Friday, May 1, 2009

Selling Copiers - "things I would do differently"

What's cool? Having two surnames as your given name and your family name, thus Philip John is our Guest Blogger this month! Philips territory is New York City, I can only guess at what it's like to sell in the city every day.

Philip John is in the process of enabling Wiztech Inc to provide document management solutions in the Tristate Region. Wiztech, a Michigan based firm has traditionally been in technology consulting for Oracle & SAP systems, project staffing and Healthcare IT. When you have time check out Philip Johns NY Minute Blog

From a decade ago – things I would do differently.

Over the years as a copier sales professional, the goal has always been the same – generate maximum sales. The way I have been doing it recently is completely different from 10 years ago when I started in the business. All I ever did in the beginning was cold call and telemarketing. They were the main sources of business for me. I was taught to sell and move on to the next. More cold-calling and more telemarketing.

I wish I could undo three things in my copier sales career.

1. Excellent CRM/ database system
It is almost unbelievable to me that I never had any kind of CRM system from day one. The innumerable meetings, contacts and calls made over the years have gone to waste. A few scribbled notes in a planner combined with more scribbled notes in a notepad – that all I have. Just last year I started maintaining my database and I already have a prospect base that exceeds 500 firms – with their complete competitor leasing information, contact details , etc – apart from my existing customers database. I guess if I had started a long time ago, it would have been close to 5000 prospects and a whole lot more clients that I currently have. Right now, although I have an Excel based system it is better than nothing. I tried a few CRM packages and they did not meet my requirements. I just might end up with If someone knows of a specific CRM system made for our industry– preferably hosted, let me know. (I have tried SalesChain)

2. Corporate Marketing & Lead Generation
Secondly, I wish I worked for firms that did sufficient marketing (other than telemarketing) and lead generation. Very very very few copier dealerships do any kind of systematic marketing. The marketing is normally left to the sales people (send 10 letters a week, cold call 25 places, etc). This has to be taken over by corporate with a certain involvement of the sales staff. It is even more important for firms to do their marketing and lead generation as the dependence on sales staff to generate all the leads becomes an eventual thorn.

3. Client Management
Thirdly, I wish I was not taught to sell and move on. I wish I had created a system to be in contact with my customers on a regular basis. I wish my company created a system for me to adopt to ensure that I am making that periodic contact as a phone call, email, newsletter, new products info, added services, surveys, polls, invitation to events, tradeshows, etc etc.

I have realized that more sales can easily be generated with a structured effort which is beneficial to the dealership as well as the sales person. I love the Microsoft chant “ Change the World or Go Home”. There is so much that can be done differently in our industry. Right from the manufacturers, leasing companies, dealership managements, sales metrics and of-course service standards. New benchmarks are waiting to be set and a different thinking set of people will swoop down and make their indelible mark on this industry of ours. Art is definitely one of them and I would want to be there too.

-=Good Selling=-

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