The plan was that, once COVID-19 receded, employees would return to the office, their printers, copiers, coffee machines and cubicles.
But will they print? Will they copy? Will they return to habits of the past? It really doesn’t matter. Print will happen and your clients are exploring cost-reducing processes and offerings – managed print services can be your vehicle for higher revenues.
Selling MPS and copiers is nothing new. There are thousands of articles and dozens of tools in the market designed to help you find prospects, build a total cost of operation, generate proposals, and close deals.
I’m not going to regurgitate facts and processes a decade old. However, in the new way of selling that is post-COVID-19, I point out one important view: now is the time to expand from transactional selling to experiential selling.
This is a big shift, and it starts between your ears.
When you go into an opportunity thinking about selling toner, you’re only going to sell toner.
When you go into an opportunity focused on copier deals, you’re only going to sell copiers.
Your manager may call this focus when it’s actually tunnel vision. You’ve managed yourself into a box offering trinkets and things, not ideas or experiences. Widen your view by helping your prospect experience working with you.
Consider the following statements:
“Your current spend is …”
“I can reduce your monthly spend by …”
“A faster scanner will increase productivity by …”
“Imagine never worrying about your printer.”
“How is it going to feel, leaving work at 5 or earlier, getting home in time for dinner, instead of re-printing checks?”
“Let’s brainstorm on what you can do with this extra money each month.”
Can you see the difference? When you inject your prospect into a future with you, you create an experience, not just a pathway to a close.
Consider something else: your remote sessions are flat and boring. It isn’t easy to maintain your prospect’s attention when you don’t make the meeting an experience. One technique is to send real items to your invitees and refer to them during the meeting. Give them a touch of realism – this can be food, or coffee and an assignment.
That’s right, an assignment. This is key. I send articles about business challenges in their industry that are not about managed print services or toner or copiers or OEMs. I highlight key content and handwrite notes in the margins.
I also include a set of simple questions designed to illuminate a solution.
Then during the meeting, we all take out the article and review. I ask questions and use the content as a conversation piece.
The key here is to tie an additional tool, something unobtrusive, interesting and a bit off angle to your normal agenda. I find this keeps the engagement levels up during remote sessions and is a differentiator during face-to-face meetings.
More importantly, meetings turn into experiences.
“There is no effective experience in the absence of effective discovery.”
Also, think of it as a third-party reference illustrating your business acumen and enhancing your personal brand. Take the time to research your prospect, their industry, common challenges in the industry, and determine how you can help solve that problem. Then weave the topic into your conversation.
For example, let’s say you are approaching or have an appointment with a property management company. Go ahead and search the web on “common challenges in property management firms.” I found “5 Biggest Property Management Challenges on the Horizon” in an article from June 7, 2021.
I would read the article, create a PDF, start highlighting and scratching notes in the margins. Then put together three questions and ask them to be ready to discuss during the meeting.
That’s all. Of course, the questions posed are geared to building the case around reducing costs and the impact of working with you as opposed to anyone else.
This is a simple instrument that brings together prospect research, industry knowledge, and best of all, your business acumen. You elevate the conversation and turn your meetings from transactional to experiential and learn more about your prospects.
One more thing
Many changes have occurred, especially in mindset. Safety is an issue now, face to face contact is dubious at best, but the real change occurred on an individual basis.
Selling and buying haven’t really changed – it’s the processes around selling and buying that have altered. We, as professional individuals, can return to old habits of using techniques — hunting, cajoling, and hiding behind company brochures and slideshows — or we can start to do the things we said we did, but never have.
Today, and going forward, we can re-position the entire selling world by being more experiential and less transactional.
Fulfill past and forgotten promises, today. Be an honest consultant by looking out for your prospect’s business. This authenticity earns solid trust and rolls into an experience for you and your prospects – not a transaction.
Give it a try. Use the tool, sell more MPS, copiers, toner, and printers.