More and more workplaces are moving away from relying on a paper trail and moving to paperless work environments, so it’s fair to say that us folks in the commercial copier market are starting to worry about the future of copier sales. The good news is that studies show the copier industry – over the last five years – is still on the rise:
(See IBIS World Report and this Foxit study for more details).
It is easy to lose day-to-day focus when the copier sales marketplace is already saturated — making a salesperson at risk for coming across as not an expert in the field, but rather “just another sales rep” who operates on profit only. Not to mention, today’s business buyers are more internet-savvy and socially connected than ever, which boosts the competition for copier salespeople and demands continuously revamping sales strategies.
Here are some strategies we suggest to empower and reinvigorate your sales team:
1. LOOK AT SMALLER BUSINESSES
As you try to expand your business and boost your company’s overall revenue, it is easy to fall into the trap of targeting big businesses and corporations alone. The danger of this is that if you don’t consider small and medium-sized companies as well, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. When it comes down to it, America is made up of small businesses! In fact, around 89% of all businesses in America are small businesses with less than 20 employees and over 98% are small businesses with less than 100 employees. Those numbers are only growing.
Another reason to avoid only targeting big businesses is that they often already have established relationships with copier providers and/or managed print services (MPS), and it can be rare that they are looking to switch. Don’t overlook the profitability of small and medium-sized businesses that might be right down the street from your business, who chances are, will more frequently require a new copier lease or purchase, or may not realize their increasing need for a MPS as they expand. If so, you will be able to alleviate that hole in their business, once you inform them of the cost savings, reduction in paper waste, and increased efficiency you can provide for them.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF BEFORE ENGAGING
Many seasoned sales pros would argue that knowing who you are selling to before you engage is the most important strategy to ultimately close a sale. And it makes sense: if you know the company, their size, their business environment, how they make decisions, who pays their bills, how they distribute information, and what their copying priorities are, you’ll have a better indication of what their pain points and core issues are, and how you might be able to solve them through your services. You’ll also be able to qualify your leads, making sure you don’t spend too much time getting far into the process with a potential buyer who does not wish to, or cannot, make a purchase at this time.
3. LEARN AND PRACTICE GOOD TIMING
Understanding good timing is an art for commercial copier salespeople. Like most commercial office products, the purchasing of copiers happens on a cycle. Just as you could waste valuable time trying to sell to companies who can’t benefit from your calls if you don’t do the prior research, you could also waste a ton of time calling and recalling businesses who have no need for a new copier at this time.
Two timing rules to know are the 30-day window and the expiration date trigger. While not every business’s budget functions in the same way, most purchasing decisions happen in 30-day windows. It is a good strategy to find out who is the decision-maker of commercial copier purchases or leases at the given company and ask when their commercial copier commitment is expiring. Then, build a nurture campaign around this information, as to not waste your sales team’s time.
4. KEEP THE PIPELINE FULL
It is very important in commercial copier sales to keep your pipeline full at all times. Since most business only have a demand for a new copier purchase or lease every 7-10 years, you will need to have options well before then – and plenty of them! The average company loses between 10% to 30% of its customers each year due to ignoring the prospecting process when the client base feels sufficient. So even if your pipeline seems full, keep prospecting, so that when a business reaches the need for a new copier, you are in their memory.
5. BE QUICK
It is crucial to be as quick as possible when responding to your leads. A recent study showed that 35-50% of sales go to the supplier that responds first. So even if multiple suppliers in your area all offer competitive products and prices to a sales-ready buyer, you can still beat the competition and land the sale if you call first. Also, it is important to keep in mind that most business buyers are about 70% of the way through their buying decision before even engaging with a sales rep! That’s only 30% of the way to go once you enter the picture. To compete under this model, you’ll need to be as quick and efficient as possible when you make the call.
6. UNDERSTAND THE BUYER’S NEEDS
Because chances are, your prospects have already done online research and have spoken to other sellers already, really focusing on what is at the core of your customer’s needs is extremely important. Remember that developing a relationship with another business is a two-way street: it is not enough to just keep your business’s goals and priorities in sight, but also keep your eye on the potential client’s goals. Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs. So before engaging, know how you can solve the company’s current copying and/or MPS needs and struggles.
Your buyer is going to have two types of needs when they reach out to you – functional and emotional.
- Functional – who is the company and what do they use their copier for, specifically? Why are they looking for a new copier right now?
- Emotional – what is the emotional motivator triggering their purchase at this time?
Oftentimes, and luckily for you, finding out the answer to the first question will reveal the answer to the second. Always keep in mind that emotion (not logic) drives sales. Listen to the response the buyer gives to your question about the functional need for their new copier, and determine their emotional motivator. For example, if the buyer expresses they are angry that their previous copier kept breaking, respond accordingly by leveraging your copier’s benefits and how your product will ease that anger. If you can listen to and sympathize with your potential client, you are going to be more likely to close the sale.
7. SWITCH UP YOUR ROUTINE
If your sales are not closing consistently, it may be time to switch up your routine. This could include new pitches, nurture programs, seeking out employee referrals and testimonials, new marketing sources causing fewer cold calls and more warm connections, or perhaps offering a warranty or guarantee. Changing your pitch could also be presenting the cost to your client in a new way – if you are giving a monthly price, try giving a weekly or daily price. When you engage a potential client in a new and innovative way, you are more likely to form a trusted bond with them, which can only help your brand’s reputation! All in all, keeping your sales strategies consistently new and effective is complicated, and it takes a lot of time and effort on an ongoing basis to come up with the best plan of attack. We know what it’s like for a sales team to juggle both strategizing and calling – sometimes, there’s just not enough hours in the day. At 360Connect, we can save your sales team valuable time by locating multiple sales-ready buyers in your area at a time. We can provide low funnel leads with true intent to purchase or lease a copier. Just last month, we were able to connect 1,285 active commercial copier leads with our office equipment clients in the counties in which they are located. If you are looking for new ways to find leads and boost sales, and skip those preliminary verification steps, keep us in mind. Visit us online on your schedule to get connected with one of our expert consultants and let us know how we can help your business thrive.