This product sucks! No one is buying now! Our competitor has a lock on the business! It is our service department’s fault! Our pricing is way out of whack!
The more copier reps and their managers can be honest with themselves about what went wrong in a sales opportunity, the easier it will be to correct mistakes and limit the number of lost sales in the future.
A commodity mindset has developed with buyers inside the copier channel because copier reps, sales managers and dealer principals have done a great job of position themselves as what they are, a copier company.
The Copier Sales Rep Test…
If it looks like a copier sales rep, acts like a copier sales rep, and speaks like a copier sales rep, then it probably is a copier sales rep.
Let’s get this out on the business table, most prospects really don’t care about your company or your product; but what they do care about is can you help solve their problems and bring measurable value to their business.
Unfortunately, too many copier reps start off conversations by talking about themselves – how great their dealership is, how long they have been in the industry, their product and their features. Haven’t you figured out this isn’t working and you are being tuned out?
Do you all know why you get beat up on price? Plain and simple… It is your fault!
Copier reps all across the world, I encourage you to start thinking about offering real value to customers by solving pressing business problems in every conversation.
WHY PRICE BECOMES THE FOCUS
Does price become the issue because there has been no validation by copier reps?
Price may become a focus as a result of…
- Your clients and prospects aren’t aware of the true cost and scope of the problems they’re trying to solve.
- Your clients and prospects have too much information and not enough time to understand it. You can thank Google searches and the internet!
- Your clients and prospects focus on price as this is easier than examining cost structures which may distract them from their business.
Differentiating by price seems the easiest way for them to choose when their belief is all of the hardware you sell delivers the same outcome, a sheet of paper.
Here’s the flipside. Even though many of the products you sell look alike, the outcomes your buyers can gain from them can be wholly different based on their unique circumstances, the expertise of your dealership but most importantly your level of expertise.
3 ALTERNATIVES TO AVOID GETTING BEAT UP ON PRICE
Adding value as a copier rep is an important tactic which MUST be integrated into your sales repertoire to acquire and retain your clients, increase your brand awareness and to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
Watch this video by Peter Gabriel and think of not being hit by the price sledgehammer.
Here are three ways to create added value which can be easily implemented into your business plan.
ALWAYS CONSIDER YOUR CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS PERSPECTIVE
The art of creating added value starts with the ability to see your business through the eyes of your clients and prospects.
Consider what’s important to them and how your product or service will benefit them. What problem does it solve, how will it help them overcome obstacles and do their jobs better? Shift your focus to providing educational content, examples and stories of how you helped others. Start focusing on your customers’ needs and start helping!
This means conduct a thorough analysis of their buying behaviors which can lend insight into what is most important to them. This “ONE THING THAT MATTERS” may likely driven by your customers’ own customers. It is vital to keep those customers in mind when conducting your analysis.
Knowing your customers is better than knowing your product
ADOPT A CLIENT AND PROSPECT CENTRIC MINDSET
“Successful sales professionals not only understand their specific market sector and business critical issues but also help their clients visualize how they can solve their issues by using their products and services,” Harrington Starr, a London based company.
Think conversations. Think like them. Make the call (wholly shit I have to use the phone), speak to prospects and clients, arrange meetings over coffee to discuss their business challenges; key mission-critical needs or upcoming project objectives as this will pay dividends in developing meaningful client and prospect relations all leading to closing sales.
Hello copier reps – the art of the conversation is not dead!
Copier manufacturers and your dealership have been providing you as sales reps with printed media, all types of collateral and sales tools to the point of brain overload resulting in the loss of sales focus. There is more sales and marketing material available on sales portals, corporate web and intranet sites than you as sales reps can handle. This material is vital in your dealership branding, marketing and communications as you share the company story, however; do you really think your clients and prospects give a darn?
Think like them, act like them and converse with them!
BUILD NEW BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS INSIDE YOUR CLIENT BASE
The key sales growth for copier reps is to actively prospect for new business relationships rather than limiting efforts to a possibly dwindling client relationship base.
How well do you know your current clients? How often are you asking them for your help to grow your business?
Leveraging and strengthening relationships inside an existing customer base is important but it’s all too easy to become complacent and keep calling on the same people inside the account.
Sometimes the relationship may run its course. Hopefully it doesn’t but in today’s ever-changing business climate, a salesperson’s “timing” might be off especially when it comes to the importance of building new relationships inside their current accounts.
A once-promising client may now be in dire straits, possibly due to an acquisition or downsizing. Successful copier reps are always looking to develop new business relationships, not waiting until their current well of relationships runs dry.
I find this crazy….
You bust your ass for your clients then why on earth would you not ask them to help you grow your business?
Leverage current clients and ask for help! Wouldn’t you agree a warm lead is better than cold lead? Referrals from happy clients are about as warm as it gets, correct? In fact, a Dale Carnegie study found that 91 percent of customers would be willing to give referrals if they were asked. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of sales reps actually do ask.
I guarantee you this a warm lead from someone who knows, likes and trusts you will lead to a more profitable, non-price driven business relationship.
REMOVE BEING BEAT UP BY PRICE
The point of this blog is to get your clients and prospects to focus on all the economic costs they’re not seeing. This means you need to shine a strobe light on your expertise and the successes your clients have achieved.
I encourage copier reps get out in front of this issue with educational content as this helps your prospects understand the issues, side-effects, underlying costs and value of your expertise. I bet your sales cycles will shorten and you will have less obstacles to overcome.
When you become the first to help them simplify and understand the true issues they’re dealing with, you then become the anchor, the subject matter expert, setting a really high bar your competitors must surpass.
Isn’t this exactly what you want to be known for – being considered the ultimate measuring stick against which all others must measure up?
You can’t expect a different outcome if you continue to use the same unsuccessful processes.
I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes.
I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social selling into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.
“Larry takes the time to get to know the individuals he’s working with! He presents in a way that is unique, fun, interactive, and hits you square between the eyes. It’s his simplified instructions that bring so much to the table for any sales team! His advice and guidance is something that would bring value to any sales person that wants to be a cut above their competition. I would highly recommend him for any training or social business planning!”
Lindsey Kamstra, A&B Business Solutions
In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image
You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.
I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy