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"It's Not Jeopardy, But You Still Have To Have The Answers"

31 Dec, 1969 By: Jim Intravia imageSource

"It's Not Jeopardy, But You Still Have To Have The Answers"

knows that on Jeopardy, your “answer” has to be in the form of a question.
Lets make sure that you can fill in the Jeopardy answer that this would be the
question for:  “Who was Chester
Carlson” (the answer to this question is found at the end of the article)?


handle yourself as a businessperson in service situations, you must have to do a
kind of reverse jeopardy situation. You should anticipate every possible
question a customer might ask, and have an answer ready for them. It does not
have to be in the form of a question, but it should be well thought out. There
should be an answer for every question the customer might ask. Some of the
answers have to be very specific, vague or even open ended.


things that could possibly harm you are: knowing too much, not knowing enough,
and having an answer that seems rehearsed is almost never good.



an answer-person, you need to be quick thinking and flexible. You also need to
realize that your job is to feed your family, not your customers. Remember,
every time you give a customer good advice that sends them to another vendor,
you have taken money out of your pocket and gave it to your competitor.


you service a copier or anything else, you should prepare for all situations.
This is fairly obvious to a technician. If a new customer calls for “lines on
the copy,” the technician may want to bring a drum, blade, fuser kit, exposure
lamp, and PM kit. It is unlikely that he will use all of these, but he just
might need something. In a one-person operation, having these parts in the car
can mean instant gratification, as opposed to sitting neatly on the shelf. Of
course, the technician should also be prepared with the cost of each of these,
so that he can create an appropriate retail price when the job is done. One part
of the job is preparing for the machine, while another is preparing for the

Cost Factor

question and answer situations are relatively straightforward. Items cost a
certain amount to replace, while labor is worth a certain amount. Into this, you
have to factor some nebulous things; travel time, expertise required, who else
besides you they can call, likelihood of a callback, how good a customer they
are and how quickly they pay. There are probably dozens of other questions that
you ask yourself before you state an answer to the customer's question “How
much is this going to cost me?”


machine is the easy part. The customer is the hard part. They look at the
machine, its problem, and you in two ways: Overhead and the necessary evil. 


Necessary Evil

don’t think of their office equipment as something that makes them money. They
take it for granted, like pens, yellow pads or doorknobs. If they don’t work
right, it is an inconvenience or aggravation. If it is working well, so what,
big deal, it's supposed to. If the copier is not working, that is trouble.
Customers frequently have two attitudes towards us: Negative and Neutral. It
almost never is positive. A copier has no glamour. It receives no compliments.
The technician rarely receives a compliment. Even the salesman is thanked only
perfunctorily. Carpeting gets bragged about and complimented, desks are
polished, company cars are exciting purchases, but not the copier or copier
people. We are the Rodney Dangerfield of the industry.


many cases, what the machine needs (service, supplies, etc.) is not a day-to-day
business expense. It is considered an unexpected problem with no positivity at
all. No matter what the situation, the check signer can think only in terms of
saving money or spending less money. This might be described as cutting losses,
not throwing good money after bad, or avoiding a bottomless pit. OK, that’s
the way it is and we have to accept it. Don’t let it ruin your day. Realize
that you will face this time and time again. If you need something better, think
of this. You don’t have to give them sad personal news, ever. You are not
their doctor. You are not their dying pet's veterinarian. You don’t foreclose
on their house. You don’t give their child a failing grade in school. Compared
to those things, your bad news (money) is minor. You have no reason to feel
guilty or unhappy.


And Answers

they are going to have negative questions, you should be prepared with answers
that are positive (have a positive spin):


Q: “How much will this cost?” 

“$300, but I can have it up and
running by tomorrow afternoon.”


Q: “Is this worth fixing?”

“The rest of the machine is in tip-top shape. When this repair is done,
you will be amazed at how well it runs,” or maybe, “If    

you are not happy with the way it turns out, I will
apply the cost towards a new machine.”


Q: “What else can go wrong?”

“I can't predict everything, but I can tell you that the predictable
parts that wear out (drum, fuser, etc.), are in very good shape

and should give good service.”


course, there are some questions and statements that you must completely
sidestep, and they don’t deserve an answer. For example:

  • “But
    we just got a new drum 2 years ago.”

  • “Isn't
    there still a warranty?”

  • “Why
    is it so much to repair these?"


answer to the opening question, “The Inventor of Xerography is the following
(if you make your living from xerographic devices, such as; copiers, printers,
or laser faxes, you should know it):


October 22, 1938, in Astoria, New York, Chester Carlson produced the first
xerographic copy, which was a copy of “10/22/38.” 


industry should consider this date some kind of holiday, but I guess that won't
likely happen. When you get a chance, in mid to late October, maybe you could
mention it to your customers.

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