Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who's Afraid of HP Edgeline CM8000 Series?

Well here goes, these are statements that were reported to me from members of the Print4Pay Hotel.

No Offset Stacking: I can't believe they made this big of a machine with offset!
2. No 3 Hole Punch: Again WOW!
3. Limited Card Stock: Only through the by-pass (I think this unit is rated for max 58lb only)
4. 11x17: The trays are very slow on 11x17 and the by-pass seems faster!
5. Misfeeds: While it doesn't misfeed much at all, if a user leaves a misfeed in over the weekend it will dry out the print heads (ouch!)
6. Weight (725lbs): Can not use a stairclimber because there are no stress points!
7. Black cpc: It's not the ink price that will get you but the cost of the maintenance kits!
8. Availability for the next six months: slim enough that we are looking to pick up another line!
9. CPP for color: Business .05 and Professional .06 cents per page!
10. Strangely enough, the letter paper only runs thru the machine in landscape orientation from the LCT (can't even load portrait/speed).
11. Standard 1,500 sheet paper supply only!
12. VERY slow FCOT (First Copy Out Time) 12 seconds.
13. Ink cartridges load from the bottom of the device (Oh my Back!)
14. To protect the print heads from electrostatic discharge, be sure to touch the
horizontal metal bar to ground yourself before clearing jams that are near the print heads. The print heads are above the print-drum area.
15. HP recommends that you do not use this device for printing on sequential paper, such as pre-numbered checks or invoices.

So, where does this lead us? First thoughts is that all of these issues will be corrected in a next generation model, whenever that comes about. Also their foray into the MFP marketplace with this system will leave a lot to be desired. The retail cost per page is impressive, however the system lacks the meat and potato features that High Volume MFP users are used to such as: Heavy Stock 110lb - 160lb, duplex of thick stock, Bookletmaker, Paper Punch Device, envelopes, transparencies and offset stacking!

Based on an average monthly volume of 50,000 pages the system will need print head replacement at 38 months (What is the cost for this?), plus I'll bet the ranch that the best print and copy quality is on "inkjet paper".

So when we get right down to it there are many deficiencies when compared to the standard laser MFP made by Ricoh, Xerox, Canon and Konica Minolta. Take a test drive you can download the manuals from HP, you can download the printer driver also.

One other note I found and I interpreted like this, when you are printing or copying pages with mized coverage, the system will slow down for high coverage areas, if this is the case, I believe this system is not much more than hype and will be easy to beat.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ricoh Americas Corporation "Unfair to Dealers"?

I'm not one to whine and cry about missed sales, competition and saturated distribution. However, when I run across a quote from Ricoh Business Solutions that is simply outrageous it really gets my hair up.

The potential customer is in New Jersey (massive RBS stomping grounds), we always run into them and some times we win and most times we lose. Due to quotes like the one I'm going to tell you about!

This was not a competitive situation, the customer only had one quote on the table. I found out about the potential purchase through my Brother In Law who does business with this client for other services. When I arrived, the client handed the entire folder, in it were all of the previous bills for service and a copy of the current lease. There was also a quote from RBS for a C3500 with a cabinet. The cost per month for 60 months is $354.76.

Taking a deeper look at this. 354.75 brings back $18,380.08 based on a 60 month rate of .0193. We must then deduct the buy out of $4,754.10 and the cost to return, lets give the cost to return $300, so we have a total of $5054.10. Deducting this from the $18,380.08 leaves a sale for $13,325.90 (THIS i CAN LIVE WITH).

However the quote also includes 552,000 black prints with toner and all service. Let's give the cpp cost .01 (and that is on the lower end for this unit). We then have to deduct another $5,520 from the $13,325.90, this will then leave a sale price of $7,805.90. This is $543 over DMAP level one cost and also includes, delivery, training, cabinet and installation!

Now, I do not mind seeing this in a competitive quote, however with this deal this is the first quote the customer received! RBS was not the incumbent, and seems to be trying to buy business and hope that the customer will may color prints and or copies.

This is not the first quote nor the last that I will see like this, however does MSRP mean anything anymore, especially to RBS? What is the benefit of selling systems at DMAP Level One cost. Who wins (the customer & Ricoh Americas Corporation), who loses RBS? If they are buying at DMAP level 6, that leaves a 10% MU or a profit of $658, or are they buying less than DMAP Level 6. More and more it seems like dealers are subsidizing Direct Sales Operations.

We were told at Vision 2007 that there will be level playing fields for all, how the heck is this a level playing field, when the system is sold under our cost? And where the heck did salesmanship go, and the ability to provide a fair price along with great support.

For those that are interested I have a "Dealer Principal" only Forum now on the RFG P4P Hotel. I suggest you all band together and talk about strategies to help combat the direct channels in your market place.

If Copiers Could Talk?

Some of the stuff I have seen and heard over the years leads me to having these audio phrases loaded in copiers.

Here's a few that I would like to have.

1. Could you please get your butt off of me!

2. Everyone step away, whadda think I am, the water cooler!

3. Go ahead, kick me again and I'll send a virus to everyone in your LDAP directory!

4. Hello Cutie!

5. Hey You El Cheapo, how about give me the real stuff instead of this crappy generic toner!

6. I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so!

7. I really, really hope when you came outta there you washed your hand before you touch me!

8. Of course I'm jammed! You may want to think about reading the manual ONE TIME!!

9. I'm not feeling that well today and I will be taking the day off!

10. Psst! You the technician, can you convince the owners to let me retire!

Ah yes, the Multi-Functional Copiers seems to be the water cooler of the future.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I'm Listening, Are You?

How well do you listen to your customer?

Really, are listening and have an understanding of what they want and how they want you to get them there?  Over the years of selling "down the street", I've learned to let the client do most of the talking and I'll do most of the listening.

Of course I'll ask a few key questions like "why are you considering a new solution", or "how much is that costing you", and even "do you have any pains in your day to day business that involve your printing or copying hardware". It took many years to understanding that listening is the key to consultative selling and the key to success in being a top producer.

Most customers have a round about way of telling you what they want from you and your company. Like telling a story about a previous experience and or a bad rep that they had to deal with (listen to this carefully, they are telling you what they want from you when they tell you about their past experiences). I hear many complaints from clients about the pushy reps, the ones who only want to sell what they thing they should have and not what the customer really needs. Heck, we had one guy at the office and 90% of his sales has been a 35ppm box, how is that? Customers will appreciate that you listened and comprehended their needs, in return they will shower you with references down the road.

Today, I was at a clients account and would have liked to pitched a 25ppm color system to them, this customer has an 18ppm digital system that scans, prints, copies and faxes, plus they also a have a color laser printer that prints up to 11x17. They printed more than 100,000 pages on the printer and only copied, faxed or printed 36,000 pages on their 18ppm digital system, plus they get service as they need it (break & fix) for both units.

I would have loved to sell them a 25 page per minute color device to replace both of the units, however the customer stated that business was slow and that they may look to buy the 18ppm from the leasing company. I listened..... and then asked to schedule another appointment to discuss their needs for the next three years.

What to Do?

From listening to the customer and finding out that they were at least in favor of getting a price from the leasing company for the 18ppm system, I knew that in order for them to lease or buy that I would need to present and cost analysis for them.  That's right put the time and effort into figuring out their existing costs for both devices.  Then cross your fingers and hope that you'll be able to save them "x" amount of dollars per year with a new system. If the cost analysis was not presented, then the customer would have bought the 18ppm from the leasing company and continued to do business the same way.

The key to listening in this case was that their current business is slow (lower revenues, profit, etc).  Most companies when presented with a cost analysis that presents the existing costs and proposed cost will move forward with the new proposal as long as they have a savings!  Another tip to keep in mind is that is the monthly savings is low 20-30 per month, then show the yearly and term of lease savings.  When the monthly savings is high per month, show the month and not the yearly or term of lease savings.

Listening is some you develop over time, and in some cases prospects will close themselves and hand you the order if you let them talk enough.

-= Good Selling=-

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Ricoh Agenda "What Happened"?

"A Driving Force" was the theme for Ricohs National Sales Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

First things take on the meeting...curious, Ricoh was making every attempt to assure their dealers that they are their main concern and that there will be no more "new points" of distribution. They spoke about the consolidation of Lanier Direct to Ricoh Direct and also the merger of Lanier and Gestetner Dealers to for a new National Network that will distribute Lanier Branded Systems and Solutions.

I had the opportunity to speak to many dealer principals and sales people, some are not affected with the direct operations and most are, still the biggest complaint is how can Direct Branches sell for less than what Dealers are buying for!

Sam Ichioka called for a "Balance among all our Channels and Brands", I felt that he was referring to a level field of pricing for all. Tom Salierno, then explained about the dropping of the Gestetner brand name in lieu of Lanier and stated that Lanier had more than double the brand name of Lanier (Gee, wonder if I can buy the brand name of Gestetner and import MFP's from China and start my own business). At this point Tom then dropped the bombshell than Effective May 31st, 2007 that Global is no longer an Authorized Dealer for Ricoh and they are to be considered a competitor! Also stressed from Tom was equitable support for all brands and channels.

However, some of the scuttlebutt on the floor was that dealers that are affected by direct branches may band together to find out why dealers are losing business to direct branches. I agree, as a dealer rep, I see systems being sold for less than our max dealer cost, how is that and why is that? Maybe it's time Ricoh made the branches accountable for profit, seems to be dealers are subsidizing the Direct Branches. I could be wrong, however something is not right with the ship.

Moving on, I was very impressed with some of the new products to be delivered some time in the near future. A new C2000SPF, 20 ppm in color and monochrome, this will allow us to have a lower cost color mfp under the C2500spf (killer box). The new line of wide formats, a new 4ppm, new 6ppm and a printer only version (it's about time), all of the units will be equipped with an embedded control that will lower cost and improved print and copy quality that will improve halftones. A new 55ppm & 70ppm color MFP is coming to a location near you in the near future! I must have dozed off, because I can't remember the when this will be introduced (stayed out late the night before and had a few too many sarsaparilla's!)

Steve Berger's group will be launching two new websites, one called the "Jagged Edge" in reference to HP's Edgeline technology. I'm sure we'll have all of the guts and glory of this unit in the near future. Another site is "X marks the spot", you got it direct info to cut Big X down a notch or two.

Moving on there were three seminars: Differtiating Your Business in a New Era: The MFP as a Document Portal, New Products and Strategies: Expand your business....Grow MIF, Revenue and Profit, plus a seminar with @ Remote that seeing is believing.

In reference to the @ Remote seminar, a few people that I spoke to are still very skeptical of allowing all of the information to go to Ricoh servers first and then to the Dealers, Jayson just wanted to know who owns the information if you are getting @ Remote for FREE! My thoughts and his were it is our information, however he thought the idea of Ricoh knowing IP addresses and volume information was not the ideal situation.

All in all if I were to rate the show from start to finish on a scale of one to ten, I would have to rate this as a 4 (Hey, did I miss breakfast Friday morning!, where was it?). I have been at five agendas in the last eight years, and thought that Dallas was ok, the event at Cowboys Stadium was a wash out with he weather however we did get to meet Drew Pearson (#88) and the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, food was ok, however the event was cut short by early severe thunderstorm that rolled through about 7:30PM and delayed the transportation to the stadium. Once we got there, we had about two hours and then back to the Hotel. I was also disappointed that there were no regional meetings where we could all get together and review the regional awards and meet some of the other dealers in the region. Golf, Botanical Gardens, JFK Tour and Skeet shooting was the order of the day for Thursday afternoon, I opted out and took a ride to Plano, Texas to look at the new Samsung 45ppm box (I'll have more on that in a few days). The food was terrific and the accommodations were first class at the Hyatt. I guess I was hoping for a few more in depth seminars on how to develop some new sales strategies.

The expo was filled with almost 20 different vendors and count em, three different leasing companies. I saw the new 1180 fax, the new 45ppm and 55ppm AIO dedicated laser printers along with MONSTER MAYHEM! Steve Berger's group rocks and they have pulse of the competition! The info and they way they present it to reps is the best! Plus, get this we're going to "podcasts" for most of the products and the Mayhems in the future. My son, has and IPOD, and I guess I either be grabbing his or buying my own. Can't wait for the "podcasts" this will be the ultimate sales tool.

Well it's late still have to upload pictures to the RFG site, not tonight however.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ricoh Vision 2007 "First Night"

What a town! The Hyatt Regency is my kinda place! Some interested items heard among dealers is that Global Dealers were univited from the show. I also had the chance to hook up with Drew (Mid South Digital), Jayson and Jason from A&B Business Systems. The National address is slated for 8:30AM and then followed by three break iout sessions and then the tech expo.

Again, Global has dominated most of the talks and what steps Ricoh is taking to counteract. Will report more tommorow.