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CONTENTS Volume 20 • No. 8

FEATURE ARTICLES 10

Production Print The opportunity may be bigger than you think

COURTS & CAPITOLS Employee Loyalty It cannot be created by any contract

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by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

by Robert C. Goldberg BTA General Counsel

It is referred to as “the big iron” or “a workhorse” for good reason — the production print MFP is the largest and most expensive piece of office equipment in the product portfolios of many office technology dealerships. Have you embraced the production print opportunity?

18

Managed Networks It is the new path forward for our industry

by Chip Miceli Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. Inc.

A BTA dealer member recently called me in distress. He had just had his second employee in a month resign without a word of explanation. The dealer was seeking a legal document that would require a two-week notice, loyalty and/or a guaranteed period of employment.

P R I N C I PA L I S S U E S The Ceaseless Search Always be interviewing & reviewing new candidates

28

by Steven Branstetter Crawford Thomas

Our industry has been defined largely by the sale and service of traditional equipment such as copiers, facsimiles and telephones. But the path forward has included evolving into other arenas. From my perspective, the next natural evolution is to expand into managed network/IT services.

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Competitive Selling Do not step on the common ‘land mines’

In sales, when you run out of new prospects to call, you might as well be out of business. New names and numbers are the fuel for the growth of your business and great sales professionals are always adding to their networks. Have you thought about treating your human resources department the same way?

Social Media Recruiting Use your profiles to attract job applicants

29

by Troy Harrison SalesForce Solutions

by Rebecca Adolf & Kaitlyn Fisher Impact Networking LLC

One of the toughest challenges is dealing with a competitive situation in selling. I was reminded of this recently when I was the customer in a sales call. The salesperson working with me made pretty much every mistake possible. Let’s take a look at what you should and should not be doing.

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Business Development Make your own first impressions by Kate Kingston Kingston Training Group

Should I prospect internally or outsource? It is a good question. For the large part, outsourcing your prospecting means that someone else is making the first impression for your dealership. The likelihood of a telemarketer using your dealership’s client references, success stores and unique features is not high.

As an office technology dealership owner, you have likely created social media profiles for your business and ensure that they are updated regularly in order to attract prospective customers. But have you considered that these profiles can assist you in recruiting employees?

D E PA R T M E N T S Business Technology Association

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• BTA Highlights

6

Executive Director’s Page

8

BTA President’s Message

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Advertiser Index

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S PAGE

BTA Schedules MPS, Service Workshops

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n March, the Business Technology Association (BTA) will offer two of its educational workshops. Both are designed to help you make improvements in your dealership that will “boost the bottom line.” I encourage you to consider attending at least one of these workshops. On March 11, the association will offer the BTA MPS Survival Guide Workshop (www.bta.org/MPSSurvivalGuide), taught by Doug Johnson, senior vice president of Supplies Network. The workshop will be held just prior to ITEX 2014 at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. This hands-on workshop will cover the various MPS program options available in the market today, explore the resource and skill requirements for each, and highlight the financial impacts of an MPS business model on your current business. Created for dealership owners, principals and executive-level management, attendees will leave the workshop with a personalized business plan outline, a tailored sales compensation plan, and a clear understanding of the assets and competencies needed to be successful. The workshop is for both those who are just entering the MPS space and those who want to improve an existing MPS business model. Drawing on Doug’s expertise, the workshop does not include content that is intended to promote specific, related Supplies Network products or services. With more than 30 years of industry experience, Doug has held various management positions with Hewlett-Packard and Print Inc. He was also president of Print Inc. subsidiary PrintValue Solutions Inc. After leaving Print Inc., he had a three-year engagement as an MPS consultant, founding RedSage

Consulting and RedSage Partners. Doug joined Supplies Network in 2010. On March 18-19, the association will offer the BTA Field Service Foundations Workshop (www.bta.org/FieldServiceFoundations), taught by John Hamilton, president of Service Strategies Corp. The workshop will take place at BTA member dealership Advanced Office Services/Imaging Plus in Irvine, Calif. BTA appreciates the willingness of the dealership’s president, Richard Van Dyke, to host the workshop at his Irvine location. This two-day workshop is designed for service professionals looking to improve their industry-related management skills. It provides a solid foundation of skills needed to successfully manage a field service operation. Field service managers must have a high quotient of skills and insights into the specific demands of their customers, team members and the service business environment. The workshop includes topics covering leadership, coaching and facilitating the activities of a field service team toward the accomplishment of the evolving technical services mission. John has more than 30 years of service industry experience. He oversees a growing international team of employees, consultants and partners that advance service excellence for quality-minded organizations through industry-standard certification, advising services and training programs. He has a well-rounded background from managing engineering, quality control and training organizations. Prior to founding Service Strategies, John was global director for technical support at EDS Unigraphics, a provider of CAD/CAM and PLM systems. For both of these BTA workshops, if you are not 100-percent satisfied, the association will apply your tuition fee to a future course or give you a full refund. n — Brent Hoskins

Executive Director/BTA Editor/Office Technology Brent Hoskins brent@bta.org (816) 303-4040 Associate Editor Elizabeth Marvel elizabeth@bta.org (816) 303-4060 Contributing Writers Rebecca Adolf, Impact Networking LLC www.impactmybiz.com Steven Branstetter, Crawford Thomas www.crawfordthomas.com Kaitlyn Fisher, Impact Networking LLC www.impactmybiz.com Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel Business Technology Association Troy Harrison, SalesForce Solutions www.salesforcesolutions.net Kate Kingston, Kingston Training Group www.kingstontraining.com Chip Miceli, Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. Inc. www.dpoe.com

Business Technology Association 12411 Wornall Road Kansas City, MO 64145 (816) 941-3100 www.bta.org Member Services: (800) 505-2821 BTA Legal Hotline: (800) 869-6688 Valerie Briseno Membership Marketing Manager valerie@bta.org Mary Hopkins Database Administrator mary@bta.org Teresa Leerar Bookkeeper teresa@bta.org Brian Smith Membership Sales Representative brian@bta.org Photo Credits: Fuse, iStockphoto, Stockbyte. Cover created by Bruce Quade, Brand X Studio. ©2014 by the Business Technology Association. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published material. However, the publisher assumes no liability for errors in articles nor are opinions expressed necessarily those of the publisher.

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BTA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 2013-2014 Board of Directors

Join Us in Las Vegas at the ‘Top of the Rio’

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he Business Technology Association (BTA), along with sponsors ECi Software Solutions, Katun, OKI Data Americas and Square 9 Softworks, will host a reception for BTA member dealers at the ITEX 2014 National Conference and Expo. ITEX 2014 is scheduled for March 11-13 at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. BTA would not be the industry’s premier organization for independent office technology dealers without the loyal and ongoing support of our member dealers. To show our appreciation, we invite all BTA member dealers attending ITEX to join us for an enjoyable evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The “Top of the Rio” BTA Dealer Member Appreciation Reception (www.bta.org/ITEX Reception) will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, in the VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub. The VooDoo is on the 51st floor of the Rio and, as you can see in the ad on page nine, provides a spectacular view of the Las Vegas Strip and the surrounding area. BTA members may pick up an invitation during the March 12 exhibit hours (10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at BTA booth #242. Of course, we are delighted to have four of our BTA Vendor Associate members joining us to host the reception as our sponsors. Their support of BTA and the dealer community is greatly appreciated. We look forward to partnering with them in Las Vegas to thank our dealer members. Many of you may be familiar with our sponsors, but allow me to provide a quick profile of each: n The ECi Software Solutions family of companies provides business and ecommerce solutions, offering on-premise and cloud-based technologies. For 30-plus years, ECi companies have served a variety

of business sectors, including office equipment and office supplies. ECi is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, with offices and companies throughout the United States, Australia, England and the Netherlands. n Founded more than three decades ago, Katun is one of the world’s leading providers of OEM-compatible imaging supplies, photoreceptors, and parts for printers, MFPs and other imaging equipment. With 14,000 customers in 138 countries, Katun is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., and has dozens of locations worldwide. n Headquartered in Mount Laurel, N.J., OKI Data Americas markets PC peripheral equipment and customized solutions, including digital color and monochrome printers, color and monochrome multifunction products, serial impact dot matrix printers, thermal label printers and POS printers, as well as a full line of options, accessories and consumables. n Square 9 Softworks is a developer of scanning and document control solutions with robust workflow and mobile delivery. The company, headquartered in New Haven, Conn., has helped companies of all sizes to get control of their paper-intensive processes with solutions that meet the rapidly evolving needs of the business community. Have you registered for ITEX 2014? BTA members who use the code B300E to register will receive $100 off of an All Access or Main Conference Pass. For more information on the show or to register, visit www.itexshow. com. For the past 13 years, ITEX has brought together dealers, VARs and vendors, providing a range of educational sessions and the opportunity to learn about the products and services of industry vendors. ITEX 2014 will feature six tracks of Power Hour sessions and 100-plus exhibiting companies. I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas. n — Todd J. Fitzsimons

President Todd J. Fitzsimons Automated Business Solutions DBA Network Imaging 122 Spring St., Ste. B3 Southington, CT 06489 tjfitzsimons@ni-ct.com President-Elect Ron Hulett U.S. Business Systems Inc. 3221 Southview Drive Elkhart, IN 46514 ron.hulett@usbus.com Vice President Dave Quint Advanced Systems Inc. 2945 Airport Blvd. P.O. Box 57 Waterloo, IA 50704 dquint@asiowa.com BTA East Rob Richardson Allied Document Solutions & Services Inc. 200 Church St. Swedesboro, NJ 08085 robr@ads-s.com BTA Mid-America Dan Castaneda International Copy Machine Center 1515 Lee Trevino, Ste. EE El Paso, TX 79936 dan@icmc-elp.com BTA Southeast Linda Hayes Purcell’s Business Products 222 E. 1st St. Campbellsville, KY 42718 linda@purcells.com BTA West Mike Ehlers Yost Business Systems 685 E. Anderson Idaho Falls, ID 83401 mike@yostonline.com Ex-Officio/Immediate Past President Terry Chapman Business Electronics Corp. 219 Oxmoor Circle, P.O. Box 531066 Birmingham, AL 35253 tchapman@businesselectronics.com Ex-Officio/General Counsel Robert C. Goldberg Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg LLC 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 2100 Chicago, IL 60606 robert.goldberg@sfnr.com

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Production Print The opportunity may be bigger than you think by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine

I

t is referred to as “the big iron” or “a workhorse” for good reason — the production print MFP is the largest and most expensive piece of office equipment in the product portfolios of many office technology dealerships. However, given these inherent traits, for many dealers, it may also be the greatest area of hesitation in terms of hardware available to them for resell. Have you embraced the production print opportunity? If so, do you limit your offerings to light production MFPs? Or, have you just avoided the product category altogether, apprehensive about making the necessary investments? If you are among those dealers who have held back, perhaps it is time to take another look. “When you look at where pages are in the marketplace, one of the few areas of page-volume growth is the production print market,” says Dennis Amorosano, vice president, BISG (Business Imaging Solutions Group) marketing and CIIS (Canon Information and Imaging Solutions) professional services, Canon U.S.A. Inc. “This is especially true as more and more pages become digital in nature, and as more and more pages move from traditional offset press technology to either continuous feed or cut-sheet digital technology.” Amorosano emphasizes that the trend among commercial printers to augment their offerings to include digital output should be particularly appealing to dealers. “The total number of pages that are being produced within the commercial print space is staggering,” he says. “The percentage of those pages today that are being driven via digital technology is roughly only about 20 percent. So, there are still a lot of pages that are being produced in the traditional manner that we very much believe are going to migrate to digital.” Why the expected ongoing migration? It is, in part, due to such software capabilities as variable data printing, providing recipient-customized marketing and direct mail pieces, Amorosano explains. There is also the growing interest in driving “short-run production and removing the need for output inventory,” he says. “These are among the factors that are

having a significant influence on the migration to digital pages.” Shane Coffey, director of product management for document systems products at Sharp Imaging and Information Company America, shares another perspective. He suggests that the migration to digital output is leading more companies from outsourcing to insourcing. “We are cost-justifying the savings of not outsourcing print work,” he explains. “It allows customers to print shorter runs, doing print on demand. There is less waste and storage costs, and they can still achieve complex finished documents.” Increasingly, production print MFPs are offering an attractive alternative to offset printing, Coffey adds. “In this day and age, people don’t want 10,000 of anything,” he says. “By the time they get something printed and stored, it’s often quickly outdated.” Citing Sharp’s new Pro Series color production print MFPs, Coffey notes that the two initial models in the series offer features that provide the type of output that end users are accustomed to with offset presses — full-bleed printing on a wide range of media types. “When we show them full-bleed output on glossy stock, they are blown away; they can’t believe it wasn’t done on an off-line process,” he says, referencing the reaction of Sharp dealers since the products’ September 2013 launch. “They immediately state that they have customers who would buy one of the Pro Series MFPs. They say, ‘I have customers right now who are outsourcing this kind of thing. When I show them this product, it will be an immediate placement for me.’” Of course, while Sharp only recently expanded its reach into production color, other vendors have offered a range of production print MFPs for a number of years. Consequently, many dealers have experienced long-term success within the product category. “We have many dealers who are actively engaged with production print and are doing quite well,” Amorosano says. “They are driving a fairly significant level of revenue, as well as profit.”

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Dino Pagliarello, director of markets to justify the exproduct marketing at Konica Mipense and reach the level “The biggest area of nolta Business Solutions U.S.A. of profitability that they apprehension is the level of Inc., notes that the company would hope to achieve?” investment that is required ... has been offering production Coffey agrees that However, as you move down print for more than 10 years having a dedicated salesmarket, of course, the level with a steady increase in dealer person is ideal. “In generof investment decreases, participation in the product al, if somebody can make category. “As far as the numhis [or her] quota withbut, nonetheless, for most ber of dealers buying producout selling a production dealers, it is still a significant investment.” tion print products from us on product, given the long — Dennis Amorosano a monthly basis, the number is sales cycle compared Canon U.S.A. Inc. around 30 percent of our overall to workgroup products, dealer community,” he says. you are not going to get Among that 30 percent are both small and large dealer- the focus that you need to drive production,” he says. “You ships, Pagliarello says, citing the largest Konica Minolta really need someone whose job it is to sell production print in dealership with “hundreds, if not thousands” and smaller order to be successful and make a living.” dealerships “with tens, if not hundreds” of production maDedicated reps must be fully prepared to effectively enchines in the field. “These smaller dealerships jumped in gage in dialog with prospective customers, those working in with two feet, have really embraced production print and commercial printers or central reprographics departments are very successful,” he says. “The great news about selling (CRDs), Coffey says. “They have to go in with the expertise production print: It is going to be profitable.” required to discuss the workflow, hardware and software,” If production print offers page-volume growth and a prof- he says. “They need to have the ability to dig deep into topitable addition to a dealer’s product portfolio, why aren’t ics like color matching and variable data. The customers more dealers selling the product category? “The fear of the who run these facilities are full-time operators. They are deinitial investment to get into the business is always the road- manding and knowledgeable professionals. The dealership’s block,” Pagliarello says. His associate, Mike Fego, manager sales rep needs to have equivalent expertise.” of product marketing for production print at Konica MinolWhile Sharp dual-line dealerships often already have the ta, builds on the assertion. “You need the right service and in-house expertise from selling another brand of production sales personnel, parts inventory and consumables, etc.,” he print MFPs, Sharp single-line dealerships do not, Coffey says. “So, there is an investment involved; some dealers are says, emphasizing that the company is poised to train, supjust happy with where they are today.” port and guide those dealerships that are new to the prodAmorosano offers a similar view. “The biggest area of ap- uct category. “Our approach is ‘dealership by dealership,’” prehension is the level of investment that is required, which he says. “We analyze each dealership and ask, ‘What is it varies based on the specific segment of the market you want that we can do with each layer of this dealership to make to get into,” he says. “If you are looking at going after high- it successful?’ We are ready to work with dealers who have end commercial printers with continuous feed technology, made a commitment to go into this business.” then the level of investment for most dealers, quite frankly, With the right personnel on board and manufacturer is out of their reach. However, as you move down market, of training completed, where do dealerships start? The same course, the level of investment decreases, but, nonetheless, place they start with any new product category, Coffey for most dealers, it is still a significant investment.” says: “Within their existing customer base.” He suggests Generally, Amorosano says, the dealership entering the that sales reps approach existing customers that not only production print product category must invest in a dedi- have CRDs, but also those that are outsourcing print jobs cated sales rep. “In most instances, the general line sales to commercial and quick printers. “They already have these rep is not appropriately equipped to sell into the production relationships and it is logical for dealerships to move deeper market, just given the nature of the business and the types of into these environments when they have the products to do applications that are being driven by clients,” he says, noting so,” he says. “Today, Sharp dealers can now provide their that another area of investment is the equipment needed for customers a means to print full-bleed pamphlets on diverse internal use, whether it be for showroom demonstrations or media, improving their workflows and saving them money.” service department troubleshooting. “I think the challenge Given Konica Minolta’s 10-plus years in the production for dealers is, can they drive enough business in their local print business, Pagliarello says he can confirm that existing 12 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | F e b r ua r y 2 0 1 4

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print training classes,” he customers are a great place explains. “We have found to start. “The majority of our “The majority of our dealers that to be a good way to go, dealers were ‘office-only’ were ‘office-only’ and have since the existing customand have been able to leverbeen able to leverage those ers’ trust is already with the age those relationships to relationships to get into dealer’s organization.” get into production print,” production print. So, go into Production print is now an he says. “So, go into environenvironments that you have “easier sell” for Konica Minolments that you have already already sold into and upgrade ta dealership sales reps than sold into and upgrade them it was in the past, Fego says. from current equipment to them ... to more robust machines.” “It used to be that the account more robust machines. Per — Dino Pagliarello looked at the Konica Minolta haps the customer’s busiKonica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. dealership as ‘strictly for the ness has grown to the point office,’” he says. “Today, print where the volume on the exshop managers are not pushing back. Konica isting MFP is just not enough.” Noting that far too many sales reps have “walked right by” Minolta is now a known and leading entity in the CRD of current customers, Fego emphasizes one situa- production print.” n Brent Hoskins, executive director of the tion where production print makes particularly good sense. Business Technology Association, is editor “The dealership that has reached critical mass — that is, it of Office Technology magazine. He can be has enough reps to handle the current number of accounts reached at brent@bta.org or (816) 303-4040. — can send an aggressive rep to one of our production

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Managed Networks It is the new path forward for our industry by: Chip Miceli, Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. Inc.

T

here is an old saying for businesses: “You are either moving forward or you are moving backward.” Our industry (even as recently as a decade ago) was defined largely by the sale and service of traditional equipment such as copiers, facsimiles and telephones. But the path forward has included evolving into the managed print services (MPS) arena, which is becoming more widely practiced in the industry. From my perspective, the next natural evolution is to expand into managed network/IT services. The danger of “running in place” and staying with the old model that was typical of so many in this industry is that a business owner runs the risk of his (or her) company being seen as a commodity, not a problem solver. Companies that build their bottom lines largely on having the best prices in the industry are in danger of being left behind. For many of the customers that we all serve, information technology is an area of need that does not fall easily into any single category. Larger companies may have one or several IT people on staff, while many smaller companies seek outside vendors to fill the need when it arises. For far too many businesses, IT or network services is a reactive — rather than proactive — strategy. The network goes down and the company calls in the cavalry to help. Most business owners understand the wisdom of being proactive and recognize that it is better to anticipate and plan for problems in advance rather than wait for them to happen and then suffer the downtime that occurs between the point where the network goes down and the time when services are restored. For the businesses that have IT people on staff, one complaint we have heard repeatedly is that the IT people also end up repairing MFPs and other office equipment, which detracts from their primary role. What if one outsourced technician could solve both problems? It is the intersection

of these complaints and challenges that has led our industry to see a new opportunity for increased service to our customers. In our industry, we need to view the network as more than simply a place to put equipment like MFPs and printers. The network is the new frontier for providing additional services. You are not only selling the servers, desktops and software, but also getting the added opportunity to manage the customers’ networks for them so they do not need to. In today’s world, it is the network that runs the business; our expanded role is to provide services for that network. The advantage to our customers is that we become a single stop for their network needs. It is better to deal with one trusted vendor or outside advisor than with a handful. It may sound like a simplistic slogan, but our industry needs to define itself as one that provides solutions rather than one that sells equipment. At our company, we have moved in this direction by building a network operations center (NOC) that answers calls and offers managed anti-virus, managed backups and managed cloud storage. It is a powerful strategy for expanding our offerings to our customers. Consider the advantages to the customer of having the company that sells him his equipment and services also provide his managed network services. These are key areas of opportunity. In our case, we have taken the concept of “managed services” to include taking care of virus protection for customers, serving as their outsourced IT partner. We monitor, manage and stay proactive. This conversion requires a significant investment. There are many steps to becoming a fully invested partner. The right resources allow a dealership to work with customers to offer remote access, cloud backup and disaster recovery. Our journey to this new area of service has led us to provide a two-tiered backup system, meaning that if a customer’s

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what he needs. A full technological asservice crashed and is backed up to one sessment determines what is on the of our units, one of our backups can be ... A forward-thinking network and enables us to present a turned on to emulate the customer’s company can undertake plan to a customer. This process can server. In those cases, the customer may a full assessment of the include dedicating a person to a cusnot even know his server crashed. network because we all tomer who needs one. Our ideal managed services customer know that a customer In our case, we started and grew is a company with its own server. If a our managed services division from server crashes at a customer facility, our may not always know scratch. Today, we have a dozen dediremote backup keeps it up and running. what he needs. cated team members, including an Another consideration is the advantage administrative person, a software spethat a remote server offers. If a company has a backup server on premise, and if there is a disaster cialist and an IT director. Managed network services is the new path forward for such as a flood, the backup server might not be able to function. Ours not only backs up to a server, but it also backs up our industry and it should be seen as a point along our evolutionary journey. Another area of future opportunity to the cloud every night. This is both a desirable and necessary evolution of our in- includes archiving solutions as our nation and industry dustry. As a dealer, it takes a lot of work to evolve to this next edge ever closer to becoming “paperless.” At one time, these level. We can no longer allow ourselves to be seen as busi- words would have struck fear into the hearts of those of us nesses that are “selling a box,” because a box merely plugs who deal in document generation. But our path forward reinto a wall and turns on. Instead, we are selling a service quires us to think, to be nimble and to see solution. That may include an MFP. It may include a server. challenges as opportunities. n Chip Miceli is president of Des Plaines Office It may include a computer. But it does not necessarily need Equipment Co. Inc., a Chicago-based provider to focus on equipment. of office and technology solutions since 1955. As a managed services provider, a forward-thinking He can be reached at chip@dpoe.com. company can undertake a full assessment of the network Visit www.dpoe.com. because we all know that a customer may not always know

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Miceli Feb 14.indd 2

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Ad-BTA-01-Outline.indd 1

Stoner-Membership ads Feb 14.indd 1

1/28/2014 2:23:38 PM

1/29/14 8:08 AM


Competitive Selling Do not step on the common ‘land mines’ by: Troy Harrison, SalesForce Solutions

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ne of the toughest challenges (but perhaps the most enjoyable) is dealing with a competitive situation in selling. I was reminded of this recently when I was the customer in a sales call. I was purchasing a technology offering and I was comparing a few different products. Now, I am not a “techy” person. I am not necessarily one who gets into the deep details of technology products; I am more focused on the result and what it will do for me. The salesperson working with me handled the situation poorly. He made pretty much every mistake a salesperson could make. His “questioning” consisted of badgering me to tell him what other programs I was comparing and, once I told him, he spent the rest of the call explaining how his competitors were substandard. Not surprisingly, this did not help me. Of course, most salespeople know that the first rule of selling against a competitor is: “Do not speak ill of your competition.” But few know what to do without speaking negatively about their competition. Let’s take a look at what you should and should not be doing. Do not say “apples to apples.” If there is any phrase that salespeople use constantly that raises my hackles, it is: “Well, let’s make sure we are comparing apples to apples.” First of all, “apples to apples” is one of those nonsensical, hackneyed phrases that some salespeople use. The intent is to metaphorically lay out a side-by-side list of features that the salesperson can talk about. “Well, we have Flipperwotzen Version 6 and they only have Version 5. That is why you should buy from us.” The trouble is, the customer may not even be interested in Flipperwotzen. Yes, my salesperson did this to me because he did not understand the most basic element of competitive selling. Start at the end and work backward. In selling — and particularly in competitive selling — the most important fact is the result that the customer is seeking. When comparing two products or services, the only meaningful data is the two

offerings’ ability to achieve the customer’s desired result. Of course, this means that you have to know the result the customer is seeking. The salesperson I dealt with did not. Why not? Because he did not ask me, and he apparently did not listen when I volunteered the information. He kept referring to capabilities that I would not use and characteristics that did not affect my end-user experience. Forget the features. This is a bit repetitive, but it bears repeating. The product characteristics that are your main bragging points may not be important to your customer at all. For instance, my salesperson pointed at his competition and said, “Well, they outsource a lot of their solutions and we do everything in-house.” I was using the free trial of both solutions and in my end-user experience the one that was supposedly “outsourced” was much more seamless and user-friendly than his was. If the competition had outsourced it, kudos to them; they had outsourced to the right people. Do not insult the customer. Yes, my salesperson did this too. At one point, he said, “Well, the problem here is that you really do not know anything about these types of products. If you did, you would understand why mine is superior.” I am not likely to buy from someone who has insulted me. It did not work this time, either. I am sure he got a bit frustrated during the call, but his frustration was of his own making. Had he asked me what I was seeking in the beginning — or listened when I valiantly attempted to explain what I was seeking — he would have known and been able to adapt his sales approach. If you must talk about your competitor’s product, know it like the back of your hand. My salesperson made several claims about his main competitor’s product that were demonstrably false. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he just did not know; a less charitable customer would say that he was lying. Either way, it was bad for him. If you are going to make claims, you should know

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Harrison Feb 14.indd 1

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question, it has a monetary value and it exactly what you are talking about, and is your job to realize that value. be current and correct. Just because ... Know exactly what Ultimately, the salesperson’s tactics something was true six months ago does you are talking about ... worked against him. After the call, I denot mean that it is true today. Once you Once you are incorrect cided to do more research, and what I are incorrect about one thing, your cusabout one thing, your found was that customer and indepentomer will assume that you are incorrect customer will assume dent reviews showed that his criticisms about all things. of the competitor actually applied more Finally, do not get dragged into a that you are incorrect to his own product. I signed an agreeprice match. “Matching the price” is one about all things. ment with the competitor later that of the worst things any salesperson can same day. do. The customer’s interest in purchasing Competitive selling is tough — ­ but it is also fun. The key two competing products is seldom equal in the customer’s mind. Hence, the price of those two products does not need is not to step on the common “land mines.” n Troy Harrison is the author of “Sell Like You Mean It!” to be, and should not be, equal. and is president of SalesForce Solutions, Still, the salesperson who hears, “If you will match the a sales training, consulting and recruiting price, I will buy from you,” is sorely tempted to do so. You firm. For information on booking speaking/ are only one question away from getting a (perhaps slightly) higher price. That question is this: “Would you rather buy training engagements, consulting or to sign up for his weekly e-zine, call (913) 645-3603 or from me or from them?” If you are offered a price match opemail TroyHarrison@SalesForceSolutions.net. portunity, that means that you are the preferred seller. You Visit www.SalesForceSolutions.net. need to use that. Whatever the customer’s answer to that

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Harrison Feb 14.indd 2

1/31/14 8:42 AM


Business Development Make your own first impressions by: Kate Kingston, Kingston Training Group

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hould I prospect internally or outsource? It is a good question. Here at the Kingston Training Group (KTG), we spend our days focused on the prospecting activities of office technology dealerships. We are constantly training, monitoring and evaluating the ongoing prospecting efforts of our clients in dealerships of all sizes. I am frequently asked if I have ever thought of creating a call center. I have, however, while I am sure there are a few call centers out there that get some positive results, for the large part, outsourcing your prospecting means that someone else is making the first impression for your dealership. The likelihood of a telemarketer using your dealership’s client references, success stories and unique features, along with an understanding of the culture of your region of the country, is not high. Typically, these telemarketers do not have any skin in the game, as they are not making meetings that will result in selling opportunities for themselves. It is true that outsourcing is supposed to create more selling time for sales reps. However, if the meetings set up by someone outside of your dealership are not qualified or do not actually happen when your rep arrives, it creates wasted time. And that wasted time does not create more selling time. Here at KTG, we believe that dealerships should hire sales reps who understand and agree that a significant portion of their income will be derived from their ability to cultivate and close net-new-business sales. New salespeople must be “hunters” and should never be allowed to simply “farm” current relationships. So, what are the options for keeping prospecting in-house, but still creating more selling time for your tenured sales reps? We recommend a model that can accomplish this goal in any size dealership. Essentially, it involves creating a business development department that will yield qualified net-

new meetings for any dealership. We will also take a look at another option for bringing the task of scheduling meetings in-house. The Mentor’s Scheduler Our recommended model begins with identifying how many people your dealership can add to the organization. When hiring to fill the telemarketing void, dealerships should focus on finding candidates who want to grow and become successful office technology sales reps. I suggest your dealership bring on new sales reps and have them start in a “ramp-up” program that includes a combination of product training and prospecting. A new candidate should be paired with a mentor or seasoned sales rep who has time on his (or her) calendar for more net-new meetings. The new sales rep should be able to use every tool in his arsenal to set new meetings, including cold calling over the phone, strategic follow-up email campaigns, social media outlets, LinkedIn connections and foot canvassing. Effective net-new-meeting prospecting is so much more than a call from a telemarketer to “introduce” your company. The tenured rep will act as a mentor for your new hire during the ramp-up phase (the first 60 to 90 days of employment), during which time the new hire will focus solely on prospecting and developing specific product knowledge. The mentor should take his protégé out at least twice a week for foot canvassing. He should also accompany the new rep on several meetings that were scheduled by the rep, so he can further learn how to pitch and close net-new business opportunities. The new hires should be responsible for setting a minimum of four to five new meetings a week by the end of the 60-to-90-day mark. At this point, the rep will start working to schedule his own meetings, and the sales manager should be prepared to step in and accompany the rep on any confirmed

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Kingston Feb 14.indd 1

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its sales force with motivated, profesnet-new meetings. The rep can continue sional “telemarketers.” to do all of the due diligence associated You must be in control with a new sale, working closely with the of the message that is Full-time Appointment Setters manager to learn the process of consumbeing conveyed about The other option, although not as demating sales. This way, the sales manager your dealership to your sirable, is to hire full-time people dedican train so the rep is not only learning, prospect in order cated to scheduling meetings. Howbut is also earning commissions. ever, it will be difficult to hire the right Identifying the potential success of a to properly start a people and it will also be the largest new rep is critical during the hiring phase. successful partnership. revolving door in the dealership, given If the rep is unable to schedule net-new the way most dealerships traditionally meetings for his mentor during the rampup phase, it is highly unlikely he will become a long-term, suc- compensate appointment setters. My first job as a marketing professional was to schedule cessful, tenured sales rep. This will also give the dealership an opportunity to evaluate the new hire and determine his meetings for the sales reps of an on-demand printing company. long-term viability, before any headhunting fees become due, The company offered me a small hourly wage, a few more dollars if I set the meeting, plus a small commission for any conthus saving both time and money. A successful hire in this program should be a “win, win, summated deal. This never sat well with me and still doesn’t. win.” The mentor will have his calendar full of net-new Our sales cycle is too long to keep a telemarketer excited to meetings without having to dedicate his time to prospect- constantly prospect with the fervor, dedication and enthusiing, the new sales rep will start to earn commissions while asm necessary to set great appointments if he is waiting 60 to still learning the business, and the dealership will be filling 90 days and beyond to earn a bonus based on the performance of a sales rep. This does not create the motivation for a telemarketer to perform at a peak level over a long period of time, and I know from experience that this creates callers who make 40 dials a day and schedule three to five meetings a week, at best. The ideal hire for this position should want to be compensated for the qualified meetings he sets and not want to wait for the money after sales reps close deals. Pay the money for the scheduled qualified meeting right away and you will have people motivated to call more instead of taking smoke breaks and “cleaning out the database.” Done correctly, this employee should be scheduling 10 to 15 net-new meetings every week and be garnished salary if he does not; that is what you are paying him to do. He will also need to sit in on many office demos so he can watch customer reactions and learn about the solutions you sell. Teach Them to Fish Teaching someone to fish or having someone fish for you — it is the age-old question. Your sales reps are hired fisherman. Make them fish. It is their job. The bottom line: You must be in control of the message that is being conveyed about your dealership to your prospect in order to properly start a successful partnership. You are not in control when you use an outside resource. n Kate Kingston is president of the Kingston Training Group, which provides prospecting sales training to office technology dealerships across the country. She can be reached at kkingston@kingstontraining.com. Visit www.kingstontraining.com. www.offi cetechnol ogymag.com | F e b ru a ry 2014 | 25

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COURTS & CAPITOLS

Employee Loyalty It cannot be created by any contract by: Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel for the Business Technology Association

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BTA member dealer recently called me in distress. He just had his second employee in a month come into his office, drop his keys on the dealer’s desk and walk out without a word of explanation regarding his decision to resign. The dealer was seeking a legal document that would require a two-week notice, loyalty and/or a guaranteed period of employment. A two-week notice requirement may not be the best solution, as during those two weeks, an individual can “poison” the remaining employees as to the perceived problems and perhaps encourage others to leave. Loyalty cannot be created by any contract. Establishing a set period of employment eliminates the employee’s at-will status and may severely limit the dealer’s options if the employee does not work out. The reason baseball managers continue to be compensated after they are fired is because they were initially given a multiyear contract. The BTA website has non-compete, non-disclosure and nonsolicitation agreements that are designed to protect confidential information and prohibit competition in those jurisdictions that allow such restrictions. This member’s problem was not his documentation, but rather his management approach. The days of the owner always being correct are long gone and effective managers know how to generate loyalty. I am fortunate to work with many dealers and I have found that there is one factor that is constant with the most successful companies. The leaders of these entities are dynamic individuals who radiate confidence and are always optimistic. They serve as cheerleaders and have employees who want to work with them. Recently, “60 Minutes” broadcast a story about Amazon.com Inc. They interviewed Amazon.com’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, who shared his vision for the company. He is the type of person one could easily work with; he has a vision and a strategy to achieve that vision. Can your employees say the same? As services become more important in our industry, it is essential to have healthy work relationships. Customers quickly notice when an individual is not happy with what he (or she) is doing. Sometimes it is not even necessary to feel the vibes, as the employee will unload his workplace problems on those around him. Establishing a top-notch staff requires a tone

that begins at the very top. Employees must feel that they are being treated fairly in all aspects of their positions. Surveys indicate that salary, although a factor, is often not the most important factor to a satisfied employee. Being recognized for achievements, receiving positive and constructive feedback and being treated as an individual all are important. An employee who is assigned a monthly quota, who risks losing his position if his quota is not achieved, does not feel valued as an individual. Respect is a key ingredient to success. Your employees are not sales or service machines, but individuals with different lifestyles, problems, hobbies and beliefs. Employees should feel comfortable with their superiors and not be afraid of them. Recognize the differences among your employees and customize your management to each. Loyalty is further generated by open and continuous communication. Keep employees updated on company plans, policies, procedures and decisions. If considering a new line or service, request employee input. Making employees part of the organizational process keeps them motivated and invested in the potential results. Listen attentively and encourage employee feedback. Many companies have a company evaluation process for all employees, including managers and owners. With employee feedback, you will learn about your employees’ concerns and will be able to react to them. Any position can become monotonous at some point. To avoid employee burnout, add or change responsibilities periodically. Encourage training so individuals can accept new responsibilities. Training itself can help break up the monotony. Evaluate compensation in light of an individual’s new or added responsibilities to ensure you are paying a competitive salary. Loyalty is earned and it can be established by using a strong, caring leadership style. Think about your own management style in regard to your employee turnover. Small, genuine changes can pay handsome dividends. n Robert C. Goldberg is general counsel for the Business Technology Association. He can be reached at robert.goldberg@sfnr.com.

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BTA HIGHLIGHTS BTA would like to welcome the following new members to the association:

Dealer Members Alrowad Office Machines Co., Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Caltronics National, Carnegie, PA CDI Office Technologies, Beaver, PA Central Office Systems Corp., Waukesha, WI Empire Office Machines, Helena, MT Laser Product Technologies Inc., Holmen, WI Logan Business Machines, Topeka, KS Service Associate Members ACCRAM, Phoenix, AZ ACDI, Little Rock, AR Vendor Associate Members Aster Graphics Inc., Placentia, CA AVG Technologies, Newton, NC Pure Health Solutions Inc., Vernon Hills, IL Stoner, Quarryville, PA For full contact information of these new members, visit www.bta.org.

For the benefit of its dealer members, each month BTA features two of its Vendor or Service Associate members in this space. BTA Vendor Associate member AVG has created AVG Managed Workplace — a next-generation remote monitoring and management platform. The hybrid, agentless, cloud-based platform monitors and manages all local and cloud IT infrastructure and applications (including the full range of mobile devices) from a single, unified, Web-based dashboard with powerful automation and collaboration features to help manage the endto-end IT user experience for all of a managed service provider’s customers. www.avg.com

Free to BTA members, BTA’s monthly Building My Business webinars, presented by industry experts, are designed to help dealers improve the management of their companies, take full advantage of market opportunities and, ultimately, improve their bottom lines. Past webinar PowerPoint slides and videos are also available to members in the Building My Business archives. For more information, visit www.bta. org/BuildingMyBusiness.

BTA Service Associate member ACCRAM is a provider of nationwide service with an emphasis on copier/MFPs, wide-format printers, laser printers and thermal bar-code devices. ACCRAM knows that many dealers are taking on diverse, multi-vendor fleets of print devices and there is a significant need to provide “one-stop” service nationwide. With more than 445 service engineers in 50 states, ACCRAM is that “go-to” company. ACCRAM also helps dealers understand how to identify thermal printer service and supply opportunities in existing accounts, and create incremental revenue streams while maintaining absolute account control. www.accram.com

For information on BTA member benefits, visit www.bta.org/MemberBenefits.

A full list of BTA Vendor and Service Associate members can be found online at www.bta.org.

Building My Business Webinar Series

www.offi cetechnol ogymag.com | F e b ru a ry 2014 | 27

Highlights Feb 14.indd 1

1/31/14 8:51 AM


PRINCIPAL ISSUES

The Ceaseless Search Always be interviewing & reviewing new candidates by: Steven Branstetter, Crawford Thomas

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n sales, when you run out of new prospects to call, you might as well be out of business. New names and numbers are the fuel for the growth of your business and great sales professionals are always adding to their networks. Have you thought about treating your human resources department the same way? There are many benefits to constantly interviewing and reviewing new candidates, even if you do not have a specific hiring need at the current time. You are only as good as your weakest link, and when the chips are down and you turn to your bench players to save the game, how comfortable will you feel? Some may argue that it is a waste of time to constantly be conducting interviews. Personally, I would much rather dig my well before I need it. I never took physics in school, but even I know that you exert the most energy when you are first trying to get something to move. When the time comes to hire a new employee and you have to take your recruiting efforts from zero to 100, you will find yourself spending more time and money trying to quickly get things in place. Instead of spending your time getting ready to get ready, think about keeping the motor running on your recruiting machine. Over time, you will see how you can build a deep list of candidates to call upon when the time is right. Entitlement is a huge issue in today’s society, and when an employee is convinced that the company simply cannot operate without him (or her), no one wins. I am sure we have all met a co-worker who feels entitled to special privileges due to the responsibility he holds with his position. He will often end up hurting the company more by acting on these entitled thoughts, no matter how much the company relies on him. By keeping a steady flow of new candidates in and around the office, Mr. Ego will stay in check and this will help protect your company. This will also be a huge benefit to your employees, especially the ones who truly care about your company and its future success. I have seen countless situations of an employee being offered a new position that will benefit his family and career, but he lost out on the opportunity because he felt obligated to his current company. There is a great book called “Necessary Endings” that talks about the natural life cycle of relationships and how sometimes it is more beneficial if they end.

Ever heard the old saying, “If you are not growing, you are dying”? I often see companies get complacent with their success. It is always important to look at who you are comparing yourself to before you get too comfortable. I once heard [author and leadership trainer] John Maxwell tell a story about visiting a company that was 100 times the size of his company right after he had his best year ever. Needless to say, this helped expand the vision of what his company could be and kept him grounded. Even if every employee is performing at 100 percent of plan, you will never know if there are 10 more out there who could perform at 200 percent of plan unless you look. It is easy to see why this is important during times of growth, but what if that is not your situation? The same applies to the ability to find employees who can handle multiple responsibilities, allowing you to consolidate some of your expenses. There is also something to be said about having a good pulse on the market. By constantly interviewing, you will be able to collect important data about the caliber of candidates in the marketplace. If you are skilled at interviewing, you might even be able to find out which of your competitors are interviewing as well. I hope this has changed your thought process about stacking your bench to make a stronger team. By consistently reviewing and interviewing new candidates, you will be able to add depth to your organization, ensuring a strong future. When the time comes and you have to call on your thirdstring bench player to save the game, what is going to be the outcome? Are you going to strike out or win a championship? The choice is yours. n Steven Branstetter is training and development manager at Crawford Thomas, a nationwide executive recruiting firm based in Orlando, Fla., with offices in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. He has extensive knowledge of recruiting in the office technology industry for both OEMs and independent dealerships. Branstetter can be reached at (321) 257-0811 or steven.b@crawfordthomas.com. Visit www.crawfordthomas.com.

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Branstetter Feb 14.indd 1

1/31/14 8:52 AM


PRINCIPAL ISSUES

Social Media Recruiting Use your profiles to attract job applicants by: Rebecca Adolf & Kaitlyn Fisher, Impact Networking LLC

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s an office technology dealership owner, you have likely created social media profiles for your business and ensure that they are updated regularly in order to attract prospective customers. But have you considered that these profiles can assist you in recruiting employees? In this article, we will discuss how to create a social media strategy for increasing job applicants and how to measure the results. For which position are you seeking applicants? The answer will help you to identify your target audience(s), as different audiences frequent different sites. As far as age, gender, psychographics, demographics, etc., try to be as specific as possible about who you want to reach. Then, through Internet research, determine where they can be reached. Senior-level employees may not be in the same social space as entry-level recruits. Make sure to understand your audience; what type of content do they want and on which networks would they like to receive it? Now you need to come up with a content strategy. Figure out what your audience wants from you. Through research and your own knowledge, consider what people want to know when applying for a job and use your social media pages to communicate this information. Be specific. Are you hiring for sales jobs? If so, develop a list of what people are looking for in a sales job and, through social content, tell your prospective employees how your company fulfills those needs. Some content ideas include: Blogs — Write and post blogs on your website about your company. Include company news, new employees, charitable efforts, industry-related articles, infographics on the industry, case studies, and detailed job descriptions and benefits. Videos — Upload videos to YouTube and post them on your website. Videos could include a company overview; interviews with leadership; why someone would want to work for your company; employment opportunities; recruitment tips, etc. Photos — Upload photos of company events, behind-thescenes shots, award presentations and new employees to a photo gallery on your website. Link to this content on social media to direct visitors to your website where they can engage with your company. In this case, the goal is to get them to apply for a job. So, what is the best way to communicate with your target audience? Be strategic. Do not just post on your own social

media channels. There are people you want to reach who are outside of your network. Be active and conversational to increase brand exposure and attract new followers, and develop your company as a thought leader. Search for relevant Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags, LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities and individuals with interests that align with your organization and industry. Share your relevant content with groups, use hashtags and make it easy for those who do not follow you directly to find and read your content. Next, do some measurement. For recruiting, the goal would be to increase the number of job applicants. If you have an online application, this is easy to measure. In Google Analytics, you are able to view website traffic by source. You can set up a goal in Google Analytics using the URL of the thank-you page a visitor sees after he (or she) submits an online application. Track how many people fill out the application and evaluate their behavior on the website that led them to apply. Determine if the applicants were driven to the website from social media. If you do not have a job application on your website (which you should consider adding), during interviews you can ask applicants, “How did you hear about us?” This will also help you gauge social media success. If you want to figure out the ROI, use your analytics to measure the number of people who came to your website via social media and compare that to alternatives. Did you save money by not having to purchase a job listing on a third-party website or hire a recruiter? Social media and online marketing is a process, not a project. Your business has to stay fresh, current and meet the needs of the customer. Use trial and error, test new tactics and measure results. The bottom line: Filter that traffic back to your website and make it easy for prospects to submit job applications. n Rebecca Adolf (left), senior designer, and Kaitlyn Fisher, Internet marketing specialist, are with the Creative Services Group of BTA member dealership Impact Networking LLC, Waukegan, Ill. They can be reached at radolf@impactcsg.com or kfisher@impactcsg.com. Visit www.impactmybiz.com. www.offi cetechnol ogymag.com | F e b ru a ry 2014 | 29

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February 2014 Office Technology  

This is the February 2014 issue of Office Technology, the monthly magazine of the Business Technology Association.

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