Sunday, December 30, 2012

Managing Print Costs for Wide Format Ink Plotters

Over the weekend I took the time to finish one of my spreadsheets that enables us (Print4Pay Hotel members) to identify the cost per square foot for HP inkjet plotters.  Let me tell you this was no easy task.  Why in the world is there no information from HP that states how many mililiters of black ink is used to print one square foot for a CAD drawing?  Every time I searched the HP web site for additional information about cost per page for Designjet plotters I was stymied by a notice that stated there was no information.

I was able to find a few documents that related to color use, but nothing related to CAD drawings.  Each HP plotter cartridge tells us how much ink is in the cartridge, but you'll never use all of the ink due to evaporation, ink head cleaning/purging and some residual ink left in the cartridge.  For example one cartridge has 69ml (mililiters) of ink.  Thus I was curious as to how much ink is a mililiter.   A mililiter measure to be one thousandth of a liter.  I know liters because that's because most of the soda bottles are now measured in liters, but how about a mililiter?  Is that less than a shot glass, more than a tablespoon? I found this handy document that tells us 1ml is also equal to 1cc, 2.5 ml is equal to a half of teaspoon, 5ml is a teaspoon, and 30ml equal two tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce.  Ok, I get it so the HP cartridge that hold 69 mililiters of ink is equal to a little more than 2 ounces.  Since the cartridge resells for $69, the price per mililiter is $1.00.

As I stated the key was to

Happy New Year & Welcome Home!

I can't see how this video of military families being reconnected only has 192 views!  Please use your social media skills (twitter, facebbook, linkedin, email, etc.) to sent this to everyone on your list.  Keep America Strong & Happy New Year!

Happy New Year America 2013

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

15 Critical Questions for Selling Wide Format in the AEC Market

I can't remember who I was speaking to, might have been my new sales manager, yup I think it was, and we were having a conversation about print/copy volumes.  I brought out two points where I don't believe print volume will decrease, one is with the Production Print market and the other is with the AEC (Architects, Engineers and Construction.  I agreed that while pages may decrease with the multifunctional print devices (copiers, printers, fax), I do not believe they will decrease with CAD drawings.  There's just too much going on with those documents and while you might be able to read a document or view an invoice with a tablet, you really need that piece of paper (blueprint/blackline) laid out in front of you to see the whole picture of the big plan.

Back in 1998 I got my first introduction to wide format analog systems with Ricoh.  In the late nineties it was still an analog market.  On any given day you could find and AEC account with an ink plotter, a diazo copier and an analog wide format copier.  In 2003 or 2004 Ricoh intro'd the 240W which was the first digital wide format MFP with a small footprint and under $15k that would scan, print, copy, collate, reduce, and enlarge.  

The Ricoh 240W was an immediate hit, almost everyone wanted one, and we couldn't keep the bad boys in stock.  I'll admit during the year or so I was an order taker, and I was not ashamed of that. After the first year though, we as sales people had to dig deeper to get the additional 240W sales. One of the most effective ways was to conduct and ROI (return on investment) analysis of the the potential customers wide format print devices.  ROI selling is usually a slam dunk, here it is in black & white you're paying this month to run these devices with maintenance, supplies, service, parts etc.

Years ago I put together a spreadsheet for wide format devices, in this spreadsheet I had the cost per page for inkjet plotters, print heads, plot paper, vellum, translucent bond, toner, developer, pm kits. I broke it all down to a cost per page.  From there I developed three different spreadsheets to help with different types of analytics.

From this spreadsheet, I was able to ask one key question that would determine whether I would be able to offer the client an immediate ROI (and make a decent GP) on the existing way they were using their equipment.   To say the least it worked and is still working today, the spreadsheet is my holy grail for wide format selling. 

What's changed in wide format in the last ten years?  

Not that much,  6 page a minute systems now sell for the price of 4 page a minute systems, printing and scanning requires no additional software and in North America Xerox has left the market.  Yeah, one other item, there is now a plethora of ink jet CAD wide format printers out there.  Which also means there's a huge potential for upgrades to the less expensive toner based wide format MFP's.  Like most crappy little ink jet printers business users/owners have no clue to the actual per page cost of these wide format ink plotters.  That's where my spreadsheet comes in, with one question I can tell you if they are a potential prospect or not. After a short 15 minute meeting I can tell them how much I can save them with migrating to a toner based LED wide format system! 

It's not about waiting for the customer to call you and ask "how much for this system"?, it's about you getting a little deeper with the account and asking. "how much is all of this costing you"?  

I always told my son, there are no short cuts in life and that's true. However there are some short cuts in sales, and for $19.95 you can download my "ROI wide format spreadsheet". Trust me,  this is really nice spreadsheet with comments, tips, paper pricing, some consumables and the "15 right questions to ask". 

Click here for Buy it Now, or you can join our Premium P4P Hotel Membership and you'll be able to download it for free along with the rest of our awesome documents. Anyone who downloads the document or becomes a Premium Member will also be entitled to a walk through of the document (if needed).

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Marines Christmas

Ricoh A3 Color Envelope Printer by...

There's been a lot of threads on the Print4Pay Hotel forums about the Xante Impressia which is powered by the Ricoh SP831DN print engine. I posted a few blogs in reference to the Ricoh SP831DN printer and my first blog about a "Print Shop in a Box" in 2007 . Which can be found here and here.

I learned many years ago that you don't have to buy the expensive offerings from companies like Xante, in fact you can build your own envelope press by purchasing an envelope feeder and an output conveyor.  In one of my accounts we installed an Ricoh Color  printer A4 version and added four paper trays and for under $4,500 we had an impressive A4 color envelope printer.

I ran across this video the other day in reference to the Impressia and thought our readers could take a look at the latest and greatest in color technology.  If you're interested in the Ricoh version then send me an email to

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Great Voice Activated Copier Prank

It's always fun to have a laugh with the office copier.  In this you tube video, a prankster makes up an official looking document that states the existing copier was upgraded to voice activation and the legacy keys have been disabled, thus you need to give the copier "verbal commands", which makes a whole lot of fun when the copier does not react.

A traditional prank around our office on the newbie reps is to give them a lead for the local zoo (we make it look real official though), type in what system they are interested in the phone number and the name of the contact person. The contact person is either Mr. Gee Raft or Mrs. Eli Fant.  It's a dam riot in the office and we have a lot of fun with it.

See the video on the side for some additional laughs.

14 Reasons to Lease Office Equipment (Printers & Copiers)

It's always good to review the basics, and to remember the basics when explaining equipment leasing to a client that is new to leasing office equipment. It's also not a bad idea to keep this in your portfolio!

1. Why Lease?
Leasing provides your customer with the use of the equipment for an agreed-upon monthly payment for a fixed term.

2. Tax Benefits:
Your customer can deduct their monthly lease payment as an operating expense. Leasing also helps them avoid the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) by reducing their AMT tax liability.

3. Flexibility:
Your customer can structure payments to fit their budget.

4. 100% Cost Coverage:
You can include “soft” costs such as shipping, software and installation right in the lease.

5. Technology Changes:
In three years the technology can and will change for the better. By leasing your customer will be forced to look at the new technology and see how it helps your customers business

6. Conservation of Capital:
If your money is not tied up in equipment costs, they are free to spend it on other items such as inventory, advertising or personnel.

7. Easier Cash Flow Forecasting:
Fixed monthly payments help your customer budget money into the future.

8. Fixed Payments:
They can lock-in payments now... and avoid the risk of inflation in the future.

9. Preserves Credit:
Leasing doesn't tie up your customers line of credit. So you have more capital at your disposal
when you need it!

10. Longer Terms:
Many banks only lend money short-term, usually 12 to 36 months. But leasing lets your customer extend your term up to 72 months!

11. Purchase or Renewal Options:
At the end of your lease, they may choose to purchase your equipment, upgrade to
new equipment or continue to lease at substantial savings. Of course you do not want them to renew but you can write a service contract and keep them until they are ready.

12. Insurance: Have your customer show proof of insurance at the lease signing or with the first bill and save them $5-$50 each month. However, if your customer is in a flood prone area then they need to take the insurance because the insurance will cover flood damage as I've noted on the print4pay hotel forums. Most BOP policies do not cover flood!

13. Service…Include it in Lease?
There are many opinions on this however there are a few things to consider. At 36 months, which is basically interest free it will not cost any extra to put the monthly service cost in the lease. At 48 or 60 it can cost the customer. Separate yourself from the competition and break it out on a separate Cost per Copy Agreement. If you still include service in lease be very confident on the anticipated volume.

14. Return on Investment or (ROI):
Do a cost analysis including current machine capabilities, current CPC, supplies on printers, current lease, productivity & options they can have. Do they ever go to Kinko’s or Staples for copies? Show the customer a little savings and they will give you the key to the executive
washroom. If the cost is more stress productivity and keeping people in the office/desks and the new features and benefits.

-=Good Selling=-

Top 20 "MFP Solution Blogs" for 2012

So another year is at hand, last year our MFP Solutions Blog was averaging 14-15,000 page views per month.  This year thanx to all of our readers we've increased to 19-20,000 page views per month! Your comments, emails and page views are appreciated and for all of you P4P'ers out there I've got some special enhancements to the Print4Pay Hotel forums planned for 2013.

These Blogs garnered the most page views in 2012, if you haven't read them, please take the time to check out the links. (not in any order)

10 Awesome Tips for a Great MFP/Copier Demo (4,100 views)
Ricoh MPC4502 Series MFP Review (3,755 views)
The Death of The Direct Copier Channel? (2,912 views)
Copier & MFP Industry in Turmoil... the Final Five! (2,832 views)
Top 5  (#2) Solutions/Products at BTA East Grand Slam Event (1,524 views)
WTF, Memjet Partners with Fuji/Xerox, Canon/Oce  (1,392 views)
Selling Copiers & MFP's "Color Cost Page for 2 Cents" (1,326 views)
Top 19 Old Copier Manufacturers that FADED Away! (1,243 views)
Ricoh  "Where's the ICE"? (1,138 views)
KYOTIER Hybrid Color 3-tier Cost Per Page Pricing tool (1,051 views)
MFP Wars "The Final 5 Prophecy" Sharp is... (1,034 views)
Ricoh MP 301SPF Review (1,997 views)
Document Management can be a strange word for Copier Reps (1,936 views)
10 Phone Cold Calling Tips for Copiers & MFP's (1,908 views)
Oce is to CBS as Ikon is to RBS. True or not True (1,848 views)
Ricoh Americas is now Soliciting Dealer Accounts? (1,837 views)
Top 7 Solutions @ Transform 2012 Conference "Intellinetics @ #1  (1,801 views)
5 Tips for newbie Copier MFP Sales Reps (1,794 views)
Top 7 Solutions @ Transform 2012 ESP @ #3 (1,888 views)
Copiers & MFP's "The Hidden Cost of Staples" (1,654 views)

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Top Ten MFP Copier Industry Predictions for 2013

2012 a not so good year for the MFP copier industry or a good year for the MFP copier industry.  

I'm thinking that most will answer a not so good year at least for the industry as a whole. I guess the biggest question that will need to be answered in 2013 is related to Sharp.  Will Sharp continue as it once was, or will they be forced to sell off divisions to remain in business.  Lately there's been a little good news with the investment from Qualcom. 

Another question is how many more dealers will make the jump to managed services and will managed services live up the hype?  Anyone you slice it I can see that 2013 will be another year of change in an industry that is in turmoil.

Last year we posted this blog Top Ten MFP & Copier Predictions for 2012, and it seems we got a few of these right such as: 
  • Kodak files for Bankruptcy or is bought
  • Ricoh USA finally comes clean and announces that Ricoh Corp USA is headquarter is Malvern, PA
  • Managed Print Services...the hype continues
  • Xerox announces additional layoffs in the US
  • USA MFP Copier manufacturer sees the introduction of the first A4 Segment 5 MFP (Lexmark MX812 & there was also an announcement of an HP 70ppm color A4 device for 2013)
5 out of 10 is not so bad since some of the predictions are off the wall and meant to be lighthearted. 

Without further ado listed below is our Top Ten MFP Predictions for 2013

Oki & Ricoh "My Top Choices for Print Shop in a Box"

The print4pay market, some will say it is one of the hardest accounts to break into and others will say they are the easiest to breakdown the walls and establish long term relationships.

As B2C color improves, along with improved thick stock media ability, there are a few color printers that I'll refer to as a "Print Shop in Box". You might ask what's a print shop in a box, I got this saying from a printer in New Jersey that referred to his color printer as a "Print Shop in a Box" and the term has stuck with me. That printer was referring to the quality of color, the ability to handle many different types of media (envelopes too), and the ruggedness to run 60K, 70K or more worth of prints per month!

When I look at some color laser printers that would fit the mold of the "Print Shop in a Box", the Oki PRO920WT, Oki pro511DW and the Ricoh C831DN have what it takes.  I'm thinking we'll see many additional "niche" type printers as the demand for office printed page declines.

We'll take a brief look at the Oki pro511DW. Imagine this a color A3 LED printer that will print full color labels with variable data from a roll of media (3 inch core) ! I love the concept, have never seen one, but wish I was able to sell some of  these.

Here's a quick run down with specs:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

5 Tips to Reach the Decision Maker

Tired of the prospect not returned your calls?

Tired of getting the gate keeper?

To some this means that the prospect is not interested! To others (seasoned veterans) this means that the prospect is very busy and has not found the time to return your call. Use this to your advantage!!

There's a couple of techniques you can use, one of my favorites with a customer that I've already met is below.

1)  The next time you get the dreaded voice mail, leave them this message. Hi this is Mr. So & So with XYD company, I tried to reach you on several occasions, I am going to be in your area next week. What I'd like to do is to stop by at 1PM on Wednesday the 4th (you set the date) to meet with you, if this is not convenient for you, please call me at (phone number), other wise I'll see you then.

Ricoh Color SPC831DN "Top Ten Features"

In last weeks blog on the Ricoh SP831DN we focused on hardware specs, this week we'll tell you more about some of the awesome print features that come with the Ricoh SP831DN Color Printer.

Printer driver features is not something you can learn from reading the brochure, nor when you are looking the printer up on line to review pricing. Most end users and sales people ignore the awesome printer driver features and options that are included with laser printers. Thus a customer could purchase a laser printer and never be aware of the advanced printer driver features/functionality that are available, and some of these features are capable of improving business process and cutting costs.

Top Ricoh SP831DN Printer Driver Features:

  1. Black Over Print: Black over print is available to enhance the quality of  text and black images  printed on colored backgrounds. Think of it this way, the color image is printed first and then the black text and graphics is printed last, thus this will prevent blurred text or haloing with the final rendering.
  2. CMYK Simulation Profile: When using the Ricoh Postscript 3 driver, you can turn on US Offset Print CMYK Simulation Profile which enables a color profile that closely reproduces colors that are used with ink based commercial offset printing in the US. Even though this feature will simulate SWOP (Simulated Web Offset Printing) it is genuine SWOP an is not supported.  When I've used this feature with other print devices I've found that it gives you an additional way to reproduce or come close to the colors of your choice.

Why Buy or Lease from an Authorized Copier Dealer

Many years ago you could only buy copy machines from Authorized Dealers. An Authorized Dealer is usually a privately owned company that is local to your geographic area. That has changed and most copier manufacturers now have direct branches. A Direct Branch is owned by the manufacturer and may or may not be local to your geographic area.

For many years the debate has raged who should I buy from. Too me it plain and simple, you should buy from the company or the sales person that you trust, that has the best support, and the best people.

Local Authorized Dealers can have more that one brand to offer and they can choose which copier/mfp or software solution is best for you.  Typically Manufacturers Direct branches will only offer their brand or their software solution and it just might not be the best fit for you. You can think of it like buying car insurance you can go to the agent that reps for Prudential, Allstate and Farmers and they can find the right insurance solution for you.  The same is true for the Authorized local Copier Dealer, most have two or three brands that they sell, support and service.

Typically you should ask these 8 questions from your sales person.

  1. Ask the sales person how long they have worked with their current company. A sales person who has less than 2 years experience may not have the resources nor the knowledge to meet your needs.

Natural Born Salesperson

One of my first jobs was that of a paper boy when I was growing up in Jersey.  I'm thinking I started my first paper route at 13 and finally ended somewhere at 15.  At a young age I had to collect money, work for tips and also face complaints. Thinking back the best part of the job was that I was able to hop on my bike pedal about 2 miles to my first customer. It gave me freedom, I was on my own and I learned to interact with good people and rude people at a young age.

Somewhere in the age of 18 (in the seventies) or so, I took my first real sales job (kinda) selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.  All in the course of one day I and others were trained on the features, advantages and benefits. The manager made demo'd the Kirby as the state of the art in technology for vacuum cleaners, and I was impressed.  At the end of the day he told us that in order to stay with Kirby we were to take a demonstrator home with us and sell a minimum of 3 Kirby's to our family members at a price of over $300 each.  Three hundred bucks in the seventies....was a lot of money. I bought my first car for $150, to the say the least the last thing I wanted to do was squeeze  my parents for $300 bucks, I didn't take the demonstrator home and pretty much didn't go back.

I'm sure we've all had an experience or two in our sales careers like the ones I had.  To tell you all the truth the last thing job I ever wanted was to be a salesperson, and look out that panned out.  At 23 years old I backed in to copier sales in the eighties. Prior to the copier sales I was trained for a good 12 weeks to be a copier technician. At the end of the 12 weeks I got my first copier tech gig and in three months I was brought for a review. The review kinda went like this,

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ricoh SPC831DN Print Shop in a Box "The Reveal"

A few years ago when Ricoh introduced the Ricoh SPC811DN, I dubbed that printer as a "print shop in a box".

Funny that Xante is now using the same line with the their new color laser envelope press named IMPRESSA which happens to be OEM'd by Ricoh.  I'm guessing Xante may be ending the relationship with Okidata?  If that's the case I can see why, I've seen two placements of Xante's Illumina (Okidata engine) and both print shops abandoned the systems because they couldn't find a reliable service organization to service the product properly. Enough on Xante.

I fell in love with the first generation model which was the Ricoh C811DN and then the second gen which was the Ricoh C821DN and I'm thinking the Ricoh C831DN will be the color laser printer of choice where users need excellent quality, variety of media than can be used, reliability and backed by a powerful dealer service network.

Actually there are two models to choose from, the SPC830DN (45 page per minute print speed) and the SPC831DM (55 page per minute print speed).  To keep this simple we're going to concentrate on the specs for the Ricoh SPC831DN.

The Specs at a Glance:

What if Your Copier Copier Could Talk?

I thought that a few years ago it was either Sharp or Toshiba that had launched or was going to launch a copy machine that  would give the end user audible instructions on how to remove a paper jam or walk them through a series of prompts to solve an issue  I did a quick google search however I couldn't find anything.

But, what if you're copier could talk or at least pass a snide comment every now and then?  Thus I put together some of my favorites that I'd like to hear, if you've got others please post them in the comments section. We could have a lot of fun with this!

Here's a few:

1. Could you please get your butt off of me!

2. Everyone step away, whadda think I am, the water cooler!

3. Go ahead, kick me again and I'll send a virus to everyone in your LDAP directory!

4. Hello Cutie!

5. Hey You El Cheapo, how about give me the real stuff instead of this crappy generic toner!

6. I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so!

7. I really, really hope when you came outta there you washed your hands before you touch me!

8. Of course I'm jammed! You may want to think about reading the manual ONE TIME!!

9. I'm not feeling that well today and I will be taking the day off!

10. Psst! You the technician, can you convince the owners to let me retire!

Please if you've got some good ones, please post them in the comment section!

-=Good Selling=-

Top Ten Copier Proposals for November 2012

In my last blog I spoke about a recent sale that I secured and after the sale I was able to get a copy of the quote.

Each month on the Print4Pay Hotel forums we'll upload "Pricing on the Street" quotes, these quotes are certified as accurate since the pricing information is emailed to us from other Print4Pay Hotel members in the field.

We'll also receive and upload quotes and proposals from other Print4Pay Hotel members and these quotes will be "the proposal or quote" that was emailed to the end user.

Each month I'll list those proposals/quotes and "Pricing on the Street" here with the associated links.  You need to be a Premium Member in order to download the documents.  So without further ado here's the top quotes from November 2012.  Enjoy!

-=Good Selling=-

Take Advantage of Recent Copier Proposals & Knockout the Competitor

For those of you that read my blog often, I don't want to sound like a broken record with why I believe it's a good thing to review proposals see street pricing from other dealers, and direct branches.

Let me take a recent A4 sale that I secured.  The account was an incumbent, and excellent service and support was issued through out the last three years. However, this account (small account) always wants to check pricing (think of all the time they would save if they did not get additional quotes and focused on their core business) from other vendors.  After many phone calls and a visit to the account I was able to keep the business for another three years.  But this time, I asked for copies of the quotes that he had received from other vendors. Some people tend to be a little wishy washy about this and not give them to you and then others will hand them over without a second thought.  Believe it or not I still get a rush when a customer gives me the quotes from the other vendors. Hey, if you're really in this business to stay you need to see all of the quotes and proposals you can even if they are not from a direct competitor.  There's a lot to learn from each and every one of them.

For example, I noticed on my competitors proposal these points: