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CONTENTS Volume 20 • No. 5
FEATURE ARTICLES 10
Mobile Printing Improving the productivity of today’s workers
P R I N C I PA L I S S U E S Effective Interviewing Take the time to devise an action plan
by Katie Pippinger Crawford Thomas
by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine
Mobile workers who are saving, accessing and sharing information on their mobile devices are going to find themselves in situations where they would like to print from their devices. Are you accommodating your customers’ need for mobile printing?
Praise & Encouragement Recognize the best, motivate the rest
To attract ideal candidates and keep their interest during the hiring process, hiring managers should learn how to effectively interview.
SELLING SOLUTIONS Value-Based Meetings Turn information into knowledge & then actions
by Jim Heffernan Insights53 LLC
by Luis Gonzalez SalesScoreKeeper.com
You may think that your sales representatives do not need to be motivated; maybe you feel compensation should be motivation enough. This could not be further from reality. As human beings, we need to be motivated from time to time; this is even more true for sales reps in our industry.
Turning information into knowledge and then doing something with it is at the heart of value-based selling and is a competitive advantage.
Switch Hitting Today, it is the key to sales success
by Tibor Shanto Renbor Sales Solutions
Grand Slam BTA East hosts district event in Baltimore, Md.
The ability to find and engage the right person and talk about the right things are rare skills. Those who can do this are switch hitters.
by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine
On Sept. 26-27, BTA East hosted its Grand Slam district event, focused on providing office technology dealers the opportunity to learn from experts, network with fellow dealers and gather new ideas and strategies. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore in Baltimore, Md.
Comfortable Customers They will boost your dealership’s profitability
by Troy Harrison SalesForce Solutions
When customers are comfortable, they are much more receptive to messages that help them make beneficial buying decisions.
COURTS & CAPITOLS 24
Criminal Background Checks Once considered appropriate, that is now changing by Robert C. Goldberg BTA General Counsel
Conducting criminal background checks of potential employees who will be in your accounting area or technicians who will be sent into businesses is a good employment practice. Background checks have traditionally been considered appropriate. However, that is changing.
D E PA R T M E N T S Business Technology Association
• BTA Highlights
Executive Director’s Page
BTA President’s Message
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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S PAGE
Successfully Facing the Tests of Time
f you have been a member of BTA for any length of time and have read Office Technology magazine, you have likely noticed the occasional reference to the year of the association’s founding — 1926. At this point, of course, no one involved with the founding is still with us. Likewise, many of the details and documents related to the association’s early years are lost to history — but not everything. Here at BTA’s national headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., we do have a few archives that provide an interesting and enjoyable look at the past. For example, we have a number of historic photos. The oldest we have was taken in 1928. Written on the front: “Banquet of Typewriter Convention, Hotel Hollenden, Aug. 20, 1928, Cleveland, Ohio.” This framed photo hangs in our office. You can see it and others at: www.bta. org/PhotoArchives. We have more than old photos. In my office, for example, I have the October 1949 issue of the association’s monthly magazine; it indicates that it is the seventh issue. This issue included such reports as a list of typewriters stolen from the Rivesville (W.V.) High School, along with models and what I assume are serial numbers, so dealers could keep an eye out for the stolen equipment. Another noteworthy archive in my office is a leather-bound accountant’s handwritten ledger of the association’s “receipts and disbursements” that spans from 1938 to 1946. As I write this, I see a “receipts” entry near the front of the ledger for Anderson Typewriter Company, Pasadena, Calif. The company paid its $10 in annual dues. I single out Anderson Typewriter Company for an important reason — the company
has the distinction of being our oldest member. That’s right. Today, what is now Anderson Business Technology has been a member since the association’s earliest years. In 2012, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary. Recently, I exchanged emails with the current president of the dealership, David Anderson, and had the opportunity to speak on the phone to his father, Don Anderson. Don is the son of C. Elmer Anderson, who founded the dealership in 1912. C. Elmer was national president of what is now BTA from 1934 to 1936. Don took a look at the association’s online photo archives. In one of the photos, he reports spotting his father presiding at a banquet as master of ceremonies. In an email I received the same week I spoke to him, Don wrote: “BTA and its forerunners have played a great part in the success and longevity (101 years) of our firm. The great support, education and camaraderie that has been provided to our three generations have been so important to us!” I share this look at the past to help us see the promise of the future. That is, BTA has been helping independent dealers for decades and will continue to do so for decades to come. In addition, Anderson Business Technology — a Copystar and Xerox authorized dealership — is a great reminder that any company that remains dedicated to being truly customer-focused can successfully face the tests of time. The bottom line: If you always keep your eye on the documents and information in the workplace and provide your customers with the best services and technologies of the day, then 80-plus years from now, someone will be writing about the impressive history of your company in our long-enduring industry. n — Brent Hoskins
Executive Director/BTA Editor/Office Technology Brent Hoskins firstname.lastname@example.org (816) 303-4040 Associate Editor Elizabeth Marvel email@example.com (816) 303-4060 Contributing Writers Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel Business Technology Association Luis Gonzalez, SalesScoreKeeper.com www.salesscorekeeper.com Troy Harrison, SalesForce Solutions www.salesforcesolutions.net Jim Heffernan, Insights53 LLC www.insights53.com Katie Pippinger, Crawford Thomas www.crawfordthomas.com Tibor Shanto, Renbor Sales Solutions www.sellbetter.ca
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Hopkins Database Administrator email@example.com Teresa Leerar Bookkeeper firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Smith Membership Sales Representative email@example.com Photo Credits: iStockphoto, Wavebreak Media, ZZVE Illustrations. Cover created by Bruce Quade, Brand X Studio. ©2013 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
Event Raises Funds for Important Cause
n Oct. 16, I had the privilege to attend a very enjoyable and worthwhile office technology industry event in Florham Park, N.J. That evening, Frank Cannata, editorin-chief and publisher of The Cannata Report, hosted the publication’s 28th Annual Awards and Charities Dinner. The event drew more than 250 dealers and manufacturers. This was my first time to attend the dinner. It was very impressive. The attendees included senior management from leading manufacturers such as Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Muratec, Ricoh, Sharp and Toshiba. In addition, representatives of many of the nation’s largest dealerships were in attendance. I do not recall ever seeing so many of our industry’s leaders in one place. Frank’s annual dinner has been a premier event for many years. The dinner began raising funds for charities in 1997; since then, it has raised more than $1 million for such charities as the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Glide Foundation to aid the homeless in San Francisco, and charities that benefit battered women and children. At this year’s dinner, more than $130,000 was donated or pledged to the Maryann Ingoglia Memorial Research Grant for Leukemia at The Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. The Cannata Report established the research grant in memory of Maryann Ingoglia, who passed away last year. She was the wife of long-time industry executive Robert Ingoglia. Frank reports that the doctors and researchers at Hackensack University Medical Center, where Maryann received her care, have made great strides toward
developing an effective cure for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He states: “It is our hope that this grant, in Maryann’s name, will help provide this outstanding medical facility with some of the funding needed to combat a disease that affects so many.” While I did not know Maryann, I was personally touched by the primary reason we had gathered at the dinner. Seven years ago, I lost my dad, Joseph Fitzsimons, to acute myeloid leukemia, and saw how difficult it was for him to fight this terrible disease. With that in mind, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Frank on behalf of all BTA members who have lost a loved one to leukemia. Thank you, Frank, for your commitment to making a difference. Of course, the other purpose for the dinner was to recognize the manufacturers that dealers rate as the industry’s finest. The awards presented at the dinner are determined by The Cannata Report’s annual dealer survey, now in its 28th year as well. The winners: KYOCERA Document Solutions America Inc., Printer Manufacturer of the Year; Ricoh Co. Ltd., MFP Manufacturer of the Year; and Muratec America Inc., First-in-Class Manufacturer of the Year. Rick Taylor, president and COO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc., received the Executive of the Year Award. The Cannata Report also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Kirk Yoshida, the retired chairman of Ricoh Americas Corp. Mr. Yoshida spent his entire career at Ricoh, starting in 1967, with Ricoh Co. Ltd., in Japan. He served as chairman of Ricoh Corp. (USA) from 1998 to 2002 and from 2008 to 2009. He returned to Japan in 2009, becoming chairman of Ricoh Leasing before his retirement in 2012. n — Todd J. Fitzsimons
President Todd J. Fitzsimons Automated Business Solutions DBA Network Imaging 122 Spring St., Ste. B3 Southington, CT 06489 firstname.lastname@example.org President-Elect Ron Hulett U.S. Business Systems Inc. 3221 Southview Drive Elkhart, IN 46514 email@example.com Vice President Dave Quint Advanced Systems Inc. 2945 Airport Blvd. P.O. Box 57 Waterloo, IA 50704 firstname.lastname@example.org BTA East Rob Richardson Allied Document Solutions & Services Inc. 200 Church St. Swedesboro, NJ 08085 email@example.com BTA Mid-America Dan Castaneda International Copy Machine Center 1515 Lee Trevino, Ste. EE El Paso, TX 79936 firstname.lastname@example.org BTA Southeast Linda Hayes Purcell’s Business Products 222 E. 1st St. Campbellsville, KY 42718 email@example.com BTA West Mike Ehlers Yost Business Systems 685 E. Anderson Idaho Falls, ID 83401 firstname.lastname@example.org Ex-Officio/Immediate Past President Terry Chapman Business Electronics Corp. 219 Oxmoor Circle, P.O. Box 531066 Birmingham, AL 35253 email@example.com Ex-Officio/General Counsel Robert C. Goldberg Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg LLC 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 2100 Chicago, IL 60606 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mobile Printing Improving the productivity of today’s workers by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine
onsider the unfathomable number of people now using smartphones and toting tablets. Consider, too, that these same devices, coupled with the Internet, are helping to fuel the continued rise in the number of full-time or occasional mobile workers. There is no turning back. Mobility is here to stay. Now consider the historical, core target of the office technology dealer — the printed page. Yes, dealers have significantly broadened their product and services lineups since the earlier days of the office copier, but anyone selling MFPs today still has a keen interest in capturing the revenue from as much print output as possible. Finally, consider the relationship between these two realities. Workers who are saving, accessing and sharing information on their mobile devices are going to find themselves in situations where they would like to print from their devices. Are you accommodating your customers’ need for mobile printing? The use of mobile printing apps in the United States is on the rise. “Smartphone users engaged in mobile print increased from 16 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2012,” says Dinesh Srirangpatna, research manager for Hardcopy Industry Transformation at IDC, the market research firm. “Tablet users engaged in mobile print increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 32 percent in 2012.” Today, says Tony Venice, manager of strategic product management for Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc. (TABS), dealers are recognizing the significance of the trend toward mobile printing. “I think, from the perspective of dealers, they want to make sure they are supporting any source from which an end user would want to print,” he says. “So, whether it’s from a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, getting the print job to the customer’s MFP is of interest to the dealer.” MFP manufacturers now offer an ever-broadening range of apps to accommodate mobile printing. Toshiba, for example,
recently introduced its e-BRIDGE Print & Capture mobile app, which supports Android smartphones and tablets, and allows users to scan from and print to the company’s e-STUDIO MFPs. In December, Toshiba plans to release a mobile printing app that will support Apple iOS as well, accommodating mobile printing from iPhones and iPads. “When we talk about these mobile print apps, we are really talking about improving productivity,” Venice says, noting the ability to print information outside of a person’s office or workstation is now viewed as part of the inherent convenience of mobile devices. “It may be a person who is in his or her workplace, but perhaps in a meeting room, who wants that ability to print. You also have mobile workers and outside sales reps coming into the office who don’t want to worry about having the right drivers on their laptops, but need to be able to print something quickly and easily.” Venice says the topic of mobility is now frequently raised by dealers, direct sales personnel and end users visiting TABS headquarters. “Everyone is telling us the same thing — that BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] policies are really spreading quickly,” he says. “How people use their mobile devices varies, but the one thing that always comes up is the need to print.” Toshiba’s new mobile printing app for Androids provides three routes to printing, Venice says. Once the user downloads the app from Google Play to his (or her) mobile device, he can search the list of available printers via Wi-Fi or can simply key in a specific IP address, he explains. “The third way is you can actually create and print out a QR code that can be affixed to an MFP,” he says. “So, somebody who is visiting the office, for example, can just walk up to the closest MFP and scan that QR code and he is pretty much ready to go.” Ricoh Americas Corp. and Samsung Electronics America Inc. are among the other MFP manufacturers offering mobile printing. In 2012, Ricoh introduced its HotSpot Enterprise
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mobile printing solution, IT business controls.” which routes all documents For HotSpot Enterprise, “The move from a consumer through a private cloud hostCampbell says she would technology into a corporate ed on the client’s infrastrucadvise Ricoh dealers to foneed has been a driver ture, providing the ability to cus on three areas as they for us to build more print within multi-vendor seek to educate end users features into our app ... fleets. Samsung introduced about mobile printing. “I Users can now print PDFs, its Mobile Print App in 2011, would talk about the finanproviding users the ability to cial benefit, the productivJPEGs, Web pages and print and scan on any Samity benefit and the work Microsoft Office documents ... ” sung MFP, and print from style support of the mobile — Peter Richardson any Samsung printer. Both employee,” she says, emphaSamsung Electronics America Inc. companies’ apps provide the sizing, again, the financial ability to print from Android benefit. “When you are talkor Apple iOS smartphones or tablets. In addition, Samsung’s ing to finance people, being able to account for all of the app allows for printing from the company’s Windows phone output they will have the ability to track is going to be seen and Ricoh offers its app for BlackBerry mobile devices. as very beneficial.” Mobile printing apps often have features far beyond Richardson suggests that one strategy to educate end simple printing. “The move from a consumer technology users is for Samsung dealers to embrace the company’s into a corporate need has been a driver for us to build more Mobile Print App themselves. “They need to be using it in features into our app,” says Peter Richardson, director for their businesses,” he says. “For example, instead of scanning printer marketing in Samsung’s Enterprise Business Divi- documents from the MFP to a desktop PC or laptop, scan to sion. “We are able to do the things that are important in a mobile device; start using the Samsung Mobile Print App business; we are not just talking about printing pictures in document processes and sales deals. I think dealers who of someone’s kids. Users can now print PDFs, JPEGs, Web use it every day in their businesses will be a leap ahead of pages and Microsoft Office documents — Word, PowerPoint the competition.” and Excel files. They can also select duplex printing, in color As Srirangpatna notes, one of the requisites for the conor black and white. Plus, we offer job accounting, secure tinued rise of mobile printing is the “opening of IT business printing with user authentication and the ability to send controls.” In many cases, that would translate to a greater faxes directly from the app and then print them.” acceptance within corporate BYOD policies, where strict Terrie Campbell, vice president of strategic marketing at limitations in terms of personal mobile device usage in the Ricoh, cites a similar list of features, emphasizing the Ricoh workplace may currently exist. “At some point, they’re going mobile printing solution’s job accounting feature. “HotSpot to have to revisit those policies, because it’s just going to beEnterprise lets you do accounting so that you can see who is come a necessity,” Venice says, noting that many companies printing what and do departmental chargebacks,” she says. that have had a strict BYOD policy are starting to become “So, it offers a much broader range of information and con- more lenient. “The percentage of employees bringing devictrols than just simply, ‘I want to be able to print from any- es into the office is growing by leaps and bounds every year, where with my mobile device.’ Instead, it pulls that mobile as is the number of mobile workers.” device into a broader strategy that says, ‘I need to get my Campbell shares a similar observation. She notes that arms around all of my costs of output, regardless of where first-generation BYOD policies are often more restrictive they are coming from.’” and reflect “a sledgehammer approach,” with second-genWhile mobile printing apps are becoming more prevalent eration BYOD policies reflecting “more finesse” in allowing and full-featured, there is still a need for end-user educa- personal device usage in the workplace. “I see more comtion and broader acceptance of mobile printing. “Positive panies moving over to the second generation,” she says. “As forces such as mobile unit shipments, mobile print-friendly they get more educated and realize the [security and achardware, mobile OS print integrations and mobile print counting, etc.] tools that are available to them, then they apps have helped to drive popularity across technologically typically step into a more sophisticated approach.” savvy users,” says Srirangpatna. “However, currently, more With more workers using mobile devices for printing, can than 50 percent of smartphone users do not know how to dealers expect to see an incremental print volume increase or print from their devices. Transition of the majority to mo- is it just replacement output? The opinions may vary, but perbile print will require ease of use, simplicity and opening of haps only time will tell. “I don’t have any hard data, but I see it 12 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
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a desktop PC is on its way more as replacement print,” to being similar to the disCampbell says. “I don’t think “So, although the number tinction between a print job there is suddenly any new of people in the mobile from a laptop versus a deskinformation that needs to workforce is continuing top PC. “It’s almost the same be printed that wasn’t there to climb every year, any thing; the mobile device just before, but it is easier for the pages they print from provides another means to mobile worker to print.” mobile devices are still print,” she says, emphasizRichardson offers a difsimply a portion of the ing that the dealer’s interest ferent perspective. “I would in enabling as many printed say it is a little bit of both,” overall ‘print-volume pie.’” pages as possible remains the he says. “Clearly, I think it — Terrie Campbell unwavering objective. “So, alis replacement output for Ricoh Americas Corp. though the number of people some traditional print volin the mobile workforce is ume, but there may be some incremental volume, too, since there is so much more to continuing to climb every year, any pages they print from a mobile device; there is so much information print from mobile devices are still simply a portion of the overall ‘print-volume pie.’” n you have access to from your smartphone today.” Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Actually, whether or not a document is printed from a moBusiness Technology Association, is editor bile device or from elsewhere may soon be viewed as irrelevant of Office Technology magazine. He can be as it becomes more commonplace. Campbell suggests that the reached at email@example.com or (816) 303-4040. distinction between a print job from a mobile device versus
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Praise & Encouragement Recognize the best, motivate the rest by: Luis Gonzalez, SalesScoreKeeper.com
ometimes you may think that your sales representatives do not need to be motivated; maybe you feel compensation should be motivation enough. You may even think, “Well, they are seasoned reps and should not need to be motivated.” This could not be further from reality. As human beings, we need to be motivated from time to time; this is even more true for sales reps in our industry. Let’s take a look at a few ideas that may work for your organization. You may be surprised how effectively they can motivate a sales force with minimal investment. Recognition itself is a great motivational tool. The recognition of a number-one sales rep or the motivation of not being at the bottom is what reps strive to achieve. Here are some ways to get your sales reps fired up to sell more. Posting Numbers Stack rankings, monthly, quarterly and YTD performance against quota are some of the statistics that can be collected and used to motivate sales reps. Information gathered in metrics, such as net new customers and new MPS or MNS contracts, could also be used to motivate and ignite sales areas. When posting the numbers for the entire company to view, it is imperative to educate the entire staff on the importance of your sales team doing well. The company must have growth, which stems from new business. Team members should learn to encourage and reach out to sales reps who may need help achieving their quotas. The statistics provided should recognize the sales reps who are performing well and motivate those who require it. One important factor when posting numbers is that they be accurate and up to date. Numbers that are not updated on a timely basis lose effect and integrity. Trophies & Plaques Everybody loves to be recognized. When a golfer wins a tournament, he (or she) raises his trophy high and kisses it in front of everyone; when a football player scores a touchdown,
he spikes the ball and does a special dance. This is in an effort to be recognized for achieving a goal. In many cases, professional athletes use visions of themselves raising a trophy or spiking a football as a part of their motivation to work and win. Sales reps are no different. Top-performing reps are usually those who strive for recognition. Make recognition part of your company culture and reward the reps who achieve these goals. Monthly awards are a great way to accomplish this; they can be inexpensive and customized to your business. Trophies can state the achievement accomplished and will serve as a constant reminder to the winner (as well as other sales reps) of the benefits of hard work and achievement. You can also have plaques for each year on your office walls that display the names of reps who have achieved their goals on a monthly basis. This is a great way to publicize their achievements by recognizing the best and motivating the rest. Following are some other ways you can recognize your top performers that will have impact as well as staying power. A letter from the company president acknowledging a sales rep’s performance and hard work is a winning initiative. An old-fashioned letter with an inked signature (not an email) that recognizes a job well done is the perfect personal touch. Take the letter one step further; mail it to the rep’s home so he can share the recognition with his family. Do not be surprised when you see the letter hanging in his cubicle. Make a parking sign, “Reserved for Our Top Performer,” and post it right in front of the spot closest to the door for all to see. It is a great subliminal reminder to everyone who walks in the door. The parking spot is not special because it is by the entrance; it is special because the rep is being recognized every day when he arrives at the office. Reward your top-earning rep with lunch at his favorite spot along with the company president or vice president of sales. Spend the time listening to the rep’s thoughts on making the company better to help the team sell more, how his kids are doing in soccer or even details about his last vacation. When scheduling the lunch, be sure to let the entire sales staff know
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— especially to the rep being recognized. you are going and even share the location. As a sales leader, it is your job to motiNow that you have a few ideas of how Post your stack rankings vate your top performers to their highest to recognize sales reps, here is the key and sales metrics in the levels. Good selling! n to making it work: Be consistent. Once office for all to see ... Luis Gonzalez founded Miami Office you start a form of recognition, you must Make recognition a big Supplies (MOS) in south Florida in 1986. carry it through. You cannot recognize deal, because it is — MOS specialized in the office equipment one month and then skip the next two. space for 25 years as an independent Execution and timing must be consistent especially to the rep dealership. It was acquired by Sharp and disciplined. When I owned a dealbeing recognized. Electronics in 2007. From 2007 to 2011, ership, we had plaques on the wall for Gonzalez was branch president and “Highest Revenue” and “Highest Percentdirector of sales and marketing for Sharp Business Systems. age of Quota” that went back 10 years, serving as a constant He was most recently senior vice president for Sharp’s reminder of the rewards of reaching goals. This was a great Business Solutions Group. In 2011, he founded recruiting tool when we had prospects walk through the SalesScoreKeeper.com, a software design office, as it showed that we were serious about recognizing and development company specializing in our top performers and we understood the importance of automation of the commission process for being a team. business-to-business sales companies. Finally, be sure the recognition is visible to all employees. Gonzalez can be reached at (888) 786-7270 or Post your stack rankings and sales metrics in the office for all firstname.lastname@example.org. to see; present trophies in sales meetings or, better yet, comVisit www.salesscorekeeper.com. pany-wide meetings. Make recognition a big deal, because it is 11_2013_UniNet_Copier_MFP_BTA_HALF 10/17/13 6:24 PM Page 1
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www.uninetimaging.com/BTAmag © 2013 UniNet Imaging Inc. All trademark names and artworks are property of their respective owners. Brand names mentioned are intended to show compatibility only.
18 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
Gonzalez Nov 13.indd 2
10/24/13 9:58 AM
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5560 Miracle Service - OfficeTechnology.indd 1 Miracle Service ad OctAd 13.indd 1
2013-09-17 4:32AM PM 9/18/13 8:09
Grand Slam BTA East hosts district event in Baltimore, Md. by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine
n Sept. 26-27, BTA East hosted its Grand Slam district event, focused on providing office technology dealers the opportunity to learn from experts, network with fellow dealers and gather new ideas and strategies. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore in Baltimore, Md. Grand Slam featured a keynote session presented by Tod Pike, senior vice president of the Enterprise Business Division at Samsung Electronics America Inc. There were also five additional educational sessions and a dealer panel. The educational sessions were led by Bob Goldberg, general counsel, BTA; John Hey, associate and co-founder, Strategic Business Associates; Milton Bartley, president and CEO, ImageQuest; Darrell Amy, president, Dealer Marketing; and Troy Harrison, president, SalesForce Solutions. The dealer panel was moderated by Frank Cannata, president of Marketing Research Consultants, with panelists Rick Bastinelli, Centric Business Systems, Owings Mills, Md.; Leo Bonetti, Flo-Tech, Middletown, Conn.; Brad Cates, ProSource Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio; Bill Fraser, Fraser Advanced Information Systems, West Reading, Pa.; and Greg Gondek, Advanced Copy Technologies Inc., Cromwell, Conn. The schedule also included a welcoming reception and a Boston Red Sox versus Baltimore Orioles baseball game. “I was appreciative of the wide range of speakers and topics covered,” said attendee Jerry Allen, Metro Business Systems, Forestville, Md. “I was impressed with the event.” The exhibiting sponsors: BEI Services, Crawford Thomas, Densi, Digital Gateway, DocuWare, ECi FMAudit, EDA, Esha Corp., ESP, Falcon Technology Solutions, Fonality, Frontier Imaging, Global Printer Services, GreatAmerica Financial Services, Image Star, Katun, LEAF, LMI Solutions, Marlin Office Technology Finance Group, MSE, Muratec, NA Trading and Technology, OKI, Polek & Polek, Printer Essentials, Smart Power Systems, Supplies Network, SYNNEX, TonerCycle/InkCycle, Toshiba and West Point Products. For information on BTA’s 2014 district events, visit www.bta.org/DistrictEvents. n Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology Association, is editor of Office Technology magazine.
Clockwise from top: Grand Slam featured six educational sessions and a dealer panel; Jeff Elkin (left), president, Advance — The Document Specialists, Cockeysville, Md., visits with Jim D’Emidio, president, Muratec; Darrell Amy presents “The Evolving Dealership — Developing a Message That Integrates Hardware, Services & Solutions”; an attendee visits with Toshiba representatives during a break; Tod Pike presents “Embracing Change: The Future of the BTA Dealer.”
20 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
BTA East Nov 13.indd 1
10/24/13 10:09 AM
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OKI ad Nov 13.indd 1 A4 OT.indd 1 OKIE-11758-13 Full Line
10/22/13 10/22/13 3:23 3:36 PM PM
Embracing Change F
Clockwise from top: The dealer panel, “Our Industry is Changing! Where Do We Go From Here?,” included five panelists; Jack Branka (right), president, Standard Digital Imaging Inc., Southampton, Pa., learns about offerings from Fonality from Bill Blake, the company’s channel sales manager; dealers network during a break between educational sessions; Bob Goldberg presents “All Hits & No Errors = Dealer Success”; John Hey presents “Leadership vs. Management: Which is More Important?”; attendees watch the Boston Red Sox take on the Baltimore Orioles from the vantage point of private suites at Oriole Park; Maury Millison (right), Mid-Atlantic regional manager, Image Star, awards a Roku Streaming Player to Mike David, president, XCL Business Products, Hauppauge, N.Y.; Milton Bartley presents “Strategies for Success in Managed IT Services”; Troy Harrison presents “Building the 21st-Century Sales Force.”
irst citing the attributes office technology dealers possess that make them “great,” Tod Pike, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics America, also provided dealer attendees with insight and guidance that he says will help them “stay great” in the years to come. He shared his comments in his keynote presentation, “Embracing Change: The Future of the BTA Dealer.” Pike’s list of attributes began with his observation that dealers provide better service than manufacturer direct sales operations. “I’ve run both sides of the business [direct and dealer sales],” he explained. “If there are two customers who call their vendors on a Friday afternoon and they need a machine moved on a Sunday and one of them is a BTA dealer and the other one is a manufacturer, two very different outcomes happen. In the case of the BTA dealer, that machine gets moved on Sunday. And in the other case, a form gets filled out on Monday.” Another dealer attribute, cited by Pike, is the fact that they are local. “You are involved in your Chamber of Commerce, you donate money to local charities, you are in the newspaper — you’re local,” he said. “There is probably some percentage of your customers who will actually buy from you for that reason and that reason alone, but everybody is influenced by it.” Two other dealer attributes on Pike’s list: Dealers are adaptable (“You can react to changes in the marketplace in a way that no national organization could ever do”) and they are “nice people,” which often becomes apparent through the customer relationships that result from having long-term employees. What should dealers be doing to help themselves stay great? First, Pike said, they should emphasize their “current greatness.” That is, when it comes to things like providing superior service and being local, dealers should promote these attributes in the marketplace. In buying situations where “the customer is interested in these things,” he said, manufacturers “lose the most.” Pike also emphasized that to stay great, dealers should be pursuing managed print services (MPS). Among the reasons: “You’ve got office superstores competing for your business and they can’t stand to lose the cartridge business” and “IT resellers are trying to get into your business.” In new accounts, MPS can help the dealer “get a foot in the door in order to build relationships and move the customer upward.” Among some of the other ways for dealers to stay great, as cited by Pike: pursue managed image services, providing customers access to information without regard to manufacturer, whether it is on a laptop, tablet, phone, etc.; be trendy by becoming a knowledge and services resource in such areas as cloud storage and mobility; and be a source of “power disruption” through such initiatives as transitioning customers away from the predominant use of A3 MFPs to more A4 MFPs and by assisting customers with workgroup management for the device, document and output. Regarding the transition from A3 to A4, “there are probably three or four competitors out there that don’t want this to happen,” Pike added. “They are taking the stance that ‘We are going to hang onto color A3s as long as we can.’ So, the competitive opportunity for you to disrupt is great.” As he concluded his list of ways to stay great, Pike offered a final piece of advice. “You’ve got to be able to show your customers that your dealership is big enough to support them,” he said. “It means mergers and acquisitions. It means making sure your company is at a size that you think is sustainable.” n —Brent Hoskins
22 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
BTA East Nov 13.indd 2
10/24/13 10:09 AM
TonerCycle InkCycle ad Nov 13.indd 1
10/10/13 1:44 PM
COURTS & CAPITOLS
Criminal Background Checks Once considered appropriate, that is now changing by: Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel for the Business Technology Association
onducting criminal background checks of potential employees who will be in your accounting area or technicians who will be sent into businesses is a good employment practice. In fact, several suppliers have required criminal background checks in conjunction with a dealer’s authorization as a service provider. Background checks have traditionally been considered appropriate. However, that is changing. Based on recent pronouncements by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), businesses that conduct criminal background checks do so at their own risk. Companies that either ask job applicants if they have been convicted of a felony or check criminal histories expose themselves to potential discrimination lawsuits. Under the EEOC’s recent Enforcement Guidance, while conducting criminal background checks is not by itself unlawful, the use of criminal histories can be discriminatory. The impact on minorities can result in liability if the dealer cannot show a “business necessity” for rejecting an applicant based upon the applicant’s criminal past. There are certain industries and environments where criminal background checks are actually required and/or the presence of a convicted felon is prohibited. Day care centers, schools and nursing homes all have restrictions on the presence of individuals convicted of crimes that relate to children or infirmed individuals. In recent years, however, employers have been placed on notice that the improper use of a criminal history may result in damages for the rejected applicant. The EEOC has found that significantly more African-Americans and Hispanics, especially men, have been incarcerated and, thus, a total company ban on ex-offenders impacts those minorities more than others. The EEOC guidance recommends that criminal convictions be eliminated from employment applications. It does not prohibit their inclusion, but suggests more precise inquiries. When a dealer asks about an applicant’s criminal history, it should be limited to applicants for positions where it is relevant. The questions should only regard convictions that have
a direct correlation to the duties of the position. The EEOC suggests the following be considered in your evaluation: (1) How long ago was the crime committed? (2) What was the nature and gravity of the crime? and (3) How does the crime relate to the position sought? The EEOC also suggests that ex-offenders be given a chance to explain the circumstances and any rehabilitation efforts undertaken since the conviction. It is advisable that all applicants be informed that background checks and drug screenings may be part of the application and interview process. This often eliminates applicants. Obtain an authorization to conduct the background check. It is often best to use a third party to conduct the check, as they are familiar with the process and any restrictions. Much of the information sought is in public records and available online. However, there is always the possibility that the information will be incorrect or will not be properly interpreted. The rule has not changed that arrests are not a basis for denial of a position. Only convictions may be considered and now they must be related to the position sought. If, during the application process, a conviction is revealed, it is advisable to document the interview process in this area. Record and document the business necessity that eliminates the applicant. If a potential technician has sex offenses that will not allow him to service school installations, that can be considered a “business necessity.” If an individual has been convicted of theft, then an accounting position would not be wise. As a first step, eliminate the “Have you ever been convicted of a felony in the past seven years?” question from your employment application. Train job interviewers and decision makers on the EEOC’s new guidance and how it relates to criminal history discrimination. Eliminate any blanket policy you have to not hire a convicted felon. One part of the law has not changed: A dealer can recruit and interview until the best-qualified individual is found for a position. n Robert C. Goldberg is general counsel for the Business Technology Association. He can be reached at email@example.com.
24 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
Goldberg Nov 13.indd 1
10/24/13 10:32 AM
MWAi ad Nov 13.indd 1
10/21/13 9:22 AM
BTA HIGHLIGHTS BTA would like to welcome the following new members to the association:
Dealer Members COS Business Products & Interiors, Chattanooga, TN Document Solutions, Kenilworth, NJ Publishing Associate Member AnnBarr.com, Virginia Beach, VA For full contact information of these new members, visit www.bta.org.
PathShare HR Services & Tools The Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) is an online assessment tool you can use to examine an applicant’s predictable behavior. No matter how they come across in an interview, this assessment tool will help you gain insight into the candidate’s natural self-behavior (who they really are). The PathShare HR Services team has also created benchmarks and profiled various roles in the office technology industry. Capitalize on that knowledge to compare your applicant’s natural self to the traits needed to be successful in the role you have open. Find out how they “fit” with your opening. The AVA online assessment is just one component of the hiring process. As certified AVA Analysts, PathShare HR experts will consult with BTA members to explain the individual’s results to better understand the applicant’s motivation and potential fit. BTA members receive $50 off PathShare’s Interview and Assessment Package. Visit www.bta.org/PathShare for more information. For information on BTA member benefits, visit www.bta.org/MemberBenefits.
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 Intec Printing Solutions is a provider of cutting-edge digital technology, offering customers unique print solutions to solve printing requirements for all manner of print-related collateral. Intec printers are versatile and reliable systems that offer bespoke capabilities for envelope printing and labels, heavy media and boards up to 600gsm/micron, and 28pt board and finishing. www.intecprinters.com For more than 50 years, BTA Service Associate Member Buyers Laboratory (BLI) has been a source for unbiased, reliable intelligence for the digital imaging industry. Its products include: comprehensive reports; industry news, analysis and “Pick of the Year” awards; private testing services for OEMs; and advisory services for business consumers. All of BLI’s information services can be accessed in its imaging intelligence product, bliQ. BLI is completely independent in all of its testing processes and subsequent reporting. Its product evaluations are conducted in its on-site testing facility where BLI evaluates and reports on hundreds of new copier/MFPs, printers and fax machines each year. www.buyerslab.com A full list of BTA Vendor and Service Associate members can be found online at www.bta.org.
26 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
Highlights Nov 13.indd 1
10/24/13 11:03 AM
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Schedule a DEMO with FMAudit TODAY! Visit www.ECiSolutions.com/MPS or call 573-632-2461 573-632-2461 • fmaudit@ECiSolutions.com • www.fmaudit.com ECi, FMAudit and the ECi Red Box logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of eCommerce Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.
ECi FMAudit ad Feb 13.indd 1
1/17/13 4:05 PM
Effective Interviewing Take the time to devise an action plan by: Katie Pippinger, Crawford Thomas
he interview process can be a nightmare — for the hiring company and the perspective candidate. In the past, candidates had to impress hiring managers and convey why the company needed them on the team. The power has since shifted, placing just as much pressure on the hiring company to sell the opportunity to the candidate. Solid candidates have more luxury to be picky when selecting a company and that makes the hiring process more crucial than ever. An effective interview process starts with a thorough and complete job description to identify qualified candidates. The scope of responsibilities and requirements paints a clear picture of the work that is expected. Inconsistent information between the job description and/or hiring managers will make it impossible to effectively hire. The interview process should be structured like your organization operates as a whole, as it is the first impression a candidate will get. Communication is key. Take the time to devise an action plan and clearly communicate the process to all involved interviewers and hiring managers. Candidates under consideration also need to have an understanding of the steps in the process and the planned time frame for making a decision. A quality candidate is likely being approached with multiple opportunities and, if he (or she) does not know where he stands in your process, he will lose interest and quickly move on. In order to attract ideal candidates and keep their interest throughout the hiring process, hiring managers need to learn how to effectively interview. Unfortunately, coaching is typically candidate focused, which only alleviates part of the issue. An unorganized, unprofessional and unprepared interview process is a terrible way to represent your organization and makes it next to impossible to add top talent to your team. One of the most frequent mistakes hiring managers make is not selling the opportunity or company as a whole to a candidate. This can be the result of not putting the necessary time into the process. However, it is more likely due to an unstructured interview process or a simple misunderstanding that the candidate will decide who to work for based primarily on the interview experience. If you already have a structured interview process in place that works, kudos. Keep in mind that while the job market and candidate experience evolves, your process needs to do
the same. Some of the most minuscule details can make the difference between a superstar joining your team or your competition’s. Qualified candidates should be interviewed by multiple decision makers in addition to participating in a ride-along or observation day to gain a “culture snapshot.” Candidates are scrutinized for job stability and in order to make the decision to join your team and stay, they need to be comfortable with the job’s duties and think they will be a great fit culturally. Another reason why an interviewer may not sell the opportunity is because he thinks he does not need to convince the candidate that it is a great place to work; he thinks the candidate should explain why he should be given the opportunity. Regardless of how great the position and company may be, a candidate can easily be persuaded by a company that shows him why it is a great place to work. Too often a candidate leaves an interview realizing he did not learn anything about the company, job and/or industry. The interview was focused on his experience and he was not given the opportunity to ask questions. Unless he clearly understands that the next step allows him to ask questions and learn more about the opportunity, there is a good chance he will move on. There should be a structure to your interview questions and an opportunity for candidates to ask questions. Treat candidates as prospects, not applicants. They need to feel that you respect and value their time and interest. Typically, candidates are removed from consideration if they are late for an interview or do not send a proper follow-up thank you without reason. More often, however, it is the interviewer who is late for the interview and does not respond to thank-you emails. A good interviewer will hold himself to the same standard of respect that he expects in return. Dragging out the interview process with unnecessary steps or repeated questions does not give a prospective candidate the impression that you respect the time he has dedicated to the opportunity. n Katie Pippinger is senior account manager at Crawford Thomas, Orlando, Fla. She has extensive knowledge of recruiting in the office technology industry and a record of success for both OEMs and independent dealerships. Pippinger can be reached at (321) 257-0832 or katie.p@crawford thomas.com. Visit www.crawfordthomas.com.
28 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
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Value-Based Meetings Turn information into knowledge & then actions by: Jim Heffernan, Insights53 LLC
re you sharing information with your customers or are you sharing knowledge? Albert Einstein said: “Information is not knowledge.” Merriam-Webster defines knowledge as: “Knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.” As you will learn in this article, the ability to turn information into knowledge and then do something with it is at the heart of value-based selling and is clearly a competitive advantage. Information is easily accessible to customers today via the Internet. Studies by companies such as IDC, Forrester and SiriusDecisions, indicate customers gather 50 to 70 percent of needed information prior to inviting a salesperson into the buying process. While customers have become effective gatherers of information, they are hungrier than ever for knowledge. Knowledge results from combining information with experience. Your unique experiences have resulted in knowledge that is unique to you. For example, maybe you have helped customers manage documents and information for many years. You have worked with different types of customers and solved a variety of customer business problems using your solutions. You have experienced the buying process from start to finish hundreds of times and have measured the outcomes over years of contracts and relationships. That knowledge is your unique value offering to customers. Today, customers are hungry for value-based conversations about their business problems and your ability to solve them. Forrester reports that only 12 percent of salespeople are truly value focused. Deliver value early in the sales cycle and customers will allow you to define the buying agenda — which Forrester says drives 76 percent of decisions. The strategy is to use a simple process for applying your unique knowledge in customer meetings. The goal is to control and guide the conversation. Use the Bell — Business conversations require structure to be effective. Think of a bell curve to define a beginning, middle and end. n Start the conversation with a question. It will surprise attendees because they expect you to lead with a 45-minute presentation. The question should focus the topic of conversation and engage the customer in talking about his (or her) business. n The middle is where you will drive clarity about the problems and the costs of not having a solution. Introduce powerful questions and experiences to develop understanding about
“what is” and “what might be.” n The end is critical. You will summarize how the customer’s understanding of the topic shifted and you will gain emotional support to continue moving the buying process forward at a later date. Ask Questions — The art and science of asking questions is key to value-based selling. New knowledge comes from asking new questions. n When you ask questions, you control the conversation. When preparing for a customer meeting, allocate 25 percent of your time to identifying what questions will be asked to guide the customer meeting and conversation. n Use “What is ... ?” and “What caused ... ?” questions to define the current state. Use “Why?,” “Why not?” and “What if?” questions to disrupt current thinking and to paint a vision of what might be. Listen — Engage, listen and learn. Questions will give you control. What you hear and learn during the meeting will give you a competitive advantage. n Use 30 percent of your focus for talking. n Use 70 percent of your focus for listening. Take Action — Unless next steps are defined, a customer will consider the meeting simply another to-do on his calendar. n Articulate how his understanding of the topic has changed during the meeting. n Define the next steps, who will complete each step and due dates. Customers have a real hunger for value-based conversations. Studies say there is a gap in customer expectations. Customers want to engage salespeople who are able to turn information into knowledge and who take action to improve business performance. An effective strategy for customer meetings is to use the bell structure, to ask great questions and to listen twice as much as you talk. To ensure customers recognize the value delivered, define the change in understanding that occurred during the meeting and the next steps forward in the buying process. If you prefer an acronym to remember the steps, try IKARe (pronounced “I care”) which defines the flow from information to knowledge to action and results. n Jim Heffernan is president of Insights53. He is a former Minolta dealer and MPS sales expert at Hewlett-Packard. Heffernan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (636) 236-6691. Visit www.insights53.com.
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Heffernan Nov 13.indd 1
10/24/13 10:55 AM
LMI ad Nov 13.indd 1
10/23/13 10:11 AM
Switch Hitting Today, it is the key to sales success by: Tibor Shanto, Renbor Sales Solutions
remember when I first started working for a company back in the early 1990s. The company had two main product lines and had the usual territories across the continent, primarily driven by geography. Each territory had two hunters (one for each product), two account development/management (AD) people (again, one for each product) and an administrative person, all supported by a central customer care group. The workflow was simple: The hunters were in charge of finding and landing accounts. They would then hand the accounts off to the ADs, who would work on growing and maintaining them. No one ever had to move out of his (or her) comfort zone. I was a hunter. As the competition heated up and costs had to be cut to maintain operating margins, the two teams were collapsed into one that handled both product lines. There was still a clear line between hunting and account development. And though we had to learn a bit about the new products we were now working with, we were still left in our functional comfort zones. As in most similar scenarios, the hunter was always in a better position to earn more. I am not saying that hunters were/are more important than ADs, but the fact was there were fewer qualified hunters than ADs at the time, and this is still true today. The next round of cuts was a bit more drastic for almost all involved. Administrative resources were reduced and, more significantly, they collapsed the two roles into one. There were no more hunters and ADs — just people who had to execute both functions. In some territories, the hunters had to learn how to actually manage and develop the accounts they brought on, and the ADs had to learn to hunt and bring on the accounts they were going to work on growing and retaining. Since the company had a union to deal with, the choice of who stayed and who left was not always made based on ability and potential. Many of those who remained were ADs who had to learn how to hunt — in most instances, this was a much bigger task than the other way around. At the same time, it turned out that some in the hunter role were, in fact, “closet account developers” and gravitated to the AD side of the job, increasing the value of real hunters even more.
To be clear, I am not saying that hunters are naturally more well-rounded and able to easily become good (or even adequate) ADs. I was living proof that this was not the case. But hunting was a better cover for AD skill deficiencies. You can be a great AD, but if an account leaves for factors beyond your control and you cannot hunt, you will be in a difficult hole. As you would expect, there were a number of reactions, outcomes and repercussions to the new reality. About 20 to 25 percent floundered, struggled and, eventually, were replaced. At the other end of the spectrum, about 20 percent turned out to be natural switch hitters who did not lose stride in the transition, but relished the newfound opportunities and rewards of the job. They stepped back, reformulated their action plans and then marched forward as if nothing had changed. A large majority of sellers — 55 to 60 percent — worked diligently at developing the “other” skill and, over time, found the required balance. However, as you would expect, things were usually skewed toward their original skill set and comfort zone, but they were able to generate both organic and new account growth. It was no surprise that the hunters had just as difficult a time developing their AD skills. In the end, both groups leaned more on improved hunting than improved maintenance skills. For the hunters, it was easier to make up for lost accounts by selling more. For the ADs, it was necessary if they were going to have a shot at hitting quota. Again, this is not to say that being an AD does not require skills, is easy or any other “better/worse” comparison, but it does speak to the fact that getting to the right person and having the right conversation with him is still the biggest challenge in sales. Most salespeople I speak to, be they traditional sellers, social sellers or others, tell me something along the lines of “get me in front of the right prospect and I will close him.” And they probably will. But the ability to find and engage with the right person and talk about the right things — those things that will lead to real engagement — are more rare skills. But they can be learned and, with practice, mastered. Those who can do this are your switch hitters. They can deliver revenue
32 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
Shanto Nov 13.indd 1
10/24/13 4:17 PM
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by succeeding in both prospecting and streams and locking out competitors. selling. The difference between baseball Product sellers need to learn to switch ... Sellers need to learn and the revenue game is that you need hit and hunt not only in new jungles, but to switch hit and hunt to do both to succeed. You need to be a for prey they have not encountered before not only in new jungles, switch hitter. — prey that is smarter, more demandbut for prey they have Since then, sales teams have continued ing and usually less accessible. The prey not encountered before to contract and sales goals have continued speaks a different language and has an to grow, as has the number of salespeople entirely different set of objectives and ex— prey that is smarter, who, almost — but not always — make pectations than the prospects salespeople more demanding ... goal. These are the group of sellers I call used to sell “stuff” to or the accounts they the “80 to 90 percenters.” Year after year, used to maintain. Furthermore, the new they deliver 80 to 90 percent of plan. When you strip back the prey does have to be hunted; these are not prospects who are layers, most often you will find that they are great at grow- declaring their readiness or willingness to buy. They are the ing their bases, but not as good at finding, engaging with and status quo, doing their thing deep in the jungle where huntbringing on new clients. Their new business growth is usual- ers go, but maintainers and posers avoid. Selling to the willly from referrals or from people who are similar to those who ing will leave the maintainers and posers short unless they have already bought from them. Again, there is nothing wrong step up and learn to hunt a bit more — to switch hit. with the thinking or reality, just the lack of consistently delivHunting in this environment requires skill upgrades, ering against plan. whether you are coming from an AD background or have sucIn today’s market, there are a number of parallels. A spe- cessfully hunted while selling products. Unless you take the cific one can be found in those industries that are making time and make the effort to become a true switch hitter, you the transition from selling products to managed services. are bound to the beige of the “80 to 90 percenters.” n You see this trend in any number of industries, from copiers Tibor Shanto is a recognized speaker, sought-after trainer to managed print service, break/fix to managed IT services, and author of the award-winning book, “Shift! and in transport from loads or lanes to managed freight serHarness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects vices. Really, you see it in any industry where you previously Into Customers.” A 25-year veteran of B2B sales, sold “stuff.” That is, from selling “stuff” that is becoming comhe has helped companies like Ricoh, IKON and moditized to selling a complete service that allows clients Pitney Bowes sell better through execution. to reduce costs while allowing you to grow, both in products Tibor can be reached at (855) 25-SALES or tibor. sold and the services around them, while locking in revenue firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.sellbetter.ca.
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Shanto Nov 13.indd 2
10/24/13 10:57 AM
Membership ad.indd 1
10/24/13 11:01 AM
Comfortable Customers They will boost your dealership’s profitability by: Troy Harrison, SalesForce Solutions
or years, I have been speaking, training and writing about how “comfortable customers buy.” It has even become a tag line for me. It is something that I believe in. When we, as salespeople, make our customers comfortable, they are much more receptive to messages that help them make beneficial buying decisions. And, yet, until the last six weeks, I never truly appreciated the truth of that statement. To review, six weeks ago I fractured my kneecap in a motorcycle accident. It was painful and a little scary, since I have never broken a bone, had surgery or spent the night in a hospital. Yet, I did all of those things in about 20 hours. My injury happened in Iowa, and when I returned to Kansas City, Mo., I consulted with a local orthopedic specialist who I was referred to. And then I did something most people do not do: I switched orthopedic specialists. My reasoning will fully explain why “comfortable customers buy” (and why uncomfortable ones do not). When I arrived at the first orthopedic specialist, I filled out volumes of forms and was then greeted impersonally by a nurse who brought me back to the examination room. I then discovered that I was to see a physician’s assistant (PA), rather than a doctor. I thought, “Well, OK. Maybe this is how it goes.” I was X-rayed, the PA discussed the X-rays with a doctor who I never met, and I was basically told that any ideas of rehabilitation would be out of the question until my next appointment three weeks later. Sit around until then — that was the prescription. I was dubious, but I decided to stick with the orthopedist. However, as my appointment approached, a receptionist called me to reschedule. Eventually, the office rescheduled my appointment three times. The last time the receptionist called, I told her to forget it. I found a different medical practice and received a completely different experience. At the second practice, I was greeted by a nurse who asked me a few questions about my injury (the first practice had not asked me any questions) and then took me to see a surgeon. The surgeon examined the X-rays, showed me what they
meant and then asked me questions about my work, my lifestyle and my upcoming commitments. With those answers, he prescribed a rehabilitation protocol and gave me a preview of what the next three months would look like (including the admonition to stay off of the motorcycle until December). It was specific, positive and personalized based on my answers to him. To make a long story short, further visits to him and his referred rehabilitation specialist have been positive and productive. I am now a comfortable customer. And I am buying what the surgeon is selling. Why? The behavior of the surgeon and the employees of his practice suggest some principles of why “comfortable customers buy.” Both the nurse and the surgeon made me feel at home from the start. From the beginning, they made it clear that I was welcome there (even though I had surgery elsewhere) and I was not just an afterthought. I was now their patient and they were glad to have me. From the first moment the nurse greeted me, she made me feel right at home. They communicated authority and expertise. When I am worried about my physical condition, I want to see a doctor. And I saw one. I was talking to the expert. I knew it and
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Harrison Nov 13.indd 1
10/24/13 11:05 AM
he knew it. Doctors can communicate exsalespeople, it is a little different. Compertise through a white coat. How do you munication of authority and expertise, Next, since a white communicate expertise? for me, has always begun with the way coat is not available, They asked a lot of questions. I have salespeople dress. Yes, I know, that golf why not simply tell your said it before and I will say it until I cannot shirt is comfy — but you look like every customer why you are say it any more: questions (good questions, other schlub out there. I am still a fan of uniquely qualified to not leading questions) show that you care. conventional business dress. Not only do So, how good were their questions? Well, you look different, but you will interact help him (or her) here are some examples: “What do you do differently with people. “Look sharp and improve his condition? for a living? You are a speaker? OK, when is you will be sharp.” your next speaking engagement? Well, you Next, since a white coat is not available, will be able to stand and walk by then with a leg brace; will why not simply tell your customer why you are uniquely qualthat be acceptable? Good.” The surgeon, nurse and even the ified to help him (or her) improve his condition? Tell him and X-ray tech made it clear that the experience was about me, show him, through explanation of your expertise and then the not them. application of it. This, of course, requires you to be a student of They told me what the road ahead would look like. From your own business. the moment that I found myself flat on my back on U.S. HighThey asked a lot of questions. Asking good questions is way 71 in Iowa, the scariest part for me was the unknown fu- the best way to show a customer that you truly care about him, ture. How long would it take for me to walk normally, to trav- and that you are on his side. And by good questions, I do not el, to work and, yes, to ride again? My surgeon in Iowa gave mean things like, “If I show you something that you like, you me some ideas, but he was reluctant to come up with a full will be interested in buying, right?” Leading questions destroy plan because my after-care would be done in Kansas City. The customer comfort and trust, and require the customer to put first orthopedic specialist did not do anything to alleviate my up his defenses. Instead, I am talking about questions that dig fears. My current surgeon was very clear about showing me deep and give a strong understanding of the result that the the game plan — good and bad. customer is looking for. How will the customer define a sucThey connected me with other resources that I would cessful purchase? need. The second surgeon connected me with an excellent They told me what the road ahead would look like. Here physical rehab therapist. He even said, “We have multiple spe- again, we are getting into the fear of the unknown. Customers cialists we use, but I think this is the best fit for you — you will worry about your process because they feel (sometimes accuwant something a little more aggressive.” rately) that your sales process is designed to put them at a disThe bottom line is that the second surgeon took ownership advantage. Instead, explain the steps involved in a purchase of my recovery process and showed that he cared. He took me and how they will be of benefit. Your customers will apprecifrom a feeling of extreme discomfort to being comfortable. Do ate the road map, they will get more comfortable and they will not get me wrong — the rehab process is not moving as quick- trust you. ly as I would like — but that is biology, not his issue. They connected me with other resources that I would Here is my question to you: How can you implement the need. Immediately post-purchase is an excellent time to help principles above into your sales program? Think about the dif- your customer find other resources (if necessary) to optimize ferent actions my surgeon and his team made and let’s look at the buying experience and improve his condition. Lazy salesthem in a sales context. people do not do this; winning salespeople do. They made me feel at home. This is perhaps the most diffiYes, I know, this is more work than simply asking the rote cult thing to accomplish in the world of selling. The most pow- questions, giving your canned presentation, shooting off a erful obstacle we face is the customer’s fear of the unknown price and hoping for an order. However, it is a lot more suc— or, worse, fear of the known. Much of the time, customers cessful — and a lot more profitable. n anticipate that we are going to attempt to manipulate, coerce Troy Harrison is the author of “Sell Like You Mean It!” or otherwise maneuver them into making a bad deal for themand is president of SalesForce Solutions, selves. How can you make someone feel at home? One of the a sales training, consulting and recruiting best ways is to simply personalize the introduction to the sales firm. For information on booking speaking/ call itself. training engagements, consulting or to sign up They communicated authority and expertise. People for his weekly e-zine, call (913) 645-3603 or want to deal with those who are experts in their fields. For email TroyHarrison@SalesForceSolutions.net. a doctor or surgeon, slipping on a white coat suffices. For Visit www.SalesForceSolutions.net. www.offi cetechnol ogymag.co m | Nove mb e r 2013 | 37
Harrison Nov 13.indd 2
10/24/13 4:17 PM
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38 | w w w. o f f ic et ec hno log y m a g.c om | Nov e m b e r 2 0 1 3
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