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=-

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