Thursday, May 28, 2009
Copier Sales "Vertical Market Approach"
Today's offering from manufacturers is overwhelming to say the least. I can remember starting out on the business where one of the requirements is that you had to own or have access to a station wagon! One of the basic routines was to load a copier in the morning and then go cold calling, and it you found a hot prospect you would ask them if they would like to see a demonstration of the product. When they replied yes, you stated "great, I have one in the car, where can we do the demonstration? Yes, the good ole days when doors weren't locked, no soliciting signs were not the order of the day along with any intercoms and cameras to allow access.
Since, 2001 I have taken a vertical market approach to selling, having a territory that is high in NOPA ratings allows for a multitude of possible accounts. The vertical market that I concentrate on is Construction; which incorporates architects, engineers, general contractors, contractors, surveyors, mechanical contractors, and security systems companies.
Focusing on a vertical market allows me to learn more about each of this business and how they print, copy, fax and scan on a daily basis. I have become very familiar with the terms and their language, and boy does this help when trying to open the doors for discussion or attempting to dig for a solution that you might be able to present. Knowing their language positions you as the expert and the consultant that they can rely on for up to date solutions. It's really not as big a world as everyone thinks it is, most companies know of everyone else in their industry and have at last heard of them.
Here's how I started, I started with wide format systems for a few reasons. One the competition is not as fierce as regular copiers and the margins are usually higher due to the fact that there are only a few manufacturers. Plus the volume of paper that's needs to be copied, printed and faxed is enormous.
Focus on your smaller architectural firms that have 5-15 employees, most of the time when cold calling in person or when calling on the telephone you will be able to get to the owner of the firm. From there you need to use your skills to close for an appointment or a demonstration. Once you have sold an architectural firm you must ask for references, you can ask for Mechanical Engineers, General Contractors or Excavators and even Landscape Architects. All of these will have a need for wide format, copiers, scanners and fax. By the way, you can also go back to all of the wide format accounts and then solicit them for copiers, printers and fax.
Keep the ball rolling; use the "6 foot" approach when working the vertical market. Whenever you get within six feet of them ask them if they are need of saving time or saving money with their wide format documents.
I developed a mailing list for the wide format vertical market and every month I send out mailers to them. I do this in quarters, meaning the first month is for wide format, the second month is for MFP's and the third month is for software solutions (ecopy desktop, fax server software). Each quarter I repeat the process, after about one right or nine mailings, you will have clients calling you!
You can get your lists from Trade Associates, just go on the Internet and do a search for type of companies that you are interested. After the mailing I will also conduct phone calls and in person cold calls to the accounts. Conducting your prospecting this way will insure that you will get an audience sometime in the future.
Become a member for these trade organizations and offer to sponsor a meeting; most of these associations will have monthly or quarterly meetings. We have done a few of these and are always looking to do more. Nothing is better than having a captive audience and showing that you are recommended by their Trade Association.
Vertical Market Selling allows you to become an Expert in their business in a short amount of time and also allows you to spend more time with learning Features, Advantages and Benefits of the hardware that will be suit their needs.