Saturday, December 29, 2007

Selling Copiers " How to Maximize GP"

Thought about this the other day in car, made myself pull over and jotted down a few notes for everyone. I've complied a laundry list of points that I have adhered to in order to maximize Gross Profit.

Over the years I've also concentrated on moving boxes no matter what the cost. I will address this in a blog later this month.

"Maximize GP"

  1. Stay away from Clients who are just looking to replace a box. If you are aware there are multiple players quoting, be prepared to get a low GP and not get the deal. These Clients are buying on price, it will take an extra special effort to get the deal and also get a decent GP. Do you have the time or the fortitude to hang in there? Why not set your sites on sales that will pay the bills.

  2. Search for Clients who are NOT in the market! While cold calling in person, take a good look at how they do things. Ask the receptionist if they are scanning, LAN Faxing, printing to inkjets etc... Try to get an appointment to introduce yourself and when you're there don't ask about replacing a piece of hardware, however do ask if they are experiencing document problems, such as lost documents, making too many copies, high maintenance bills, excess breakdown of hardware, how their document workflow is conducted. Selling like this enables you to find their pain and may help you introduce a solution that can be bundled with a new piece of hardware.

  3. Sell the Extras! As you are writing the order or as you are drawing up the lease ask again about any accessories that may benefit the customer. Finsihing, Papertrays, 3-Hole Punching etc... the Client will be more apt to spend the extra money at this time to conclude the order.

  4. Lead With Solution Software! Look at what your manufacturer has to offer for embedded solutions along with third party solutions that your dealership has to offer. Lead with offerings for embedded print management, document management and LAN Fax solutions. Here you are setting yourself apart from the BOX seller (trust me, there are too many reps that still just sell boxes).

  5. Upgrade Your Account Base Early! Do not wait for them to call you or for the last 90 days of the lease. You've got to be in there at lease one year or more prior to the end of the lease.

  6. Become an Expert in Secondary Systems! Specialize in Wide Format, Digital Duplicators if your company offers these hardware solutions. There is is less competition and less reps who are competent with the solutions that come with these system. Take the time to learn your Vertical Markets for AEC, Print4Pay, Schools and Religion Accounts. Once you become an expert, you will stand out among the crowd.

In order to be successful you have to be the best at what you are doing. Put your self in opportunities to succeed and make a move to break away from the pack. Our job can be very rewarding, however being an order taker and just relying on Clients who are in the market will be the kiss of death.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

EIS Quatra Color Wide Format MFP Saves the Day!

I just finished my first install on the EIS Quatra "M" series from Paradigm Imaging. This is an awesome unit! The ease of set-up and install is exceptional along with the configuration of scan, print and copy drivers!

First, we had the unit dropped shipped to the customers location, this was a great savings since the shipment did not have to come to our office first and then ship to the customer. Second, we had the unit up and running inside of one hour! There were no issues with software, hardware or print drivers (whew)! Third, the software was easy to use and was very user friendly, we took about and hour to train the customer on all of the features they needed to use. Very cool software!

For those of you not aware of the EIS Quatra "M" series, Paradigm Imaging has combined a Graphtec 36" color scanner (24 bit) with Graphtec 24" color printer and their awesome Rocket controller and Image Flow software. Customers can scan scan wide format in color or monochrome, print in color or monochrome and copy in color or monochrome, all for under $9,000! We were also able to batch print, scan and copy.

Clients looking for a wide format color scanner (24bit) can expect to see prices upwards of $14,000 for a 36" wide system. The Quatra fills the void for the price conscious buyer that still needs high end productivity and solution work flow software. If you are player in the wide format arena, I highly suggest that you get on board with these systems!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Document Management Software & Vircosoft

Each month we will feature a "Guest Blogger" from third party solution companies that have a superior solution for our hardware along with being committed to the Dealer Community. This months "Guest Blogger" is Steve Breault from Vircosoft!

VircoSoft is a nationally recognized provider of total document management solutions with their roots stemming from the office equipment and systems integration industries. Today, businesses of all sizes require more from their technology suppliers than “boxes”. They demand sound advice and solutions that will save their business time and money. They want technology solutions that increase their bottom line. Imagine showing your customer a return on investment (ROI) within 60 to 90 days. Users agree that Pinnacle is an asset not just another liability. That is powerful.

VircoSoft’s world-class document management product, the Pinnacle Knowledge Management System™ is an extremely robust document management solution that comes standard with all the features you’ve been looking for. Pinnacle™ is actually two powerful applications in one. Pinnacle™ comes bundled with vFilerVircoSoft’s world-class automated filing system that will scan batches of documents all at once – error free. It will split batches of documents by barcode, create searchable PDF, OCR zones and full pages, recognizes multiple form types and is 100% hardware independent. That means it will work with whichever MFP or scanner you are currently selling or competing against. vFiler™ creates hands free scanning workflows by validating indexed information against your customers accounting system or database guaranteeing 100% accuracy.

Pinnacle™ is available through Vircosoft’s rapidly expanding national and international base of Authorized Reseller and Distribution Partners. Vircosoft products offer an affordable feature laden alternative to the often over-priced “main-stream” applications. Pinnacle™ is an enterprise level product designed and priced for virtually any size business.

Stefan Hoppe, president of DocuXtrategy say’s “VircoSoft’s solution software, sales & technical support training programs are incredible. Vircosoft is always there for us and our customers”.

Vircosoft recognizes that every business has its own specific paper management requirements. Pinnacle™ is easily customized to reflect each individual businesses unique filing, storing, managing and retrieval needs. Imagine a system that does what you want, not what a developer has built in.

Vircosoft has an amazing reseller training and support program and a field-tested solutions sales system that works. When is the last time you requested assistance and it took hours, sometimes days to get a response? The Vircosoft principle’s cut their teeth in the office equipment and information technology industries. They understand the challenges their resellers and distributors face every day.

VircoSoft’s highly trained distributor and reseller partners offer a complete range of professional services, including onsite implementation, data migration from current systems, technical support and training. As a trusted partner, great service is a requirement from every Pinnacle™ Reseller and Distributor.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Polling Copier Sales People #3 (Presidential Poll)

One of the neat features we have on the p4photel is that we often run many polls throughout the year. We've conducted polls about Color Cost per Page, Do You Think the Manufacturer that you Represent is Fair to Dealers, the Super Bowl and many others. The information provided comes from our members. The p4photel consists of 1,500 members from around the world, our largest group is from the United States.A recent poll of our membership were asked to answer this question:

These Polls Were from the Ricoh Family Group P4P:

Poll #1: Four years go by pretty quick. Lets see if we can pick who will win the Republican Presidential Primary!

(42%) Rudolph Giuliani

(4%) John McCain

(17%) Mitt Romney

(13%) Fred Thompson

(21%) Mike Huckabee

(4%) Ron Paul
Poll #2: Four years go by pretty quick. Lets see if we can pick who will win the Democratic Presidential Primary!

(54%) Barack Obama

(38%) Hillary Clinton

(0%) John Edwards

(8%) Dennis Kucinich

(0%) Joseph Biden

(0%) Christopher Dodd

(0%) Mike Gravel

(0%) Bill Richardson

Friday, December 14, 2007

Smart Copier Sales Person or Not So Smart with Lost Deals

How long have you been in the business, five years, ten, fifteen, 20 or more years? The cliches never stop do they, one that comes too mind is "what comes around goes around". For those of us who have been in the business a long time, well we've seen it all, new tactics get old and old tactics get new again.

Do you remember who you sold your first copier too? Hmmmmmmm, can't say I remember, how bout the first deal you lost? Do you remember the customer, sorry to say, I can't remember that customer either. How did you first schedule your appointments? I can remember getting a Doctors appointment book to write down the locations, appointment times, and phone numbers. As the days turned into months and the months turned to years I would find myself getting another appointment book for every year. After about four years I realized that could go back and review the accounts that I sold and contact them again for the potential upgrade, gee wasn't that smart of me to keep those books.
These days most of us keep our appointments, contacts and lists of things to do on our pc's and the appointment books have all but disappeared.

It's a fact that we lose more deals than we sell, you can't sell everyone right? Well, that may be an understatement, how many us of actually track the deals that we lose. Meaning, you didn't get the sale, you know who you lost to and you know the term of lease or purchase that the buyer committed to. A little of bit of "extra" tracking can go along way if you commit to scheduling call backs for the accounts that you lost. Heck, if you know they signed a 36 month lease why let them go and never contact them again. You already have the name of mr. or mrs. right, the make and model number of the system, plus the volume.

Put your lost deals back in your contact list and schedule a follow up call for 18 months, then 24 months, and then 30 months on a 36 month lease. You can spread the time a little further for the 60 month leases, try getting back in touch with them at 30 months and then every six months thereafter. Customers lost, can be a customer gained down the road. Another thought would be to keep them on a mailing list, where you will send them something every six months. If you've been in the business a long time, you'll agree that the months and years really do fly by.

If anyone has any additional comments, we'd love to hear them.

-=Good Selling=-

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Copier Sales Selling Tips #2

About 6 weeks ago I attended a Gittomer Sales Event. He was very entertaining, I would highly recommend for everyone to see him if he comes to your area.

Gittomer, made many notes of keeping sales FUN! Keeping Sales Interesting! He suggested delivering brochures and your business card in a waste paper basket!!!! Then using this line, Hello my name is so and so , I just wanted to pass along some information for the person who may have interest in this product and that I had taken the liberty of putting it in the trash can for you in advance (of course the trash can had my name, telephone, and logo on the can). I have handed out six so far and have gotten two return calls for appointment to talk about the wide format products!!

Did the gimmick do it! I'll have to ask, however it is something different and it is quite fun to reverse the cold calling.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Print Much?

You hear it over and over; printed pages on laser printers can have twice the volume of conventional copier and MFP's. Use your eyes when walking into accounts and the number of printers can be astounding, especially since manufacturers have the average monochrome laser printer price about $300.

Your mission is to capture these prints either with your MFP's or your laser printers. Lets face it, it's much easier for clients to authorize buying a new laser printer for $300 than buying or leasing a new MFP. What the clients are not aware of is the cost per page on these low end devices. Some of these low end laser printers can a black per page cost of almost .07 cents per page, while most of the low end color laser printers could be as much as .22 per page. Volume is the critical point for recommended a new print solution with and improved work flow.

Mission Possible

Secure an appointment with a "C" level exec, if there is no "C" level exec, the owner of the company will suffice. Your job is to be a consultant or a "Docusultant" (someone who can advise on page costs of hardware and document work flow). You can offer this service for free or you can charge for your services, $150 per hour is not uncommon in the industry. Here's what comes along with being a "Docusultant", you will have to stop selling! Use a consultative approach, explain that you are an expert in the industry and you believe that there may be a better way of doing things, that may increase productivity and lower costs.
Productivity is key when speaking with "C" Level executives.

Then, prior to your meeting, take the time to research the costs that are associated with the costs of laser printers. Most copier manufacturers now have software that will allow you to find the cost per page of most laser printers. Your goal on the first appointment is to secure permission to get meter reads from all of the print devices and permission to interview each user. Interviewing the users in critical, they know the work flow and you don't, just getting meter reads can be a disaster if you do not understand the work flow of the printed pages. Some users will state they have not idea how much they print, and if you can't generate a "meter" or configuration page from the printer you will have to rely on their information. Take the time to answer these few questions:

1. Do you only fill the paper tray when it empties? If yes, ask if they fill the paper tray to the top? If no, ask about how much paper they put in.

2. How many times to you put paper in the paper tray per week? It is much easier for them to remember weekly than monthly.

3. What type of documents do you print? Invoices, Letterhead, Research from Internet, Email, etc.

4. Do you ever print pages and then walk them to the copier to make copies?

5. When printing, do you print from different applications to make a final document? If so, ask them what happens to the final document, is it then copied, faxed or mailed.


For large companies with fleet printers there are devices available that will allow you to gather detailed printing device information, perform print audits, collect meter reads, check supply levels, and troubleshoot devices without installing any software. Once you have gathered all of the desired information, you will need to do the research.

Researching can be fun and exhausting work, make sure your numbers are accurate! Nothing will sour a proposal more that numbers that are not accurate or inflated. Present the client with information on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly page volumes along with the associated cost per day, per week, per month and per year.

Replacement Costs

There's another cost that usually goes unnoticed to the client and this is "Replacement Cost" . Replacement Cost is the cost to replace the laser printer when the device fails or when the derived needs to be replaced. Since most desktop printers are purchased rather leased, you will also have to find the cost that they paid for these printers or give them a guesstimate if they do not have the paper work. Once you have the cost you can do a straight line amortization over "x" amount of months. Under $400, I give the printer a 24 month life cycle or less, if something goes wrong with the printer the customer will most likely throw it out and buy another. Over $400 but less than $800, I would then use a 30-36 month life cycle. Over $800 and less than $1,500, I'll use 48 months and anything higher than $2,000 I would use a 60 month cycle. Take the cost of the printer and divide by the life cycle for the monthly replacement cost. I have never had a client that did not agree to this, because they all agree that the equipment will not
last forever.

Some locations will have larger and faster laser printers, when you are presented with these make sure you ask if they are under a maintenance agreement or not. Remember it's good to have all of the facts and all of the costs associated with every print device. Here too, include a separate line in your spreadsheet for the monthly cost on maintenance agreements. Keep it simple, and informative!

Provide them with the costs for each printer or the cost that is associated with each work group or department. Provide the customer with creative solutions or fixes to their document work flow that can use a mixture of MFP's and Laser Printers that will best meet their needs. Be creative, think of new ways to do things, present options to the customer to reduce printed pages, reduce the costs with printed pages, increase productivity and or improve their work flow.

Remember your mission; it is to capture pages on your devices! Present the customer with an all inclusive proposal that will include hardware, maintenance and supplies.

Most clients have no clue as to what they are spending for printers, supplies, paper and maintenance; your analysis will be a breath of fresh air. If you have done your job well, they will agree with your findings, and then presenting them with cost savings alternatives is usually a slam dunk. One other note, do not leave a copy of the findings with them unless they have signed a confidentiality agreement, these type of agreements agree that the information that you presented is you and your companies intellect property and can't be shared with anyone else.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Brownys (P4P's Top Ten Picks) for 2007

I've wanted to do a Top Ten Picks for quite awhile and I guess the end of the year is a good time to look back and reflect on the products of 2007.

When the P4PHotel was in its infancy back in 2004, and we had 200 or so members, one member stood out among the others. His name is Greg Brown, Greg and I became mentors to each other and we often called each other about the business and just to keep in touch. In March of 2004, Greg and I were finally going to met at the AIIM/OnDemand Show in NYC.

Unfortunately and sadly Greg Brown was killed in a car accident on Valentines Day of 2004. Greg loved selling Ricoh Products, along with Water Skiing, and powered down by a dose of Xbox. In less than one year Greg had amassed 285 posts on the P4P and was truly one of the first "Docusultants". So, in his memory and hence forth, when we do our top ten each year we'll call them the Brownys! What makes a Browny? An innovative feature on a system, a system that filled a void for end users or just the style or awesome power of the unit.

Winners of the 2007 Browny Award from the P4PHotel!

  1. Samsung 6345N (45 ppm MFP with no 11x17)

  2. EIS Quatra Series (Wide Format Color MFP)

  3. KonicaMinolta BizHub C550 (Coolest feature with Biometric scanning)

  4. Ricoh DX 4640PD (Duplexing Duplicator, innovative for duplicators)

  5. Xerox Nuvera 288 (288 ppm, awesome, plus it looks cool)

  6. Formax FD170 Bookletmaker (Offline Bookletmaking becomes affordable)

  7. Canon imagePRESS C7000VP Digital Press (70ppm Color @ 1200x1200 dpi)

  8. Panasonic C3 Series MFP's (The colors of the machines are awesome)

  9. Ricoh MP C2000SPF (20ppm Color MFP, affordable color to the office)

  10. Ram Logic (Ram Speed, Scotti give me more speed, innovative chip to make MFPs run faster)

There you have it, my picks for the 2007 Browny Awards. Greg, we didn't forget about you buddy!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Copier Sales Selling Tips

Over the years I've relied on many tips that I have either read, heard of or figured out for my self. One of my resources is the p4photel, over the years I make sure I post all of my tips. When I'm in a slump (we all have them) or I have some free time, I can go to the P4P and read them again. Listed below are some of my personal favorites, hope they work as well for you as they worked for me!

#1: When challenging another digital competitor, I will go the that manufacturers web site and download the print driver and other relevant software. From there I can evaluate the features of the driver and the click threws. I have found clicks threws to be very important to the end users, they want the least amount of clicks as possible. Once I understand my competitors print driver, I can the attack the weaknesses.

#2: Tired of playing voice mail tag? Tired of the prospect not returned your calls? To some this means that the prospect is not interested! Too others (the sharks) this means that the prospect is too busy and has not found the time to return your call. Use this to your advantage!! The next time you get the dreaded voice mail, leave them this message. Hi this is Art Post with XYD company, I tried to reach you on several occasions, I going to be in your area next week. What I'd like to do is to stop by at 1PM to meet with you, if this is not convenient for you, please call me at (phone number). Other wise I'll see you then. Most times you will not get a call back and if you do get a call back, and if you do get a call back it's a double win. I have even used this to place machines on demonstrations!

#3: Let me share something I do with cost solution proposals for everyone. Lets say I'm upgrading existing fax and printers in the office with an MFP or higher end fax or printer. Once I find out that the existing faxes or printers are paid for (there are no outstanding leases). I will then attack the premise of replacement cost and have the customer agree that there is a certain monthly replacement cost that is associated with these units. I will state that they will not last forever and will have to be replaced! I find out how many years they have had the equipment, plug in the estimated purchase price and divide by term of length owned (or compute a monthly lease). I then tell the customer even though these systems are bought and paid for, you have to have a replacement cost budget in place for when replacement is necessary. Once he has agreed to the replacement cost, I include a line item in the proposal outlining his existing costs along with cpc for those "paid" devices. How does this help? His monthly cost is higher that having just the cost to supply and maintain the equipment, therefor cost justification is easier and you may be able to cost justify a the system easier!

Good Selling!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Polling Copier Sales People #2

One of the neat features we have on the p4photel is that we often run many polls throughout the year. We've conducted polls about Color Cost per Page, Do You Think the Manufacturer that you Represent is Fair to Dealers, the Super Bowl and many others. The information provided comes from our members. The p4photel consists of 1,500 members from around the world, our largest group is from the United States.A recent poll of our membership were asked to answer this question:

These Polls Were from the Ricoh Family Group P4P:

Poll #1: Since there has been a change in the COO and the CFO and now that Nori is CEO, how do you think things will pan out in the future for Ricoh Dealers?

(17%) For the Better?
(17%) For the Worse?
(17%) Things Will Stay The Same?
(50%) They Have No Clue at All about Dealers

Poll #2: Should Ricoh Develop and Bring to Market a non 11x17 MFP, that will have a speed of 45ppm and will have the same cpc cost of thier MP4500 MFP's? This system would compete against the HP4345 and the Samsung 6345N, but would have the cpc of the MP4500 series.

(75%) Yes
(25%) No

Poll #3: How is your Dealership or Branch handling maintenance for scanning?

(16%) We have an additional MA that covers scans
(63%) We include unlimited scans with our MA
(16%) We're thinking about adding a Scanning MA
(5%) Geez, I never thought it would come to this!