New to Copier Sales: The Pandemic Paradox

Here’s the big paradox of the COVID-19 pandemic — the lockdowns and remote get-togethers have made us more connected.

Online sessions reveal more humanity than big, important meetings around the oak table in the executive conference room. Even with all the challenges, bad audio, odd camera angles and clumsy mute buttons, we’ve seen more of our prospects and customers than ever before.

Think about it. How many kitchens, dens, and home offices have you seen since March of 2020?  Have you met clients’ and coworkers’ pets and children? Of course. Have you seen paintings, books, sports memorabilia and messy desks?

Yes, you have. We all have. Web meetings, with cameras on, give us the chance to be vulnerable and connect with prospects and customers on a deeper level than before COVID-19. Vulnerability is foundational to building a bond, establishing rapport and creating a solid relationship. And what can be more vulnerable than inviting the CEO of your biggest prospect into your home?

One of the many “silver linings” of the pandemic is the ability to see more of our customers’ lives. Who would have thought that physical separation could bring us closer? It is counterintuitive, but it is true. We are anxious to see people, to connect in real-time the words and voices with faces.

This is a golden opportunity, maybe the golden opportunity from COVID-19. Use the virtual platform today to plant the seeds of trust and reap the benefit when the world is set free again.

By now, you’re conducting more web sessions — your time in front of a webcam is going to pay off in a big way. Three points to consider:

  1. People are going to love seeing you face to face.
  2. Prospects’ familiarity with online meetings will perpetuate the use of online meetings.
  3. Pent-up demand will come to those who invested yesterday and today.

People are going to love seeing you face to face.

Although productivity at home has enjoyed a spike, people are looking forward to getting back to their desk and some normalcy. There might be plexiglass or masks, but being in close physical proximity is in your future once again and it will be great. There was a mental connection established during COVID-19 and your remote sessions. Those meetings will be fondly remembered. You have history and shared experience with the prospects and customers you’ve kept in contact.

Yes, you will adhere to the protocols your prospects institute, but you’re going to thrive in the challenge of articulating through a mask and interpreting your prospect’s muffled words. But the deep connection created from common experience is invaluable, the “remember when” stories priceless.

Prospects’ familiarity with online meetings will perpetuate the use of online meetings.

This is the best result of utilizing web meetings during the pandemic: everyone is comfortable with logging into and holding a gathering. The benefits are huge in terms of time, but there is a lot of unexpected value as well.

They are efficient. When run well, and because we are all on camera, getting to the point, summarizing and closing is a much simpler process. Introductions are quicker as well. Efficiency is enhanced whenever a strong agenda is created, shared ahead of time and followed.

They are friendly. As mentioned above, we are all in the same boat, sharing similar challenges. This creates a bond of sorts on which a friendly relationship can be built. How can you be unfriendly to somebody who has a dog in the background or a child on his lap?

They are accessible. No more traffic on the 101. If the sales meeting is at 7:30 a.m., simply “roll and go” at 7:25. Is your client ex-military, valuing punctuality? Open the session 15 minutes early — which is on time. This simple aspect cannot be overvalued because the huge time suck between meetings and appointments is finally closed.

Pent up demand

It is my belief that by September 2021, the fear of COVID-19 will subside if not vanish.  Some say 40% of office employees will be working from home. This is not good news for those making a living from marks on paper.  Fewer on-premises employees means fewer prints and less copies — it is just math.

But there is demand.

Companies still buy printers, copiers and paper. Not everyone is going to be paperless just yet. Capitalize. Reach out to everyone you know, right now, today in early 2021 and get the payoff in the fall. It is going to happen — most of the demand that was there in March 2020 is still viable. You will be one of few survivors on the business landscape. Use the personal connection you’re developing and have been building since the beginning to set yourself apart.

The point is simple — bond and rapport can be built through remote meetings, webinars and video. Even though we are physically separated, relationships started or continued through adversity (a global pandemic) grow deeper.

Don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers, reach out and video-touch prospects today.

Sell On!

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is an entrepreneur and founder of the notorious destination site TheDeathOfTheCopier, where he comments on all things imaging, the rise of managed services and the advance of business technology. A prolific writer and frequent speaker, Greg shares his passionate, unique – and often provocative – view of technology and people, addressing the impact of digital on 21st century business. His 2014 book, Death Of The Copier, offers a controversial summary of the early days of Managed Print Services and the not-so-distant future of the hard copy industry. Reach out to Greg at greg@grwalters.com.

Greg Walters

is an entrepreneur and founder of the notorious destination site TheDeathOfTheCopier, where he comments on all things imaging, the rise of managed services and the advance of business technology. A prolific writer and frequent speaker, Greg shares his passionate, unique – and often provocative – view of technology and people, addressing the impact of digital on 21st century business. His 2014 book, Death Of The Copier, offers a controversial summary of the early days of Managed Print Services and the not-so-distant future of the hard copy industry. Reach out to Greg at greg@grwalters.com.