Sunday, November 25, 2012

Office Equipment Leasing "Who's Stealing the Cheese"

Ethical or Unethical?

Some companies use em and some don't. For those of you who are new to the business, I'll try to make some sense of the "padded" lease rates. "Padding" means to increase the lease rate factor from what the leasing companies published rate is. Meaning, the leasing company will provide the Direct Branch or Dealer with a rate factor of .0276 for a 36 month fair market value lease, thus a $10,000 piece of equipment would cost $276.00 per month to lease. Dollar amount times rate factor equals cost per month.

Now, here comes the sneaky part (geez, I hope I do not get phone calls from attorneys with pointy sticks!). The Direct Branch or Dealer will raise the rates to the reps, such as the rate going from .0276 (36 month FMV) to .0289 (36 month FMV), thus a $10,000 piece of equipment will now cost the customer $289.00 per month. The Direct Branch or the Dealer will then "back out" the rate. Meaning,  take the payment and divide by the real rate factor (.0276) which will then equal the total dollar amount that is paid to the dealer by the leasing company. In this case the dealer would receive $10,471.01 or an increased revenue of $471.01 by "padding" the rate! In some instances

Ricoh SP8300DN Spec Review "the reveal"

I ask you, when was the last time you hugged your printer? Odds are you haven't just because there's not much too like about laser printers these days.  You know the ones, they have the low purchase price and a very high cost per page for the consumable items.

Lately many manufacturers have lowered their toner cost to lure you in, yet they forget to tell you about the other consumables items that are needed (the manufacturer treats these as parts), fuser, maintenance kits, transfer kit, drum, etc.. So, there's not much to like about these systems especially when you want to print some volume.

At this time Ricoh offers three A3 (printers that will print 11x17 size document), the SP 6330N (35 pages per minute), the SP8300N (50 pages per minute) and the SP9100DN (75 pages per minute).

One Awesome Sales Experience from the Seventies

Is it just me or does every Thanksgiving always bring back memories from times gone by?

Today while running errands I remembered a few of my first introductions into sales, at the time I didn't think it was anything more than doing my job.

While working at Green Farms produce company in Iselin, NJ in the mid seventies I distinctly remember waiting on one of our wholesale accounts.  One day I was waiting on Larry and he asked for something like 40 bags of corn.  In order to get the corn, I had to go to the reefer and unload them by hand and put them on a pallet.  When I was done getting the forty bags of corn, Larry pulled off the top bag tore it open and then pulled out 6 or so ears of corn.  He then ripped off the husk and stated "What are you trying to do, this corn is all dried out, I don't want this crap, go get Sonny (Sonny was my boss and the owner)".  Larry was pissed (but Larry was playing his own game) and I thought, dam this all I needed that I know had to get Sonny involved. 

I told Sonny how mad Larry was and

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sharp "Reading Between the Lines" Part 2

Sharp Update!!

Intel may take a 30 billion yen investment in Sharp by the end of the month, the 30 billion yen is less than 10% of what Sharp expects to lose this year.

There was also a report that Qualcom may also do something in the near future.

In another report Ming the Merciless aka Terry Guo is providing a personal guarantee for HonHai to move forward with the purchase of Sharp's 10th gen LCD plant. It's reported for about 19 billion yen. Keep in mind that Sharp is expected to lose 450 billion yen this year. Thus that's 5.6 billion US dollars!

Money from Intel and Hon Hai is only 49 billion yen. That's a mere 10% of the expected losses for this year.

Another report states that Sharp will raise production at it's Kameyama No. 2 plant to near 100%, this plant produces the IGZO screens for Apple's Ipad tablet.

Sharp is banking on IGZO as the revival of it's fortunes.

The Sharp debacle has now many months under it's legs since a Nikkei Analyst stated that "Sharp May Sell it's Copier Business"

There are those of us in the copier industry that believe that the rhetoric from Sharp USA is correct and others that believe that the silence from Sharp Corp JP may tell the true story.  I try to read every press release to try and make sense of what Sharp Corp will do with their copier business unit.  On one hand I believe it is a valuable resource to them, however on the other hand I see how deep they are with the likes of Apple,  and their IGZO displays. Those of us in the industry know that the herd of copier manufacturers needs to be culled, the industry as a whole will be stronger if Sharp decides to get out of the copier/mfp business.

I think Sharp needs to pull the plug and get out while the getting is good, page volumes don't look good for the future, while screens for tablets, mini tablets, and phones will continue to expand.  So, why why hold on to a business unit that may wither away in the near future.  The likes of Kyocera, and Toshiba are probably chomping at the bit to swallow the existing Sharp dealers, Sharp direct and their base.

What would you do if you were Sharp Corp?

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, November 17, 2012

To Ricoh "What I Want for Christmas in 2013"

In Nova Scotia, during the twelve days of Christmas small groups of belsnicklers, or masked mummers, appear in neighborhoods, ringing bells, making noise, seeking candy or other treats. The hosts may try to guess who the mummers are and if they guess right the mummer removes his or her disguise and stops making rude noises and actions. Children may be quizzed by the mummers on their behavior if they say they have been good they are rewarded with candy. Thanx to Santas Net.

This will be the third year I've written a blog about "What I Want for Christmas".  If you'd like to read the others follow the links To Ricoh "What I Want for Christmas in 2011" and To Ricoh "What I Want for Christmas in 2012"

Here's my list for Ricoh this year:

  • 60-90 page per minute A4 MFP's Color or Black
  • 4 PPM Toner based Wide Format MFP with Color Scan for the USA market (You gave this to Australia and Europe buy not the Americas)
  • Hi Speed Network Scan Station that will scan at 100 image per minute plus along with a 200 page document feeder and the ability to scan2email, scan2folder and scan2cloud (I really want this one the most)
  • Wide Format Inkjet MFP that will Color Print/Color Scan and Color Copy
  • A4 Color Envelope Press with Color Matching
  • A3 Color Envelope Press with Color Matching (Dam, you gave this to Xante but not me!)
  • A Full Size Color Screen for the MPC305 and MPC301 (If you can get me this, could you get me a real good pair of glasses so I can see the screen on these models)
  • How about anything with the memjet print engine (before Xerox and Toshiba brings theirs to market)
  • You promised me ICE (Integrated Cloud Environment) last year, can you bring this to me this year?
  • MFPs that will have standard scan2OCR, scan2print and create search able pdf's (everyone else has these, why not me).
If you'd like to anything to the list, please do so in the comment section!

-=Good Selling=-

Selling Copiers & MFP's "Running With the Big Dogs"

What's the Golden Rule when selling office equipment? Know your competition or least what they are quoting.

Ever notice every time you walk the dog that he or she stops at every tree or fire hydrant, ever wonder what they're doing?

They are checkin out the competition. Who's who, whose doing what and where ya been! Amazing that they can find all of that out in a few whiffs of hydrant!

Well, we as sales people need to know the competition as well, what they're up to, what's their current maintenance pricing, leasing rates (did you know you can figure out the lease rate by backing out the payment), special promo's, or just how they are positioning themselves with the customer.  I just had a quote given to me a few days ago and there was some good value statements that I'll migrate to my quotes and proposals, so by being able to read the quotes and proposals from the competition you may be able to tweak your proposal and borrow from others!

Here's some threads I've uploaded to the P4PHotel Message Boards, click the links and you'll be brought to the page.

Canon IRC 2030 Proposal
Competitive KonicaMinolta proposal vs Toshiba
Canon imageRUNNER Advance 6065 proposal
Canon imageRunner Advance C7065
Konicaminolta bizhub25 proposal
"Pricing on the Street" Ricoh MPC4502

The Print4Pay Hotel includes boards for Ricoh Family Group, Kyocera, KonicaMinolta, Sharp, Toshiba, Canon, Muratec and Xerox.

-=Good Selling=-

Thursday, November 15, 2012

5 Awesome Tips for Leasing Office Equipment

With 32 years selling office equipment, I've seen many ups and downs in the economy. Each uptick and downturn presents unique issues for all of our clients.

When the economy is booming, you'll have clients that could outgrow the systems you leased to them last year and they still have 2-5 years left on the lease. When the economy is struggling you'll get calls from clients who are struggling to make their lease payments, what they leased a year or 18 months ago is now a burden because they don't have the work and can't keep up with the payments.

So, what are we to do?

In the past I've had calls from clients who are having a rough go of it, in particular one account who leased equipment two years for an office they closed a few months ago. Now they have two sets of identical equipment and struggling to keep up with payments. I was called in to see if there was any way I could reduce the payments either with upgrading and buying out the old equipment. The bad news I have to give to the customer is that I couldn't do anything with either of their leases. Both of them are only two years into a 60 month lease and both have optional buyouts attached.

Just the other day, I noticed that one of my clients was coming close to the end of a 36 month lease. We spoke about the end of lease options but then informed me that he was not financially in a position to lease (that tells me that they may have entered into a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy), thus he asked for the purchase price of the system. I was more than happy to help, I received the buyout and it was a whopping 40% of the purchase price based on a 39 month term.  Really? Why do leasing companies need to do this......I'd be more than happy to say that the leasing company is Everbank (so buyer beware).  I then told my customer to call the leasing company and negotiate with them and always keep in mind that they don't want the equipment back.  You always have the edge over the leasing company, they may not act like you do, however when push comes to shove they don't want it!

Keep in mind that when I present a proposal, I give my clients the option of how long they wish to lease and the type of buy-out option at the end of the term. Most customers will opt for the lowest payment, meaning they go for a 60 month term and the option to buy at the end of term.

Here's some points to consider when explaining the leasing options:

1. Always try to get the customer to commit to the shortest term possible that will meet their financial needs.
2. Explain the advantages and the disadvantages of a Fair Market Value Lease and a $1.00 purchase option lease.
3. Explain the how the equipment needs to be returned if they enter into a Fair Market Value Lease.
4. Explain the additional charges such as insurance and documentation fees.
5. Read the lease yourself, if you're not comfortable with the contract, don't give it to the customer to sign.

Getting back to my client, where they have the extra equipment and they need to lower their payments. My only idea is to have them call the leasing company and see if the leasing company will start a new lease for them. It means that would have to resign for 4 or 5 years, however they would get what they need in order to make ends meet (lower payments). On the other hand I'm not even sure if leasing companies will do this.

BTW, if you really need a top notch leasing company that will cater towards the dealer and the customer I recommend LCA leasing. They are not the biggest (which is a good thing), however dealer and customer support is out of this world!

Art Post

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Japanese Printer Companies during World War II "Part One"

I've always been fascinated with the history of companies, as to when they first opened, what they manufactured and how they came to prominence in their market place. Okidata has a long history of manufacturing and there is some awesome information on the history of Okidata in the links I provided at the end of this blog. In particular I was interested in what Japanese printer companies manufactured during World War II. Yes, I borrowed some of the information from the history of OKI, but also put together some quick facts about Okidata during the war years. Please enjoy.

Before OKI data was known as OKI data, it was Oki Electric Works and before that Miekosha. Kibataro Oki founded the company in 1881. By 1890 Oki Electric Works had earned an excellent reputation as a communication equipment manufacturer that specialized in telephone receivers.

After December of 1941 civilian communications dropped off and Oki Electric Works devoted most of its efforts to the war effort. Oki Electric Works then relied on orders from the Japanese Imperial Navy and Army to produce field telephones, ammunition, aeronautical radios, and hydrophones. In 1938 Oki Electric Works acquired a site in the Shiba Takahama section of Tokyo, here they were to build their Takahama plant. The plant was finished in 1941 and concentrated manufacturing wireless telegraph equipment, sonar, ammunition, and fuses for the Japanese Imperial Navy. In 1944 Oki was designated by the Munitions Company Act as a “munitions company”, which allowed the Military to take control of the factories and also allowed the government to intervene in personal matters.

March 10, 1945 saw 50 young students and women killed in a bombing raid, they had been held up in an air raid shelter in the Meijiza Theater. When World War II ended in 1945, Oki had 20 plants and nearly 23,000 employees even though its Shibaura, Maebashi and Otsuka Plants had been completed destroyed in American bombing raids.

To read more

-=Good Selling=-

Looking for MFP & Copier Leads in All The Right Places

I've borrowed a few lines from a blog I did about three years ago in reference to finding leads and then updated with a few new ones for everyone. 

Have you ever heard of the "three foot rule"?  It means that whenever you get within three feet of someone you should be talk solutions/MFP's or even how do you do this or that.  It sounds kind of lame, but you need to sneak it in somewhere.  I could have the worst week, month or even quarter however I always look at it that I never know what tomorrow will bring me, it's inevitable that continued prospecting will always generate new opportunities that you were not counting on.

Over the years, I found leads I've generated opportunities because I always ask myself how did they print this or make it look this way.  Here are 5 opportunities that came my way over the years.

1) 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 carbon less 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 carbon less 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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sharp "Reading between the Lines"

Sharp Action is the title of a thread on the Print4Pay Hotel forums.  Just today I had the chance to check out the threads from Print4Pay Hotel members.

The thread was started by GMAN (we all know GMAN is good for some juicy news) that BIG News is coming for Sharp Dealers and consider yourself warned!  I love a good rumor just as good as everyone else if not more.  I PM'd (private message) GMAN through the forums and all I'm going to day is "that is it not Sharp's Promotional Plus Pricing".

The one thing that I love about the Print4Pay Hotel forums is that you can "read between the lines" meaning when it comes to Sharp USA I can understand where they are coming from and why they are so aggressive in the US marketplace now.  But the "reading between the lines" comes from other Print4Pay Hotel members that are speculating or hearing someone else on another level.

Vince McHugh writes his own blog at The Connected Copier, if you're following his blog and mine about Sharp and the comments then I believe you are being kept up to date with the recent events of Sharp Corporation.  Every since a Nikkei analyst stated that "Sharp MAY sell it copier division", Sharp USA has been on the defensive, so much so that they've signed some 15 new dealers, instituted a new Promotional Plus pricing program and even had the Chairman of Sharp's Dealer Advisory Council tell Vince that he should stick to selling copiers, this is his statement "I recommend that you focus on your business".  So, here's a Sharp Dealer Owner that is trying to set the record straight because he heard from "Sharp Corporation's top factory executive and Member of the Board that they shared plans for a profitable B2B business".  I agree, that top exec needs to say the right thing and do everything he can to keep the factories running, stating anything else would just keep adding fuel to the fire.

Here's some of the comments from the forums:

Polek & Polek Donates Supplies for Hurricane Sandy Relief

I live at the Jersey Shore in a small town known as Highlands. It's called Highlands because the eastern area has a high bluff (I live on the bluff), but most of the population of Highlands is located at sea level on Sandy Hook Bay.

Highlands was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, most of the town was without power for two weeks and the main section of Highlands had a surge of water anywhere from 6-15 feet.  Most of the homes in Highlands were flooded with sea water and everyone was evacuated in the low lying areas.

While I was without power I was helping with the relief effort at my church. Our town was in dire need of clothes, cleaning products, food, blankets and just the everyday items that you need to survive. 

I was able to post a message on linkedin that we were in need of those items, early this week I had a call from Polek & Polek they are one of my accounts that is a sponsor of the Print4Pay Hotel forums.  They informed me that they wanted to help and asked what was needed.

When I got home from work yesterday, there were nine giant boxes on my front porch with cleaning supplies, batteries, personal hygiene supplies and new clothes!  Today, I delivered all of the supplies to the church.

I'd like to personally thank the employees and owners of Polek & Polek for donating these much needed supplies to our small town.  The donation is greatly appreciated and tells me a lot about the character of the employees and owners of Polek & Polek.

Kudos to Polek & Polek for their generous donation.

-=Good Selling=-

Ricoh Americas is now Soliciting Dealer Accounts?

WTF, was my first reaction when my wife told me she received a letter from Ricoh Americas Corporation at the church where she works. I then asked my wife are you sure it was from Ricoh, she stated that she would bring me home a copy of the letter.  Yesterday she bought the letter home and sure enough it was from Ricoh Americas Corp. 

This letter raised a few questions:

1) How did Ricoh know that my church has a new Ricoh Copier?

2) Where did they get that information from?

3) Is this going to happen with all of my accounts?

So, I'm thinking this through trying to figure out where Ricoh got the data from, I thought it couldn't be Aficio League because we black out the customer name and address on the invoice and we don't give them the customer name.  Ok, so I remembered that I used NCPG (national church buying group) pricing for this account. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

10 Awesome Tips to Keep Your Best Sales Producers

Seems to me like this would be just the opposite of "10 Tips on How to Lose Your Top Sales Producers"   blog I wrote....., well, not entirely.

1.  Don't lie to them, if you do and you're found out to be a liar, the rep will have no respect for you or your company.
2.  Double and triple check commissions to make sure they are correct, who knows maybe you'll find and error in your favor and you didn't see in on the first pass.
3. Check and approve the commission form before the new system or service is installed, this way if there is a discrepancy it can be resolved before the pay period or the install.  This will also help the sales person too see exactly what they are getting paid and they can then "count" x amount of funds in order to pay their bills.  Side Note:  Over the years I've been amazed at the amount of people who think our commission money is extra money, mad money or our slush fund.  Get a grip people we use our commission money to pay or bills and support our family.

10 Tips to Get Your Leased Copier replaced post Hurricance Sandy

The recent aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has left many copiers and office equipment underwater or damaged to the point that the systems can't be repaired. 

Most leasing companies offer insurance for these type  of castastrohic events.  So with the help of Great America Leasing, we've put together some good points to follow to place a claim so you can get your copier or office equipment replaced or repaired.

If you are paying insurance on your copier with your lease payment:

  • Call your leasing company and ask for a "claims  information document" , your leasing company may call it something else but at least tell them you need some type of claim form.
  • You will need to know where you need to submit the claim form, while you're on the phone with the leasing company make sure you ask.
  • Take pictures of the copier and or office equipment.
  • If you can turn the system on (which I do not recommend if the system was under water or is wet), you want to see if you can get a meter read from the unit. Getting a meter read is NOT required.
  • Submit your claim form and a representative from the insurance company (note most leasing companies use 3rd party insurance companies) will be in contact to discuss if the unit is repairable or needs to be replaced.
  • Continue to make your monthly payments to the leasing company until the claim has been resolved.
If you are going to submit to your Business Property Insurance:

  • You will need to start a claim with your insurance agent.
  • Take pictures of the copier or office equipment.
  • Call your leasing company and ask for a buyout quote to submit to your agent.
  • The isurance agent will need to work with you to determine if the copier or office equipment will be repaired or replaced.
  • Continue to make your monthly payments to the leasing company until the claim has been resolved.
As with all insurance claims you want to have proper paper/communication trail, make copies of the forms, make sure you write down who you spoke to (first and last name), along with the date and time that you spoke to them.

Now, if you're in New Jersey and you need to replace a copier in New Jersey, please give me a call 732.977.1211 or email me and I can assist in the claims process and help with the aquisition of a new system.

_=Good Selling=-