ITEX: A dealer's story continues15 Feb, 2005 By: Editorial Staff imageSource
ITEX: A dealer's story continues
Over the last few issues of
imageSource you have gotten an opportunity to get to know Tom Pease, the owner
of e/Doc Systems in Memphis, Tennessee. The veteran independent dealer was
inspired by last year’s ITEX show to change the direction of his longtime
dealership and lead it down the solutions sales road.
When we left off with Tom last
month, he had discussed the moves he immediately made after returning from ITEX
2004, which included rounding up his managers, explaining the new direction the
company would be taking and changing his company name from Corporate Copy to
"We needed to get solutions
revenue to replace declining revenue sources in service and other traditional
dealer revenues," Pease explained. "So I saw it as a strategy to replace that
and to grow."
One of the next steps Pease took
was to contact Darrell Amy, president of Dealer Marketing Systems, imageSource
contributor and a speaker at the upcoming ITEX 2005, February 2-4 at the Las
Vegas Convention Center.
"I needed him to advise us some
more," Pease said. "I got him to redo our website and bring it up to date to
show solutions-oriented expertise and we’ve done that. Then I designated a
solutions specialist, a person that would be the in-depth guru that would study
all of these solutions.
"Solutions take more time to get
up to speed on compared to what a regular street salesman might typically have
to learn," he continued. "So I designated a solutions specialist and he has
visited other dealerships that are ahead of us on this stuff, and I also had him
go to Darrell Amy’s solutions selling boot camp. I am trying to give him as much
in-depth knowledge as I can and I think, as a consultant, Darrell Amy is a good
Pease is also continuing to use
the knowledge he gained while attending the Dealer Business Forum headed by
Richard Norton, president of DocuTrends, Lou Slawetsky, president of Industry
Analysts, Inc., and Bob Sostilio, president of Sostilio & Associates
International, who last year discussed the evolving technologies in the copier
business. All three will be back again this year.
"I think for me it was those
three guys that really did it," Pease said. "I stayed in the seminars all day
and every day. I just kept picking up on it and talking to other dealers. I
think that was the main one. The CAP Ventures’ gentleman, Charlie Pesko (CAP’s
managing director and a speaker once again this year) was helpful. They provide
a lot of data, which points in the direction that dealers need to be getting on
with this. That was a big one for me."
Currently, Pease has his
salespeople finding solutions prospects through his current customer-base and
when they get something going, the solutions specialist goes in and talks a
little more in-depth with them, which is a strategy he learned at ITEX a year
Pease said his sales team is
concentrating on offering three types of solutions–storage and retrieval,
e-forms and off site Web-based storage for security purposes–to keep things
simple the first year.
"We’ve done some storage and
retrieval sales," he said. "We got some e-forms ready to close. It’s kind of on
the slow side. I think we’re finding it to be a nine-month sales cycle."
What Pease said his dealership
has sold is a new company image.
"We have sold a whole lot of
perception," he said. "One of our large accounts said to me, ‘You come in here
with laptops and show websites and documents and the other guy is pounding me
about what a low price he has.’ That’s a big benefit already. We haven’t done a
lot of revenue yet, but the perception is very helpful. It separates you right
there from the pack of other dealers. If you are looking to separate yourself
from the other guy, which dealers usually are, it does that right out of the
This year Pease will be sending
his sales manager and four other salespeople to ITEX to help them continue the
lengthy learning process involved in solutions sales.
"We’re going to distribute the
seminars among them," he said. "Solutions are much more knowledge-intensive than
selling a copier used to be. I don’t think you are going to be very effective
unless you have the knowledge. And those seminars are great. You cannot sell
this stuff if you don’t understand it. It’s knowledge-intensive and ITEX puts a
big focus on it. ITEX has very knowledgeable speakers. You’re getting people
that really know their stuff."
Although Pease knows ITEX will
increase his employees’ knowledge of the business, he still anticipates the road
to solutions success is a few years away.
"This is not quick," he
stressed. "It takes more time and I think it is probably a three-year thing
before you are at the competency level that you have with machines. We are still
going down that long road."