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CONTENTS Volume 18 • No. 3


Managed Print Services Helping dealers secure customer accounts

P R I N C I PA L I S S U E S Collective Competence How do you capitalize on your team’s knowledge?


by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

by Joanne L. Smikle

The office technology industry has seen its fair share of significant transitions. Today, managed print services (MPS) has taken center stage; many dealerships now lead with MPS in their sales efforts. Does your dealership have an MPS program?


Producing Leaders Do you have a leadership development program?

We know that one individual is not as smart as all of us collectively. However, even with that knowledge, leaders still have difficulty capitalizing on the collective intelligence of teams. Th is article presents six strategies for capitalizing on what your teams know.

When Lightning Strikes A look at the importance of power protection


by Teresa Hiatt PSSMT

by Bob Sostilio Sostilio & Associates International Inc.

The gap in failing to master key leadership competencies in sales management can directly impact the bottom line by creating unnecessary turnover, failure to motivate sales teams and ineffectual delivery of the corporate vision and mission to the sales organization.


Growth Options Copier/MFPs, MPS, MS or something else? by Tom Callinan Strategy Development

Nothing I do to any office equipment product is going to protect it from the damages of a direct lightning strike or the resulting voltage surge when it strikes a transformer on a pole outside my business. But now I know that I can take steps to minimize lightning strike-induced effects.

SELLING SOLUTIONS Preparation Equals Success Make sure you understand the prospect’s issues


Almost everyone wants to grow his (or her) business and there are a multitude of approaches to achieve growth. So what is your growth strategy? What we find in our consulting practice is that very few companies look at growth, or even their businesses, logically.

by Mike Lamothe Office Document Consulting

In this article, I will discuss how important it is to be prepared when given the opportunity to meet your prospective customers. I will look at this from two different angles — when cold calling and with targeted customer appointments. Be sure to set goals and objectives for cold calling and appointments.


Data Security Protecting your dealership against end-user claims by Bob Goldberg BTA General Counsel

Dealers and resellers are a vulnerable link in claims for losses due to an end-user security breach. The first line of defense is always your transactional documents. These documents must be continually reviewed and revised to address current risks.

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


• BTA Highlights


Executive Director’s Page


BTA President’s Message


Advertiser Index

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Survey Results Show Dealer Views on MPS


n preparing the cover story for this issue of Office Technology, I decided to re-send a managed print services (MPS) e-mail survey to dealers that was originally sent in late 2010; the results from 93 respondents appeared in our December 2010 issue. Below are the results of the same survey (with the exception of one new question), sent to readers in August, this time completed by 64 respondents. While the results of the survey reflect only a sampling of dealers, I believe you will find the numbers of interest. What is the size of your dealership in terms of total annual revenues? Under $5 million — 58% of respondents; $5 million to $10 million — 23%; More than $10 million — 19% Does your dealership have an MPS program in place? All respondents — Yes: 64%, No: 36%; Under $5 million — Yes: 49%, No: 51%; $5 million to $10 million — Yes: 79%, No: 21%; More than $10 million — Yes: 100% If your dealership does not have an MPS program in place, which of the following best describes your viewpoint?  “Despite the industry buzz about MPS, I don’t see how a dealership can find much, if any, success with MPS.” All respondents — 46%; Under $5 million — 42%; $5 million to $10 million — 66.5%  “I am interested in developing an MPS program, but don’t know where to begin.” All — 42%; Under $5 million — 42%; $5 million to $10 million — 33.5%  “I haven’t had time to give it much thought.” All — 12%; Under $5 million — 16%; $5 million to $10 million — 0% If you do have an MPS program in place, which of the following best describes your level of success with the program?  “It’s in place, but we are finding little to

no success.” All respondents — 26%; Under $5 million — 42%; $5 million to $10 million — 8%; More than $10 million — 18%  “We are realizing a moderate level of success, but it is not clear yet as to whether this is going to prove to one day become an integral part of our business.” All — 36%; Under $5 million — 26%; $5 million to $10 million — 42%; More than $10 million — 45.5%  “We are very pleased with our level of success.” All — 38%; Under $5 million — 32%; $5 million to $10 million — 50%; More than $10 million — 36.5% If you do have an MPS program in place, do you have one or more dedicated sales reps? All respondents — Yes: 39%, No: 61%; Under $5 million — Yes: 25%, No: 75%; $5 million to $10 million — Yes: 46%, No: 54%; More than $10 million — Yes: 55%, No: 45% If you do have an MPS program in place, please share details on how you compensate sales reps in order to encourage them to secure MPS contracts:  “Ten percent of first year’s revenue.”  “The sales rep gets a one-time, upfront placement fee.”  “All reps can only achieve a quarterly bonus by turning in at least one MPS deal per month.” Are there any general comments you would like to share about MPS?  “Finding the time to move forward as a smaller dealer[ship] is easier said than done.”  “It is the future of our industry. Without it [MPS] we are dead.”  “It’s difficult to get traction with MPS. We need a plan to really get this going.” To read all of the responses received for these last two questions, see this column online at Also, to learn more about how four of your fellow dealers view MPS and what they are doing in their dealerships, see the cover story on page 10.  — Brent Hoskins

Executive Director/BTA Editor/Office Technology Brent Hoskins (816) 303-4040 Associate Editor Elizabeth Marvel (816) 303-4060 Contributing Writers Tom Callinan, Strategy Development Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel Business Technology Association Teresa Hiatt, PSSMT Mike Lamothe, Office Document Consulting Joanne L. Smikle Bob Sostilio, Sostilio & Associates International Inc.

Business Technology Association 12411 Wornall Road Kansas City, MO 64145 (816) 941-3100 Member Services: (800) 505-2821 BTA Legal Hotline: (800) 869-6688 Valerie Briseno Membership & Marketing Manager Mary Hopkins Database Administrator Teresa Leerar Bookkeeper Brian Smith Membership Sales Representative Photo Credits: Duncan Smith, Hemera, iStockphoto, Thomas Northcut. Cover created by Bruce Quade, Brand X Studio. ©2011 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.

6 | w w w. o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g | September 2011

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BTA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 2011-2012 Board of Directors

I Hope to See You in Waynesville, N.C.


f you were in this industry prior to 1994, back when BTA was still NOMDA, you will recall the EROMDA, SEROMDA, Mid-OMDA and WOMDA regional shows. These convention-center based, associationhosted trade shows were designed to bring dealers from the same part of the country together. I know that many in our industry have fond memories of these shows. Ultimately, the industry changed. Copier manufacturers fully developed their dealer channels and began to have their own dealer meetings. As a result, the era of the large-scale NOMDA national convention came to an end. Likewise, with one exception, the association’s districts stopped hosting events for a number of years. That one exception has endured for 20-plus years. Previously held in Maggie Valley, N.C., today, the BTA Southeast district’s Fall Colors Retreat is held yearly at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa, a mountain lodge in Waynesville, N.C. This year, the retreat will be held Oct. 21-22. (The longtime success of this event has served as the inspiration, in part, for the relaunch of other BTA district events, including two others this fall — the BTA East event, Sept. 22-23 in White Plains, N.Y., and the BTA West event, Nov. 17-18 in Las Vegas, Nev.) Unfortunately, I do not have the advantage of being able to share my first-hand impressions of the Fall Colors Retreat. This year, for the first time, I will have the privilege of being among the attendees. The event sounds great. It starts at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, with a round-table discussion focused on dealership best practices, etc., led by the BTA Southeast leadership team. Such round tables have become a

tradition at the Fall Colors Retreat and are well-received by attendees. They perfectly illustrate a core focus of BTA — dealers helping dealers. The round table will be followed by a welcoming reception, giving attendees the opportunity to network with their fellow dealers. The reception will also allow dealers to visit with representatives of the exhibiting sponsors — Color Imaging, Densi, DocuWare Corp., ESP, FileBound, GreatAmerica Leasing Corp., InkCycle, Smart Power Systems and Square 9 Softworks. The next morning, on Saturday, Oct. 22, in addition to more time to visit with exhibitors, there will be three education sessions: “Coaching the Service Message,” with Mark Isaac of Gorman Business Consultants; “Recruiting, Interviewing & Selection,” with Larry Coco of Coco Training & Consulting Inc.; and “How to Successfully Enter MPS in Smaller Markets,” with Ed Carroll of Strategy Development. During the afternoon, attendees will have time to enjoy the sights of Waynesville and the surrounding area. I am looking forward to this as well, given that the Waynesville Inn is surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains on one side and the Blue Ridge Parkway and Balsam Mountains on the other. That evening, the group will reconvene for cocktails and a closing dinner. There will also be an education front runner to the Fall Colors Retreat. On Oct. 20-21, David Ramos, a consultant with Strategy Development, will lead Sell with Success. Front-runner attendees will receive a discount on Fall Colors Retreat registration. For more information on the Fall Colors Retreat or the Sell with Success front runner, visit or call (800) 234-8996. I hope to see you in Waynesville.  — Tom Ouellette

President Tom Ouellette Budget Document Technology 251 Goddard Road Lewiston, ME 04240 President-Elect Terence Chapman Business Electronics Corp. 219 Oxmoor Circle Birmingham, AL 35209 Vice President Todd J. Fitzsimons Network Imaging LLC 122 Spring St. Southington, CT 06489 BTA East Rob Richardson Allied Document Solutions & Services Inc. 200 Church St. Swedesboro, NJ 08085 BTA Mid-America Ron Hulett U.S. Business Systems Inc. 3221 Southview Drive Elkhart, IN 46514 BTA Southeast Jerry Jackson All South Copiers Inc. 3610 Kennesaw N. Industrial Parkway., Ste. D Kennesaw, GA 30144 BTA West Ronelle Ingram Steven Enterprises Inc. 17952 Sky Park Circle, Ste. E Irvine, CA 92614 Ex-Officio/Immediate Past President Rock Janecek Burtronics Business Systems Inc. 216 S. Arrowhead Ave. San Bernardino, CA 92408 Ex-Officio/General Counsel Robert C. Goldberg Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg LLC 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 2100 Chicago, IL 60606

8 | w w w. o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g | September 2011

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Managed Print Services Helping dealers secure customer accounts by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine


he office technology industry has seen its fair share of significant transitions. When the analog copier gave way to digital MFPs, for example, the industry was forever changed. Today, managed print services (MPS) has taken center stage; many dealerships now lead with MPS in their sales efforts. The goal is simple — to capture more printed pages and secure the customer, keeping competitors at bay. Does your dealership have an MPS program? If your answer is “no” you are not alone, but it appears you are in the minority. Despite encouragement from manufacturers and suppliers, many dealers have not yet pursued MPS. For this article, Office Technology conducted an e-mail survey of dealers regarding MPS. Among the 64 respondents, 36 percent indicate they have no MPS program in place. The survey results reveal that smaller dealerships may be less likely to have MPS programs. While 49 percent of dealerships with less than $5 million in annual revenues indicate they have MPS programs, 79 percent of those dealerships in the $5 million to $10 million range have programs in place. All of the $10 million and above dealerships responding to the survey indicate they have MPS programs. Is MPS not a good fit for small dealerships? Mike Blake, president of Corporate Business Systems, a $3 million, 16-employee dealership in Madison, Wis., says it can be a very good fit for small dealerships. “Our sales are up 30 percent this year and that has a lot to do with MPS,” he says. “And our service revenue stream has increased even more.” In the past, Blake says, a sales rep at his dealership would simply monitor a competitive MFP lease and start calling on the prospective customer about one year out with the hope of ultimately replacing the MFP. “But now, with MPS, we have something we can talk to them about right away,”

he says. “And if we can get them on a managed print agreement, we know there is a strong possibility that we will replace the existing MFP when the lease ends.” While sales reps at Blake’s dealership now lead with MPS when meeting with new, prospective customers, they are also working to transition existing customers to MPS. Blake shares a recent success story. “We had one customer where we had an MFP in place doing about 45,000 copies a month,” he explains. “When we did an analysis, we found that they had 21 other print devices that were doing about a half million prints each month. We realized how much we were missing and were able to pick up the rest of that through our managed print program.” Blake says while MPS generally leads to the eventual replacement of competitive devices currently on lease, it also leads to additional, new product placements. “Our reps find that MPS drives business,” he says. “They might not sell a new piece of hardware on day one, but those hardware sales will come over time. After you have them as an MPS customer, you typically get all of their hardware business.” That hardware business even includes low-end printers, says Blake. “We have found that once we are managing a customer’s fleet, rather than going to the Internet as a place to buy their printers, they will call us first,” he explains. “So, we have an opportunity to either up-sell them or at least take that order. It may not be hugely profitable, but we are able to be their ‘expert’ in terms of what they are purchasing.” At Bay Copy in Rockland, Mass., beyond replacing existing, competitive MFPs, MPS sometimes leads to the replacement of printers as well. “We replace them with multifunction devices,” says the dealership’s president, Ray Belanger. “Recently, we had an account that we had been trying to get into for some time. We got an audience by focusing on

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introduce MPS into the disMPS. It was our intention cussion. If nothing else, it to just take over their HP “Our reps find that MPS shows the account that we fleet, but as the discussion drives business. They might are taking a more holistic progressed, we learned they not sell a new piece of view of their business and were going to be moving hardware on day one, but we are not just looking to and making some changes. those hardware sales will sell them commodities.” We ended up with a manThe discussion of MPS aged print services agreecome ... After you have them changes the dynamic of the ment where we put in as an MPS customer, you sales cycle, says Belanger. new Lexmark multifunction typically get all of their hardware business.” “Once you engage in that machines and some Konica — Mike Blake higher level, you are posiMinolta devices.” Corporate Business Systems tioning yourself as a consulLike at Corporate Busitant,” he says. “Price is still ness Systems, today, sales reps at Bay Copy lead with MPS when talking to prospects, important, but you are having a totally different discussion Belanger says. “It might not always turn out to be an MPS with them. Rather than talking about the cost of your box, engagement, but we always try to start the discussion with you are looking to solve business problems for them.” Given that Bay Copy only began to pursue MPS two years that,” he explains. “With existing accounts, it’s a little different, because you have to find the right contact within the ago, “if you look at it in pure revenue terms, it is really not all account, using your existing contact as the sponsor who that significant yet,” Belanger says. “But, to me, strategically, agrees that MPS is a good idea. Whenever we can, we try to it is very significant. It is a major focus.”

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“While others are just now bringing their dealers into MPS, Toshiba has been at it for more than five years. The results of their long-term commitment speak for themselves.” Frank Cannata, The Cannata Report

“Two of the industry’s other biggest buzz words are security and sustainability. Toshiba is well-positioned in both of these areas.” Scott Cullen, The Week in Imaging

“Toshiba is the only company smart enough to help me print to any device, even if it’s not theirs. Why is this so important? How many of you have 100% of your customers using a single brand?” Andy Slawetsky, Industry Analyst

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developed an ‘instant gratifiWhy is it so significant? cation program.’ They receive “It makes a lot of sense for “We pay our reps 40 to 50 about 30 percent less, but a number of reasons,” Bepercent of the gross profit they get paid their full comlanger explains. “It obviously on the MPS contract [for half mission up front. For those gets you a lot closer to your of the term of the contract]. reps stuck in that ‘box-sellcustomer. I think that starts Some reps want the money ing’ mentality, this works.” moving your dealership to Blake and Belanger offer become less hardware dequickly, so for them I’ve similar incentives to their pendent, and given what developed an ‘instant sales reps. Says Blake: “They is going on with hardware gratification program.’” get paid a percentage on the margins today, I think deal— Mark Kinley first year of the contract; we ers have to move toward Digitex Corp. don’t pay them forever, but services. Ultimately, that is we do pay on that first year. where the profitability lies.” One of the keys, of course, to encourage sales reps to lead By the time that year is up, they start moving more hardwith MPS — using a consultative approach and focusing on ware into the account, which gives them some additional a services-based engagement — is to incentivize them to income.” Says Belanger: “We give them a percentage of that do so. “We pay our reps 40 to 50 percent of the gross profit first year’s engagement. For major accounts offering a ceron the MPS contract [for half of the term of the contract],” tain number of impressions per month, we will pay the rep says Mark Kinley, president of Digitex Corp. in League City, on the residual for the life of the agreement.” As dealerships move forward with MPS, at some point Texas. “Some reps want the money quickly, so for them I’ve

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rep concept is certainly inthey will face the decision as teresting. It seems that there to whether they should rely “The dedicated rep concept are two different camps out solely on general-line sales is certainly interesting. It there. Some say to educate reps for MPS or have dediseems that there are two your existing sales force. cated reps. For now, says different camps out there. Other people say you need Blake, Corporate Business Some say to educate your dedicated reps.” Systems is seeing enough Despite any debate on opportunity with its curexisting sales force. Other whether having dedicated rent sales reps — “We may people say you need MPS sales reps is best, over add dedicated reps at some dedicated reps.” time, dealers pursuing MPS point in the future.” In con— Brent Simone will uncover sales strategies trast, both Bay Copy and Stratix Systems that they are certain are Digitex have moved forward most ideal. Blake and Bewith dedicated MPS personlanger share examples of what they have learned in the form nel, though their general-line reps also actively sell MPS. Brent Simone, president of Stratix Systems in Reading, of advice to others: n “You can’t sign the customer up and forget about Pa., says he is currently considering the addition of dedicated sales reps for the dealership’s branded MPS program, them,” Blake says. “You have to have regular contact with Stratix Proactive. “My senior management team is actively them in account reviews. Make sure you are giving them addiscussing the idea of having someone who is focused solely vice on rightsizing in certain areas, or maybe moving equipon MPS at each of our four branches,” he says. “The dedicated ment around that is underutilized. If the customer sees you

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As more dealers pursue doing that, it will lock you the MPS opportunity and into them for a long-term “ ... A much better way to fi nd their own best sales arrangement. If you just forstart is with smaller and strategies, all have their get about them, eventually mid-size accounts. With eyes on the same prize. somebody else is going to bigger accounts, you can ... As Simone states: “I think come in and undercut you become bogged down ... In that the opportunity is sigon price.” nificant. My benchmark, in  “We initially thought smaller accounts, when the general, has been that there it would be a great idea to right person understands the are five to six printers for evstart with some of our bigconcept, he or she can make it happen.” ery multifunctional device. ger accounts because they — Ray Belanger If I can pick up that volume have lots of printers,” BeBay Copy in our business, I will see langer says. “That ended up more of that profitable afbeing a mistake. I recommend that a much better way to start is with smaller and termarket revenue stream. That is a pretty mid-size accounts. With bigger accounts, you can quickly good opportunity.”  Brent Hoskins, executive director of the become bogged down; there are roadblocks. For example, in Business Technology Association, is editor the bigger companies, IT has totally different interests and of Office Technology magazine. objectives than the people in the finance area. In smaller acHe can be reached at counts, when the right person understands the concept, he or (816) 303-4040. or she can make it happen.”

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18 | w w w. o f f i c e t e c h n o l o | September 2011

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Producing Leaders Do you have a leadership development program? by: Teresa Hiatt, Professional Society of Sales & Marketing Training


he 2011 Global Leadership Survey conducted jointly by Training Magazine, the American Management Association and The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that only one-third of the 1,750 respondents reported they had an effective leadership development program. This was despite the fact that the survey revealed a clear gap between the importance of key leadership competencies and mastery of these competencies by leadership. Far fewer had any sort of sales leadership development program. This gap in failing to master key leadership competencies in sales management can directly impact the bottom line by creating unnecessary turnover, failure to motivate sales teams and ineffectual delivery of the corporate vision and mission to the sales organization. It is not as if there are not myriad generic management leadership programs available from a wide selection of vendors. The problems arise in the inherent risk of introducing disconnected theories and cultures that may compete with the sales results-driven environment in which sales management must exist. Although many programs are excellent corporate leadership development products, in too many cases they exempt field sales leadership from their audience due to the challenges of the fast-paced customer interface of sales. An effective sales management leadership development program has to integrate into the realities of the sales environment. It has to be designed, developed, tested, validated and measured around real-world sales situations. Most importantly, it has to be consistent with the sales process and any sales productivity tools that are used in the workplace. If the leadership skills as taught are not supported by the systems, tools and processes in use at the workplace, the development program is doomed to failure. For example, a critical part of good leadership is to create and communicate the vision, strategy and tactics of the business plan. The business plan should be created, distributed and executed within whatever sales productivity tool (CRM) is in use by the sales organization and the leadership development program should support that process.

Another big miss with traditional leadership development programs when applied to sales management is in the area of coaching. Although coaching is a small part of generic leadership programs, for sales management, it has to be a primary focus. Without excellent coaching skills, sales turnover can increase, morale can be crippling and it can be difficult to fully engage salespeople. The best sales management development programs contain a hefty dose of coaching skills. And, of course, the last big difference seen between corporate management programs and sales management programs revolves around time out of the field. There is strong resentment in the sales world for removing people in key roles from the field where access is required to help move sales through the pipeline. A week-long training class, where sales management may be unavailable for special pricing, inventory issues or phone conferences with key clients could literally ruin quota for a given time period. A sales management leadership development program has to take these needs into consideration to be successful. Organizations looking to add essential leadership competencies to their sales management should consider these four important components to help ensure success of leadership

22 | 足w w w. o f f i c e t e c h n o l o | September 2011

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Work With a Partner, Not Just a Distributor

To Muratec, You’re More Than a “Ship-to” Location You’re a business partner. We work closely with our dealers, big and small, to develop market strategies, participate on sales calls, create targeted marketing approaches and assist in growing their businesses. We’ve created turnkey programs to assist dealers in transforming their hardware-centric selling approach into document solutions sales, thus increasing product margins without altering their structure or requiring significant investments.

Recognized for Excellence The Business Technology Association (BTA) has named Muratec the “Top Overall Performance – Secondary Manufacturer” based on the results of their surveys of independent office equipment dealers. To summarize the survey results, we’re the easiest company to do business with.

Ready to Get Started? Contact your Muratec Area Sales Manager to schedule a no-obligation product demonstration and benefits review in your office, or contact 469.429.3481 or for more information.

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business operation. development programs: Although many companies are conn A leadership development program A leadership tinuing to focus on the “cut expenses/ should be designed and validated by development program reduce training” model, at some point, sales-centric subject-matter experts and should be designed and sales organizations will have to face tested in sales environments. validated by sales-centric the reality that you cannot cut to grow n A program should be integrated subject-matter experts your business. Now is the time to start and consistent with systems, tools and investing in the long-term prosperity of processes already in place (such as a and tested in sales the company and to judiciously control CRM like environments. expenses by implementing the very best n A program should include a heavy training programs available. n emphasis and focus on sales coaching Teresa Hiatt is the current president of the Professional skills, with practice involving typical sales situations. Society of Sales & Marketing Training (PSSMT). She is a n The curriculum design should limit time out of the field, regular contributor to Office Technology magazine and a leveraging technology for virtual, multimedia or comprecontributing author to “Fortify Your hensive training delivered in short “burst-mode” sessions. Companies should also not confuse “new manager” train- Sales Force.” Prior to her current position, she was the director of sales education at Ricoh ing (which covers how managers should behave and legally Americas Corp., where she spent 10 years interact with staff) with leadership development, which indirecting sales training teams and volves team building, maturing interpersonal communicaconducting research. She can be reached at tion, and strategic planning and execution skills. It is a lifelong learning arena and it is vital for a high-performance Visit

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Capture Technologies FMAudit offers the most extensive data collection software tools available in the industry today. USB Viewer for quick snapshot assessment, WebAudit for browser/e-mail enabled quick assessment, Onsite for ongoing assessment, device meter/supply/service monitoring and device optimization and Local Agent to collect non-networked device data. FMAudit provides a secure, comprehensive approach to address the needs of your diverse client base.

TCO Reporting/Green Reporting/ Customized Reports FMAudit provides reporting features to help you understand and present your solutions and recommendations. FMAudit includes TCO reporting to determine and validate current cost of ownership, “Green” reporting to analyze environmental efficiencies and customized reporting to uniquely present data for new account proposals, current account reviews and proactive fleet device management and optimization.

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Growth Options Copier/MFPs, MPS, MS or something else? by: Tom Callinan, Strategy Development


lmost everyone wants to grow his (or her) business and there are a multitude of approaches to achieve growth. It seems like every other year someone comes along with the next big growth engine. In the early 1990s, consultants were telling you that if you did not get into the network management business you would be out of business; those consultants went out of business. Office supplies reared their ugly heads in the late 1990s; water was the great growth strategy of the early 2000s; managed print services (MPS) has been popular in the last five years; and, evidently, managed services (MS) is the latest growth strategy. So what is your growth strategy? What we find in our consulting practice is that very few companies look at growth, or even their businesses, logically. Those who know me know I use candor and directness to make points — not because I want to make anyone feel bad, but because I want to help. So, it is important that there is some shared understanding. Therefore, I am going to ask a question: What is your core business and are you good at it? How do you know the answer to that question? What is your market share (you can get BEQI figures from BTA to calculate; see the ad on page 28 in this issue)? If you have been in business for 20-plus years and your market share is less than 5 percent, you are either located in a top 10 city (which has a high density of national/global accounts) or you have a lot of room for improvement. Alco developed the “industry model” two decades ago, which was popularized by Tom Johnson in the dealer channel. That “model” demonstrates how a dealership should earn 15 percent earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). If you are below 10 percent, you have room for improvement; less than 5 percent and your company is sick. Some folks reading this article feel really good now and others probably want to send me a flaming e-mail. That is okay, because you now have a barometer to understand where you stand and have the footings — below the foundation — for

a business plan. If you are at less than 5 percent in EBITDA and market share, your growth strategy should probably be to get good at your core business. I would develop a business plan that addresses what is ailing you, which you can find through an operational review and SWOT analysis. But maybe you say, “OK, I’ve been at this for 30 years and I have not figured out how to make a fair return or ‘really’ grow, so maybe this isn’t the correct business for me.” What do you do then? You transition your business the same way you would through the planning I will describe below. Or, you sell. At this point, you have determined you are good at the copier/MFP business and you want to expand. So what direction do you go? The first things you should do are stay close to your core and protect your current business. I have had people tell me they started selling office supplies because they are in the “selling to businesses” business. Well, car companies buy rolled steel, so if Ford is your customer, are you selling it steel? I think you also want to get into a business that produces profits. Therefore, you would conduct a standard industry attractiveness analysis. If you owned stock in a company and it bought a business in another space with substantially lower margins, what do you think would happen to its stock price? Google, as of the day I wrote this, is down 10 percent since announcing the acquisition of Motorola; Apple was flat in the same period. So let us say you are weighing the option of MPS or MS. Strategy Development (SD) consults in both spaces, so it can help you either way, but let us look at it from an industry attractiveness perspective. MPS is a 55 percent gross profit business with low penetration. There are no contracts in place so there are no competitors to unseat. IT departments dislike printers, so there is no discomfort in outsourcing. Prints are migrating away from copier/MFPs — simply due to how people communicate — to printers, so they are clearly taking business away from our traditional space. Printers connect to networks, they produce pages (either copies on

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copier/MFP revenue. an MFP or prints), and you supply them Now MS. There are three distinct segwith toner and, occasionally, service First, get good at ments of MS: small companies, medium them. They can also be considered a sigyour core business companies and large companies. Small nificant portion of the document output and then move into companies are less than 100 employees. fleet and, as already mentioned, compeMPS ... Once you These companies have no IT staff, so the tition to our copier/MFPs. are good at both of value proposition is that you become What the 10,000-foot analysis inditheir IT staff. They probably have no cates is that I have a high-profit business those, maybe MS will remote monitoring and management that shares many, if not all, of the charbe an option. (RMM) software licenses, so there is no acteristics of my core business. I have switching cost. You can go through a also identified that MPS is a direct competitor of mine, so if another MPS company wins a contract Master managed service provider (MSP) and private label inside of “my” copier/MFP account, there is a high probabil- its offering with almost no involvement. You would be one of ity that it will be trying to displace my devices. I have an 18,000 or so companies doing just that. You can search and attractive business from a growth perspective and from a find pricing from those other companies on the Internet, as “protect my core business” perspective. If I was doing well can your customer. It is a 35 percent business. You do not in copier/MFPs, that would be the business I would stay fo- have to worry about the MS provider displacing your copier/ MFPs because it is not in that business. cused on until I was really good at it. Once you move to medium-sized businesses (100 to 500 So, what defines being really good at MPS? The aftermarket revenue from office printers is three-and-a-half to employees), you enter a new space because these businesses four times that of copier/MFPs. Therefore, I would want to probably do have RMM software licenses and they definitely be producing aftermarket revenue at that multiple of my have IT staff. You are selling them on the redeployment of those IT resources and you will have to use the RMM software they have in place. If they have 300 seat licenses for Kasaya, they are not going to buy 300 new licenses to your N-able platform. Your network operations center needs to support the three major RMM platforms. You are also going to need engineers to handle the project work these companies will have, but that is good because that project work is a 55 percent business — far above the MS revenue stream of 35 percent. So the MS space provides growth, but at a lower margin than you are accustomed to and it does nothing to protect your base because the MS provider does not sell MPS or copier/MFPs. You cannot teach business planning in 1,200 words, but I hope you now have a better understanding of growth. First, get good at your core business and then move into MPS for defensive and offensive reasons. Once you are good at both of those, maybe MS will be an option. But when you do the analysis, you will more than likely get into the IT services space with MS as one offering.  Tom Callinan is the founding principal of Strategy Development. From 1998 to 2005, he was an executive with IKON Office Solutions, most recently vice president and general manager of IKON’s largest business unit with revenue of $1.4 billion. Prior to IKON, Callinan was the founder and CEO of Copifax Inc. Copifax was acquired by IKON in 1997. He can be reached at or (610) 527-3317. Visit 28 | w w w. o f f i c e t e c h n o l o | September 2011

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Are you achieving 52%+ in service gross profits and 60%+ margins in MPS? We can help. BTA Service Management University Developed by Strategy Development consultants, this two-day workshop, led by Ken Staubitz, will teach service leaders how to access their department’s strengths and weaknesses, develop specific actionable plans to address areas of opportunity, execute action items to drive sustained profitability and quality customer service, and successfully deliver profitable service in the MPS world.

Topics covered:

• How to read, interpret and react to a service P&L • Aftermarket pricing • Technician performance management and development • Territory management • Workload analysis and staffing needs • How to effectively service MPS agreements for maximum profit

When: October 12-13, 2011 Charlotte, NC Pricing: $1,995 for members ($1,495 for an additional attendee from the same dealership)

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“[The instructor’s] ability to explain the purpose of each topic and then apply it to everyday use was great. I found this class extremely beneficial and feel confident it will easily pay for itself in 90 days. I will, without a doubt, be more effective after this class.” - Blake Elliott, Standley Systems, Chickasa, OK

Minimize the risk of failure, burnout, frustration, loss of confidence or worse, becoming a turnover statistic! Reserve your seat today!

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Data Security Protecting your dealership against end-user claims by: Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel for the Business Technology Association


ealers and resellers are a vulnerable link in claims for losses due to an end-user security breach. The first line of defense is always your transactional documents. These documents must be continually reviewed and revised to address current risks posed by criminals out to obtain valuable confidential information. Even with appropriate language, some courts are reluctant to enforce the contractual terms and look for a means to have a dealer share in the loss. Even if a court rules in your favor, the legal fees alone can be sufficient to jeopardize your business and, certainly, your profitability. When contacted regarding a security breach, one of the initial areas to review is the insurance coverage that is in place. It is always recommended that the dealer cooperate with the end user and suggest he (or she) review his insurance policies as well. Often, an insurance company will defend an action with a “reservation of rights.” This means that the insurance company is not agreeing there is coverage, but it will defend the claim under the policy. Having the insurance company defend the suit can be a major victory, but be certain that the counsel selected is knowledgeable in the area. Defending a data security breach is not the same as an automobile accident or a slipand-fall case. What business insurance policies should be considered in the event of a data security breach? Insurance policies to be examined are property insurance policies, business interruption coverage, liability policies, errors and omissions coverage, director and officer’s coverage, general liability coverage, umbrella policies, crime insurance policies, computer crime policies, bond and fidelity coverage, and business “package” policies. Determining which policy covers the incident is not easy and often there may be overlapping coverage in regard to different aspects of the claim. Claims may include damages, invasion of privacy, negligence, breach of express and/or implied warranties, misappropriation of confidential business or personal information, or business

interruption due to the necessity to shut down the equipment or system. There may also be costs associated with requirements to notify customers and third parties of the data loss as required by state and federal regulations. Policy terms must be carefully reviewed. If you do not have an independent insurance agent or broker, seek an advisor to counsel you regarding coverage. A “company” agent will support the company decision and offer little assistance. Current network security policies commonly include clauses that condition coverage on an absence of errors or omissions in the security measures employed by the end user. Often it is these very lapses that cause the security breach. The failure to erase data on a copier/MFP hard drive most likely will be considered a security lapse. Another excluded policy coverage can occur when there is an allegation in the claim that reasonable steps were not taken to design, maintain and upgrade computer security. The risk of broad exclusions is a problem in data security, as the criminals seeking the data are constantly upgrading their own weapons to obtain information. Some network policies exclude coverage if the equipment is not connected to the network. Thus, if a copier/MFP is breached following its return to the lessor or a wholesaler, the policy may not provide coverage. When purchasing a policy, the insurance company is anxious to present the benefits, only to create disappointment when a claim is made. It is essential to request and review policy language prior to purchase. Ask specific questions regarding coverage and document the responses. Use everyday examples to confirm the policy will provide the insurance protection being sought. It may develop that the policy does not provide coverage, but a claim against the agent will. As dealers move into managed services, the risks broaden as well. Do not enter new areas without examining the policies and procedures in place to protect your business. A good place to start is with the transactional document templates in the members-only section of the BTA website:  Robert C. Goldberg is general counsel for the Business Technology Association. He can be reached at

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

Dealer Members Solutions YES LLC, Portland, OR Oshkosh Office Systems Inc., Oshkosh, WI Taylor Made Business Systems, Concord, CA Service Associate Members, Hermosa Beach, CA For full contact information of these new members, visit

Market Mentor Sales Blitz Promotion

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 Nano Pacific is dedicated to providing integrated imaging solutions for clients in the United States. The company provides toner, ink and chip supplies and keeps a reasonable inventory in stock, providing customers with convenient logistics services. Nano Pacific focuses on in-depth cooperation with major accounts, providing its partners with customized products and services, such as contract manufacturing and cooperation in large-scale projects.

Market Mentor Online’s Sales Blitz is an easy and inexpensive way to contact up to 500 businesses in a short period of time, to locate prospects before your competitors do. The package includes a database of up to 500 records and up to 500 telemarketing calls. During September 2011, Market Mentor is offering its Sales Blitz program at a 20% discount ($200 off) PLUS a $100 new member rebate to all BTA members, bringing the total cost of the program for all members to only $695 (That’s 30% off!). After your Sales Blitz, if you decide to continue with Market Mentor’s service, it will extend the September BTA member promotion pricing to you for your next renewal period, if you renew within 30 days. For more information, visit www.bta. org/MarketMentorSalesBlitz.

BTA Service Associate member Crawford Thomas is an employee recruitment firm focusing in the areas of sales, accounting and information technology. Crawford Thomas works with industry-leading companies and experienced professionals to provide the best career opportunities and find that perfect match between job seeker and employer. When the need arises to search for talented professionals, Crawford Thomas intellectually partners with organizations so it is able to understand how their recruiting needs tie into their business objectives. With that knowledge, it identifies candidates and provides crucial information to achieve recruitment and organizational success.

For information on BTA member benefits, visit

A full list of BTA Vendor and Service Associate members can be found online at

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Collective Competence How do you capitalize on your team’s knowledge? by: Joanne L. Smikle,


e know that one individual is not as smart as all of us collectively. However, even with that knowledge, leaders still have difficulty capitalizing on the collective intelligence of teams. It is not because they do not want to, but because they often do not know how. This article presents six strategies for capitalizing on what your teams know. n Purposeful Team Processes — The processes the team utilizes should allow time for reflection, feedback and information sharing. If all of the processes are inclined toward tasks, there will not be enough time or room for the team to attend to itself. Team processes ought to allow time for discussion of customer perspectives and feedback. The team should make it a point to hear from customers and integrate their sentiments into the work. Processes should also examine emerging relationships that impact the team — relationships with other departments, vendors and stakeholders. These relationships can impact the team in subtle ways. If a sales department is putting increased pressure on a marketing department, one or both of the teams is sure to have a lot to say about the new expectations. n Reward Effort — Managers often get in the habit of only rewarding results. When team members know that they will be acknowledged for putting forth their best effort, they will be more apt to continue trying. When managers build dialogue about those efforts and what team members learned from trying, they begin to create a culture where experimentation is acceptable. This also creates a climate where failure is a learning experience. It is through discussion of this learning that team members realize that their experiences, whether they result in success or not, are valuable. Rewarding effort also creates an environment where people are more likely to be creative. When team members realize they will not be penalized for failing, they are willing to test potential innovations. They will invest more of themselves when they feel free to be innovative. n Rotate Roles & Responsibilities — The team leader role should revolve so every team member gets to experience leadership, learn new competencies and develop more confidence in his (or her) abilities. This rotation is another tool for getting people to speak up. It is impossible to hide behind the most vocal team members when thrust into a formal leadership role. The rotation should not happen without proper preparation. Be sure to provide adequate education and training before putting a team member into a leadership role. This will

enable him to be more effective in the new role. It will prevent the team members from having dependence on a single individual, as they can rely on each other to lead as the need arises. Rotating roles and responsibilities also prevent the team from yielding to the will or ways of a dominant leader. This allows different voices to be heard. It also allows varying forms of expression and prevents communication biases emerging from an entrenched team leader. n Host Regular Q&A Sessions — Every organization, regardless of the size or industry, has a grapevine. Sometimes information from the grapevine is accurate, but more often, it is not. Hosting regular question-and-answer sessions with the entire team allows team members to ask questions about everything, ranging from policy and procedure changes to rumors about mergers and acquisitions. It positions you as a listening leader. This not only enhances your personal credibility, but cements the idea that dialogue is an essential norm in the enterprise. One caution for question and answer sessions: You must have at least some of the answers. If your only answer is, “I don’t know. I have to check on that,” you diminish your credibility. Certainly, you should admit when you do not know, but go into the session with a strong idea of what people want to discuss. Then have enough knowledge of those topics to have meaningful discussion. Whatever you do, do not give incorrect or misleading information. The team members will not trust or respect you if they cannot count on you for honesty. n Give Credit to Individuals and the Team — Team members will invest more deeply and share more freely when they www.officetechnologymag.c o m | September 2 0 1 1 | 33

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actively sharing what they know for the know that they will get credit for their congood of the team and the organization. tributions. If you are a glory hound and take Every team member Eliciting expertise is a vote of confidence credit for their successes, they will be less has expertise in some in the team and its individual members. inclined to share best practices freely. The area of your operation It says that the leader not only trusts the reverse is true. When team members see ... Peer-led learning is team to be focused on its development, but that you will acknowledge their input and a valuable tool for to also stay on the cusp of learning. Encourlet it be known that the idea originated from aging a focus on learning and sharing inthem, they will know you genuinely value raising confidence and formation enables the leader to capitalize them and will see you as a humble leader. competence on the team. on the collective intelligence of the team. Giving credit freely creates an open enviCollaborative effort can yield big rewards ronment where sharing is the norm. People are not only more willing to collaborate, they are more willing for your dealership. Use the strategies detailed here to maximize to openly praise one another. This is the example that you, the the collective intelligence of your teams. Build an organization leader, have modeled, so it becomes normative behavior for the where free-flowing communication happens naturally. Create team. Sharing credit also reduces unhealthy competition. Peo- an environment where teams are recognized and rewarded for ple know they will get their due, so they have little interest in their efforts. Publicly celebrate the successes of individual contributors and the team so everyone will fully invest in the enterbecoming cut-throat for the purpose of garnering recognition. ď Ž Elicit Expertise — Every team member has expertise prise. These strategies will enable you to get and keep your team in some area of your operation. Encourage them to share engaged in sharing information. ď Ž Joanne L. Smikle provides consulting and their expertise with one another. Peer-led learning is a valuleadership education to organizations across the able tool for raising the confidence and competence of the team. This can be done through informal brown-bag lunches country. She specializes in customer satisfaction, leadership development and team building. facilitated by the topic expert. Or, the objective can be acSmikle can be reached at (301) 596-3140. complished by formal instruction where team members get to Visit try their hands at teaching. In both cases, team members are

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When Lightning Strikes A look at the importance of power protection by: Bob Sostilio, Sostilio & Associates International Inc.


here appears to be a lot of attention given to the $30 million surge protector device market this spring and summer with the emergence of Innovolt ( Marketing its power protection devices for the first time to the office equipment channel, Innovolt was established in 2005 from Georgia Tech’s Venture Labs. The company is trumpeting in its literature and on its website that its technology “guards against damage from 99.5 percent of all power disturbances” that are known to cause damage to electronics in a variety of ways. Innovolt is trying to penetrate a market that has been dominated by other power protection device vendors like Electronic Systems Protection (ESP,, Smart Power Systems (www.smartpowersystems. com) and Panamax ( ESP is a North Carolina-based company founded in the early 1980s for the specific purpose of providing “clean” power for micro-processor-controlled copiers and has expanded into a worldwide supplier of patented power protection technology in B2B markets. Smart Power Systems of Houston, Texas, opened in 1984. It develops and manufactures its power protection products for point-of-sale devices, MFPs, IT/networking, etc., within the office equipment market. Panamax, founded in 1975, makes power protection devices for industrial and commercial customers. In 2006, it was acquired by Furman Sound and today maintains two product lines: one for the audio/video market and the other for remote surge protection. Common Sense Sostilio and Associates International Inc. (SAI) is not a testing lab and, so, is unable to prove or disprove any of the power protection device suppliers’ claims. But by looking at some empirical data, my belief is that I have been diligent in the past to protect my office equipment from lightning strikes and power disturbances (surges and sags) and have no need to abandon common sense. I have talked to executives at both ESP and Innovolt who make compelling cases for the value of their products and

why they are worthy of consideration. Since this article is about office equipment and its damage attributed to lightning strikes, or the effects of lightning strikes or voltage sags, I thought it best to start with what I already know. I know that a single bolt (strike) of lightning can deliver up to one billion volts, 200,000 amperes and travels at 96,000 miles per second. So, nothing I do to any office equipment product is going to protect it from the damage of a direct lightning strike or the resulting voltage surge when it strikes a transformer on a pole outside my business. But I know that I can take steps to minimize lightning strike-induced effects and, in many cases, install devices that can offer structural and equipment protection. Some Facts Because I live and do business in north central Florida (90 miles north of Orlando and 60 miles west of Daytona), which is the lightning capital of the United States, utility companies here urge home and business owners to use surge protectors on anything that has a power cord, transformer, AC or DC motor, phone lines, and cables from satellite dishes and cable companies. The reason is obvious: We have changed how we hook up and use office equipment and electronic appliances. I found a report by the Insurance Information Institute stating that in 2010 there were more than 213,000 lightning claims throughout the United States, up 15 percent from 2009, but down 23 percent since 2004, perhaps due to the influence of power protection devices. The average claim in 2010 was $4,846, up 13 percent over 2009 and 83 percent higher than 2004’s average because of the higher value of claims. Those claims are for structural losses and the replacement costs of alarm systems, intercom systems, microwave ovens, plasma/ widescreen TVs, home entertainment centers, gaming systems and multiple computer systems. Another report found that in 2004, only 18.2 million U.S. households had networked their entertainment and computer systems, whereas today, more than 38.3 million households have networked their TVs, computers and entertainment centers. They are all susceptible to effects from lightning strikes. In yet another study, I learned that in 2004, only 41 million www.officetechnologymag.c o m | September 2 0 1 1 | 35

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U.S. households had multiple PCs, whereas Other factors to consider regarding today, that number is more than 57 miloffice equipment are UL (Underwriters ... I was unable to have lion. So, today, there are a considerable Laboratories) certification as well as cera single one confirm that number of devices “wired” into networks tification with CSA for Canada and CCA there were increases in that are all susceptible to the effects of for major European countries, as well as returns or failures from lightning strikes. ENERGY STAR, which states that internal a single state or area When it comes to office equipment, power must maintain 80 percent efficienstudies by SAI indicate that only 25 percy under all loading levels. In other words, where lightning storms cent of the installed base of MFPs and output from the power supply must rewere more prevalent. printers were connected to enterprise main at or above 80 percent regardless of networks in 2004. In 2010, 75 percent of invariations of voltage, frequency and loads. stalled MFPs and printers were connected to a corporate or So can you guess where most designers configure their enterprise-wide network. Any disruption of those corporate power supplies to operate? Common sense tells me that if the networks can impact any single piece of equipment on those specs are broad enough to comply with UL, CSA, CCA and ENnetworks. ERGY STAR, then they should be sufficient to operate within a household or office with expectations of minimal failures Disruption in the Office when they incorporate surge protectors. When it comes to office equipment, I have personal knowlOf course, there are many other details for the testing, but edge about failure rates directly related to lightning strikes the point I want to make is if the office device has UL, CSA or and voltage disturbances whether they occur in Florida or in CCA and is ENERGY STAR compliant, and it is coupled to some South Africa. The number of failures directly related to light- type of properly rated power protection device and is plugged ning, brownouts and frequency shifts are no more prevalent into a dedicated outlet, then chances are the printer/MFP is than other causes here in Florida. Having worked in the ser- better protected from the effect of lightning strikes and voltage vice department of Saxon’s Fort Lauderdale branch for two variations. I found some empirical data that demonstrated the years and then as the product assurance manager for Saxon use of power protection devices actually saved $60 or more per Industries, we evaluated product failures throughout the Unit- piece of office equipment spare parts over a year’s time, and that ed States and the world where our copiers were marketed and copier/MFPs with power protection lowered the frequency of there was never a disproportional amount from Florida (the technician visits when power protection devices were installed. state with the most lightning strikes), Colorado or Texas (the The last piece of empirical data I found was from The Innext two states with the highest number of lightning strikes). surance Information Institute, which states that 30 percent of Saxon (and other manufacturers) designed its products to electrical variations/failures of household and small office apoperate worldwide. Its copiers’ internal power supplies could pliances can be attributed to lightning strikes. operate within a wide range of line voltage fluctuations, freAll of my office equipment is UL certified. I have my laser quencies and noise bands. We had a rule of thumb that I still printers routed to dedicated outlets. I use power protection recommend today: Use dedicated lines routed for the sole use (surge protector) devices recommended by my power company of the MFP or laser printer. As I mentioned, SAI is not a testing and have improved my odds of minimizing effects from elecfacility, but has access to laser printer (and MFP) manufac- trical variations that can be caused by many things, including turers. Having contacted quite a few, I was unable to have a lightning strikes. At the end of the day, it comes down to where single one confirm that there were increases in returns or fail- and from which company I purchase the protection device. ures from a single state or area where lightning storms were And, like everything else in the office equipment industry, I more prevalent. make my selection based upon product availability, price, specWe all know how laser printers work and that there are ifications, warranties, response times and if there is someone a number of sources beyond the power cord that can cause to call to resolve my particular issue. n damage to the device. A network connection power surge can Bob Sostilio is president and CEO of Sostilio & Associates damage the communications board on an MFP with fax caInternational, an Ocala, Fla.-based consulting pability. A telephone line power surge can be a source of dam- firm serving the office technology industry. He has age as well. A laser printer/MFP also generates internal power more than 34 years of experience in the industry, spikes on its own as it draws current for cycling its heater on including service in senior management positions and off. And, in some cases, if it shares a power source with with leading manufacturers and research other office equipment, it can exceed the ratings of many organizations. Sostilio can be reached at surge protectors and trip the circuit. 36 | ­w w w. o f f i c e t e c h n o l o | September 2011

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Selling Solutions

Preparation Equals Success Make sure you understand the prospect’s issues by: Mike Lamothe, Office Document Consulting


e recently moved our office and were out shopping for some chairs for our lobby. We started at a large chain store and a clerk approached us. Her first comment was typical: “Have a look around and when you’re ready, I will be here to answer any questions.” After some time had passed, the clerk approached us again and her opening statement was far from effective: “Can I ask why you would be in the store when it’s so beautiful outside?” Needless to say, we continued our search and bought the chairs at another store. In this article, I will be discussing how important it is to be prepared when given the opportunity to meet your prospective customers. I will look at this from two different angles — when cold calling and with targeted customer appointments. I think it is fair to say the example above helps demonstrate how important an opening statement or customer approach can be. I am also sure we all have examples just like this one, and there have likely been situations where you met a prospect at an event completely unrelated to work and you were tongue tied and regretted not saying what you wanted to. In the last couple of months, I have heard a commercial on a local radio station from Tony Robbins, who asks a very good question: “Imagine if you could assemble all of your current and future customers in a large stadium. What would you say?” I am sure you would agree it would require some preparation in order to captivate them and get your desired result. Gone are the days when you could walk into a customer’s office and ask them, “What does your organization do?” That is not to suggest that you will completely understand everything about a prospective customer’s organization the first time you walk in the door, but having a general understanding of the customer’s vertical should be the minimum amount of knowledge you have. Our world has changed and so have your potential prospects. Think about it — we all have an incredible amount of knowledge at our fingertips. With the advancements of smartphone technology and tablet PCs, the capability to search the Web for anything is seconds away. Having made calls with reps over a number of years, I have seen the net effect of a lack of preparation by some reps. I have often asked them: “Are you prepared for the day?,” only to hear, “What kind of preparation could I possibly do if I’m cold calling?” I go on to ask them: “What are your goals and objectives for today’s calls?” Too often I see glassy looks in their eyes and hear some mumbling.

Be sure to set goals and objectives for appointments and cold calling because it will help keep you focused on the task at hand, delivering greater results. When you have finished your calls for the day, debrief with your manager and go through each call. Did you achieve your goals and objectives? Could you have done anything differently? How and when will you follow up? You also need to keep in mind your prospect is busy, is inundated by a number of reps and is likely under the gun to deliver greater returns to his (or her) superiors. Here is an idea that has been successful for me over the years: Make copies of a recent article you read and leave it behind for your prospect if you are not able to see him. Just a note of caution: Do not hand the article to the gatekeeper and ask him to pass it on. Have some pre-stuffed envelopes (with the article and your card inside) and ask the gatekeeper: “Who in the organization is responsible for office technology acquisitions?” Write that person’s name on the envelope and ask the gatekeeper to pass it along and mention that you will be following up with the contact either by e-mail or a phone call. Do not be afraid to ask the best way to follow up with the potential prospect. Now you will have something to discuss when making your callback. Let us go back to shopping for office chairs. The sales rep should have considered that anyone in the store while the weather is nice must be a serious buyer. Not to mention if she had approached us with a proper value statement, she probably would have made a sale. For example: “I see you showing some interest in our office furniture. Not all of it is displayed | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1 | 37

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So, my recommendation before you aton the floor, so if you give me an idea of what tempt to see any C-level (owner, president, you might be looking for, I can help you with So, my recommendation partner) executive is to be prepared. Speak your search.” before you attempt to see to contacts inside the organization so you In previous articles, I spoke about bringany C-level ... executive understand the issues. Most importantly, ing in business experts to ask them what is to be prepared. Speak show up ready to demonstrate how the sothey are looking for from vendors. How to contacts inside the lution you are presenting will address the should they be approached? What is imporbottom line. Do not be like the sales rep tant to them? And what would it take to be organization so you who was pushing us out of the store to enconsidered a valued partner? understand the issues. joy the great weather. n I also ask a number of questions specifiMike Lamothe is president of Office cally related to appointments: When is the Document Consulting (ODC). With 25-plus years in professional best time to contact the prospect? How should he be contactsales and management, he brings extensive industry ed? What would get his attention? When I have done this, I experience, having worked at both the dealership and heard very similar responses from most of them: manufacturer levels. Today, Lamothe assists clients with the n “Make your approach through one of my subordinates and implementation and ongoing support of MPS get a good understanding of what keeps me awake at night.” programs and offers guidance in such areas n “Only show up with solutions. I don’t care to hear anyas strategic selling, development of selling and thing about speeds and feeds.” n “I have problems that need to be solved. Learn about our marketing tools, organizational right-sizing, and assessment consulting and design. He can be workflow and help me understand how your solution will imreached at or (647) 389pact the bottom line.” I could go on, but I think you get the point. 5048. Visit

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September 2011 Office Technology  

This is the September issue of Office Technology magazine, the magazine of the Business Technology Association.

September 2011 Office Technology  

This is the September issue of Office Technology magazine, the magazine of the Business Technology Association.