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A Winning Walkthrough

6 Mar, 2008 By: Rob Gilbert imageSource

A Winning Walkthrough

A keen understanding of your prospect and how they view and move information
throughout their organization is crucial to creating a winning print centric or
fleet management proposal. Unfortunately (and fortunately), most sales reps
don’t adopt this type of approach when selling in their territories.  There are
many reasons for this, most of which are related to training and fear.  But fear
of what?  Generally, fear of the length of time it takes to properly assess the
needs of a client is the largest contributing factor in why reps fail to spend
adequate time in the discovery phase of the sales cycle.  As an industry, we
have kind of created this problem ourselves because we are always chasing
revenue.  The light at the end of this tunnel is that if we allow our reps the
time to ask questions and understand goals and challenges of prospects, we will
create a triple win situation in our markets.  A winning walkthrough is a major
part of this process.

It’s one thing to set an appointment with a client and get agreement to run
an audit of the network to capture printer information and volumes.  What,
though, does this tell us about the culture and internal make-up of the
organization?  What are department heads trying to accomplish through the use of
equipment and technology that benefits the company?  Is there significant volume
being printed to devices not on the network?  A successful walkthrough will help
answer these questions and more.  If you have set the proper expectations with
your prospect, you have set a timeline for gathering your audit reads, set a
time to do your walkthrough, and gather pertinent data such as lease info,
supply data, contracts, outsourcing, etc. I also recommend having key personnel
in the company fill out a survey or answer questions about key issues within
their organization.  Some of these include:

  • Do you have control of your costs on output devices? – This will uncover
    pain on variable costs
  • Without control, what effect is it having on your business? – Being able
    to fix costs for them will be key to your proposal
  • What are your objectives relating to your office technology? – How do they
    need technology to be utilized?
  • What is important to you in your decision making process on office
    technology? – Is it price, reliability, image quality, etc.
  • Tell me about your issues with current technology?  What do you like
    most?  Least?  What would you change?  When the issue occurs, how does it
    affect your business?
  • What about outsourcing? – is it variable, do you have things you would
    like to print but don’t because of cost concerns?
  • What are your expectations from a vendor? – This can help you gauge any
    shortfall on current vendors.
  • How would a cohesive document output strategy help you organization?

It’s important that key people in different areas of the company provide
feedback into what goals and challenges they are facing, as this will add a real
depth of knowledge to your analysis and understanding of the current situation. 

You will also want to create a floor plan and layout of existing equipment.
As a consultant, it will be your job to not only understand how much volume is
being produced and where, but you should also be prepared to show how equipment
may be better utilized by moving assets to maximize productivity.  You will
learn how and why devices are where they are, and what bottlenecks exist.  It is
to understand where all of the devices are and what the workflow is like.

I have personally seen where many of my competitors actually did a little
research on a company and proposed to wipe out all of the printers and replace
them with MFPs, and turned a number of sales in my favor by simply saying that
the printers didn’t all need replacing.  “By moving printer A which is only
doing 500 a month with a duty cycle of 20,000 to accounting, and moving the
accounting printer to the warehouse, we can properly utilize both devices and
prolong the life of both.”  Again, most of our competition isn’t prepared to
talk to a client this way.  But completely understanding the current situation
and being willing to ask enough questions to determine how you can help will
always yield the chance for much greater profitability. 

Gleaning data and calculating it successfully using a good product (such as
Compass Opportunity Manager), can help you cohesively document and propose your
solution to win more business.  You will also both learn about and be able to
relate to your client a greater level of knowledge about their organization, its
objectives, departmental concerns, workflow issues, and improvements that your
competition has no idea about.  This helps change your “price quote” into a
three dimensional analysis and proposal.  This is your triple win.  First, the
client wins.  They have an advocate (you) who understands their needs and
challenges.  They have a comprehensive analysis and strategy for managing it all
going forward.  Second, the dealership wins.  Service revenues will be more
profitable, sales revenues will continue, and you have a continuous revenue
stream over a contract period.  Third, the sales rep wins.  By seeing the big
picture, the rep uncovers areas of pain that can be fixed, doubling or tripling
gross profit and sales revenue.  They will overachieve quotas, make more money,

That’s true consulting.  Right sizing devices, understanding workflow, and
offering advice on how to achieve the goals of the client with a combination of
technology already in place and product offerings from you company.  Take the
time to do a walkthrough.  You just never know what you may learn that will turn
the sale in your favor.

Rob Gilbert, Sr. – DSM Fleet Management Services, came to Compass with 20
years experience in the office equipment industry, working as a sales rep,
senior rep and major account manager for an independent dealership in VA., Sales
Manager for Ikon for 5 years, and as Director of Sales for an independent dealer
acquired by Global Services.  Rob was Image Management Certified by the Ricoh
Corporation, and has a full understanding of CPP programs from consultation to

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