Saturday, January 27, 2007

Knowing Your Product!

Recently, I had three appointments from new clients that were interested in purchasing or leasing new Multi-Functional Copy, Print, Scan & Fax Systems.

One of the first questions I ask is related to their monthly volume, if they do not know I will ask to print reports from each system to assess their volume. Once this is completed I can recommend a system that will meet or exceed their volume expectations.

One particular client wanted a color multi-functional and they wanted to migrate their color prints, black prints and copies to one system. After accessing the machine reports for their volume I found their volume to be about 17,000 pages per month of color and mono prints and copies.

They had a quote from a local manufacturers branch that propose a 35ppm system. I knew right from the start that this would be the wrong purchase for them. Th 35ppm system was rated for an average monthly volume of 10,000 pages per month. Here's where the problem starts.

I work for an independent dealer an the quote was from the manufacturers rep. Who is the customer to believe? Yes, I had to "prove" to them that the initial system that was quoted from the manufacturers rep, I had the manufacturers average monthly volumes and then the ridiculous maximum volume and then had to struggle with the customer on what this means to them. Keep in mind that I also had to tell them that a system from me would be $40,000 compared to $12,000. This sale is still pending, I ended up quoted the larger system and then a quote for the same system that they already had.

My beef is with the rep who gave them the quote, they were obviously in experienced and did not do their homework to meet the customers needs with a qualified system that will last the term of the lease and not be a boat anchor to the customer after two years!

A week later I ran up against Dealer for Canon that had recommended an iR2880i to the client and here too the clients volume was closer to 20,0000 pages month. Again, I had to jump through hoops to explain that the initial proposal would not meet their needs.

Too all of the reps who may read this, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!. Do you want to have this customer long term or are you out to make a quick buck and don't want to be bothered with the leg work. These types of situations make it bad for all of us!

Take the time and read the manufacturers specifications, and memorize the average volumes, because these are real. Maximum volumes means that once or twice or maybe three times the system could sustain this volume, however not on a monthly basis!

Learn how to get the meter reads from the printers, faxes and copiers in the office. You can then present a proposal that is real world. If you don't you will run into reps like me who will get the sale and your lack of knowledge will prove to be your downfall.

Return a Phone Call One Time!

One thing that gets me going is the courtesy of a return phone!

Is it too much to ask that I get a return phone call when leaving a message! Over the last few years it seems that no one is returning calls anymore especially to sales people. Keep in mind that most of the time the client or potential customer called us first! We then call them back immediately, stopped what we were working on and returned their call and then met with the client or gave them they information that they were looking for. What's the big deal about making a return call?

If you are not intersted in our services just make the call and tell us, we are all grown ups here. If you do not have a decision yet, that's OK to, just let us know and we'll scheduled a call somewhere down the road. The process of not returning a phone creates extra work and more calls.

The last thing we want to do is be a pain in the butt, however if you're not returning a call, we have no idea what is going on. Maybe your voice mail is not working, maybe you're out on vacation or just not interested. WE ARE NOT MIND READERS! I'll be it's the same thing on the customers end, is that nothing upsets them more when they do not get a return call from a sales person. Common Professional courtesy goes along way in a business relationship and it all starts with the first line of communication "the phone call" .

by Art Post
6:19:00 AM

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Saturday, January 6, 2007

Ikon aligns with Kyocera

Ikon aligns with Kycoera for three different mfp solutions. Ricoh and Canon will feel the pinch along with many dealers that do not sell the Kyocera line. Kyocera's TCO is one of the lowest in the industry.

Ten years ago I sold Mita products and thought they were ok, nothing superior and always doubted thier reliabilty and longevity.

Heck, Kyocera Dealers have got to be beside themselves with this move. The dealers are the sole reason for the re-emergence of the Kyo line, they stuck with the product and kept placing boxes all these years and now Kyocera slaps them in the face. It's all about moving boxes isn't it?

Now, Ikon's job will get tougher. I think they deal with three different manufacturers now and will have to get reps, techs and CE's upto snuff on the machines, software and features. This will not be an easy task for Ikon unless they are thinking of dumping Ricoh or Canon (which I doubt).

I'll see how it shakes out with Ikon, what I do know is that selling against thier Kyo product will be pretty easy. One point I will hit on is service, where they have always been shaky, so how can they support another manufacturer with three new models in an expert fashion. I don't think they can.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Has Ricoh Under Estimated Color Scanning?

A few weeks ago Ricoh released the MP2510 and the MP3010 series, neither of these
units offer color scanning!

On November 13th, 2006, Canon launched the imageRUNNER 1023 series (posted press
release in the "New Products Show" forum on this site). The 1023 series will scan color
documents to folder or to email and will accommodate 11x17 scanning!
With so much emphasis on color output these days from color MFP's and color laser
printers I would tend to think that users would prefer to scan2folder and scan2email
exactly what they see (I know I would) EWTS.

The naysayers will say, oh!! scanning in color creates a larger file size, it will tie up
network traffic, and it will strain your systems resources for storage. These are the replies
that we will have to focus on when selling against the Canon or the other manufacturers
that have already released black MFP's that can scan in color! Or, we may have to draw a
line in the sand and say if you scan in color don't you need to copy or print in color? I
would rather not want to fight this battle.

With more and more customers looking to office equipment dealers for solutions rather
than boxes, it would logical for the time being to have color scanning with black copy

I realize that Ricoh is on the forefront of Business Color machines and we still hold the
cards when it comes to speeds and feeds of the B2C systems, however we continue to be
overloaded with too many models, too many configurations and too many features that
are never used by the customer!

Simplify the product line; give us six or nine different systems that will use the same
toner, the same drums, and the same fusers when it comes to consumables. Stop
introducing Black MFP's and make them all color and lower the price to match the price
of the competitors Black MFP's.

If I were selling the Canon product line one of my first questions would be to ask the
client if they needed to scan color originals, of course the next question would be for
printing and or copying of those color originals.

Ricoh has also neglected to bring color scanning to the wide format series, competitors
here are also offering or are going to offer color scanning with their wide format
modules. Ricoh has time tabled for June or July of 2007 for an upgrade to the 240W, but
no color scanning in either 4PPM or the 6PPM model.

In Europe, Ricoh has released the MP161N; this unit is similar to the 1515MF here in the
states. However the MP161N will scan in color and in black (of course), offers a 50-sheet
document feeder, 16-ppm output, and a max paper capacity of 850 sheets, along scanning
both sides of the document in "one go".

These are the types of products to bring to market in the US. Hopefully we will be able to
get this unit in the near future. As far as I can tell there is no replacement for the
1515MFP on the horizon (at least the next six months) and the only low end MP series to
be introduced will be the MP2000 and the MP2001 slated for January of 2007 and the
MP2500 slated for May of 2007!

When will the day come when all MFP's are color capable of scanning and printing?