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The End Is Nigh

Well gents, I'm not sure how much more of this industry I can take. It's becoming completely dog-****. Here's why:

  • I put out 12 proposals this month. Only 1 deal closed.
  • There is literally no differentiation between the products anymore. People just want to print, copy, scan and fax. All the bells and whistles just increase your wholesale price.
  • Every authorized dealer has great service.
  • Pricing is just ridiculous. You can't even compete with refurbs anymore because dealers are using national account pricing in down-the-street deals. Manufacturers like Ricoh and Xerox give away the box at 10% of MSRP. A customer doing 3000 B&W per month just recently leased two new Ricoh 3554's for $70 per month each with CPC of $0.009.
  • There's no more GP. Where I used to be able to put $2-3000 GP in each machine, now I'm forced to put in $1000 to $1500. Even then, I'm losing deals on price!! How do you hit quota, let alone make money, when you have to close 10 to 15 deals per month??
  • Relationships count enough to let you match the pricing of a competitor who is giving the box away.
  • "The death of 11x17." Everyone is downsizing to A4. 95% of print jobs are on Letter.
  • Businesses are consolidating, closing, or completely moving away from paper. I've got customers left, right and center getting rid of their machines and not replacing them because they don't need to.
  • Expectations to sell more and more keeps increasing...

I really don't know how to sell on value anymore because it feels like there is none to offer. There's no consulting, no workflows... When you help solve a problem for someone, they take your recommendation and ask 3 other people to quote the same thing. People just want a cheap box and companies in town will do anything to sell that. Proposals continuously disappear into limbo and following up after doing a demo or proposal appointment feels like pulling teeth.

I remember sales being fun, but I've been smashing my head against the wall for 5 years now. The passion is gone. The energy is gone. I literally feel depressed coming into work. Not because I don't love selling or I don't love the company I work for, but because this industry is so freaking discouraging that it's eating into my self-worth.

Does anyone have any encouraging or positive words before I hulk-smash my desk?

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