Sales

Selling Copiers in the Eighties with Ray Stasiezko

I caught one of Ray's video last week and I was surprised when Ray made mention of his copier career. Yup, Ray also slung copiers just like most of us. I reached out to Ray a few days ago and asked if he'd like to be give us some insight as to what it was like to sell copiers in the eighties.

Selling Copiers in the Eighties



Ray, what year did you start in the industry, what company and what position did you start out with? 1989

Did you work for a dealer or direct ? I worked for Lanier Worldwide Tampa Office.

What was the percentage of copier sales people that made it past two years? 10-15%

What did you like the most about your job in the eighties? Really the 90’s but still 30 years ago. It was a great experience learning how to sell. Lanier was a world class operation and had the industry’s best training in those days. The comradery and the fun of business was awesome.

What did you dislike the most about your job in the eighties? I really liked the job, as all jobs sometimes the people can be challenging to one’s happiness. One of the greatest things in those days was that many prospects did not have copiers. I remember selling a lot of gas stations copiers with coin ops.

What was the compensation plan like, was there a salary, what is just commissions or was there a mix of salary and commissions? $2,000.00 a month all draw and if you went two months in the hole your draw was eliminated until recovered.

How did you go about finding new business, and what was your favorite of those methods and why? Knocked on doors and looked through newspaper for new business licenses. I loved cold calling that’s what we did most of the time in those days.

What was the first sales book that you read that and what did you take away from it? Tom Hopkins “How to Master the Art of Selling.” Lanier made that book part of their training on day one.

What type of car did you use for your demonstrations and how many demonstrations would you perform in a week?  A Chevy mini cargo van it held two coffin carts so I could leave the office with two machines and come back with none. 

The demo! Yes, we did Demos and lots of them. Every successful sales rep knew that it took twenty cold calls a day and ten demos a week just to survive. It was the copier industry that came up with the saying “if you show it, you will sell it.” With a loaded van, you headed out to your geographical territory, and keep in mind we used paper maps to navigate around neighborhoods, looking for that lonely church. We all knew churches ran tons of bulletins. Every time you drove by church, you could practically hear the sounds of clicks.  More clicks equaled more money. Once we found a prospect (basically was everyone in the world), we would sell the demo.



Can you tell us a couple of funny story about selling copiers?

The craziest demo I ever did… Tony the Crab salesman had a van on a street corner. The kind of street corner where you wouldn’t want to even think about buying a crap from the back of a van. Although buying crab wasn’t the goal. Selling Tony a miniature Crab Flyer printing press was.

Remember, before you could sell Tony the copier, you had to show Tony the copier. This is the sole reason all successful copier reps carried long extension cords. Yes, Tony may have had no power in the crab van, but the gas station parking lot Tony called his storefront did. Once the cord was plugged into the lonely outlet in the men’s room with no door, it was time to start making copies.

I know everyone is asking themselves - what the hell does a Crab Sales Guy makes copies of? You may have guessed, of course - it would be one of the crabs. So as I began my pitch that included explaining how every crab vendor should have flyers, and why outsource that, I quickly grabbed a big blue crab from the cooler in Tony’s van (it smelled like shrimp to me), and I immediately set the crab on the glass and hit the big green button. Out came a picture of the blue crab, well it wasn’t blue - color capabilities were not available yet - but once Tony saw the crab printed on that sheet of paper he was sold.

What happened next is something all copier reps face occasionally. You may have guessed, he couldn’t get approved for the 5 year lease. He was able to muster up enough cash and of course a few crabs for trade, so Tony quickly became the proud owner of a slightly used machine, the one that had been rolling around in the back of my van for months.

So when I think back on those good old days, I ask myself what Tony would think today. He more than likely went paperless, has a Facebook page, his van is probably in a junk yard, and Uber drivers deliver his crabs. Yes, I am also quite sure Tony has a crab app.



What is the biggest problem you seeing facing the industry today? The reality that over 80% of the market is vulnerable to innovative disruption. A4, lowering volumes, and new challengers will cause disruption. 

If you had to would you do it all over again, if so, what would you change? I would say that doing it all over again in these times would not replicate anything of the past. However, I would do it all over again regarding the education, and excitement of an evolving industry.

What’s the one piece of knowledge that you’d like to share with reps entering our industry? The advice a district manager told me. Gary Moore, said “When you are successful selling copiers in your future you will not need to interview for a job, you will interview a company and decide if you will work there.” Rest in Peace Gary.

If you'd like to know more about Ray, you can get his bio on Linkedin. I would also suggest that you follow Ray because he posts excellent content and is also a regular posted on our site.  Thanx for this Ray!

-=Good Selling=-

This Copier Changed My Sales Life 15 Years Ago this Week!

It's late on Friday night, for most their work is over for the week. Me, I need to do updates and frankly I've been lagging in my blogging as of late. It's not because I don't want to write, it's mainly because there hasn't been something that triggered me to write.  Nothing unusual in sales, nothing unusual in the field and I've had my nose to the grindstone looking to hit numbers.

Until tonight when I needed to post up my series "This Week in the Copier Industry 15 Years Ago this Week".  Nice thing about this site is that you can select advanced search button (see below) and search through tens of thousands of threads about the copier industry since 2003.

You click the Advanced Search and you'll come up to the se3arch menu (see below) or the link I created.

It's a real nice search tool and you have the ability to filter for the forums, blogs, chats, photo's, video's, you name it's there

Right, back to what I wanted to write about. It was this week 15 years ago when Ricoh launched the famous Ricoh MP 240W digital wide format copier/printer/scanner.  I wanted to reach back and write about was it was like in those glory days of wide format. BTW, it's famous because it ROCKED!

It was a fantastic time for me in sales.  I guess I was at the right spot at the right time. Similar to when Minolta launched the Minolta 450Z copy machine back in 1984.

The picture above illustrates the 240W along with the plot server software that was required to run on a stand alone PC.  No software meant no print or scan, just a wide format copier that could reduce or enlarge.  Thinking back about 90% of placements included the PC and the software.

Ricoh broke the bank with the MP 240W in 2004.  There was no other digital wide format like it that could print/scan and copy for the price.  Many Architects, Engineers and Construction companies were farming out prints and scans to repro shops, and Staples for .50 -1.00 per square foot. It didn't take that many prints to cost justify the 240W at MSRP.  Selling at MSRP would net you about $8-$9K in GP and the commissions were 50% of the GP. It was not uncommon to take home $10-$14K a month. 

Having a product as unique as the 240W made a heck of a lot of sense to go and knock on as many doors as possible.  In most cases you were welcomed with arms wide open because the news was spreading about the price and the feature set of the 240W.

There was no haggling on price, well okay there might have been when we were up against Ricoh Direct.  But if Ricoh Direct was not in, then our price was  our price.  If the buyer was not interested it would only be a few days before we turned up additional prospects. 

We were fortunate at the dealer I worked for back in 2004.  Prior to taking on Ricoh in the mid nineties we also were a dealer for Xerox wide format analog copiers.  I came on board in mid 1998 when we had just switched to Ricoh and we were placing the FW 740, 750 & 760 analog Ricoh wide format copiers.

Yup from 2004-2006 we had that market controlled before Xerox launched their first digital wide format.  Believe it or not we even delivered the 240Ws for on-site demonstrations. We sold everyone we demo'd!

There were some growing pains with understanding the AEC market, but Ricoh had some excellent DSM's, and product trainers that gave us the basics.  We pounded them out left and right  and all were single placements, all had high GP and we gained mega new accounts.  Gaining those new accounts also gave us opportunities to place digital copiers.

After 15 years, we still have a few in the field.  Hard to believe right?  Like I said Ricoh hit a home run with the print engine, and the compact size of the device.

Yes, those were the days!

-=Good Selling=-

I Had an Awesome Day and Didn't Sell A Copier aka Print Device

I'm thinking it was 2006 when I first met Dave. 

Dave had this really cool setup for printing color envelopes on one of the first Oki color A3 laser print engines.   At that time Dave definitely had one printer running and If I remember correctly had a few more that were primed for back ups.

Back in 2006 it was quite uncommon to see a color laser printer that would feed envelopes without wrinkling them.  Could have also been because I only carried the Ricoh brand and back in 2006 they were not so good with feeding envelopes.

I'm a hardware junkie, show me a print device that prints something new and my mind starts to spin out of control.  I knew I needed to learn more about the process and thought at some time in the future that I may have a print device that I could sell Dave.

Each year thereafter for the next thirteen years I would pay Dave a visit at least once or twice a year.  I was really thankful when he moved his business closer to where I lived. 

Over that time frame I gleaned a lot of information from Dave when it came to ink based printers that could run envelopes. In recent years the choice of print engines that Dave used leaned more towards ink printers with the Memjet Waterfall print head.   From time to time he would also have a few of the HP's ink based printers with the Page Wide Technology.  For me, Dave was the guru of envelope printing, he had so much knowledge that manufacturers actually sent him print devices to evaluate.

From time to time Dave allowed me to demonstrate of couple of ink print devices. Alas I never had a product that could meet all of his needs with low ink cost, quality and speed. I usually had one or the other but never had the complete package.  Since I knew many print shops in my territory I was more than happy to tell him about those DM's. From time to time I was able to throw some leads his way.

Over those thirteen years Dave and I never did any business. To tell you the truth that was probably a good thing since you never know how some print devices will perform.  Usually when they don't perform is when the relationship can sour.  But, I enjoyed stopping and talking shop with Dave, I would comment on new technology and he would give me the low down on some of the really neat print devices that he had. His knowledge helped me with other clients that were in the market for color envelope presses.

I think it was about 18 months ago that Dave told me he was going to sell the business and move out of state. He had his reasons and they were legit but I'm not going to mention them here.  Still I stopped in from time to time to see how he was and where he was at with his plans.

Dave emailed me over the weekend and stated that he would like to take me to lunch sometime this week.  I agreed and we had lunch today. We had a great chat about my new found brother and Dave told me that he has two adopted children (that's awesome). I then asked how he was doing with the sale of the business. Dave stated that this was the last few days, he had sold all of his equipment and would be moving in the next few weeks.

We had a great time at lunch and was probably one of the first times we didn't talk shop.  We developed a great relationship and respect for each other over those years.  On the way out Dave handed me an envelope, inside that envelope was an awesome thank you card for all of the time we spent together.

I know that Dave reads my blogs and I'm hoping he reads this one. I will miss our technology chats, I will miss our chats about our families and miss the time that we spent together.



-=Good Selling=-

A Funny Thing Happened After My Sales Appointment

Just a short blog for all tonight.  It was a little over a week ago that I scheduled an appointment for a quarterly review with one of my clients.  The appointment was to review costs, volume of prints and what's changed with my client in the last 12 months.

I did my bit and then asked what's changed beside the recent move.  To my surprise the client was interesting in upgrading their existing wide format to one that could print and copy in color.

Thus, I led the client through the pro's and con's of the device I had in mind, along with answering many additional questions from the client. My meeting ended with creating an opportunity along with providing a quote as soon as possible.

Within a few days I had delivered the quote. Within another day or so I received an email with a few additional questions. One statement that worried me was "we're just not sure if the extra $75 per month was worth need for color". The client also explained that they would get back to me quickly with an decision. There was a little bit more to the email, however something I'm not going to post here. I did take the time to address their concerns with two additional emails.

It was another 72 hours and I received an email that they would like to move forward with the order. I developed the doc's, delivered them via email. The next day I had the signed documents return via email with a special PS at the end of of the email.

Here's what it read.

Ps - Before making the final decision, I was doing a little more homework online on ink jet vs toner plotters.  I came across a helpful article, only to notice after reading that you were the author!  Brandi and I got a kick out of that.  So basically you already answered some of my questions. 

I read this one, and also one on 10 FAQ’s about the Ricoh MP CW2201SP. 
I've been writing content on my wide format site for a couple of years now. Over those two years I received a fair amount of leads and have closed some orders for net new clients.  I was not surprised that the client did some additional research, but I was elated that my content showed up in their search efforts.
Just goes to show you that writing content is still king and pull marketing make more sense that dialing for dollars.
-=Good Selling=-

Extra Innings with Polek & Polek (baseball free agents, sales peeps)

Chris Polek and I are huge fans of baseball.  Chris is a lifelong fan of the Yankees and the same for me except I'm a big fan of the Mets.  You'd think that a Yankee fan and a Met fan would do some trash talking, but that's not the case since we are both avid fans of baseball.

During the off-season two of the biggest free agents out on the market were Manny Machado (signed with Padres) and Bryce Harper (signed with Phillies). Both are players are very capable of putting the team on their back and stacking up countless wins.  All that winning does come at a price though.  Machado with a 10 year guaranteed for $300 million and Harper with a 13 years with a guaranteed $330 million.

Both players are 26 years old, both players probably won't make the end of their contracts and both have career batting averages under .285.  When it comes to offense that means they fail more than 7 times out of ten where they do not get a hit.  Dang, if I failed 7 out of ten times with prospects, I'd probably be looking for another job.

While Chris and I were chatting the other day we thought we would share some points about signing or not signing that superstar salesperson. That gal or guy that can put the team on their back and help the time meet and exceed their goals.

Okay, so let's get into to it. Chris Polek will give us his thoughts and I'll chime in with a few of my own. 

Chris: These are certainly big bets by these teams, and just like in business, there is always risk. You know the saying: “No risk, no reward”

While it is easy for people to start calculating how many dollars per home run or plate appearances that adds up to, you know the owners of these teams weighed on benefits outside of the player’s stats to justify that investment. Things like more ticket sales, which equals more concessions sales. How many more people want to buy that player’s jersey?

Art: Yup, I can see that. By adding that top sale rep to the team, that person and their performance can enhance the sales team. That’s accomplished with the pecking order moving a down a notch or two with the other sales people on the team. Top sales people don’t like to be anything but first. Quoting from Talledega Nights, “if you’re not first you’re last”.

Chris: And what about the rest of team players? How excited are they to work with an impact player like that? Will they raise their level of play that these teams are playoff contenders? Believe me; these owners were looking to buy more value that just how many dollars each plate appearance cost.

Art: Acquiring that top sales person will inspire others. Other sales people on the team will raise their levels because they need and want to compete. Plain and simple we like to win.

Chris: Pay in sales is different compared to these guaranteed baseball contracts though. In sales the top players are making the big paycheck, because they are bringing in the results. As a business owner, if you are concerned that you are paying your salespeople too much money, you probably haven’t instituted the correct compensation plan. When you pay your salespeople record breaking paychecks, it means you should be having record breaking financial performance in your company.

Art: Agreed, you can’t sell Jersey’s with the names of your top salespeople on the back. But you can ride the backs of the those top performers.

Chris: Although Bryce Harper and Manny Machado were the players that were making the headlines because of the record breaking contracts, what happened after these signings was even more noteworthy. It seems that baseball owners realized something about free agency: it is expensive.

Baseball owners decided that instead of letting those loyal, good performers play out their contracts, and become a free agent, it was better to tear up that contract, and sign them to an extension of 5 or 7 years. These weren’t the pay levels of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or even Mike Trout, but all very comfortable and fair contracts to keep that loyalty and production from those players such as: Chris Sale, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Xander Bogaerts, Ronald Acuna Jr., Aaron Hicks to name a few.

The point is those sales people or employees that are there for you through thick and thin, you need to make sure that you take care of them. Sometimes it is money, or new computers, but what goes farthest for a business owner is making sure that you genuinely appreciate the hard work and value that they bring to your organization. Your employees value that recognition over and above the paycheck. Your “A” players will stick with you when they know they are appreciated versus leaving you for a pay increase.

Art: It's all about investment. Invest in your team in order to reap the rewards. Adding a top player (salesperson) will improve the overall performance of the team, as only as you don’t treat them differently. Just getting away from baseball for a second. In New York we had a player by the name of Beckham, who is an awesome talent. Problem was he was not disciplined by the coaching staff, ultimately it lead to the demise of a season and Beckham getting traded.

Chris: That superstar sales person can be that final piece of the puzzle that makes your company a contender; perhaps a World Champion. That one person will not determine success alone. As a business owner, you need to continually invest in taking care of your loyal employees, and providing them the tools to bring successful results for your company. It will create a culture of loyalty, hard work, discipline, and the desire to succeed.

That superstar salesperson is the finishing touch, and the culture of your team is the foundation. If you don’t have the proper culture in place at your company, there is a bigger possibility that huge free agent contract will turn into buyer’s remorse. That superstar sales person will look like the answer, and you need to have the right culture in place for them to fit.

It is like having the key to your success, but you have the wrong keyhole. That will cause frustration, and will lead to a losing season. So focus on getting your company culture rock solid, then adding that superstar sales person can set you up for a season that takes you to the World Series!

Art:  Chris and I enjoyed writing this blog. If you enjoyed reading it please share and like.  Chris Polek is President of Polek & Polek. Polek & Polek is a 2nd generation wholesale distributor of toner, toner cartridges, drums, mfp, copier, printer supplies, parts, staples, power protection and more. Visit thier web site here

-=Good Selling=-

When Sales Are Good What Do You Do To Get Your Groot On?

It's a very short month for me this month. In fact my month ends on the 18th.  On the 19th I'll start the Easter celebration and on Monday it's off to Vegas for ITEX 2019 along with meeting my new brother!

We put the effort in every day and we can only hope that all of the hard work gets us to where we want or need to be at the end of the month. Thus, I knew that if I didn't put the extra time in this month I would put up a stinker (sales month). Stinkers are not an option, but they can happen.

After received multiple orders over the last few days I'm just about where I want to be with two days left. Do I celebrate now, yes you're damn straight I do.  One of my ways to celebrate is to put on some of my favorite music. One song in particular does it for me.

Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra is my fav!  It's upbeat, live and the lyrics scream with the life of a sales person. If you're not familiar with Mr. Blue Sky it was recently the opening song for the opening scene for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. This is where the cute and cool little Groot does his happy dance.  At times I will imitate Groot and do my own happy dance.

I'm sure everyone has that kind of song, and if you don't I urge you to find one, make it your own and use it when things are slamming.  Hey, maybe if things aren't slamming it use is as a pick me up, motivator, whatever floats your boat.

Check out these cool lyrics from Mr. Blue Sky

Morning! Today's forecast calls for blue skies

The sun is shining in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It's stopped raining, everybody's in the play
And don’t you know, it's a beautiful new day, hey
Running down the Avenue
See how the sun shines brightly
In the city, on the streets where once was pity
Mr. Blue Sky is living here today, hey

Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long, so long
Where did we go wrong?
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long, so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey, you with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race
A celebration, Mr. Blue Sky's up there waiting
And today is the day we've waited for

Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long, so long
Where did we go wrong?
Hey there, Mr. Blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around, see what you do
Everybody smiles at you
Hey there, Mr. Blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around, see what you do
Everybody smiles at you

Mister Blue Sky
Mister Blue Sky
Mister Blue Sky-yiy

Mr. Blue, you did it right
But soon comes Mr. Night
Creeping over, now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind, I'll remember you this
I'll remember you this way

Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long, so long
Where did we go wrong?
Hey there, Mr. Blue (sky)
We’re so pleased to be with you (sky)
Look around, see what you do (blue)
Everybody smiles at you

It's awesome, especially the verse of "on the streets where there was once pity", how often can we relate to that in our sales life?  But, now Mr. Blue Sky is here and it's the day we've waited for. We're always making things happen to get to the days that we're waiting for.  

See, our sales life is lived in days, weeks and months. We are measured in those days, weeks and months. In most cases we're only as good as our last month, our last quarter or year. Our life is more about what have you done for me lately!

Get your Groot on take the time to treat yourself, and you'll feel refreshed and read to start the grin all over again.

Here's the video. GOOD SELLING!

Invest in Yourself and Get Outstanding Sales Results

First, I'd like to give kudos to the person on Linkedin who made mention of "investing" in yourself.  Can't remember who it was and it might have been Earl Everson. Earl, if it was you thanx for giving me the idea to write about "investing in your sales career". If it wasn't you, I'll have to make sure that I thank that person.

Okay, first, I'm not much for doing video's. I like video's but don't enjoy seeing my-self in them. Does anyone else feel that way?  I guess I just like to write.

Do you invest in your in yourself for to further your sales career? 

Investing in yourself can come in many flavors. Purchasing sales books, hiring a sales coach (something I never did, nor did I want to, guess I'm hard headed), purchasing software, new notebook, set up a home office, the list goes on and on.  One of the biggest investments you can make is on how to spend your time wisely. I recently caught a tip on Linkedin that every thing you do should be calendared. Setting a time for each task, whether it's 5 minutes, or 30 minutes will help you stay on track.

Through out the years I've never shied away from investing in something that will help me get better at what I do I love to do.  One of my recent purchases is with the Perfect Copier Quoting tool. This cool program will help me save tremendous amounts of time for the proposal/quoting process.  It's just something I did lately to help my self. I'm hoping it will give me additional time to prospect, because you can never ever stop prospecting.

What have you done to help yourself?

I'm amazed at how many sales people in our industry don't make the investments that can lead them to the top of sales success. The opportunities are out there and a small monthly investment of only one hundred bucks a per month or less can be the difference of always being at or above quota. 

  • When was the last time you attending and industry event?
  • When was the last time you wrote some type of content?
  • When was the last time you used Linkedin to increase your connections?
  • When was the last time you posted something on Linkedin?
  • Why don't you have a client email list and send them educational content each week or each month?
  • When was the last time you sent a client a thank you note for that recent order?
  • When was the last time you gave a shout out for one of your favorite clients on Linkedin?
  • When was the last time you asked a client for referrals?

Most of the above questions only involve your time, why not take some time before or after work hours to invest in your sales career?

Constant Contact

Did you know that you can get a free 60 day trial for Constant Contact?  After the first 60 days the cost is only twenty bucks a month for 1-500 email addresses.  Think, it's only 75 cents or so a day! If you ask, Constant Contact will actually do your first template for FREE. I've been using that same template for five years now. Once a week I send more than 2,000 emails to our Print4Pay Hotel members.  Once a month I send to 30 of my top Stratix accounts. These are the accounts that I need to stay in front of.  Out of sight equals out of mind!

Linkedin Pulse

It's free!  A place to write and share you blogs on Linkedin. I know at least six people that write a blog each week on Linkedin. Not me, because I do it here, but all of these peeps have kept at it week in and week out.  Those peeps are now very successful an have developed some outstanding number of followers an connection.  What's the key?  Commitment, week in week out, set aside the time and don't stop after three months. It's a long term commitment, but after 12 months you'll probably gain thousands of connections and followers.

Video

Getting more and more popular ever day. Still not sure if video is for me, but I've been toying with the idea.  Check out Earl Everson, Larry Levine, or Dale Dupree they've all made the time commitment and dedication to "keep on posting" (ah, that should me my line). Each one of them has thousand if not ten thousand connections. It's not easy, but what the heck in this life is easy?

You Owe it to Yourself

Why am I in sales? Have you ever asked yourself that question? I certainly have and the answers keep coming back the same.

  • I love helping clients
  • I enjoy solving problems
  • I enjoy making what I want when I want
  • I'm in control of my own finances

Make the investments whether it's time, a product, a book, a coach, a trip, software, it will be worth it's weight in GOLD.

-=Good Selling=-

My Top Secret for Sales Success

If you're on Linkedin as much as I am, then you'll see dozens if not hundreds of people willing to entertain you with thier top secrets for sales success. 

One such linkedin thread yesterday inspired me to write about those top sales secrets.

I've been selling for copiers for almost forty years and another 2 for years with other sales positions. Over those years I can't remember one secret that I read from a so called sales guru that impacted my sales career. Yes, there have been some good tips but no secrets.

Becoming successful is the time and effort you put into to it. It also helps to have the desire, determination and dedication to succeed every day. The Three DDD's of selling is desire, determination and dedication.

Here's my top secret for sales success.

THERE IS NO SECRET!

There's no golden goose, no Midas touch, and no holy grail that will give you that immediate boost to sales success.

To be successful you'll need be a :

Work your ass off, that's right nothing is going to be handed to you on a silver platter. You'll need to put in mega hours if you want to be the best at what you do.  Ours is not a 9-5 job, rather it's working your tail off and putting the time in to be the best at what you do.

Never ever stop prospecting. Once you're in sales everywhere you go and everyone that you meet could present prospecting opportunities.  Even driving the highway can present you with new prospects. Spotting a company that you never knew existed or just reading commercial vehicles with thier corporate lettering can create opportunities.

Educate yourself, become the guru of your industry. Read your brochures, read your operators manuals, read your product guides and when you've finished all of them read them again. Know your products features, be able to tell your client the advantage of having that feature, then explain how your client will benefit from those features. FAB (features, advantages and benefits)

Put in your own words how one or many features of your product can improve the way they do business or how that feature can save time or reduce costs.

Be creative, just because everyone else did it that way doesn't mean you have to. It's okay to be different, people like different. Ask yourself, if I was a gatekeeper what would get my attention or why would I pass on the information you handed off to the powers to be. Then go out it try those methods, change them up and see what works best.

Become an excellent listener, it took me a long time to figure this out. For years I would do all the talking and push what I thought was right for the client. It wasn't until I became a better listener that I realized the clients would tell me what they wanted, how they wanted it and when they wanted it.

Keep in mind that if you're not working hard then someone else is going to ot work you!

-=Good Selling=-

BTW, there is nothing new in sales

5 Reasons Why Those in the Copier Industry Should Be a Print4Pay Hotel Member

We've all heard the expression, it's not what you know it's about who know. The larger your network, the more access you have to opportunities.

Almost twenty years ago I created the first and still the only web based forums for copier industry professionals (not a tech forum).   Over the years I've been able to lean on others in the industry to get information that I need to close orders through the Print4Pay Hotel forum members. Sometimes it's competitive info, pricing, what's good, what's bad, the point is that there are people just like you and me that are willing to share their knowledge of the industry.

My specialty is wide format, production and AEC (Architect, Engineers Construction). However when it comes to other verticals I may need some help. While I may not be an expert in the legal market I can go the forums and find and copier expert that can help me my questions.  Those answers can help me with opportunities that I can bring to a close.  Likewise I'm more than willing to help others with wide format & AEC info.  It's all about sharing our knowledge and helping each other so that we can close more orders and support our families.

1) Expand your network:  Whether you're a Dealer Principal, VP Sales, Sales Manager or an Account Rep (like me). You'll have access to the forums to search threads (more than 50K), read threads, ask questions, answer questions and maybe you might have a rant or two. You can even take some threads private. You have the opportunity to lean on others for product information or general sales help.

2) Blogs:  Each week we post 4-6 blogs about the industry.  Blogs that I write, blogs from Ray S and Larry Levine.  When you're a member you'll receive immediate notification when a new blog has been posted. In addition you'll have permissions to "like" it, reply with a comment or question.  Between Larry, Ray Stasieczko an myself we have more than 100 years of experience in the industry. Thus you'll get to read some pretty cool stuff and catch some video content.

3) Our sponsors: Sometimes you just need to click the banner to see what's out there. There are times when we go about our business with blinders on, and we're not looking around so see what's new and different.  There are times when what's new and different can make that extra sale. There are products and accessories for our industry that I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that you aren't aware of. What this means is that the reps or dealers that know about these products will eat your lunch.  Just today, I received a top secret accessory to do a test run from one of our sponsors.

4) Our Documents and Pics: Over the years I've developed many documents that can help those in our industry with cold calls, side by sides, discovery documents, ROI's for wide format, you name it and it's more than likely posted on the site. We've also develop quite the museum of pictures and brochures of copiers, fax and typewriters from the past. If you're curious about the past of the copier industry the "clips" section of our site is a great place to start.

5) Premium/VIP: The secret sauce as we like to call it.  Premium/VIP gives you access to all of our sales help documents, premium blogs (my secret stuff), surveys, leads that we've acquired and the Premium/VIP forum (your secret stuff). 

The five I listed are just a few of the awesome features of our site. We'd like to extend a personal invitation to you to join our 3,000 plus members. There is no cost for the basic membership.

However, for all new members we'll through in a 30 day comp of the Premium/VIP Membership. No credit card required. Use it abuse if you like you can email me for a renewal, if not Premium/VIP will cease after 30 days.

Here's the link to join and we're looking forward to seeing you on the forums and the site

-=Good Selling=-

Seven Great Reason Why I Love Working @ Stratix Systems

It's a late night for me just like many other nights.  While I was walking our dog, a little light snow began to fall here in Highlands, NJ.  At this time of year, along with not much traffic I can hear the rumble of the waves that are peppering the beach.  Sometimes it's times it's nights like these that I get to remember about how good things are and how fortunate I've been through out the years.

A little more than ten years ago the copier company that I worked for was bought by Stratix Systems.  Coming from a small dealership and having access to the decision makers didn't make things easy in the beginning.  I was not used to having a sales manager, was not used to towing a straight line and had to get used to a new comp plan.

I didn't run like the three other sales people did when the Century was bought. I stayed because something told me that was the right thing to do. There were some difficult times, times when I wanted to leave, however I looked back at my-self and thought,  is that what I do when things are tough? I run? I also thought that maybe just maybe it was the curmudgeon in me that did not want to change.  I've always knew that change is good, but sometimes it is hard to break the old you.

Thus, I stayed and made changes that I'm really happy with. I thought I'd like to give the shout out to Stratix and let them and others know that change is good and you can change if you want to.

1)  I truly enjoy the people I work with, I know I can be a little tough at times but it's because I want us all to succeed. Some peeps I've worked with for twenty years and some only a few years.  I enjoy the relationships that we've built over the years and the new ones that will be forged.

2) I love the fact that we invest in a demo fleet. At any time I can have access to most of our copiers and can score placing a copier in a clients office for a demo. 

3) I believe I can still help Stratix company grow, even at my advanced age. I still have ideas, still passionate about the industry and still passionate for Stratix to grow and grow. Who knows maybe one day I'll be doing the training for all of the new reps. I know they'll be thinking look at that old fart, WTF does he know.  Yes, grasshopper you have much to learn in the "art" of sales.

4) Helping others. I enjoying sharing my knowledge of sales, the industry and the hardware. Thus, the reason for the Print4Pay Hotel (share our knowledge). What I enjoy the most is helping someone and then seeing them succeed with the information I provided the, I would not give this up for the world.

5) Believe it or not, I still have something to prove.  Probably not to others but to me. I can't stand being second best. Ricky stated "If you're not first you're last". Boy do I hate being last! I've got 39 years in and hoping for at least another for or 5 more to add.

6) I still enjoy selling, especially when it comes to copiers. Yes, it's not as easy as it used to be, but isn't that a good thing?  You become more creative, think out of the box and find new ways to present, demo and engage. Plus, I still get a charge when I receive an order.  All orders are awesome big or small because I know the support after the sale will enable lifetime client relationships.

7) Ah, number 7 the BIG ONE.  I've found this so easy to write tonight. I guess when you're passionate about someone, something or some company the words just seem to flow endlessly will the fingers move across the keyboard.

My VP of Sales is an incredible! I think he's been with us for six or seven years now. It was a little shaky at the start.  Which was probably most my fault, however he believed in me and gave me enough rope to do what I do best. So, believing in someone is good, it breeds that bond of trust in each other. Forming excellent relationships needs the foundation of trust.  If and when I retire I will miss the chats, the tips, the lunches, and the laughs. Tim, if you're reading this I'm not gone yet, and hoping for many more years of working with you.

There it is. Got it out there and hope that many others P4P'ers can be as happy as I am with where I work and the peeps I work with.

-=Good Selling=-

Seven Items You'll Need to Make Your Own Copier Survival Kit

I can not tell a lie!  If it were not for some Dale Dupree threads on Linkedin I wouldn't have remembered the "gifts" I used for cold calling (old fashioned knocking on doors) in the eighties. Dale calls them "copier survival kits" and he's well known for doing some creative old fashioned knocking on doors with his survival kits. Kinda reminds me of myself back in the day, be creative, think outside the box and throw enough **** on the wall and see what sticks.

Eighties

Back in the eighties we would package a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol, small bottle of fuser oil (fuser oil was excellent to clean the covers and powers of any copiers), a half a dozen Q tips (excellent for cleaning the copiers that used fiber optics), glass cleaning cloth and a toner wipe.  The toner wipe was usually a big hit because everyone spilled the toner. With some copiers you had to pour the toner into the hopper, others where you had to pull a plastic seal (always hot a puff of toner when you stripped the seal) and other copiers that made you remove hard plastic sleeve and then tap the cartridge. Yes, and we didn't forget the business card that went with every gift.

Today

Today it's still not a bad idea to make your own copier survival kit.  Thirty some years later and I would change just one item from the eighties list. I'd swap out the small bottle of fuser oil for a desiccant bag.  The main reason for adding desiccant bag is because clients can put this in the paper tray of the copiers or printers to remove moisture from the paper. Larger bags are also good for wide format copiers to reduce the moisture in the paper rolls.  Oh, and there's another reason for the swap because fuser oil is a little bit harder to find these days. However I was able to find some old IBM 3900 fuser oil on Amazon. Frak you can find just about anything on Amazon. 

Here's the list of items you can use for your Copier Survival Kit:

The key is to have every thing branded (except the desiccant bag). From what I'm seeing with quantity you can probably make these with the branding for as little as $4 each. 

One hundred of these would set you back $400 bucks, of course you're not going to hand them out willy-nilly. But you are going to hand then out to the accounts that have three plus copiers.  You have to make the decision on who to give them to.  When knocking on doors you should know the DM's name and ask that the item gets delivered to them. On the other hand you could have it fedexed, mailed or UPS to the DM. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that they would take your call.

Being unique and different is something Dale Dupree does often. I've been there also,  I can remember buying my own golf bags kits (balls, tee's, cloth), in fact one year I bought a couple of hundred plastic waste bins with my logo on it. My pitch was simple, it went something like this. "Hi, my name is Art with Atlantic Office Systems, I'd drop off a few brochures for Mr. or Mrs. Right, could you please make sure they get these. If you're not interested here's a new waste can (branded of course) so you can dispose them.  I read that in a book a long time ago.  Did they work? Hell yes, the follow ups were interesting and I recouped my investment back in a few months.  Shhh, I still have a few in my home office.

Salespeople do not get remember if you're average, sales people do get remembered if you're unique and different. Pave your own way, just because no one else hasn't done it, doesn't mean you can't to do it. 

YOU CAN DO IT!

-=Good Selling=-

Why Copier Sales People Still Need to Demonstrate MFP's & Wide Format Devices

For three days this week I stationed in Atlantic City for an Association event.  I don't care to be away from home for three solid days but the Association event is a solid event to gather leads for net new prospects.

Half the day on Wednesday, 7AM to & 7PM on Thursday and half the day on Friday can drain the best of us.  I was thankful to have backup with reps for Wednesday and Thursday.

Prior to the event I had arranged to have two Ricoh digital whiteboards on hand along with a Ricoh CXW 2201SP wide format printer/scanner/copier.  Last year I only brought the Ricoh white boards and felt that I missed out on many opportunities with wide format because all I could present was a brochure.  Thus the reason to get a wide format device on-site.

Last years event was unique because we were the only technology company there. The white boards were a big hit, we had a lot of interest but did not acquire one order from those leads.  This year it was going to be different, I would still bring the white boards, but the icing on the cake was to be the CW2201SP. It was time to shine with demonstrating our wide format device.

Our Ricoh CW2201 arrived just before vendor set-up time was to close. As our device was being wheeled to my booth, I was floored to see another wide format device coming in right behind it. Frak, there's another wide format vendor? WTF!

After I got over my initial shock of the other wide format device. My focused turned to what makes my device unique and different from the other device. The other device turned out to be one of the new Canon TX series ink based MFP.

What I knew about the Canon TX series:

  • Lower purchase (Dealer & MSRP)
  • Can produce high quality graphics
  • Best image on IJ (inkjet) paper
  • On-board Windows 10 controller
  • Copy/Scan/Print GUI via Software on Windows 10 controller
  • Optional additional paper roll (up to 600 foot rolls of paper)
  • 5 ink colors
  • Color Scan
  • Scan & print from and to USB Drive
  • Pigment inks (will not run or smear when wet



How Ricoh CW 2201SP device stacked up against the Canon TX series:

  • Higher purchase price (Dealer & MSRP)
  • Can't produce high quality graphics
  • Gel ink Technology (will not run or smear when wet)
  • Produces good imaging on bond paper
  • No windows controller required
  • No need to access software for Copy/Scan/Print
  • Optional additional paper roll (up to 590 foot roll of paper)
  • Scan & Print to and from USB & SD Card
  • Print from Hard Drive Library

Alright some better, some not so good. Thus I came up with a plan to show the sizzle of our product.  I pre-printed about 16 color 24x36 plans. I did not leave them in the stacker, but folded each one and laid them on top of our Ricoh. I had then folded down to maybe a 6x6.  On the other side of our Ricoh, I placed a small 6 ounce cup of water. My plan was to start off with "sizzle", because it was demo time!

As attendees walked by and I noticed them looking at the device I would ask them if they had a wide format device, most answered yes. I then told them that I wanted to show them show then something magical about the Ricoh.  I took one of the folded plans. I stated "you know that oil and water don't mix right?", and yes was the response. I then went on to. "well the same is true with ink and water correct?".  I did not wait for an answer I poured some water on the print and then smeared the water on the drawing. There was no running of the ink or smearing of the ink!  All and I repeat all of those that saw this were amazed! 

From there I went on to state that this was a color CAD printer, not a graphics printer. The large roll of paper meant a lower cost per square foot, and the bond paper was much less expensive than smaller rolls. I showed the huge cartridges of ink and gave then estimated cost per square foot of black in. I then showed how to print from the USB drive, the document library and showed the ease of making a copy.  I closed with scan2email, scan2folder, scan2cloud, TWAIN scanning along with how the Ricoh will stack scan originals. Keep in mind that after each feature I explained the advantage and benefit to each person.  I even reverted back to my copier demo days and asked the client to look at the small printed a's, o's & e's, do you see how they are not filled?

I believe we walked away with 20 plus wide format prospects (10-15 leads). It looked good for two sales those days, however one did not want to pay the price and the other ghosted me at the end. I'm okay with the price buyer and the ghosting because I knew we did a killer job with the demonstrating of the device because I had at three people tell me that we knew our stuff.  Even though the Canon TX prints will not run or smear when wet I knew that they would not show that important feature. It was all about the "sizzle" and performing a kick ass demo.

On Friday I had the chance to view the Canon booth.  There was no cup of water next to the device, there was no large roll of paper, and there were no pre-printed drawings. The person manning the booth had a hard time showing me the interface for scan/print/copy. It was then that I knew that I had done my job.

-=Good Selling=-

Why We Decided to Make Our Own Copier Quoting Tool

Why We Decided to Make Our Own Copier Quoting Tool
Getting clients good information is critical to a sales process and we have taken a lot of time and energy to create quotes that are easy for us to make, and give the client a good feeling about the options they are choosing.  I would not want to go to a car dealership and have them only want to show me one car, or to a realtor and only see one house.  We like to see options when we buy stuff, so I thought about how can it be easy for clients to also get options.
We had a new sales rep, let's call him Brett, because that was his name.  Anyway, Brett was driving me crazy because as a Millennial sales rep, he wanted to give every option on every quote so doing 1 quote became a process of doing 10 quotes.  Here were some of the items "Brett" wanted itemized.
  • The client wants to see 1,2,3,4 and 5 year rates, both FMV and $1 out.
  • The client wants to know how fax, staple, etc will affect the numbers, 1,2,3,4, and 5 years
  • The client changed their mind, they no longer need 11X17, now they just want Letter/Legal quotes.
  • The client changed their mind, they no longer think Letter/Legal works, they need 11 X 17
  • There is a lease buyout, how much do I need to add?
  • What do I add for install on this deal?
  • What specs does this copier have for paper handling?
  • etc...
For about a month or two, I tried to help him, then he quit and I had to hire another gal.  When that happened, I realized we are going through all the same issues, questions and numbers.  It seemed to be time to establish a goal.  Here is what I decided on:  
 
I want to be able to make a side by side quote in under 2 minutes that looks nice and that is easy to explain to a new rep or a new client.   
This is where my obsession with building a great system for our team was born.   When I am driving from client A to client B, can I create a quote on my cell phone that looks nice at a red light in Denver (as we do not suggest quoting copiers while you drive, though I cannot pass a lie detector that I have never done it...)
Anyway, that being said, it has made the number of mistakes reps have made way lower and the consistency much higher in terms of generating a quality looking quote.  Since we started, we have made dashboards and added some brands, and then making it so it can be used by any dealer in under a day where all their reps could make quotes in under 2 minutes as well.  It is constantly being improved, but I am proud of where we are and how flexible we have made the tool for our partners.  We would love to have a dealership or two in every city in the USA use this tool!  We hope you can attend a webinar, if not, we can call at a time that works for you.  We are here to help make the marketing of copiers super simple for your dealership!
-=Good Selling=-

A Recent Copier Appointment That Went From Bad to Good

My second appointment of the day proved to one of the most enjoyable appointments I've had in recent memory. It was with an existing account that was in the last 3 months of a 36 month lease for an A3 color MFP. The account only has one, but so do most of my accounts. I'd like to say I flourish with onesies and twosies.  

Just a tip for some of you that may be new in the copier business. When quoting leasing always lead with a 36 month lease.  There are two well maybe three reasons for that. One, is the upgrade time comes around a whole heck of a lot sooner than 60 months. Two, if you have to drop price then drop by the lease term for the lower price. The third reason is if your dealership has auto escalators in the maintenance and supply agreements. 

Right, back to our meeting.  

Everything was going quite well with presenting the reasons for upgrading to a new A3 color MFP. We reviewed the ROI, their existing annual costs for thier lease, the existing annual cost for the maintenance agreement. Heck I even developed a spreadsheet as to what thier annual costs would be if they did nothing (always have a back up plan). 

Like I stated all was well until one of the two clients shot me a question about the color print quality of existing Ricoh A3 MFP.  He stated we've had a couple of issues with color quality and is the Ricoh quality suppose to have a "muddled" appearance? I though okay where is this going, perhaps they weren't happy with the quality of the Ricoh?

Within a few moments the one client came back to table with a color 11x17 document that was printed from an Excel spreadsheet.  Sure enough the colors not consistent, not vibrant, and had a lot of whiteness in the color. The client then stated that this document was printed back in October and then showed me another print that was perfect that was printed in December.

Okay, at this time I thought it was best to tell them about my back ground as tech back in the eighties. This story got a few chuckles and lightened the seriousness of the print quality for now. This existing client has many wide format ink based printers (can't tell you anymore), I explained that wide format printers only have two consumables which is ink and printheads, correct?  Both agreed and I then went to explain how the print process works with laser based MFPs.  I went into depth about how the process works for printing and then explained the major consumable components of the MFP. The last component I spoke about was the color transfer belt and how that works. I stated that most likely the transfer belt had failed and the replacement belt solved the issue (yes, I was patting my self on the back). 

The client then stated that a tech never replaced anything and the MFP had fixed it self.  Okay, I went back to muddled print and the client confirmed it was printed back in October, and the other print was from December and no service had been rendered.  Now, I'm thinking about whiteness in the image, I picked up document and I asked the client if they ever had any humidity issues in the building? I explained that humid paper can sometimes cause poor print quality. The other client (he was doing a great job at listening) then asked the guy when was that document printed? He stated October, and said do you remember what happened in October? I saw the other client nodding in agreement.  

Let me back track a bit. When I pulled into the lot, one of the items that I noticed was that some trees where recently cut down by the building. I was then told about a tree that had crashed through the roof during a storm in October.  I was like well there's the reason why you had the poor print quality and the MFP fixed it self. Not damp or humid paper means great color quality. Boy was I relieved, I nailed it with on the second attempt! 

There's some additional quoting that has to be done in the next few days. I feel that my knowledge of the print process, the ability to explain the process and to have an idea of what might be wrong made then feel comfortable that another Ricoh MFP is in thier future.

After leaving the account and heading back to the office my thoughts were centered about what if. What if a new rep had to go to this account? What if they did not know the print process, what if they couldn't find the reason for the poor prints? I'm not trying to toot my own horn. What I do know is that 80-90% of the reps that I go up against could not explain the print process, nor would they have any idea of what is wrong.

Thus, you could have the super sales skills, and the best coaching in the world and it would not have mattered because you're trying to sell something that you have no clue how it works.

I would urge all of the newbies to learn more about the print process and each component so that you could explain the process of color print if you have too.

-=Good Selling=-

5 Tips to Help You Increase Your Sales in 2019

I started to title this blog and then stopped because I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with this.   I wanted to write about the start of the new year and what reps can do to increase their skills and sales from last year.

The first thing we need to do is to forget about last year.  Whether you were a winner or a loser last year is over!  An old saying in sales "is that you're only as good as your last month". Now is the time to forget about last year, now is the time to set your sales goals and find a way to get to where you want to be at the end of the year.

August of this year will be the start of my 39th year of office technology (copiers, fax, printers, wide format, IT, content) and this year I plan to change a few things to try and get me to where I want to be at the end of the 2019.  

1. I'm going to write more blogs for my jerseyplotters.com this year. I was a little lax last year, however this year I plan to post one a week.  I'm thinking this should gain me an additional 2-3 leads per month.  

2. I fracking hate cold calling via phone.  Thus this year I'm going back to planning 20-25 stop in cold calls every Thursday.  The reason I pick Thursday is because most Holidays we have a Monday off.  Tus scheduling for Thursdays means I won't lose a day in the field.

3. For those special accounts that I haven't been able to crack, I'm going to invest a little bit of cash and send them via Fed-Ex a care package designed especially for them.  I'll write more about this in another blog, it's going to be something different and unique. Thus when I do make the phone call, I'm sure I'll get the chance to speak to the DM.

4. I'm going to lean on my existing relationships and ask for referrals that I can reach out to.  When I'm in the office tomorrow, I'll print out an 11x17 document as a reminder to ask everyone.

5. Extra focus for selling content, even if it means lengthening the sales cycle. What I'm finding is that most reps are still focused only on selling the box and couldn't care less about content. 

There is a recession coming in the near future, now is the time to plan ahead.  For me this means that I need to increase my net new business while building my current business. All of that can be accomplished with the 5 steps I've addressed above.

New to Sales?

For those of you that are new to sales here's some quotes that I've relied on over the years to help me get through the good and the bad

  • Winners Make Things Happen and Losers Wait for Things to Happen
  • Prospect by Day and Quote by Night
  • The Hardier You Work the Luckier You Get (thanx Jack)
  • Assume the Order

Feel free to use this tips, if you have any additional questions PM me on this site or post a reply and I'd be happy to help.

-=Good Selling=-

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