Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ricoh vs. Toyota

In what may go down as the biggest ‘speedbump’ in Ricoh history, a new issue has surfaced in regard to the IKON transition. As you have been reading over the past few months, IKON has been slowly assuming control of Ricoh.

Examples include the recent layoffs at Ricoh HQ, the Midwest RBS Direct branch that was closed in favor of the local IKON location, and the large Lanier Global Accounts that were ‘transitioned’ from Lanier Global Sales Reps to IKON Major Accounts. Now, a new “assimilation strategy” has been uncovered, due to a serious mistake that was actually beyond Ricoh’s control.

Yesterday, the biggest announcement was made, wherein top IKON management has assumed total control over Ricoh Americas Corporation.

You may have also seen the Ricoh (RBS) TEKNOFORCE vehicles on your local roads. These are Toyota Matrix vehicles, which are prevalent in major marketplaces and are typically utilized by Network Specialists, Service Technicians, Solutions Representatives, Engineers, and even Sales Reps from time to time. The RBS TEKNOFORCE fleet has been rolling along nicely for the past few years and the time came to replace those vehicles with new automobiles, under a very large contract with Toyota.


Since Ricoh had purchased IKON and could now leverage their buying power with Toyota, Ricoh’s intent was to purchase new 2010 Toyota Venza automobiles, which were Hybrid vehicles (these cars are not even available on the open market right now). With Ricoh’s strong commitment to Environmental initiatives, the new Venza Hybrid vehicles were to be touted as “Green Machines” and driven in Japan (and all of Asia), Europe, North American, and South America.

Terms of the deal with Toyota were not fully disclosed, however, Ricoh did receive 0% Financing and they basically acquired all Toyota Venza (AWD) cars at the same price that was paid for the TEKNOFORCE Toyota Matrix (2WD) vehicles years ago.

These new Toyota vehicles would no longer be painted with the TEKNOFORCE logo, yet they would be launched as the IKON I-KARS, as part of the IKON Assimilation Strategy. As the RBS Direct Branches and IKON local offices merged, the new entity would be supplied with IKON I-KARS, accompanied by a national advertising campaign.

The Toyota Venza was specifically chosen due to it’s size, which has a larger rear compartment than the Toyota Matrix (former RBS TEKNOFORCE vehicles). The Toyota Venza would be able to hold Service Technician Car Stock, Laptops, Tools, and had enough room to fit the upcoming Ricoh A4 device (manufactured by Samsung and re-labeled as Ricoh) for delivery and install.

The IKON Assimilation Strategy also dictated that a Sales Representative, a Service Technician, and a Network Specialist would travel together whenever possible, to ensure efficiency. Not only would Service Calls be handled adequately, but a Sales Call could be made at the same location, or in the vicinity of the scheduled Service Call. The Network Specialist would also be on hand to take advantage of the Managed Print Services (MPS) hype in the Office Equipment Industry, by offering “free network assessments.”

Yet, as trouble mounted with Floor Mats, Accelerator Pedals, and Brakes, the new Toyota IKON I-KARS were not being well-received by Ricoh executives. In fact, Ricoh Corporation LTD in Japan hired their own independent vehicle consultants to ensure the Toyota Venza Hybrids were safe for employees.

While no critical problems were found with the Toyota Venza hybrids, Ricoh decided to terminate the contract with Toyota because they feared the current issues would hamper the worldwide launch of the new IKON I-KARS. However, Toyota had already completed the new artwork and graphics on the entire fleet. To make matters worse, Lexus E350 Luxury sedans had already been delivered to IKON Marketplace Vice Presidents (in the United States), which has been causing internal conflict amongst long-time Ricoh and RBS Vice Presidents, who have not yet received ‘company’ cars.

We now know exactly why those IKON executives (many of whom were named to new Ricoh positions today) received the Lexus E350 vehicles.

Now, in addition to handling one of the largest mergers in the history of the Office Equipment Industry, Ricoh must somehow resolve the IKON I-KARS debacle. Apparently, this will be the first order of business for Jim Corriddi, under Matt Espe’s direction.

Time will tell if this situation can be resolved and it may be an example of how Ricoh and IKON are able to co-exist in the future. The timing of this situation could not be worse.

A Press Release from Ricoh Corporation LTD about the impending litigation is due to hit the wires next Monday. I was able to secure an advance copy, which I have attached.

-=Good Selling=-

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today was a day unlike any other day for Ricoh Dealers

This morning Ricoh and Ikon employees were notified that Matt Espe (Ikon) was crowned CEO of Ricoh Americas Corporation and Jeff Hickling (Ikon) will take on a new role as President and CEO of Ricoh U.S.

Today was a day unlike any other day for Ricoh Dealers. A blast email from the P4P Hotel forums notified 1,600 P4P Members and within minutes the chatter began. Comments ranged from "CANT BE RIGHT CAUSE THE INDYS WILL RAISE HELL!" to "The beginning of the end". Seems like most dealers are quite upset and I think they have a right to be. Ricoh dealers, the ones that are left are passionate about their Ricoh devices, the Ricoh Brand and the Ricoh support. I was PM'd a few times as how can Ricoh Japan let this happen, Ikon in recent years was a losing proposition, they lost millions of dollars. Most Dealers felt they lost millions of dollars because their sales force just plain gave the equipment away or continually sold systems lower than most dealers could buy from Ricoh Corp.

Ricoh Dealers have a right to be upset, having to compete with the likes of RBS and Ikon has hurt many dealers, especially before the "Rules of Engagement", and however before the "Rules of Engagement" were put in place many dealers and or sales people had already lost their biggest accounts. I know this for a fact because I had it happen to me.

Can Ricoh Americas Survive?

The banter among dealers is that they are subsiding the likes of Ikon and RBS. Dealers HAVE to make a profit to survive whereas RBS and Ikon can ask "Mommy" for additional funds when they lose millions of dollars each year. So of course the Dealer Channel is of the utmost importance to Ricoh, because it probably the only channel they get a profit from. In a late conference call today,  Ricoh Execs repeated this comment six times "Committed to Dealer Channel" and 3-4 times for "Rules of Engagement".

Whatever the fall out is.....I want a strong Ricoh, I want Direct Branches and Ikon to be responsible for "turning a profit", matter of fact we'd all like to see all of the manufacturers branches turn a profit, right?

Here's a few more comments, btw, two of these four comments that I've posted here were by former Ikon people.

"I was hoping to live long enough within the organization to see this. Now it is a little anti-climatic for me."

"There are some wonderful people working at Ikon, some of them even know what they are doing, albeit a small number. However if they try and install their convoluted policies and processes into or on top of Ricoh’s watch out! The company formerly known as Ricoh will be dragged under by the Anchor formerly known as Ikon. Let the shedding begin."

To Matt & Jim, Congrats!  The Print4Pay Hotel wishes you the best and wants to see you guys succeed and prosper however don't under estimate the dealers and their desire, determination and dedication to succeed, with or without .............

PS......Just visited the IKON web site and there are 8 members on the Management Team, 5 of those 8 are now hold top spots with  Ricoh Americas Corp.

Ricoh USA " GIANT Changes Ahead"?

-=Good Selling=-

Monday, March 29, 2010

HP's Edgeline Missed the Resurrection Ship

Seems like HP's Edgeline has missed the departure gate for the Resurrection Ship.

Rumors state that the Edgeline is being discontinued....also certain reports indicate that HP will support all MIF's for 5 years.

Bloggers like Greg at Death of the Copier and I have blogged about the Edgeline and from time to time gave our opinions as to why the HP Edgeline is now considered the "New Coke" of the Office Equipment Industry.

In one report it was suggested that the demise of the Edgeline was based on the market still favors laser technology. Maybe, just maybe the Edgeline was ahead of its time. When the Edgeline was released (about May of 2007) most of us were enjoying the fruits of our success and we weren’t overwhelmed with a multifunctional ink system that produced average business color for a penny or two less than its laser counterparts. Also no one was interested is saving a few additional pennies for accent color, hey times were good and HP had to WOW us and they didn't. What about NOW? With the current drag of the recession, cost is first and foremost on everyone’s mind. Why can't the HP Edgeline make a comeback with some minor teaks with speeds and feeds and a much lower MSRP.

A recent release from Lyra "Lyra expects commercial ink jet printer technologies and products to play a significant role in the future growth of the digital imaging industry. Leaders from major OEMs such as Canon/Océ, HP, InfoPrint, Kodak, and Screen as well as print head manufacturers and ink and media suppliers are converging to advance commercial ink jet technology."

I believe the office market is ready for inkjet technology, in a previous blog about Riso's ComColor (ink); we coined the technology as "News Color". Meaning, color documents that are read today and gone tomorrow, why in the world do we need laser color to market our services, products, and or information bearing media if it's going to read today and gone tomorrow.

If you believe that we've been in the Great Recession, then you'll probably agree that all of us will be more conscious of our costs moving forward, who wouldn't. Thus, the emergence of less expensive print technology that will cut costs and help the environment should be a no brainer. Of course MSRP's along with speeds and feeds have to be in line with current laser technology.

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, March 28, 2010

On Demand Show 2010 in Phili

I'll be attending the On Demand/AIIM show in Phili next month.

I was just looking over the Exhibitor List and read that Ricoh, Ikon and Kodak will not be there this year. I know Ricoh  has their Dealer event this spring, however has the economy and the Ikon buyout taken it's toll? Plus, where the heck is Kodak? Also, I was counting on seeing the Oki proColor series from Okidata there, recently they released some really neat products desgined for the print production market, alas they won't be there either. One of the stops I'll be making is at Riso's booth to see the ComColor with all of the cool options. I counted up the exhibitors and it seems that there are a little over 100 for the On Demand side of the show.

Xerox and Canon will anchor the show with the largest booths, following up with somewhat smaller booths is KonicaMinolta and Oce. Infoprint will also be there, and probably with some of the Ricoh gear, however they a six of the space that Canon or Xerox is showing.

I'm really looking forward to next year in DC, we'll have ITEX, On Demand and AIIM all in one location and possibly one of the biggest events in a long time!

If you're in or around Phili from the 19th to the 22nd, I strongly recommend attending this awesome show!

-=Good Selling=-

Print4Pay Hotel Weekend Updates for 3/28/10

Print4Pay Hotel Weekend Updates!

Here's some of serious content from the last few days that's been posted on the Print4Pay Hotel's forums in recent weeks. It has been busy with over 32,000 page views, and 84 new members.

Print4Pay Hotel U Webinars:

We've uploaded a few new quizes in P4P University and the Final Four NCAA poll!

Most Viewed Threads:

Print4Pay Value Membership
Who will be at "On Demand" in Phili?
Board copier contract questioned
University changes default font to save on printing costs
Where do you see this industry in 5 years????

Interesting Threads:

Selling Multifunctional Solutions "Quarter Update"
SANDPOINT — City Hall plans to go paperless
Test your MFP knowledge Quiz III
How to Justify a Large-Format Scanner, Part 1
Samsung 6555N Question, need help!

Posted Price Quotes:

Scottsboro, Alabama 35768
Yarnell Justice Precinct

Toshiba Bid fpr Muni
Leads, RFP's & RFQ's:

RFP for 410 MFP's in New York
Two Large MFPs RFQ in California
Wide Format Color Printer VA Regional
The City of "      "  is requesting proposals for photocopiers
City in California requesting RFP for MFP's
Large Print Management Project in Northeast
Large Bid In Southwest for MFPs

The Print4Pay Hotel is the world's only business/social site dedicated to people who work in the office equipment industry. Go ahead log on.....become a member of the Print4Pay Hotel!

become informed, share and maintain your knowledge.

-=Good Selling=-

Friday, March 26, 2010

Selling Multifunctional Solutions "Quarter Update"

It's been awhile since I posted.....hah, ya'll probably thought I was on vacation or something. No, no vacations for me yet, just trying to catch up on some business.

Our quarter and month just closed, seems I made the cut and had my monthly numbers along with quarterly. I'm beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep listening to the news it's still pretty much doom and gloom for the economy.

When I'm in existing accounts one of the talk tracks we start with is "how's business?". My response is that I've had more activity and more opportunies in the last four months than I had for the last year, just can't seem to put back to back great months together. From what I hear frm my customers and Print4Pay Hotel members the same is also true. All of us agree that we've got to come out of this soon or else!

Is everyone else seeing that? Would like to hear from others on this.

Moving forward to the new quarter, I need to stay more focused on higher end systems, multiple placements and hunt for MFP solutions that will help the end user improve the way they do business. I'm seeing more attention being paid to solutions like NSI, PPDM and MS Sharepoint. I'm thinking once the economy rebounds all those stalled talk tracks on these solutions will come to fruition.

I'll be at the On Demand/AIIM show in Phili this month and will be scouting around for "cool" items and will be looking to learn more about production printing, variable data and taking an in depth look at different types of media and niche machines.

BTW, the three D's of slling are: Desire, Dedication and Determination!

-=Good Selling=-

Monday, March 22, 2010

Getting Personal: Improve Your Marketing Communications

It's been awhile since we had a guest blogger. About a year ago Fred and I had some great conversations in reference to target marketing, direct mail and the technology that is driving the high end of the market. I invited Fred to do a guest blog about target marketing to our Print4Pay Hotel members and readers. Enjoy!

Professional Background
Fred Simonson is President of F. Simonson & Associates with over 30 years of experience in Sales, Business Development, Marketing, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Fred received his B.A. Degree from Rutgers University and also holds a Masters in Educational Psychology from Rutgers Graduate School of Education.Getting Personal: Improve Your Marketing Communications

Getting Personal: Improve Your Marketing Communications

By Fred Simonson,
President of F. Simonson & Associates

Personalized Targeted Marketing, utilizing variable data, has the ability to change the way you communicate with your customers. But, ultimately, variable data personalization is only a “tool”. The effectiveness of this tool is dependent on how skilled and nimble you are at using this tool and leveraging the underlying marketing concepts.

Much of the current literature about this “marketing marvel” that we refer to as “one to one” or “targeted marketing personalization” implies that the use of this “tool” creates a “can’t miss” proposition! However, the reality is that ineffective or sloppy use of these tools can lead to less than anticipated results, with little or no appreciable difference between the traditional direct mail approach and a one to one personalized marketing campaign.

So, what is the secret to “one to one” or “targeted marketing”? What makes the difference between a successful campaign and a campaign that generates marginal results? The keys to success are:
• Understanding your targeted audience
• Planning the campaign
• Executing against the plan
• Tracking, validating, and measuring results.

Planning an effective campaign is much like building a house. A good foundation is a must. It requires preparation and planning, but if the foundation is not solid, you will have effectively built a “house of cards” that will not achieve the desired results.
So what core principles of “one to one” or “targeted marketing” will lead you to the 5x or more return that we have been hearing about? Very simply, if you do the following four thing right, your chances for success improve dramatically, and you should enjoy great results. Get one or more wrong and the impact will be proportional with the misstep.

1. Database Quality - It all starts with the quality of the database you will be using. Is the database current, has it been cleansed, is it homogeneous relative to the targeted audience?
2. Message Value - Is the messaging and offer contained in the piece attractive and pertinent for the targeted audience?
3. Message Appearance - Is the piece itself attractive and attention grabbing? Will the recipient take the extra moment to read further or will it be deleted or tossed in with the re-cycling?
4. Measurable Results - Can you easily track and measure the results to calculate your ROI and validate the success of your marketing campaign?

How can you insure that you master the four components? Engage a professional with a proven track record to assist you with the initial project planning and design. This will have a cost, but the cost will be a lot less than if you don’t get it right. If you are still not sure about “targeted marketing”, hedge your bets and run a pilot so you can gauge your costs and measure your success before you unleash your new full-blown marketing campaign.

This article is not to be reprinted or reused without the express permission of F. Simonson & Associates

Consulting Competencies
Business Development and Marketing Communications
Consulting services for variable data applications and one to one marketing.
Expertise in Establishment & Organizational Design for print and communications operations
Sales Management Training: Process and Results Management & Measurement
Sales Force Training and Development

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ricoh & Ikon in Turmoil with Transition & Print Production??

Pirate Mike strikes again and right at the heart of the Ricoh/Ikon transition. Seems also like there are major issues with Ricoh Production Color, now I'm not a player in that market so I can't deny or justify that the statements are correct. However, it seems all too familiar with things I've seen in the past..

This also co-insides with a call that I received from a Print4Pay Hotel member from the mide-west that stated an RBS branch was closing in leiu of the Ikon branch.  I was pretty much floored when I heard that and thought it would be the other way around.

Also heard on the street that may Ricoh corp positions would be filled with people from Ikon.  Again, I heard this and it may or may not be true, however I'm sticking with my sources. Whatever the case may be, it seems big changes are on the way.

Here's his blog:

11 days till… David meets Goliath; a fight that may define the end of IKON OFFICE SOLUTIONS

In 11 days I will get close to a hundred calls from around the country on what new changes are being made inside of the Ricoh/IKON group. These calls will come from both the Ricoh and IKON side of the house.

There are rumors of huge layoffs and mass firings in store. Even locally they have kept masses of sales reps that are like 36% of plan. People are being labeled the "Legend of Zero!" which they have earned from not even keeping up with the minimal standards to maintain their job. I can remember at Minolta when if you were not at 100% you were in danger! Guys started looking hard for a job at 80% in our office. If you didn't make 100 grand you were just were not putting on a tie and coming to work! That was then; this is now…

Relative to the changes at Ricoh/IKON there will be huge changes in the structure of reporting and how the local areas will operate. There are probably substantial changes in the pay structure and not much in line for relief for the production sale reps relative to their product portfolio. There is a lot that is unknown, Ricoh has a lot of "purchased entities" in their back pocket and a lot of "intellectual property" that it has yet to release. One thing we know for sure is that they (Ricoh) has yet to make a unified group out of their acquired companies and has yet to create a soup to nuts product portfolio out of them. Like their competition has done.

I tried to sell Infoprint roll fed printers several times when I was employed at IKON and couldn't even get the rep to call me back as I was considered a competitor and they didn't feel they needed me. There was no method of compensation either on these "in portfolio products." It will be interesting to see what Ricoh does with InfoPrint now that the IBM is going to be free of it. Does InfoPrint take over IKON and move forward or is there a bigger role in the Ricoh world for IKON. Only time will tell what Ricoh does in its sandbox and anything else is just speculation.

go here for the rest of Pirate Mikes Blog

-=Good Selling=-

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who Makes the Best Multifunctional Copy Machine?

Since I started blogging about multifunctional copiers a few years ago, this question is at top of everyone’s list in the emails I receive.

Who Makes the Best Multifunctional Copy Machine?

To me it's not a question of who makes the best, the question that should be asked is "Who gives the best support?"

It's my general belief that most multifunctional copiers are equal when it comes to performance, quality, features and reliability. When leasing or buying a multifunctional copier you need to pay attention to the people that stand behind the piece of equipment. There's a saying in our industry, "that the lowest priced copier (equipment) is long forgotten after poor service", isn’t that the truth!

It's the people, the guy or gal next store, the cousin, the uncle or the friend. When you select good professional people even the worst machine ever manufactured could be the best system you ever purchased or leased.

How do you find these professionals?

Well there’re out there, and they’re usually not the companies that have the lowest price. Dealers and Direct Branches that excel have additional layers of support that are designed to support the customer at a moment’s notice, by either repairing the equipment right the first time, having a large inventory of parts and having experienced expert professionals to help with the complexity of these systems.

In essence when shopping for a multifunctional copier system, do yourself a few favors. Check out the people in the organization. Ask them how long they've been doing this and how long they've been with the company. If there is tenure, odds are the company that they work for are true professionals and experts with multifunctional systems.

Ok, so some of you may still be asking what's the best? I believe there are three tiers of manufacturers for multifunctional copiers. Here they are in the tiers.

Tier I: Canon (includes Oce), Ricoh (includes Savin and Lanier), Xerox and KonicaMinolta (all are equal in my eyes, it will come down what features work best for you)

Tier II: Kyocera, Toshiba, Sharp (market share is lower than the above group)

Tier III: Muratec, Samsung, Okidata, HP, Lexmark

Did I leave anyone out?

-=Good Selling=-

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MFP Solutions "The Next Big Thing!"

Yesterday I had an appointment at a new account, turns out this account was interested in an MFP that had SPF installed, they were also interested in embeded NSI, PCS Director, IPDS, PPDM, APP2ME and need a quarterly CPP. WHOA!

Whats the Next Big Thing in Multifunctional Systems, well it' confusing the heck out the sales people with multiple solutions that do the same thing!

Solutions, Solutions everwhere a Solution,
Blocking out the solutions breaking my mind,
Use this, don't use that, can't you see the solution.

That's pretty much my own version of the chorus from the song Signs by Five Man Electric Band from 1970.

Geesh, it seems every three to four months there's Next Big Thing! In all my years it's never been harder to keep up with the multitude of solutions offered. Once you get to know the existing ones, we'll then they've been replaced with additional solutions. Heck, it's gonna take a few weeks just to memorize what the acronyms stand for.

Can you all remember the first line of the chorus from Signs? Here it is.

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply

No joke, I can understand why it's so hard to have knowledgable salespeople, managers and support reps to keep up with the times. Solutions that are sold today are gone tomorrow.

But I guess it's just a SIGN of the times!

-=Good Selling=-

Print4Pay Hotel "Copier Blogs Unleashed"

Well almost, over the next month or so I'll be putting the finishing touches on my new publication. Pretty much it will a conglomeration of the best blogs, quest bloggers and threads from the Print4Pay Hotel & MPF Solutions Blog. Pretty much a must read for anyone new in the industry and great reference for review for the industry veteran.

If you'd like to pre-order, please send me an email and I send you the details.

-=Good Selling=-

Monday, March 15, 2010

Copier Video "One of my Favs"

Tonight I was putting the final touches on the P4P Video Channel and ran across this vide from Spin City. I thought I'd seen all of the episodes and can't figure out how I missed this one about the copier. Enjoy!

Spin City Copier Sex

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, March 13, 2010

P4P Hotel Announces Contest Winners for February 2010

Every month we are giving away two Premium Memberships for the Print4Pay Hotel. The Premium Memberships are possible through the sponsorship of Print Audit and Dealer Marketing Systems!

Our winners are:

txeagle24 wins a 6 month Premium Membership for "Top 5 Posters" Print Audit Sponsor

B1116 wins a 6 Month Premium Membership for "Top 5 Topic Starter" Dealer Marketing Systems Sponsor

Congrats and thanx for making this a great place for our industry!!!!!

Highlights for February 2010:

31,616 total page views
88 new members
337 hours of usage

-=Good Selling=-

Ten Tips to get the DM to Take Your Call "Selling Multifunctional Copiers"

Digging up leads for multifunctional devices can be trying at times, and especially if you're new to the business.

I'm sure if you've just landed a position with a company that sell multifunctional copiers you've been given a list of accounts to call on. These accounts will consist of existing accounts and named accounts (accounts that you'll need to crack). With the existing accounts it will be pretty easy to book an appointment, but how about those "named accounts"? How the heck can you get passed the gate keeper to speak to Mr. or Mrs. Right? You could make phone call after phone..... and this isn't a bad idea. My personal approach is if you can't get them on the phone for reasons such as "just stepped out", "in a meeting", "out to lunch at 4PM", it's obvious they don't want to speak to you. Here are some of my fav tips for constant contact.

1. Put them on a bi-monthly call, sooner or later you'll catch up with them.

2. Vary the times that you call, early (before 9AM), mid day, and then between the hours of 4:30 and 5:30PM

3. After you've made your first call to the DM and left a message, send them a letter in reference to why you are calling, and a letter of introduction. Make sure to mention of mutual accounts that they know or they do business with.

4. See if you can get the email address of the DM, if so, send one email and don't become a pain in the ass with multiple emails. Here's a little trick I learned it won't work for every account. After a few phone calls (not a large account), I couldn't get the name of the DM. I checked the web site and all there was a fill in box for the contact us page. In windows explorer I right clicked on the web page and then selected the "view source" code. I checked the code and wouldn't you know it, there on the contact page was an email address that I could use. Later that day, I found out this was the email address for the DM.

5. Send something different, be creative. Instead of sending a letter via regular mail, send it via 2nd day delivery. It will get opened and plan a phone call for the day after the letter arrives.

6. If you have some promotional items, pack them up in a box and UPS them along with a letter, make sure you call them the day they get the package or a day later. I once sent a box of drinking glasses to an account, I followed up a few days later and I was able to secure and appointment.

7. Go to LinkedIn and see if they have a page, if so look through their contacts to see who might be able to introduce you to them.

8. Schedule a drop off of some kind, here I'd just stick with dropping off a business card. Do this early or late in the day!

9. Ask the gatekeeper what is the best time to call Mr. or Mrs. so and so.

10. If this is truly an account you need to crack, get there early and drop off a box of Joe and doughnuts. Sooner or later the DM will see the treats and ask where they came from. Is $15 to much to spend to have the DM pick up the phone? I think not!

The key is to be persistent, try to be the turtle, slow and steady will get you your appointment. Fast and furious will only turn the potential client off.

-=Good Selling=-

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What will shake up and rattle the office equipment industry?

This was a poll that we had running on the P4PCafe Blog for quite a few months. It was actually started by a Print4Pay Hotel member.

What's the next big development that will shake up and rattle the office equipment industry?

RISO will enter the MFP game and make a splash  14%

Ricoh changes name to Ikon Americas Corporation  11%

Canon really does buy the Toshiba MFP business for distribution  23%

HP buys XEROX  23%

Sharp's A4 products outsell Sharp's A3 products  24%

None of the above  4%

This poll was more for humor than a scientific offering.  However Riso has made a splash with ComColor and if they ever come out with a 40, 50 , or 60ppm unit, then I think they'll have industry giants shakin!

How about Ricoh changing the name to Ikon or HP buying Xerox, yeah it will never happen.  Toshiba MFP division is still out there, could be time for someone to step up to the plate, maybe Kyocera?  Just don't seem how Toshiba can sustain the MFP business with such a low market share.

Have fun with this poll, and visit the P4P Cafe when you can!

-=Good Selling=-

Monday, March 8, 2010

MFP Leads "Are you looking hard enough?"

In all my years of selling copiers and now MFP's, I'll make a comment "Where's the Leads?" Too often I forget that leads are all around me, and sometimes I can't see the forest through the trees.

Just last week, I ran across three leads when I wasn't even looking. The first one was a paper store; I had to buy specialty paper to run some print samples for a client. As I was making my purchase, the clerk printed a sales order/sales receipt on a dot matrix printer with pre-printed three part carbonless paper.

It clicked; I asked the clerk why do you print these like this? He just gave me a dumb look and stated "cause that's the way the boss does it", okay I thought. I then asked for the owners name and the best time to contact him. Done, it's a lead and a solutions lead at that. Pre-printed carbonless forms can run as high as .25 cents each or higher. Now it's just a case of finding out how many forms are printed each and every month to make a viable ROI presentation.

While getting lunch the other day at a WAWA (NJ is big on WAWA's), I picked up a new homes booklet (just something to read at lunch). While thumbing through the booklet, I realized that this can be printed on a ComColor device. Thus another reason to call the publisher for additional details, such as how many book are printed monthly and how often are they printed. I made the call, and found out that they print hundreds of thousands and these books and I was way outta my league. But, in my discovery process I found out that they had a new for a new MFP and I was able to schedule an appointment. Thus, another viable lead from getting lunch.

The third came on Sunday at church, yes indeed it was the church bulletin, but my call was not to the church but to the company that prints the bulletins in 11x17 format, saddle-stapled and the front and back cover was color. I'm still trying to get a hold of the contact on this one. But, again another viable lead with a hardware solution.

Cutting to the chase, being a Copier/MFP sales person means you've always need to be looking for leads. Ask yourself why is this printed like this, where is this printed, is there a different solution that will save the customer money and time. I once sold a digital duplicator just to print restaurant place mats. Being at the right place at the right time helps to, and remember the three foot question. Whenever I get within three feet of someone, I'm asking how they do this or that when it comes to documents, prints or just about anything printed on paper!

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Managed Print Service Poll 50/50

Just about three months ago we launched this poll You're now selling Managed Print Services "Your Thoughts Now" Basically, I was trying to get a handle on if MPS has been successful with MFP dealers. During those three months I had posted a few interm poll stats and found the numbers to be interesting to say the least.

The final poll numbers:

It's been a great success for us 25%
It's been ok for us 26%
It's not reaping the profits we thought it would 36%
If we had to do it over, we would not have gotten into MPS 14%

I'm kinda floored by the results, because everytime you turn around you're either reading something new about MPS or better yet hearing a huge success story. Members told that that this years ITEX was flooded with the MPS theme.

However the poll we ran clearly states that half of the vendors that jumped in are either unhappy with profits or wish they would have never taken on an MPS program. On the flip side the other half is happy with or have touted MPS has a great success!

Why is it that half are successful and half aren't? Are you taking a big gamble by getting into MPS? Is there a flaw somewhere in the business model? I've stated this before, I'm not an MPS expert, however I am an MFP expert and if I keep replacing laser printers with stratically placed MFP's on a cost per page, well I'm doing the same thing right? You could call it an MPP (Managed Page Program)right?

The other day I had a Print4Pay Hotel member on the phone and he stated "dam, I've been doing MPS for years, but we've been doing it with MFPs", I agreed. Personally, MPS is here to stay in some shape of form, is it for every MFP dealer? NO, but with the right base of accounts and knowledgabe experts there are dealers that are very happy that they took MPS on.

The talk track to replace printers with MFP's is more logical, the cost is less per page, page speeds are usually faster and there's many solutions that will enhance work flow with MFP's rather than printers. As the world is turning more towwards a society that is interested in saving resources, MFPS are the clear choice and having millions of stand alone printers clearly churning resources should be a model of the past.

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Print4Pay Hotel Weekend Updates for 2/18/10

Print4Pay Hotel Weekend Updates!

Here's some of serious content from the last few days that's been posted on the Print4Pay Hotel's forums in recent weeks. It has been busy with over 32,000 page views, and 84 new members.

Print4Pay Hotel U Webinars:

Stay tuned, we'll be haveing a few awesome webinars in the near future!

Most Viewed Threads:

Print4Pay Value Membership
Green Initiatives (with 12 posts and 187 page views)
Dealer Incentives? by B1116 (with 12 posts and 204 page views)
I need everyones opinion on this! (with 9 posts and 183 page views)
Searchable PDFs processed by the Copier by SalesServiceGuy (with 15 and 221 page views)
Weekend Indsutry Notes from 2/1/10  (with 7 posts and 231 page views)

Interesting Threads:

Canon U.S.A. to Showcase Document Scanners and Check Transport Solutions at Healthcar
Epson America Introduces Epson Stylus Pro 7700 and 9700 Printers, Partners with Ricoh
Konica Minolta May Beat Its Op... -
Bizhub C652DS/C552DS Series Speeds Workflow and Boasts High Quality, Low-Cost Prints
Lexmark application helps hospitals access critical documents during system or network

Posted Price Quotes:

Toshiba Bid for 40 Units
Sharp MX3100N_MX2600N_MX5001N
Sharp 363n_453N proposal
Canon 7095 bid award and proposal

Leads, RFP's & RFQ's:

Lead for 2 MFP's in Ohio
Lead for 1 MFP in Columbia, Missisippi
Lead for 2 MFP's in Costa Mesa, California
Lead for 1 Color Laser Printer in Manhattan, NY
Lead in Lakeview, Oregon

RFP for High & Medium Volume mono and color MFP's Expires 3/16/10 in Illinois

The Print4Pay Hotel is the world's only business/social site dedicated to people who work in the office equipment industry. Go ahead log on.....become a member of the Print4Pay Hotel!

become informed, share and maintain your knowledge.

-=Good Selling=-

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Print4Pay Hotel coins New Phrase for Office Equipment Industry "News Color"

Today was pretty eventful day on the road for me.

For those who follow me, you all know I'm really excited about the new ComColor products from Riso!

Earlier today I had an appointment at one of my print shop accounts, with me I brought a sample of a 32 page booklet that was given to me from a prospect for a ComColor device.

The reason I brought him the book was two fold, A) The prospect told me he needed to see samples print from the ComColor on the same type of paper that was used in the printed booklet. I'm no expert on paper and web press, thus my reasoning for getting my expert involved. B) I needed an education on different types of paper and how a web press works.

Here' what I found out today, the paper used for the booket was classified as 16lb offset (newspaper stock), my customer suggested that I find a 16lb offset opaque paper (he actually contacted his supplier and they provided me with sample sheets)  and that would help prevent bleed through (from using a thin sheet of stock) from the ink that is used from the ComColor.

For the last week or so, I had been looking for some type of term to define the type of color that the ComColor or any liquid ink based MFP reproduces.

Well...., from here on in I'm calling the type of color that's reproduced on the ComColor as NEWS COLOR! We've got laser color, we've use B2C Color and walla now we have NEWS COLOR.

What defines NEWS COLOR? I'm using "read today and gone tomorrow", the color that you'll see in USA Today or other newspapers, along with flyers and leaflets. NEWS COLOR can be used to represent the type of color that ink based MFP's can reproduce. News Color seems to be a perfect description and I'll be running with it. More to come on this!!!

-=Good Selling=-