an oblivious to the value that is provided by a dealer.

Thus, there you have it, if a client tells you there're buy from Amazon, you could make them aware of the wait or just let them buy from Amazon.  Oh, one more thing, at one point the intern had asked me if he bought from Amazon would we provide service for the MP 501SP.  I flat out told him NO.

-=Good Selling=-

A Few Copier Vignettes from the Late Eighties & Nineties

The picture in the header showed our demo room back in either 1989 or 1990, might have even been 1991.  As you can see by the photo Atlantic Office Systems (the first one in NJ) was Authorized for Adler Royal, Brother, and Tele VaxaFax (facsimile).  Sometime later Adler Royal was purchased by Mita and the Adler Royal brand was changed to Copystar. I thoroughly hated the name Copystar because there was no brand recognition, at least with Adler Royal, our clients knew about Royal typewriters.

We were never a big dealer, I did most of the sales while my other partner handled the technical work.  From time to time I had to dig in and do a few service calls when we were swamped.  Not being a large dealer enabled us to make timely decisions and offer products that were in high demand. Back in the early nineties we were still selling analog copiers and improvements came at a much slower pace than today's digital copiers. 

We had two PC's in the office.  One was used for accounting (peach tree) and the other was used for sales.  The computer that we used in account was connected to a dot matrix printer and we were running carbonless forms for our invoices. 

Back then, I thought we were on top of technology when we sold our first fax machine (Tele Vaxafax).  The MSRP was $2,495 and the auto feeder was an option.  Once we added the document feeder, and delivery/installation we were able to get to $3,000.  Three thousand dollars was the  magic number to offer leasing to our clients.  We got a little creative and placed a display ad in our local county newspaper for the Teli's.  We advertised them at $1.99 a day to lease.  Probably one of the best ideas we had.  We were selling more faxes than copiers.  At one point we were at one every day (we were also open on Saturday mornings till 1PM).  What we didn't realize is the volume of thermal roll paper that followed. Every month we were ordering full skids of thermal paper along with a skid of fax machines.  Yes, those were some great times.

As the fax market matured and pricing eroded we found ourselves placing more of the Brother fax machines over the Teli's. 

It was about 1993 or so when we purchased our first color copier.  That copier was manufacturer by Brother, was very slow and used some type of ribbon transfer technology (no toner or ink).  I think we were selling color copies (singles) for $5.00 each.  At one point we hooked up with a sales rep for Gillette, he had to make copies of his presentation in color for his clients.  He was in a three of four times a month and needed almost 100 copies every time (we discounted to $3.00 each for his volume).  Back then Hulk Hogan was hired for their advertising campaign back then.  My son was so excited the day that client brought in a signed Hulk Hogan press photo.  I believe my son still has that pic.  Yes, great times to be selling.

Another client that I remember was some guy who came in on a regular basis to send faxes during the late eighties.  His faxing pattern was quite unique because he was always sending faxes to places like Panama, Afghanistan, San Salvador, Iran & Iraq.   I thought he was kinda screwy also because he always had to send his own faxes.  He would not let us see them.   After maybe a year ago or so he opened up and told us he was an arms dealer. All of those faxes turned out to be purchase orders and invoices for his business. WOW, I would have never guessed it! 

I do remember that he invited me to go with him on a trip to Afghanistan when the Russians were departing. He told me about the riches that could be gathered such as rugs, gold, and antiquities.  He stated that we would be away for three weeks and he would give me training on how to use a weapon.  Well, that sealed the deal for me, there was no fracking way I'm going to a war torn country and having this butt head leave me there or get shot. I had the great sense to opt out.  I never saw that guy again, I'm guessing he went and never came back.  One of my better decisions in the copier industry I guess.

Another neat story from back then came from another guy who frequently visited our office in 1993 & 1994.  He was the President of a chemical plant in NJ (we got a crap load of those).  He stated he had closed his plant and was looking for someone to sell everything in the place.  Whoa, that was right up my alley.  The site was like a time capsule, one day they just locked the doors with everything in it.  There were copiers, desks, chairs, printers, fax machines, tables, file cabinets, paper,  high end furniture and all of the hardware that used to produce the chemicals they made.

Every Saturday and Sunday I was there four about six months. I sold almost everything, even brought in a large fork lift to remove a huge Xerox copier from the second floor. If I remember correctly I got $5K for that son of a gun.  It was not until late in the six months that I began exploring the chemical part of the plant.  There was copper, aluminum, steel, vats, filters, the place was loaded.  I admit I was kind of naïve about chemicals plants.  I later found many puddles of a silver liquid substance on the concrete floors, the substance proved to be Mercury.  I asked the owner about it and he told me Mercury was used to make chlorine. Frak, the place made chlorine?   It was not until I finished (made a ton of cash) that I found out I was selling crap from a site that labeled as a NJ Superfund site (toxic dumping went on their for years).  I later investigated the owner and found that he was indicted for some pollution thing.  Seems he needed to raise additional funds for his defense.  I believe he was found guilty many years later, however, at that time he was probably in his late seventies.   Never heard from him again either. 

There you have it, a few vignettes from my early days in the copier industry.

Special thanx to Polek & Polek for sponsoring this blog!

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-=Good Selling

It's 5PM Do You Know Where Your Best Sales People Are?

I'm with you, in recent years it's been tougher and tougher to get through to DM's (decision makers) to schedule that first appointment.  In some cases it's taken me a hundred plus calls and many years of trying to get the DM on the phone.  The good thing about the 100 plus calls is that by the time I do get the DM on the phone they definitely know what I'm calling about.

Gatekeepers are better than ever, and the thought of potential phone scams keep them vigilant in their quest to not let you through.

There's much talk in sales about building relationships and that's all well and good as long as you can make contact with the DM. You can't start or build that relationship until you've made first contact.

You can't sell everyone is something you always here in sales, and I believe it's the same for building relationships. Not everyone you meet or greet is going to want to build a business relationship.  Thus it's the numbers game that can really increase your opportunities and your potential business relationships.

So where are your best sales people after 5PM?

1) They're still out in the field making cold calls!  One thing that I've noticed is that many gatekeeper leave in between 4:30PM - 5PM.  If you're in the field making calls after 5PM, it's a good shot the doors will still be open.  Most likely you'll trip over the DM as you scout your way around the office to find someone.

Instead of starting your day at 8AM.  Why not start your day at 9AM and work still 6PM, with the last two hours of the day dedicated to calling on those that you can't land the DM on the phone. It makes sense right?

2) Other sales peeps are attending and working at charity events.  There's nothing better than meeting that influential person while they're volunteering their time for a great cause.  Remember the six foot question? That's when you get within six feet of someone that you strike up a conversation and one of your questions is "where do work"? Of course then continue the conversation asking about what their roll is within that company.

3) Still at their desk or parked in a parking (by the beach) lot trying to squeeze in a couple of extra calls on their cell phones after 5PM.  You just never know who will pick up the phone.  Think, if this were your business, wouldn't you be working whenever and wherever you can? 

4) Continuing their education with reading sales books and or learning more about their industry. The web is a great tool because it's open 24 hours a day.  It's those rainy weekends that can give you a great kickstart to the week.  Been there and done that.

5) Continuing education not for sales people but for Professionals such as attorneys, architects, engineers, surveyors.  Each month these associations meet to deliver educational courses to their members so that they can stay up to date for state requirements.  Most associations will accept speakers (as long as they pay for booze or dinner) allow you to speak for 15 minutes and maybe have a small table.

6) Some are even sending emails late into the night.  Can't sleep, nothing will get a DM's attention more than an email sent at 2AM.  That DM can only wish they had that sales person with their company.

It's more about doing the extra work than it is about having fancy lines, trinkets or lame cold call gimmicks.  You need to be where the DM's (decision makers) are and interact with them. Not every stop in will generate a lead or build a relationship.  But from years of experience I can tell you that being in front the DM's if much better than not.

-=Good Selling=-

Special thanks to our friends at Polek & Polek for sponsoring tonight's blog, please make sure you check out their site and their awesome products for copiers

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The Three D's of Selling

During the last ten years, I've been delighted to help rookies/newbie’s or whatever you'd like to call new people that are breaking into Managed IT, Copiers and Managed Print Service industry.

I'm not a manager or owner (was an owner once) of a dealership; I work down the street accounts (SMB) and love what I do!  I enjoy helping new sales people and that's probably because I had no help when I started in sales some 38 years ago. It was nine years ago that I encountered my first sales manager (we'll save that for another blog). For twenty nine of those years, I did not have a "sales manager". My first mentor in copier sales was Jack Carrol, and Jack was one of the owners of Century Office Products. When I arrived at Century I already had seventeen years of copiers sales under my belt.

I came from the school of hard knocks. Not everyone knows what I’m about to tell you.  I never attended college, in fact, I never completed the 11th grade. I was out of control in High School because I had always asked myself why did my birth parents give up on me. My brother and I were adopted at the age of 4 from a foster home somewhere in North Jersey.

My adoptive parents were great! But that feeling that someone gave up on me before they knew me was also rearing its ugly head. At 16 I was asked to leave High School or be kicked out. I choose to leave and found a full-time job working in the produce industry. That job was probably one of the best choices I made because I put in twelve hours days six days a week. In addition, I met my mentor in Sonny Green (owner), over the years he taught me how to work.  Knowing how to work is not about just being at work, but more about doing productive work once your primary job is completed.

I’m in the later stages of my career in the copier industry today. I’m extremely happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish in the industry. It was twenty years ago that I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do more than just sell copiers. I wanted the recognition that I wanted to be the best rep wherever I worked.

I used my desire, determination, and dedication to achieve most of my goals in those twenty years. It wasn’t easy, it was hard work, long hours and also putting in time on weekends (I still do that) that led to my success. Thus, I put this blog together to help those that come after me, and for those that want to aspire to greatness. 

As many of you know our industry is constantly changing, whether it's hardware, software, cloud solutions, and document management. Nothing stays the same for long!

What are the 3D's?

Put them in any order you want, it takes all THREE to be successful in any industry. DESIRE, DEDICATION & DETERMINATION

So, what is DESIRE?

–verb 1. to wish or long for; crave; want. 2. to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request: The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting. –noun 3. a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame. 4. an expressed wish; request.

DESIRE For me, it's the craving to be the best at what I do.  I enjoy the recognition, I still get a charge out of writing an order.  I have complete control of my financial future.  You see, I believe that desire is something you can’t teach, you either have it or you don’t. A pro baseball scout once told me that he can’t teach someone to throw 95mph, however, if you can throw 95mph we can teach the prospects the rest.

Your presentation/meeting is filled with PASSION and you can paint a picture of the future without relying on a power point presentation! Losing is not an option! As Ricky Bobbie put it "If you're not first you're last"!

DEDICATION

noun 1.the act of dedicating. 2.the state of being dedicated: Her dedication to medicine was so great that she had time for little else. 3.a formal, printed inscription in a book, piece of music, etc., dedicating it to a person, cause, or the like. 4.a personal, handwritten inscription in or on a work, as by an author to a friend.

Dedication You'll take the extra time to educate YOURSELF! Rely on no one!  I love what I do. I will outwork you to get what I want and in most cases, I always get what I want.  Our job is not a 9-5 job if you want 9-5 money go work for Burger King. Always ask yourself "Am I working as hard or as smart as I can?"

Even today I’m still dedicated to learning more about sales, and more about the products that I sell and even products that I don’t sell.  You see knowledge is the key to winning orders!  Prospects can relate to salespeople that have a great business acumen, and knowledge of their products plus their competitors.  Fancy gimmicks, and tricks to get the appointments only go so far, if you don’t have the knowledge you wont get the orders.

DETERMINATION noun 1.the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose. 2.the quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose.

Determination When it's a quarter to 5 and you're on your way home, and you pass that business that you've called many times and got nothing, do you continue to go home or do you stop for one more cold call? You're always moving forward with creating your own promotions, following up with calls until you have the answers whether it's good or bad. Selling is similar to playing chess, you're always thinking about the next step, or the next objection and the what if's, determined people always have a plan to get where they want to be.

Thus, after 38 years I still enjoy most of what I do.  There are many days when I'm the optimist and many when I'm the pessimist.  All of us can go through bouts of pessimism in sales.  What I've learned is that every new day brings a new opportunity to sell something or for that phone to ring with a customer or prospect stating "we're ready to place our order!"

-=Good Selling=-

Five Copier Lease Programs That You May Have Forgotten About

Just when you think you have something in the bag, along comes the objection.  My objection came last Friday as I was preparing for the long weekend.  My last stop of the day was to follow up (in person visit) for an objection that I received via email last week.

That objection was "your price is too high". Okay, too high compared to what I thought. I felt like responding via email right away, however, I opted for the visit because you just can't get everything you need with a constant barrage of emails.

After a few minutes I found that the objection was not "your price is too high". The objection turned about to be the lease.  I had quoted a 60 month lease term and due to the scope of work the device would sit somewhat idle for six months of the year. The client did not want to pay for the device if it was not being used.

Thus, how do you respond to resolve the objection?  

In the next moment I found my-self answering that objection with offering up a seasonal lease. A seasonal lease will allow a client to pay six months of payments and have six months of no payments each year. Yes, the cost is much higher, however, the thought of paying for something you are not using carries a bigger heart ache than having a higher payment.  My client had never heard of a seasonal lease and thought that might be the ticket to get the order placed.  Of course, I'll need to contact the leasing company for the rate, and say a short prayer that this will be my answer to complete this order.  Either way, the seasonal lease option answered the objection and we'll have another shot.

The bakers dozen lease is pretty cool to use when you're client doesn't have the funds to purchase and isn't interested in a long term lease. In most cases the objection is paying the interest on that long term lease.  With a bakers dozen lease most vendors will ask for 5-10% of your invoice. It's good to call the leasing company first before you make the offer to the client.  In order to quote the bakers dozen lease, you'll need to take the purchase price and divide by 12.  That amount will be the payment, however, the client will make 13 payments (the client then owns the device at the end of the lease).  You can state that the last payment is the interest payment.    

The annual lease can be a another tool to help close the order. I heard this today from one of my leasing reps.  In most cases it can be used for education accounts that don't want to be involved with making a payment each month.  Since most schools have the funds available, you may want to offer them the annual lease where one payment would be made each year.  Again, consult with your leasing company to see if this is offered.

We all know about the $1.00 purchase option for the end of the lease, however, did you know that you can also offer a10% purchase option?  Back in the eighties the 10% purchase option was the preferred method of the lease transactions.  You can offer this when a client wants a fixed cost at the end of the lease and is wishy washy about whether they would return or buy the copier at the end of lease.  Some DM's just want the peace of mind that they know what the price will be at the end of the term.  

Step Leases have you ever heard of them?  Many leasing companies can offer a step lease program.  These step lease programs can be used to help a client ease into a payment. Do you remember your what your first quarterly quota was, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that your monthly/quarterly quota has increased over the years.  Same is true of the step lease, the client can start out with low payments, build the business and then they'll be able to pay the higher payments. Payments can vary, call your leasing company for details. Years ago we were placing digital duplicators where the payments were $100 per month for the first 12 months, and each year thereafter there was a increase for the 5 years.

If you don't ask you don't get. We need to have every tool available to us when it comes to objections.  These leasing tools (programs) can help you close more orders, and solidify yourself as the resident copier guru. More importantly you don't have to walk away with a lease objection, you can hold your ground an offer a fix to the objection

If anyone else has heard of other programs, we'd love to hear about them. Please feel free to post in the reply section.

-=Good Selling=-

 

Eight Baseball Idioms for the Office Equipment Industry

The smell of spring is in the air, along with the completion of the first week of the 2018 Major League baseball season here in the US. Last year Chris Polek (Owner of Polek & Polek) and I collaborated with our first baseball themed blog for the office equipment channel. "Nine Innings with Polek & Polek" was a hit  with our readers. Chris & I have teamed  up again for this year blog which uses common baseball jargon and how that jargon translates to the office equipment channel.

Eight Baseball Idioms for the Office Equipment Industry

Spring Training: For those of us that are baseball fans the thought of Spring Training reminds us that Spring is right around the corner and the renewed hope that our team has the chance to be the World Champions.  

Most copier dealerships mark the end of their year with the last calendar day of the year. Typically most opportunities are squeezed, pushed and shoved into that last month of the year. January tends to be a month of starting over or renewing your focus for the new year.

That first week of the January can be your Spring Training. Taking time to cull your CRM, review future prospects and develop a plan to achieve your personal and business sales goals.

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Situational Hitting: Moving the runner over, hit and run, bunt, and the sacrifice fly are different types of hitting that you want to accomplish in different baseball scenarios. These different offensive techniques can power the offense to score runs while making an out.

In sales we can look at prospecting in the same manner. You need to step up to the plate and make things happen with in person visits, and phone calls. More often that not you’ll be making outs, but the continued stepping up to the plate with prospect will produce opportunities for new business. I’m a big believer that if you put in the work, you’ll be surprise what tomorrow will bring you.

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PFP’s (Pitchers Fielding Practice): Believe it or not, most pitchers (and catchers) are the best athletes on the team. In fact most of them probably started at shortstop at the beginning of their baseball career. Playing the position of pitcher has some unwritten rules. Pitchers get out of the way when there’s a popup in or around the pitcher’s mound. They cover first base, when the first baseman has to cover a dribble to his side.

Ever notice how pitchers and catchers report earlier than the other players? It is because they have the most responsibility in the game. It is not just pitching and catching. They control the pace of the game, they give direction on the strategy, and when a ball is in play the pitcher and catcher are always moving around the field to back up throws. It is difficult to see on TV, and when you are at a game you will notice that the pitcher and catcher are active ALL the time. When you think about it, pitchers and catchers responsibilities are very similar to those of leaders and managers.

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Meeting on the Mound:

A new rule this year in baseball is a limit on meetings on the mound, and a time limit. You know those meetings you have been in that never seem to end, or when will we get to the point?

We can learn from this rule. As a manager, your job is to coach your salesperson. Keep your meetings brief by being prepared and having an agenda. Agree on a strategy, and then ACT! Ultimately the most important thing is the immediate action that you take when the meeting is finished.

Can of Corn:  

For those that don’t know baseball, this is an easy to catch fly ball. In our businesses we need to make sure we devote time on the easy tasks that will help grow our business.

The Can of Corn is: focus on your loyal customers; don’t ignore them. It amazes me how many businesses put so much time and resources in only acquiring new customers to grow. Cable companies are a good example of this. Not to single out cable companies, but when you look at their behavior you start to see similar behaviors with many companies and your buying experience. Try this exercise: call five loyal customers today. Thank them for being a loyal customer. Ask them: “Is there anything new that you are working on that you think we could help you?” The answer your customers offer are about to give you new ideas on how you can do more business. They will choose you first because they know, like, and trust you. If your customer brings up an idea that you don’t handle, find a way to connect them with a person or company that can.

Caught Napping:

Caught Napping is the opposite of Can of Corn. Go ahead and ignore those loyal customers while you primarily focus on acquiring new ones, and watch what happens. Your behavior shows those customers that you don’t care that much and they are not important to you. When you do that, your value to these customers erodes, and so does their loyalty to you! Eventually you get the wake-up call that they are leaving you, and doing business with a competitor. When this happens, most people come up with every excuse in the book, except pointing the finger at themselves. Apologize to those loyal customers before it is too late, that you realized that you have not paid enough attention to them as you should, and that is going to change. Focus on treating your loyal customers well, or get Caught Napping. Your choice!

It ain’t over till it’s over: Is one of those famous Yogi Berra quotes. It ain’t over till it’s over means quitting or projecting a defeated attitude is not an option. You always have the chance to win.

Mental toughness is an important part of the game and in your business. There will always be adversity, and when you give up too easily when things get tough, the only thing that gets easier is quitting too early. Another famous Yogism: “90% of the game is half mental.”

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Let The Ball Travel: In baseball this means to let the ball travel a little deeper before you swing because you’re out in front of the ball. I’ll use the term of letting the ball travel when I’ve touched all of the opportunities several times and nothing is moving forward. I then let those accounts sit for a few days or a week with no follow up. During that the let ball travel time, I’ll find time to research prospects and add new opportunities to the pipeline. Keep in mind that your clients are just as busy as you and in most cases the thought of buying office equipment is not their top priority.

I hope these baseball references have helped you re-focus on Spring Training for your business. Let’s PLAY BALL!

Good Selling from

-=Chris Polek & Art Post=-

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