Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Selling Copiers & MFP's "Alternatives to Discounting"

It's that time of the month again. I reached out to "Old Glory" a Print4Pay Hotel Member and asked Jim Parker if he'd being willing to write something for us. As always Jim came up BIG!  It's always good to talk to someone else who has been selling in the industry for some time.  Special thanx to Jim Parker for this this!  Jim is a Premium P4P Member and his input is always welcomed, take the time to become a Print4Pay Hotel Member, you'll be glad you did!

Alternatives to Discounting
Particularly when I am upgrading a current customer, I pretty much never let the current lease go full term AND pretty much never eat the whole cost of a buy-out and neither does the customer. I add the remaining months to the term of the new lease. If there are three months left on a 60 month lease, I tell the customer that the remaining obligation just becomes a part of the new lease.  Instead of back-to-back 60 month leases, they end up with a 60 month lease that only goes 57 and a 63 month lease...same 120 months. The extra funding that the 3 month longer obligation gets me comes close to paying the buy-out on the original lease. May not be able to do it again next renewal but I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

If you are hearing anything akin to “We’d have a deal if…” The first question needs to be, “Do you prefer to buy from me?” If the answer is yes then consider the following before giving in to discounting:

·        “Would you consider a longer term in return for the lower payment?” Earlier this year I placed 23 machines by matching the competitors 36 month payment by telling the prospect that I could match the competitors payment if they wouldn’t mind committing to 48 months instead of 36. They plan on always having a payment and never owning the equipment so does it matter that much whether the equipment stays 36 months or 48 as long as we keep them happy?

·        What about a step lease? “Mr. Customer, would you be willing to pay a little more in years 2 and 3 in return for the lower payment in year one?”

·        What about a deferred payment? “Mr. Customer, what if I could arrange for you to be able to go without a payment at all for a few months. Would that be helpful?” This will cost a small amount in funding but may be far less than the discount they were asking for.

·        If you are accustomed to -0- in advance leases… “The only way I can get you that payment is if are willing to pay a two payment security deposit. You’ll get it back in the end.”

I’m pretty sure all leasing companies will quote you a rate for any of these options as well as unusual terms like 37 or 41 months or whatever.

·        “Mr. Customer, what if I could arrange for you to get a nice laser printer at no charge instead?” To them it’s a $600 printer that may only cost you $300. And who knows, it may get them started buying Ricoh printers.

·        What about a lesser finisher, or one fewer paper trays?

·        Do they really need the fax option anymore?

·        Can they live with 28 ppm instead of 33? “Mr. Customer, you said you would prefer to buy from me and I certainly want to work with you…Do you think you can live with…?”

·        “Mr. Customer, I can’t get you that price unless you buy more than one.” I’m telling you it works, particularly with bigger companies or inexpensive items such as printers.

Do these things really work? The answer is no, not all of the time but you always have the fall back position of giving in to their request so you’ve lost nothing by trying.

One final thought…NOT ALL OF THE LIGHTS HAVE TO BE ON GREEN!!!    Just because they are asking, doesn’t mean that they will buy from someone else if you can’t come through. You have to know your prospect and know your position with them. I can usually tell if what they are asking is a deal breaker. If it isn’t a deal breaker, don’t give in.
-=Good Selling=-

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