My rule #1 when I was selling copiers:

I started by Asking the Right Questions AND Completing a Document Management Questionnaire.

The copier and MFP has a competitive advantage over other devices, however, technology itself does not sell as effectively as a solution. I keep the discussion focused on the solution of electronic filing, its quantifiable benefits, and how the customer could use it in their office environment. By focusing on a user’s problem and solution I found it be much simpler to get their buy-in and close a bundled hardware and software sale.

By focusing on an electronic filing solution I was better able to reduce or even eliminate the frustrating battle of competing with lower-cost scanning device alternatives. I detailed the unique ROI available with an electronic filing solution. Again and again I found that solution selling minimized the need to discount my copier or MFP while opening the opportunity to sell additional hardware and software.

Lock In Your Customer by Offering Value-Added Benefit and Sell More Copiers. (Contact us at Info@VircoSoft.com or (703) 385-0101 to receive our field-tested "Guide To Solution Selling").
I would let a rep "choose a method" in which they most feel comfortable. For example:

Section 1) Selling by Industry: Add the top 10 vertical markets that apply to black and color and HV.

Section 2) Selling by financial justification: Create a section that shows how to sell based upon lowering TCO through equpipment upgrades, lease options, and the reduction of desktop printers.

Section 3) Selling by tactics: A section that shows how to sell by tactical approach, i.e. SPIN selling, carnegie, zigler, etc..

Section 4) Putting it to action: I would add an area that speaks to telemarketing through industry lists, hoovers, infoUSA, etc... all tied into getting ACTIVITY to generate measurable reults in prospecting and closing.

Section 5) The Perfect Day!
A simple template that shows what the structure of a productive day looks like i.e.: 8:30-10:00am the closing calls/visits (following up on deals closest toi the money) , 10:00am to 12:00noon, marketing/teleprosepcting calls (pipeline filling): then 1:00-3:00pm product demo's (inhouse or at customers); 4:00pm to 5:30pm paperwork. These are just random examples.

Then include a reference section at the end called "Important numbers / resources to know". This section would cover many of the industry related test labs (BLI, BertL, IA, etc.) as well as certian publciations for reference to give the rep a place to go for competitive answers, news, etc..
to give them the product knowledge that they would need to stay abreast of.

Foolow it all by industry buzz woirds and a general glosary of terms and that is the start to a great book and a great guide.
quote:
I would let a rep "choose a method" in which they most feel comfortable. For example:

Section 1) Selling by Industry: Add the top 10 vertical markets that apply to black and color and HV.

Section 2) Selling by financial justification: Create a section that shows how to sell based upon lowering TCO through equpipment upgrades, lease options, and the reduction of desktop printers.

Section 3) Selling by tactics: A section that shows how to sell by tactical approach, i.e. SPIN selling, carnegie, zigler, etc..

Section 4) Putting it to action: I would add an area that speaks to telemarketing through industry lists, hoovers, infoUSA, etc... all tied into getting ACTIVITY to generate measurable reults in prospecting and closing.

Section 5) The Perfect Day!
A simple template that shows what the structure of a productive day looks like i.e.: 8:30-10:00am the closing calls/visits (following up on deals closest toi the money) , 10:00am to 12:00noon, marketing/teleprosepcting calls (pipeline filling): then 1:00-3:00pm product demo's (inhouse or at customers); 4:00pm to 5:30pm paperwork. These are just random examples.

Then include a reference section at the end called "Important numbers / resources to know". This section would cover many of the industry related test labs (BLI, BertL, IA, etc.) as well as certian publciations for reference to give the rep a place to go for competitive answers, news, etc..
to give them the product knowledge that they would need to stay abreast of.

Foolow it all by industry buzz woirds and a general glosary of terms and that is the start to a great book and a great guide.
Jus thought I would repost this for all of the "newbies" on the site

Is a saying I hear over and over from my boss (Jack Carrol), after I tell him about an amazing sale.

Gold ole fashioned hard work, meaning working at least eight hours every day, working on proposals before or after prime time cold calling time (whether on the phone or in person), coupled with the expression... THAT THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT, has made my sales career in copiers highly successful.

I sell down the street, no major accounts, and no key account list, just a territory that borders the Atlantic Ocean up to the Raritan River and down to the Trout laden Manasquan River in New Jersey (USA).

I sell Ricoh products (the finest products in the world), the MFP's, fax, duplicators, wide format, software and whatever else I can learn that will help a customer reduce costs. Many times I have been able to place a new piece of equipment that will help client increase productivity while not increasing their existing payments. All you have to do is ask, most potential clients will allow you to do a cost analysis for them.

Here’s how I do it!

When speaking about replacing multiple pieces of equipment, let’s say a fax, an HP laser printer, and an ink jet printer. At some point in time the customer bought these units for cash or check. Find out or estimate how much they paid for these items, and then amortize the amount paid for those items over the life cycle. When speaking to the customer in the initial consulting appointment, have the customer agree to your method of amortizing those systems. My talk track has been this, when doing a cost analysis I look at all of your printing equipment, the fax, the copier, color ink jet printing and laser printing. I see that you have an Epson color printer, an HP laser and an Oki fax, are these units all paid for? How often do you require service on these pieces? How often do you replace these systems? Once I have these numbers, I explain to the customer that the monies paid for these systems should be accounted for in their imaging or printing budget. I also state that this equipment will not last forever and will have to be replaced. I then state that I will do a straight line amortization of these units. When uncovering a companies costs these “hidden costs” will help justify that new Aficio 2238 will of the accessories. These “hidden costs” for these systems based on 3 years for the laser and fax and two years for the inkjet can account for almost $80 per month (based on $1,000 for the fax, $1,000 for the laser and $300 for the ink jet). Then add in 2 service calls for the fax and the laser over the term and you have almost $90 a month. That $90 can represent t a $5,000 savings to the customer and or may be the difference when trying to cost justify a $20,000 system. Does all of this make sense, you bet it does.

24 Years In The Industry

In my 24 years in this industry I've learned that you have to be able to learn and learn quickly, you must be able to think on your feet and most crucial.... listen to what the customer wants. Too often we (salespeople) are enamored with how much money we can make on a single sale and there are some who will refuse to sell if they don't make the money they think they are entitled too.

There are some who think if they can't make $1,500 in their pocket on a sale, they will not follow up and move on. Thus hoping to find greener pastures or a customer that is not well educated on what they are spending or buying.

Another True Story:

I once sold a copier to a company at a loss. I had to pay my company $150 to make the deal. Crazy you may say, however this company has now purchased over 15 systems in the last two years and has never balked at price. I give them what they are entitled too, a fair price under MSRP and great service. I manage the lease, and the cpc's, and guess what? The corporate headquarters is located 2,000 miles away.

Leasing

When a lease comes back declined for the fourth time, I do not give up. I keep on pushing and digging for new info, and will offer alternative ideas to the customer and the leasing company. In my twenty fours years I have lost two deals to non-approvals, and one of the two was approved by Advanta Leasing from another dealer. After hearing that, I vowed to not let it happen again.

Sales are what you make of it:

Sales to me is about how you dress, how you groom, how you listen, how your work (prospect) and how YOU WANT TO BE TREATED AS A CUSTOMER and finally getting the order!

Treat the potential clients and existing clients like you would want to be treated. If you don't have an answer, then say so, and tell the customer you will get an answer for them, and then commit to getting back to them in a timely manner.

Listen to what they want; even if it means you only make a few dollars, those customers will turn out to be loyal for years and years to come. Do not try to over sell them, as a matter of fact if they need to be downgraded, and then just do it. Odds are you'll be recommended to their friends and business partners.

Work as hard for a dollar as you would for $1,000 dollars. Who knows, that little 1515MF sale could land you a $40,000 order from a friend in a month or two.

You are judged by your first appearance! Know when to dress up and when to dress down. When cold calling print shops, engineers, architects or hot days, I will dress down. Slacks, pressed shirt, polished shoes and a few pieces of breath mints can go a long way, especially after a cup of GIANT coffee.

When meeting with CEO's CFO's or higher administration, its time for the suit and tie. You need to make the call on when you need to dress up or dress down. Practice your grammar; you are always judged your vocabulary and your actions!

Be creative, create solutions, and ask questions, in some cases present a whole new idea to the customer. A few years ago, when Ricoh had just entered the printer market and we had a second generation of digital copiers. I had a customer who was in need of a digital copier. They wanted a system that would print and copy @ 85 ppm!

We (Ricoh) did not have a digital 85ppm at the time. I could sense the customer being uneasy with my 60 ppm system. I took a chance and asked the customer how many documents they copied off the glass. My customer was not sure and called in his secretary; she said that they copied about 30 documents a day. These documents represented a large part of their volume and they needed to replace an analog copier that was 85 ppm. I then asked where the originals came from. The secretary stated that we print the document and then make the appropriate copies; they then need to be sorted, and stapled.

After hearing this, I decided to shift gears and offered the customer a solution that included a 22 ppm copier (for doc off the glass) and two Aficio 4500 laser printers with staplers and LCC's. I pointed out the benefit of three systems compared to one. The combined print speed of the two printers for a total of 90 ppm and the lower toner cost.

Well, what was the end result? The customer loved the idea, and did not follow up on the other sales proposals for the higher end digital copier. By the time the customer decided to make a purchase they went with our more cost effective solution. BE CREATIVE and TAKE A CHANCE; make yourself stand out among the crowd.

So while others have had down sales cycles, down quarters and losing sales, mine have increased. My profit, my sales dollars and number of units.

It's all about......THE HARDER I WORK, THE LUCKIER I GET! And I believe luck is for rabbits!

Art
I agree with all the tips, I believe in never sit back and wait for deals to fall into your lap!! I feel that without excellent product knowledge you are wasting your time, speaking to the correct person and asking him/her the questions that will determine their specific needs. A lot of reps "drop boxes", those days are long gone, solution selling is the key to success. I agree with one statement, sell the first device at almost cost, build a relationship and give GREAT service, believe me, more devices will follow AT THE PRICE YOU WANT TO SELL IT AT because the customer knows he is getting value for money. This industry is about relationship selling, although it is a very competative market. And of course, you must have a passion for selling, you must believe in your product before you sell it, which customer will buy from you if you are not excited about your own product? Sell yourself. I read a survey once that said 60% of customers make the decision to buy or not to buy from you within 5 minutes after meeting you. To sell devices based on price is a waste of time, the customer must feel as if he is your only customer, and he will buy from you.

Hope it helps the young ones entering the market.

I read this thread with great interest but am doing pretty much everything already listed.  My problem is in finding a customer who NEEDS a new solution.  Our Savin line (Ricoh) do not wear out!  Our dealer supports our machines for as long as we can get parts so I have equipment which has been in the field for 8-10 years and can't get them to upgrade.  Why should they?  If it ain't broke!  Then there is no loyalty anymore and when some decide to buy new they go the cheapo route and get a Kyocera.  Then they are not buying again for 3 years minimum.  I can win a bid if I can find someone who is actually interested in buying.  How do you find those folks?  PS. I network constantly, belong to 3 or 4 business groups and send out monthly newsletters.  I am at the end of my rope!  BTW, we are only making $500-$800 over wholesale so I'm not making any money either.  I've been doing this for about 3 years and really getting discouraged. 

kathie:

 

I hope that many other members will hop in on this thread!  I face the same issues as you, since I sell the Ricoh line.  I too have many systems in the field that are 8 plus years, however, I do have a base of systems that are leased.  That lease base allows me to go in and talk to them about their end of lease options.  Of course I don;t want them to buy the equipment, but I will dig deep into their needs to see if I can find pain, If I can find the pain, of course I'll have a shot at upgrading them.  Many of my existing accounts will upgrade at the end of the term due to the fact that we can save them money on the maintenance and supplies after a three - 5 year lease.

 

I'd like to ask these questions:

 

1) Do you have a monthly revenue or GP quota, if so what is it?

2) How much revenue is in your pipeline for March, of that revenue, what's the percentage that you think that they would order this month?

 

I will have more questions after getting these answers.  Please provide so we all can help!!

 

Art

 

 

I have a base salary, if that's what you are asking.  I don't make any commissions until I have reached that base which is half of the profit that the company makes on a machine.  Sooo at $800, MAYBE $1,000 per piece (but usually a lot less) I would have to sell 4-5 a month and that never happens.  Over the last 24-30 months I average about 2 sales a month.  Therefore no commissions.  I also do all the web maintenance and marketing for the company.  Most of the large old time clients go through my boss for upgrades because they have been working together for over 15 years.  (She is part owner) 90% of my sales are new business. 

You mention that you do a lot of networking..." I network constantly, belong to 3 or 4 business groups and send out monthly newsletters." I find it interesting that you mention these rather than the number of cold calls, phone calls, etc. Business groups and newsletters are supplemental but you can't rely on business to come to you from these sources.Business Groups are great for getting high-level contact names but you still have to make the calls.

 

You also said, "I also do all the web maintenance and marketing for the company." Are there other reps or are you the only one besides the owner? If you are the only one, then the work you do that's marketing largely benefits you. If you are not the only one, my attitude about this arrangement totally changes. Time you spend on website management is taking you away from making money. If they believe that your salary is your compensation for the website mgmt,, then why do you also have to cover it in sales before earning a commission?

 

I would also be curious to know if the owner's acct list is a finite list or does she handle anyone who calls in or walks in the door.

 

Ultimately, if you aren't making enough sales, you aren't covering enough ground. Good records are also imperative. If all you are trying to accomplish is the location of someone in the market, you'll end every day discouraged. Find out what they have, when they got it, whether they own it, and how satisfied they are with it. Then, based on the answers, determine a call back or follow-up schedule and stick to it. After three years in the business, you should have dozens of accounts every month that you determined months ago, might be prime for a return visit this month.

I am the only person in sales, we have a very small dealership with about 12 people, mostly techs. The owner will answer the phone or walk-ins, if I'm not here. I am out seeing current customers and I call on everyone in the same building/area while I'm out.  The owner doesn't 'own' an account list, they just always call her when they want something because they have spoken to her for many years.  I have called on many of them and have upsold some but I can't be in the office all the time or out of the office all the time. 

I called on one account three times in two weeks...they were having problems and needed help, then I was out one afternoon and the gal came in and Yvonne sold her a new machine.  I'm still a little perturbed about that.

I speak to 8-10 current and potential businesses every single day.  No one wants to buy till they need to and their equipment is dead.  More often than not they go to Costco. 

 

I also forgot to mention that I was provided with no training whatsoever. It took me over a year to figure what I was doing!  I was directed to the copiers in the show room and told to play with them.  I should have left then but I thought I would catch on after awhile.  It is a complicated business though, and it takes over a year to move some people off the dime.  Then there are the ones that walk in and take delivery tomorrow.  What a crap shoot!

 

So let me get this straight...You establish a presence with an account, they happen to come to your office while your out and the owner decides to keep the profit. In essence, she's saying she would rather keep the profit, than keep you happy, Particularly disturbing considering the fact that it sounds like she wasn't going to have to pay you for it unless you had multiple other sales anyway.

 

That's enough for me to check into openings at the competition. Cold calling is tough enough without the constant fear of losing out because of not being at the office.

That's exactly what happened.  BTW, I have definitely been looking for another job but I would never stay in this line of business.  Kind of sad, really, cause it takes so long to get up to speed and now all that I have learned will be squandered. 

Oh, I should also mention that this dealership has been in town for over 25 years and has a very well established base.  However, those original clients are dying, retiring or selling out.  No one that I speak to has ever heard of our business.  In fact, they confuse us with another one with a very similar name.  As my background is in advertising sales and marketing I took it upon myself to bring their website up to speed, to get our name out into the marketplace and establish a presence on social media and business platforms.  I am currently training the office staff to transfer calls to me that begin with the words, "Do you guys fix HP's"  They used to say no and hang up!  The owners won't advertise anywhere except the Yellow Pages,  ARGH!!  I have to go out and beat the bushes for new business which takes a very long time. Sorry to be ragging, but it's nice to vent, I feel better already! 

Personally, I think you went to work for the wrong person/company.  We have new reps up and running on their own within six months, yes there is much to learn, however we continue the education process with them.  They are still learning, and part of the business of selling is to make those mistakes do you do learn from them.

 

You never gave me an answer about how much (potential sales) is in your current pipeline.

 

 

Don't throw the baby out with the water! Imagine a dealer with a protected territory, established customer base, and a payplan that rewarded hard work.

 

This business is (for the most part) relatively sheltered from recession, gives flexibility throughout the day for family interruptions and activities, a secure low end income with high upside potential, and job security because a productive sales rep will always be the last to be let go in difficult times.

That being said, it is also a resume' enhancer for the next level. It could be your resume' is already there but a successful stint in office equipment sales will be coveted by anyone you go to interview with regardless of the industry or position.

Whether you stay, move or leave, I wish you the best of luck.

Originally Posted by kathie:

Oh, I should also mention that this dealership has been in town for over 25 years and has a very well established base.  However, those original clients are dying, retiring or selling out.  No one that I speak to has ever heard of our business.  In fact, they confuse us with another one with a very similar name.  As my background is in advertising sales and marketing I took it upon myself to bring their website up to speed, to get our name out into the marketplace and establish a presence on social media and business platforms.  I am currently training the office staff to transfer calls to me that begin with the words, "Do you guys fix HP's"  They used to say no and hang up!  The owners won't advertise anywhere except the Yellow Pages,  ARGH!!  I have to go out and beat the bushes for new business which takes a very long time. Sorry to be ragging, but it's nice to vent, I feel better already! 

I'm glad you feel better!!

Wow, that's a broad range!  I sell a lot of pre-owned equipment into my little SMB accounts that I find...will be their first foray into professional equipment.  They start around 3K and my biggest deal is a church that wants two b/w light production models for around 35K. My average is probably 8-15K 

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