Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend Copier & Multifunctional Print4Pay Hotel Notes 7/30/2011

My summer Collegiate Baseball season has ended, not a great year for the team record wise, however I'm always delighted being able to coach the game!

The end of July really, already!  It's been an ok year so far, I've already met my annual quota (our year ends in December), Presidents Club is in the bag and I'm going to try and focus on driving additional profit along with adding more potential accounts that have multiple units.  So, at least for now I'll be back to blogging on a regular basis!

So for all our Print4Pay Hotel Members and Members to be, here's some links of our latest and greatest threads. Check out the new beta portal here.

Recent Document Uploads:

"Pricing on th Street" for Xerox_Quote WC7755PC
"Pricing on the Street" for Lanier LDC 365C proposal
"Pricing on the Street" for IKON_Quote Ricoh MPc 6501
"Pricing on the Street" for Canon iR6075

There's many more, just the latest from today!

Leads, RFP's RFQ's:
Bid for 23 MFP's in Canada
Bid in Canada for two Print Production units
Request for Proposals for 2 Copiers in California
RFP for 3 Print Production Units in Richmond
Copier lead in New Hope, PA

Many more of these also!!!

Recent Interesting Threads from P4P'ers:
Rumor has it....(Xerox to Market MFP's through Global only?) 
Material Data Safety Calls to the Manufacturer

Cloud SAS (Software as a ServicePoll)
New Sharp End of lease HDD feature
Xerox marketing FREE 120PPM Copiers
List your favorite funny copier moments

MFP Cloud Threads:
UDOCX in hybrid environments
Print email from the cloud (Video)
Generic advantages and differences of UDOCX house installs

These are just some samples of the threads from this week alone!! The Print4Pay has over 2,300 world wide members that are dedicated Imaging Professionals. Take a trip here (registration link, don't worry man, it's FREE) and become a part of the largest social group of Imaging Professionals in the work and the opportunity to discuss solutions, best practices, rumors, and make new friends in the industry (it's nice to have a secure forum that's not out there for the public, eh?)

-=Good Selling=-
Art Post
"One of the Top 40 Most Influential People in the Imaging Business"

MFP Copier Wars and the Last Crusade

Sooner or later everything comes to an end, right? 

If you're a scifi buff like me, you'll understand that that technologies that we saw in Star Trek will eventually come true. Things like the replicator can now be directly tied to 3D printers, the tablets that Kirk and Picard used to view an sign are here now (ever wondered why you never saw a sheet of paper on the Enterprise), and how about the transporter (teleporter), it mas not be here now, however it's estimated that we'll have a transporter within 100 years.

Right, so what does the future hold for copiers, mfp's and printers? We all understand that page volumes are dropping due to the use of scan2email, scan2folder, and LAN fax along with software applications that will allow for markups, notes, and the ability to merge documents from different software applications and create one document. We also understand that there is no growth of the printed page, there's growth for manufacturers to capture additional printed pages by taking them away from Printing Presses.

The future whenever it comes to pass looks grim for Chester Carlson's invention of xerographic technology in 1938. Our beloved butt of office jokes, copied butts and breasts will be all but a memory in years to come.

I'm not big on all of the tech products and services offered on the market today, however I am familiar with one product that I believe will move us a step closer to the paperless office. That product is the eWriter from Ricoh.

The eWriter is a tablet based product that can improve remove traditional paper from a cumbersome work flow and direct it to an online process, thus saving tremendous amounts of time which translates to money.

The eWriter offers all of the quality of paper, with documents in a digital format that will be more secure than paper, reduce paper and increase efficiencies in the work flow of documents.

Point noted about the eWriter is that the tablet is priced around $500 however, it's my understanding that there is also a 3 year subscription service (SAS model) that need to be purchased. Along with that Ricoh already has additional apps that are available on it's eWriter web site.

As these devices gain popularity we will see another downturn in the printed or copied page. For the person who thinks that this will not be the norm in 5-10 years, I'm thinking that they'll be on the outside looking in.

Our industry is migrating to SAS solutions with a combination of hardware and software.

Dealerships and salespeople alike need to understand that what we do today will be gone tomorrow and if you're a new rep in the business and you are fortunate enough to stay in the industry as long as I have in 30 years you'll be making jokes about machines that once printed and copied documents onto paper.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Selling MFP's & Copiers Like a LION!

I'm in the office the other day (which I hate to be in the office), and one of the new reps...well not that new but new to sales and new to the industry is having a tough go of it.  The rep in question has all of the tools to make an excellent rep such as polite, intelligent, quick thinker, quick learner and a good worker. 

Mind you the rep in question is getting the appointments, making the calls but is falling short in getting the orders.  I too struggled with this in my early years of selling, the problem for me in the early years is that I had no one to mentor me. For me, it took some 18 years in the industry before I had a true mentor.  Imagine that, no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to help hone your sales skills, basically you're  marooned to take care of yourself. 

Nowadays with the Internet there are many ways to get self help for sales, even on the Print4Pay Hotel forums we'll bounce ideas off of one another and there's even a forum titled Recommended Reading for Sales with over a dozen books mentioned.

Years ago I turned to "Act Like a Lamb and Sell Like a Lion" by Tom Hopkins, this book turned around my sales career! As I read theboo for the first time I told myself, dam this stuff is corny and it won't work. Alas, I had no other options but to make sales work. Hence I continued to read and learn.  After a few sales calls I found my self hearing a certain reply or a trigger word that sparked a response from the book. Yeah, it was corny stuff, but it worked!

I guess the moral of this story is that there is a "art" to selling, guiding the prospect to the end result of buying your product and services. If you're an excellent listener the prospect will tell you where they are in the sales cycle. If they are not convinced that they want your product you'll hear replies like "let me think about it", or "we haven't made a decision yet" and my favorite "we're going to check out competitors models".   "WHY" it's an awesome reply isn't it??

Back to our rep, I brought the book in the office today and told him make sure you give it back to me, and I also told him to read a few pages at a time and take it everywhere you go, it's your key to success.

-=Good Selling=-

MFP & Copier Comp Plans

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's been awhile since I've had some extra time to write. The end of my summer Collegiate Baseball Season is ending next week and I hope to resume writing something at least three times a week again.
So, how is your commission compensation program? Is it simple, can you figure how much commission you're going to make on the fly? Or, does your commission compensation program take months and years to understand all of the if's and don'ts?

I've been around long enough to understand the two major commission comp plans such as the gross profit plan (here you get a percentage of the profit made off the sale) and the Revenue plan (Revenue Plans are quota based and your percentage of commission will be dictated by the percentage of discount along with monthly and quarterly bonuses for hitting certain month and quarterly revenue targets).

I'm no rocket scientist (matter of fact I just had to look up scientist to make sure I had it spelled properly), however I've got street smarts, quick thinking, a good listener and can go toe to toe with the best of them when negotiating deals. When I started in the industry I spent some 28 years under the Gross Profit Commission Compensation Program. I was blessed with an easy comp plan that allowed me to always figure in my head how much money I could make on the sale. Nothing is finer than walking out from the sale and knowing how much you made, and to tell you the truth it was also easier to negotiate price (if you had to) when the Gross Profit Compensation Plan.

During the last two and a half years I've been on a Gross Revenue Plan. Trust me I'm not saying that this isn't a good plan to have, it does have some finer points such as the monthly and quarterly bonuses. But it's been much harder for me to grasp how much money I can make especially if I have to negotiate price on the spot. Personally the reason I've been in this business for so long is the fact that I could also create additional income when needed.

Years ago, it was possible to make $1,500 - $3,000 per unit. Nowadays it's a whole heck of a lot less, but to be fair both companies that I worked for that had the Gross Profit Plan eventually bit the bullet! So, I guess the grass is not always green on the other side and comp plans are what you make of them. A key to everyone is to understand all of the points of the comp plan, pretty much know the in's and outs. This will lead to a much better relationship and will forgo any surprises that may come down the road.

I'd like to hear from others as to what type of plan you have and what you like about and what you don't like. I like my new comp plan however if I had one wish it would be that I had someone to explain it to me instead of me having to comprehend all of the finer points.

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 Tips for a Successful MFP Walkthrough

Just yesterday this question "I'm searching for best questions to ask on a walk through. New to the industry and would welcome your input." was posted on the Print4Pay Hotel forums.

I thought it would be a good topic for everyone.

Emie (Louisiana) posted:  "I'm searching for best questions to ask on a walk through. New to the industry and would welcome your input." and then "Working on a bid proposal and have scheduled a walk through at the client's locations. I'd like to know specific questions and or best practices that I should use when doing the walk through."

Chuch (Arizona) posted:  "Bids are very precise things versus a RFP/RFQ's or Quotes. If a bid and you can offer something no one else can then push for your strengths to be included e.g. if you can offer PCL at no cost (or PPDM) try to have it included. If its a large opportunity do a SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) analysis over your known competition. If its an RFP or RFQ I've had good luck by offering something of true value that others would charge extra for, this sets you apart and gives reasons for justifying a higher cost."

Me (New Jersey) posted:
  1. Take a picture of each device (this helps jog the memory banks)
  2. Takes notes for all accessories or options on each device
  3. Find users for the device and ask them what type of media do they print onto (card stock, envelopes, ncr, bond paper, etc..)
  4. Print out a configuration list for each device
  5. Ask a user what they like most about the system and then ask what they dislike the most
  6. Ask a user what paper sizes they are printing, scanning, faxing or copying onto
  7. Record serial numbers and or ID's of each device
  8. Print a meter count from each device, the more comprehensive the better
  9. If possible make of map of the device locations along with department names and key user
  10. Drill down or aks if they are using OEM or Third Party apps with the device
Walkthrough's use to be simple.  As the population of "Smart" MFP's grow along with the use of embedded solution software we'll need to be diligent with our process of each device.

My favorite is to make a map of the location and place the MFP's in the departments with a comprehensive list (like the one above) for each device.

This question was posed to Print4Pay Hotel members by someone new in the industry and after a day there were great responses to help and help is all about the Print4Pay Hotel forums.  There's no end users , no sales recruiters (like linkedin groups), you're able to find answers and ask for advise in a closed and secure forum.  To date we have over 2,300 members from around the world.  Please take a trip to Print4Pay Hotel.

-=Good Selling=-