Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Selling Copy Machines "Securing An Appointment"

Oh boy! This was once the easiest part of my job and nowadays it is the hardest!

Once upon a time we were able to cold call with no security systems, no locked doors, no gatekeepers and unlimited access to all, my how times have changed.

Old fashion cold calling still works if you have the stomach for it, however you have to work three times as hard to get access to buildings, keep in mind that if you do get in, your only roll is to get the name of the person who is in charge of the office equipment.

Usually, I will approach potential clients with three different contacts. I will use the telephone or a cold call to find out the right contact, from there I will send a personalized letter and then follow up with a phone call to the person in charge.

You've got to be able to peak their interest in the first 10 seconds of the call, lately I have been asking if they are currently using "document capture" software. Most will say no and I have peaked their interest, be prepared to be knowledgeable and to elaborate on technology. Secondly, I will ask if they have connected MFP's usually the answer is yes. I then ask for a 15 minute appointment to show the Document Capture software.

I'm selling hardware however, I 'm getting in the door with software, from there I can learn all about their hardware and workflow. Starting with a software solution will make you stand out from the crowd!

By the way we have an inexpensive Document Capture Software called Docuary, please call me or email me if you would like further information.

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Buying a Used Copy Machine on the Internet? "Buyer Beware"

Sneakers, Software, Computers, and Clothes all good things to buy via the Internet. Pre-Owned and used copiers....not a good thing to buy over the Internet.

In my 28 years in the business, copy machines are service intensive machines, whether they are analog or digital, they need a qualified service engineer in order to service them correctly and keep them running. Without getting very technical and I could, but its late on Sunday and I'll need some down time later. I'll list a few reason why you should not buy used, pre-owned or off lease copy machines over the Internet.

1. There is no "car fax" for copy machines, you have no idea who serviced the unit, how qualified the service engineers were, if the machine was in a flood, dropped, re boxed or if the factory updates were ever performed. This alone should be enough to scare you away.

2. How will it be shipped? Copy Machines are very susceptible to bent frames, broken covers, trays and displays when not shipped properly. Do you want to go through the hassle of an insurance claim if the copier arrives damaged?

3. Who will service this beauty that has very low volume and grandma only used it to make a few copies a week. Are there reliable service engineers in your area that are Authorized to make repairs? You could have everything go right and the copy machine is perfect, however your local service company does not know how to fix it, or they will take three days be on site or maybe the closed Authorized Dealer is 150 miles or more away!

4. Who will assist with all of advanced functionality of the unit? Are you prepared to spend hours on the Internet searching for manuals, software and drivers?

5. When the machine arrives are you prepared to pay for someone to install the unit or train your staff how to use the system?
6. Meters on copy machines, if they can be turned back on cars, they can also be turned back on copy machines. Are you willing to take that risk and get a machine that has a million pages on it, when you thought the meter was 100,000 pages?

Buying anything used or pre-owned is a risk on the Internet, especially copiers. If you want used or pre-owned call your local dealer and ask what they have to offer. Most dealers will be able to accommodate your needs with used or pre-owned copy machine that they have serviced from day one!

Polling Copier Sales People

Here's a few more polls that were conducted on the Print4Pay Hotels Message Boards. The Print4Pay Hotel has dedicated message boards for Canon, KonicaMinolta, Kyocera, Xerox and the Ricoh Family Group. Enjoy!

Poll: Has HP's CM8050/CM8060 Color MFP taken any of your business, or have you seen any of these in the field?

53% No

47% No, and I have not seen any in the field!

Some members who voted were actually dual line dealers for HP and Ricoh, interesting that the much vaulted HP CM8050/CM8060 has not been seen in the field by 47% of our members.

Poll: "Commission For Clicks" Has The Time Come for Sales People to be Paid on Click Revenue?

78% Yes
10% No

12% Not Sure

I know of a few trials being conducted for click revenue, I will report more on this once I hear back from them. Seems to me this should be the wave of the future!

Poll: "Color CPC Poll" How low do you think all inclusive Color Cost Per Copies will Go?

.065 (6%)

.06 (3%)

.055 (10%)

.05 (29%)

.045 (19%)

.040 (10%)

.035 (6%)

under .035 (16%)

51% our our members believe the price will fall below 5 cents for all inclusive color pages.

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Copier Sales "ODBC, What is it"?

ODBC - What it is and why it is important in a document processing application

ODBC is an acronym for OPEN DATABASE CONNECTIVITY. It is a Windows tool that can be found in Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Data Sources (ODBC). It provides a standard interface to connect to virtually any database that is ODBC compliant.

Connecting to a database is very important when performing document processing. Without the ability to connect to data, MANUAL indexing is required (unless OCR, barcode or some other technology is used). Manual indexing is very inefficient and prone to errors. An error made during manual indexing may prevent the document to be found at a later time.

In a typical document management scenario there may be many different document types. Each document type may, or may not have, data that is “associated” with the documents. For the document types that do have associated data, the indexing process can be very efficient and accurate. Document processing software, that includes ODBC connectivity, will allow the indexer to enter data (typically a “key” such as Invoice Number) and the software will automatically perform a lookup into the database to VALIDATE the entry. In addition, related data such as Customer Name, Po Number, etc can be EXTRACTED from the database at the same time. This data can be part of the retrieval schema without any additional work or manual indexing.

Advanced software, that includes ODBC connectivity, will incorporate barcode or OCR technology to process documents completely automatically. The documents are scanned, separated automatically by barcode or OCR, the barcode or OCR data is used to perform the database lookup, the data is VALIDATED and the related data is EXTRACTED and the documents are published to the document Repository without any operator assistance.

ODBC can also be used on the “backend”, or retrieval side, of document management. It allows virtually any database to be used for purposes of retrieval of documents. Of course, the publishing and retrieval software must include the ODBC interface.

For more information on MFP software that can perform the functions discussed please send me an email art@p4photel.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tribute to Danka "Dan is Danka"

I can remember in the early eighties the Danka Buzz! If you owned a profitable dealership you had high hopes that Danka would come calling.

Everytime you turned around you heard about Danka buying another dealership. Back in the eighties we had Xerox direct and from what I remember everything else was dealerships. You could call it the "Golden Age of Copier Dealerships", all were thriving, all were making money and there was a great entreprenuerial spirit in the industry. Many owners got the pay day of thier lives from this Golden Era.

It's sad to see to see a great American company fall. However, it may present some great opportunities for those involved.

Danka's time line:

1977: Started in Tampa by Dan Doyle and Frank McPeak, Danka's name was forged from the first names of its co-founders.

January 1997: Under Doyle's leadership, Danka grew to more than $3-billion in sales by the time it acquired the office imaging business of Eastman Kodak for $588-million.

October 1998: Doyle resigns as chief executive after the Kodak deal causes financial chaos.

2004: Danka sells its Canadian subsidiary.

2005: Danka sells South and Central American business to Toshiba.

2006: Danka sells its European operations to Ricoh Co. of Japan for $210-million, slashing its business in half.

November 2007: Danka shares delisted from Nasdaq.

April 8, 2008: Konica Minolta agrees to purchase Danka for $240-million.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

MFP Wars "KonicaMinolta Buys Danka USA"

Will KonicaMinolta now join the ranks of Xerox, Canon & Ricoh. Some think they are there already. If you haven't heard KonicaMinolta bought Danka USA today, just a few weeks after Ricoh announced that they had acquired Danka (Europe).

Danka founded in 1977 in Tampa, Florida as and entrepreneurial venture. By 1986, Danka had become the leading office imaging distributor in the US. A year ago the stock traded for $1.37 per share and yesterday the stock was down to .22 cents a share. The total purchase price seems to be $240 million, hardware and supply sales for the last four quarters is about 200 million.

As an outsider looking in, KonicaMinolta products have been getting stronger and stronger, saturation of dealers and direct branches seems to be balanced. KonicaMinolta never cut their ties with Global, while Canon & Ricoh walked away. Not sure if they lost business here, I would tend to think that they gained business during the Xerox transition process. I now believe KonicaMinolta can be a major vendor for quite some time.

WOW, where does this leave the likes of Toshiba, HP and Canon? Will Toshiba do the same as Canon and Ricoh did with Global? Will HP fold and Canon also fold up their tents? My thoughts, HP will stay put if they can, Toshiba is continuing to buy dealerships in an attempt to maintain market share and I think they'll get out. But, what about Canon? They took quite a hit from Global, now Danka, and Ikon which was pretty much Canon is now three major product lines, Canon, Ricoh and Kyocera.

Its now a question of WHO has the bucks and the brawn to buy IKON! It will happen, it's just a question of when. Who can do? HP can, Canon can, I'm not too sure any of the players could pull off a purchase of IKON. Just a guess, but it would probably take at least 3 billion to pull it off.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ricoh "Message from the President"

I picked this up about a week ago from a press release. Good read for all of you Ricoh guys and gals out there.

Ricoh’s President of worldwide operation, Shiro Kondo, gave out details on its financials:o predicting increase in worldwide sales of 11% between now and end of fiscal 2011o predicting total worldwide sales this fiscal of 2.5 trillion yen ($26 billion).

  • Key driver will be sales of production print devices to commercial printerso will spend a total of $725 million to finish acquisition of IBM’s printer division by 2010o IBM sold $1 billion worth of printers in 2006.

  • Has paid a total of $210 million for the European branches of DANKA. Operating profit will increase worldwide 7.8%.

  • Projections for this year are less than targets that Ricoh published earlier as part of its 3 year plano “Our business in the U.S. is the hardest-hit” stated Ricoh’s worldwide CFO, Zenji Miurao.

Other comments from CEO, Shiro Kondo:

  • “we will comprehensively revise our current research and development system”

  • “we can no longer increase our competitiveness simply by satisfying customers”

  • “what matters now is how we make our products and services represent values that inspire customers”

  • “transform process to creating rather than making”

  • Will set up a “marketing strategy office” on 4/1/08 in Japan to explore market needs from a long-term point of view.

  • “we can’t develop new products and services only by asking customers what they want….we will research the issues and needs that the customers themselves don’t even fully understand and propose new values and services”

  • Plans to undertake large-scale restructuring as early as July of this year.

  • Slower-than-expected sales of its GelSprint inkjet printer/MFP products “focusing on profitability in the 16th plan”.

  • Aiming to make up for the loss in profits that came about as a result of its downsizing.

  • Will reorganize its businesses and cut personnel if necessary.

With the start of the new business year for Ricoh as of April 1st, we'll just have to wait and see.

-=Good Selling=-

Friday, April 4, 2008

What is a "searchable" pdf?

ADVANCED FUNCTIONS- create searchable PDF documents with this application.

What is a “searchable” PDF?-
In simple terms, a searchable PDF is an image (picture) containing the “text” in a layer (usually behind the image and not visible). A scanned document (PDF as image format) is NOT searchable until an OCR (optical character recognition) process is performed on the document. Some scanning hardware can deliver a searchable PDF (the OCR process is performed during the delivery process). A searchable PDF can also be created by PDF distiller software. This process “converts” a digitized file, such as a MS Word document, to a PDF format. Because the original document was digitized (contains text), the OCR process is not required and a searchable PDF is rendered. An easy way to determine if a PDF is searchable is to open the document with Adobe Reader or Acrobat and perform a “find” function. If the found “text” is highlighted, the document is a searchable PDF.

Benefits of a “searchable” PDF-
Searchable PDF’s are very useful for retrieving documents from a document Repository (full content management) and useful to find the location of a word (s) within the document.
Adobe Systems provides a free downloadable tool known as an iFilter. The iFilter provides a link between the “text” layer of the searchable PDF and an “indexing” engine. This connection provides for retrieval of the document by any word(s) contained in the “text” layer or in the metadata (Title, Subject, Author, Keywords) of a PDF. Indexing engines include:
A) The catalog feature of Adobe Acrobat- very powerful engine which provides advanced searching functionality.
B) MS Indexing Services- an “index” maintained at the server level with “load” processing options built into MS server platforms. Note: this application has an unlimited user retrieval tool that leverages this free MS service.
C) MS Desktop Search- a free, downloadable MS powerful tool that maintains an “index” on the desktop of either desktop files, server files or both.
D) MS Sharepoint- searchable PDF’s can be retrieved with the built-in query tool.
E) Other DMS- most document management systems can retrieve searchable PDF’s.

The requirements are:
1) A full license of TOCR (the OCR engine)
2) The “captured” document should be a Group 3 or IV B/W tif.

There are two components that are used to create “searchable” Pdf’sOCR Processor must be set as Full Page; however, you may OCR All pages, the first page, or identify the pages to OCR.

“So Easy a Copier Rep Can Sell It"

The copier industry is facing tough times. It is no longer just about speeds and feeds, rather how can the equipment be used as part of a business process to increase productivity?

Usually that business process includes software add-ons. The software add-ons can be for a specific task; for example, managing access and usage, or for general purpose document processing and document management.

All of the manufacturers now have reliable devices that will print, scan, fax and copy in color or monochrome. Almost all systems now support scan2email, scan2folder, fax4ward to folder. The questions now becomes how do we separate ourselves from our competition? The time is right for P4P’s Docuary (document management for everyone) and P4P’s Docuary Web.

Every copy representative should have a “go to” software product that is easy to learn to demonstrate and bundled with the hardware lease for less than .65 cents a day! His/her proposal will stand out from the others because he/she is selling a “total” solution. Tell me, what the heck can you buy for .72 cents a day, a cup of coffee (No), a bagel (NO), Bottle of Water (NO), gallon of gas (absolutely NO). The time is right to break out of your shell and go where others have gone, do you want to be the only one left on the planet selling something that just copies, prints and scans? Do you want to face extinction!

Transform yourself to a Docusultant (someone who consults on paper based workflow). Give your SMB (Small to Mid Size Business) what they really need. Every SMB needs P4P’s Docuary or Docaury Web (document management for everyone), they just don’t know that they need it!

Docuary has the following features:

* Unlimited user access
* Proven in thousands of locations
* SQL database engine
* Web based access
* Folder/file navigation or database lookups (based upon user defined indexes)
* Full content management (key word lookup based upon content)
* Optional batch processing of documents via barcode, forms recognition, etc.
* Availability of source code
* File access auditing
* Version control

The software is easily installed on a notebook in minutes and so easy to learn that a demo could be given to a prospect in 15 minutes without any formal training. In other words, “So Easy a Copier Rep Can Sell It”.

For more information on such a product contact me art@p4photel.com+